Rewind back to Friday night.... Tyler and I went out on the boat and took Sarge like we always do. He is a hunting retriever and absolutely loves retrieving his bumper in the water. He swam and swam like nothing was wrong for an hour or two. When we got home, he had an upset stomach, but we just looked at it like he drank too much salt water. When we woke up Saturday morning I stepped in a puddle of tinkle at the foot of our bed. Sarge is very housebroken and has never ever tinkled during the middle of the night before. Again, I just thought he drank too much water and needed to go!
We packed up and headed to my family's lakehouse for Saturday. Again, Sarge swam, jumping off the dock and having the time his life like nothing was wrong. He acted perfectly fine! Sunday morning at about 3 am, I heard a loud cough and knew he was throwing up. I jumped up and flipped on the light, knowing he was vomiting on the carpet in the bedroom! Yuck! Tyler got up and we cleaned it up, AGAIN, thinking he drank too much water and it finally hit him.
Sunday morning we packed up to go to Myrtle Beach to visit our friends from Illinois and Tyler's college friends that were in town for the week. We were so excited to see them and were going to leave Sarge with my parents. As we were getting ready to leave the lake, Sarge threw up two more times, this time it didn't look "normal" (I mean, does any puke really look normal?). We cleaned it up and hoped he would feel better by Monday when he got home. My parents took him and he hung out in the den with them and acted fairly normal, except my mom realized that he didn't scarf down his food like he normally does.
Around noon on Monday, my mom texted me to tell me Sarge had gotten sick. Two more times. We immediately left the beach, even though we hated saying goodbye to our friends who live so very far away now. They totally understood because they love Sarge too!
We met my mom off of the interstate to head back to Beaufort, and we noticed he wasn't hanging his head out of the window as normal. He was sitting inbetween her seats and we really started getting nervous. This was the first time we realized how lethargic and dehydrated he was. During all of this, I had texted my boss who's wife is a vet, texted our vet from Illinois, and called a high school friend who was in vet school. Everyone was saying beware of dehydration and to give him some benadryl to make him sleepy and more comfortable.
Once we got off of the interstate, we decided to call a local vet in Beaufort to see if they were open by chance. We explained the situation and they said the ER vet may be a good idea. We made a couple more calls and decided to get back on I-95 to Savannah to go to the emergency vet. Sarge was very lethargic and sad and we knew he felt horrible!
We finally got to the vet at about 7pm. They ran some tests and while we waited for them to come back, Sarge got sick again. We knew something had to be wrong if he was still vomiting but hadn't eaten in a day. The vet came back with the results and said his pancreatic enzymes were extremely high; higher than she had ever seen them. I immediately started crying because my grandmother passed away from pancreatic cancer and that P word just really upset me. As they were describing pancreatitis, I was crying and Tyler was extremely confused because the vet wasn't making very much sense.
Pancreatitis can be caused by random things in dogs. He could have eaten something like scraps out of the trash or a piece of plastic or something toxic. We really had no idea. We made more phone calls to every vet we knew to get other opinions, but everyone agreed it would be best to leave him overnight. As horrible as it was to leave him, we knew he felt awful and needed medicine. They gave him antibiotics for a UTI that he also had, pain medicine since his pancreas was so inflamed, and anti-nausea medicine. After we paid our bill (O.M.G. that place wasn't cheap), we got a hotel nearby because we had to pick him up the next morning at 7.
Thank goodness we got some sleep at the sketchy La Quinta down the road from the vet because the rest of the morning was exhausting too. The vet on duty wasn't very positive and said his enzymes hadn't gone down in that 12 hours that they tested them. WTF we were thinking and kept asking how fatal this could be. Thank goodness they said it isn't fatal in dogs if they can get the enzymes under control.
We picked him up at 7:30 and he was so lethargic. I kept checking his pulse in the car because his breathing was really weak and were really scared. Sarge is our baby! We had paperwork faxed to what I thought was my boss's wife's vet back in Beaufort. We got there, checked in and thought everything was fine until I mentioned that I worked with the vet's husband and the vet who saw us was very confused. I knew she didn't work on Tuesdays, but when she had no idea who I was talking about, we realized I had called the wrong vet!!!! The vet and assistant laughed at us and said it would be fine to leave, they just wanted Sarge to get medical care asap because he was in a lot of pain and was growling and whining.
Once we finally got to the correct vet (am I an idiot or what!?!?!!), we were immediately taken back to see the other vet in the practice. He reassured us this wasn't fatal, but wanted to put him back on pain meds, antibiotic, and fluids. Poor thing had been poked and prodded for hours. He also had a catheter inserted into his leg. We left Sarge at the vet for the day and picked him back up after work. I worried all afternoon about our poor boy because I know he felt so awful and we didn't know all weekend he was sick!
We brought him home and have him hooked up to his IV now and he is happily sleeping in his kennel. We'll keep him on fluids until 11 pm and will take him back to the vet in the morning and they'll retest his blood again. I pray his enzymes and white blood cells have gone down and hope he will be in less pain overnight. We really hate seeing him like this. His x-rays showed only air bubbles from gas and thank goodness he hadn't swallowed anything which could cause all of this. We're assuming it is some funky bacteria since he is a hunting dog- no clue what he could have picked up from ducks or the nasty water from the creek or lake.
If you are still reading, thank you. We really appreciate the love and prayers we have gotten, especially from my blog friends and readers. We've had some really supportive people!
I also want all of you dog moms to know that you need to stop giving your dog table scraps!!! Sarge never gets people food which could have caused this, but this is one of the reasons why people food is bad for dogs. They cannot break down things that we can! There is a reason they make dog food. It is horrible watching a pup you love be in so much pain, especially when he has never had any health problems. He is five and very active, we would have never expected anything. Just a word of caution, because I don't want y'all to ever go through this- or your pup!!!!
Also, if you are weary of the emergency vet, don't be! Thank heavens it was a reasonable price just to walk in the door because money was a reason we didn't want to take him. Tyler's parents vet near Philly is super expensive and we just could not afford a hefty bill. By no means had we budgeted for anything like this, BUT Sarge is so worth it and we will totally rearrange spending to accommodate our boy. I can easily give up extra froyo or treats for his treatment. I will do whatever I can for my boy. Tyler too!
We are praying we all have a good night sleep and he feels better in the morning. I am so thankful for veterinarians and the assistants at the vet that helped us. I used to make fun of people who do things like this, but until you go through something with a sick animal, you don't understand it. We love our Sarge so much and want him to get better. Hopefully he will bounce back tomorrow and we can slowly reintroduce food and water to him.
In the mean time, we'd appreciate your prayers!