So it’s now the 4th of February. I am extremely happy to report that Beans is still with us and seemingly doing well. Though, we have had a couple of scares – even another night at an emergency vet. And our bills, well, lets not talk about our bills.
Let me start by sharing the schedule of meds we have him on. As I said in my last post, we came home with 3 different medicines. 2 anti-arrhytmia and 1 antibiotic. Because there are so many and we have to do them at different times, N came up with this handy little chart for us to use (isn’t the picture of him a cute touch?)
So did you have a look? I mean really have a look? The medicine starts at 7am and goes throughout the day until 11pm. Sotalol and Mexilitine are the anti-arrhythmia meds. Doxy, short for Doxycycline, is the antibiotic. We give all 3 meds orally, with an oral syringe. The Sotalol and Mexilitine are not huge amounts. In fact .5 ml = 0.1 teaspoon. The Doxy on the other hand is 3 ml. That is equal to 0.6 teaspoons. It doesn’t seem like a lot in human terms, but in puppy terms it’s a lot. And it’s even more when he doesn’t like the taste of it and he is denying access to his mouth with a grip like a steel vice.
Our technique for administering the Doxy has been a work in progress. We would force it into his mouth, but we could tell how much he hated it, which in turn made us feel awful and mean. We looked for another solution. And found it…in cream cheese. Brilliant. Until that is, he wised up and refused to eat the cream cheese.
This next part is hard for me to write, but in full disclosure and in the hope it prevents someone else from making the same mistake, I will share.
Two weeks ago, N was working on a huge pitch at work. He was putting in an insane amount of hours, which left me alone on Beans duty. On the night of the 20th(jan) I got the Doxy ready and decided very unwisely that it would be better to go back to giving him the medicine via syringe then trying to plead with him to finish the cream cheese. Here’s what I did wrong and why I may be on the short list for worst pup mom ever. I shot it straight down the center of his mouth causing it to go down his throat the wrong way which in turn caused him to start coughing. And coughing. And coughing. Not normal coughing like he’s trying to get something out of his throat, but a horrible sounding cough like he was having trouble breathing. I thought he was choking. Cue panic. I looked at his tongue and it was a purplish color. BIG panic. I called N at work, and raced Beans to yet another emergency vet. Longest cab ride ever. N met me curbside and ran with Beans into the vet while I paid for the cab. When I got inside they already had Beans downstairs evaluating him. Plenty of time for me to have another full on breakdown in yet another vets office. Finally the Dr. came up and said that Beans wasn’t choking, but he was definitely still coughing… mentioned that dogs can get aspiration pneumonia from inhaling a foreign substance. My heart sunk. I couldn’t believe I was the cause of harming him this time. Then she mentioned what really had her concerned was the color of his tongue and gums. Which lead her to ask the dreaded question…”Does he have any kind of heart issues?”
We told her the saga of what we had been through the last two weeks. Her recommendation was to leave Beans there for the the night so they could keep him in an oxygen tank, monitor his heart and their cardiologist could have a look at him in the morning. More tears.
N and I came home and had another sleepless night. I flipped back and forth between 2 channels in my mind all night. One, that I may have killed our dog, and two, please please let me wake up. Let this all be a bad dream.
The next morning the latest cardiologist to see Beans had a look at him and found nothing amiss. She consulted with Dr. Bond (his cardiologist over at AMC) and was caught up to speed. She told us that his heart was fine all night. It had remained stable and never went into any type of arrhythmia. She said she would recommend doing a chest x-ray but as long as that was clean (which it was) she said we could come pick him up. I asked her what she thought about the color of his gums and tongue. She said his gums looked fine, that they are slightly bluish because of pigment and that as far as the tongues goes according to her it’s not uncommon to see dogs in stress have their tongues go a little pale or bluish in color. We have had a lot of conflicting opinions as to that but I will save that for another time. When we went to pick him up I didn’t leave until I sat with the cardiologist and asked her the best way to give an oral medication (via syringe). Her reply, and please take note in case you ever find yourself in this situation, is to press it up close to the cheek. Never aim back. Lesson learned. The hard way.
Prior to all of this we had made an appointment to bring Beans to his first “regular” vet visit so we could get his 16 week vaccinations. Mind you, this was FINALLY his first scheduled “normal” vet visit. We went, but we didn’t get his vaccinations. She wanted him to have two normal weeks without incident before we added another variable to his life. We are currently scheduled to try again tomorrow. I will tell you that N and I are both very nervous about it. One of the doctors we saw along the line recommended against skipping any further vaccinations as there is a chance it could cause his heart to go back into arrhythmia. The other doctor’s we’ve talked to though (including Dr. Bond) thinks it puts him more at a risk to not have them. So we will go forward, we will keep our fingers crossed, we will think good thoughts and we will continue to take it one day at a time.