Monday, October 19, 2009

Not The Pink Stuff!

The only liquid "medication" I've given to Theo before last week was children's benedryl. Since it's made for kids, they added enough sugar to it to make it perfectly palatable for Theo's consumption. In other words, I could get him to drink it right out of the little cup. Pepto bismol? Not so. I've never taken the pink stuff myself, but apparently it tastes nasty enough that even Theo won't go near it. Poor guy. As part of his tummy upset regimen we were instructed to give him a few tablespoons of pepto bismol every day. I only lasted two. I think the picture to the left clearly spells out why.

First off, the only liquid medication syringe at my disposal only holds about 1/16 of a teaspoon at a time. Which means to give him 2 tablespoons in one sitting, took about 30 million little syringe shots. Needless to say, Theo and I both tired of it very quickly. I have since purchased a much much bigger syringe. Also, Theo kept trying to spit it out (see picture), which not only led to doggy spittle all over my hands (see picture), but also to a very pink dog (see picture). Not to mention a pink me. You can't see it in this picture because I look nice and covered with that paper towel, but my entire arm (my favorite sweater!) is covered in pink doggy spittle. Ew.

So it begs the question, did it work? Why, yes! It did! This was the same disastrous evening where Theo decided to upchuck his new "easy on his stomach" food (the I/D). Perhaps because his stomach was already upset. I think it was in protest to the slop. After the upchucking, Theo was mopey and obviously not feeling that great. I eventually wrestled enough of the pink stuff in him, and 5 minutes later he was back to his normal self: wanting to play fetch and eat. After the second day he obviously didn't even need it, so I figured I wouldn't even bother putting us both through the stress.

Where was Husband during this whole debacle? Well since I'm in the photo (like the fun I had with pixelation?), I'll give you one guess. Yep. While I was juggling a stubborn bratty puppy, cleaning up dog vomit, and getting covered in pink goop, Husband was snapping pictures. I guess I should be thankful, otherwise we wouldn't have a remembrance of this extra fun event! *sigh*

On the food front, I convinced Husband to do a trial run with Deli Fresh. From what I've gathered, their slice and serve logs are basically whole ingredients that are gently cooked (as in, cooked enough that their not raw, but not so much that all the nutrients are killed. So like people food rather than kibble). It's sold in the refrigerated section of my local big-name pet store. Unfortunately, they don't carry it at the smaller specialty pet stores I prefer to frequent. Oh well. I'm really liking this stuff so far because it feels like I'm just feeding him regular pre-cooked food. You can even identify ingredients like brown rice and carrots, and it smells like chicken. And you can't beat the convenience! Also, I feel like I'm feeding him a more complete diet. It has all the vitamins and nutrients that he needs added to it in the correct balance to keep him healthy, which was something that always kept me a bit worried with the diet I was feeding him. At my local store it was $15 for an 8lb log, which should last about 8-10 days. So about $45/month. No bad at all! Considering how much time I'm saving by not having to constantly be cooking chicken and chopping fruits and vegetables and cooking rice, I'm thinking this might be a permanent thing.

Oh, and Theo's health issues? Ok, it's kind of a long story. Do you need a bathroom break? Maybe a glass of water? Better get it now. We won't be having an intermission. Also, the rest of this post is mainly going to talk about poop, so the faint hearted should just stop reading now. Seriously.

Ok, so about 2 months ago we noticed Theo's poops were consistently soft. Not runny, not like diarrhea. Just soft. All the time. It wasn't anything to cause alarm, but I started restricting his diet to clear it up. I started by taking him off the kibble. Maybe it was just a bad batch. Then I took him off dairy. Then I added pumpkin. Nothing changed. Next to go were the fruits and veggies, leaving just the bland chicken and rice. Nothing changed, leading me to think it wasn't an issue with his food. This was over the course of several weeks. Then I got a postcard in the mail telling me it was time for one of Theo's vaccination shots. I figured while I was at the vet, I would have them look him over to see if they could shed any light on the issue.

$200 later I was sent home with some anti-diarrhetic (flagyl, I believe it's called) pills for the soft poops, and some probiotics for his digestion. They also did a fecal analysis that came back negative. He was on the meds for a week, and they seemed to clear things right up. Almost immediately his poops were hard. I remember scooping up the first hard poop, shoving it in Husband's face and saying "It's FIRM!" It's amazing how caught up you get about poop when you're a dog owner. And it's rather embarrassing how much it comes up in conversation with other dog owners. Sorry neighbors, for constantly steering the direction of the conversation to poop! After the week on meds things went back to normal. I reintroduced Theo slowly to his more regular diet, and his poops stayed good. I should also mention that through this whole process his appetite and energy level never changed. Other than soft poops he never had any other visible symptoms.

Then a few weeks later Theo's doggy daycare called to tell me Theo was having major diarrhea. I told my boss "I gotta leave early. My kid is sick at daycare." Just for effect. It was fun. It was a Friday evening. Theo had diarrhea (and I wish there was a worse term for what kind of diarrhea he had because I feel like diarrhea just doesn't cut it here) until we took him to the vet that Monday morning. Probably about every 2-3 hours he had to go, and usually felt like he had to go every hour. That includes the middle of the night. Husband and I had to take turns taking him outside every couple of hours. 3 nights in a row was brutal. Yes, I know we're not ready for kids. I'm fine with getting up once. Twice was a bit torturous. By the third time I was fed up enough to wake up Husband and make him do it. Hehe.

As I said, it wasn't just diarrhea. It was soup. It came with a complement of squirty noises. Lots of doggy wipes were involved. Theo had the most adorable embarrassed-looking face every time he went. But other than that, no change in his demeanor. He would be playing fetch out in the backyard, same as always, and suddenly stop and run off for the occasional pit stop. It was rather hilarious, actually.

So that Monday morning Husband took him back to the vet. You already mostly know how it turned out. Even though he told them Theo was on a chicken and rice diet, they insisted on pushing their swill on him. And the same exact meds as before. And another fecal test, which of course came back negative. The meds suppress his symptoms, but they made no effort to diagnose him. Why was he having the issue in the first place? I have to think it's related to the soft poops from the last few months. They apparently just shrugged it off and said he had probably "gotten into something". First off, he didn't. I watch that dog like a hawk. And second, what could he have possibly gotten into that would cause that level of diarrhea for 4 days?! Honestly, it never showed any signs of improving the entire weekend. When we took him to the vet, whatever was bothering his system was still bothering him.

The meds have suppressed the issue, so we're just going to wait and see. If it's something like an infection or some other issue that hasn't already cleared up on its own, it'll rear it's ugly head again. And when it does, we'll be ready. To take him to a new vet. Hooray!

In the meantime we're looking into pet insurance. Because really, I wasn't convinced, but I think in the long run it'll be worth it. Anyone have insurance with a company other than VPI? Just curious, since VPI seems to be what everyone has.

And that's the saga of Theo's poop troubles! My intestinally-challenged little troublemaker. Did you survive? Should I say diarrhea one more time just in case I didn't already offend you with the frequency of its use? Naw, I wouldn't do that. I'm classy like that.


Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Yuck! No fun :( I hope he gets better soon!

I know how exciting firm poop can be! Especially the first firm poop after diarrhea! I hate when Gibson's is the slightest bit squishy...

I don't have pet insurance, nor do I know much about it, so I'm not much help there!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That really sucks about the poo! I hope everything gets figured out and you find a vet you like.

I have Vito on Petplan. i like it because it covers things for lifetime, more than just a year like most companies. i have had to do a few claims and have had no problems. it also gives you back what you actually paid, not what the "average" price supposedly is for things. Lance isn't on it though, I figured the first year of a pup's life was the most risky for something happening. renewal is coming up soon and i'm debating if i want insurance but know i won't switch plans if i do.

a corgi said...

poor Theo! maybe its the water that is causing him so many tummy problems (I doubt it but you know how it is when you go to a foreign country); he does look cute with pink lips though! like I think I said before, our vet recommended Zantac (or generic ranitidine) 1/2 of a 150 mg pill; that in a piece of bagel or cheese clears up his tummy problems. it is interesting though with the looseness Theo has because Koda, like I said before, will get it at times with no rhyme or reason; it is frustrating because you wonder what the heck is going on with them


Philip said...

But he looks so cute all covered in pink :D

Now that you mentioned daycare, I'm wondering if it was some bug there? Ask them if they've changed anything at all.

Yay for DeliFresh, and yeah I was totally off on my calculations, went shopping for it today and realized it was cheaper than I thought, woot!

Philip sends his love to Theo, even though Theo likes to grumble at him for it :)

JulieandCaleb said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Theo's tummy troubles! I hope he gets well soon. Caleb has VPN, so I can't offer any advice on any other forms of pet insurance.

JuLo said...

Thanks everyone! I'll keep you posted on his progress. Right now he's finished his course of meds, but his poops are still reaping the benefits. Hopefully we can get another week of peace before another poopslosion!

Thanks for the recommendation LL&V! I'll look into Petplan as well. :)

I don't think it's anything he's picked up at daycare. I talked to the woman who manages the place extensively, and no other dogs got sick, and they keep it very clean.

And I'm sorry Theo is such a pooper to Philip! He does that when he's not the most submissive dog in the group. And also, he doesn't like the way I love on Philip when I see him. He'll get over it. :p And Philip is such a great dog. You can't keep him down!

Freya's Human said...

Poor Theo, I really hope they figure out what's going on with him. Honestly, I'm surprised they didn't jump in and try to figure it out immediately.

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