The Stealthy Hound

The marks on the carpet were faint, but suspicious.  When you own a beagle, or part beagle, as we do, your o-shit-o-meter goes haywire when you see marks on carpet after you’ve been out, especially when someone else has been watching your hound.

Christmas eve services were lovely.  Quite beautiful.  Got home after midnight… Blondie was visiting (hooray!!) and brought Lanky, her charming boyfriend.  They passed on the services and stayed home with Abby, wrapping presents.  Yeeeeeah.  They’re wonderful, and they’re great with animals, but that ducking fog can get into trouble in the blink of an eye.

The next morning, her tum was rock hard and she couldn’t stand up.  Legs were shaking, too.  Blondie said, um, yeah, she got into the bathroom trash and she was gnawing on… well… ew…

Oh, my god, she ate a tampon??

Well, maybe not singular.


The emergency vet here in town was mercifully empty on Christmas morning, but the wait was forever because they had to send the x-rays off site for a radiologist to read.  Daaa-mn.  Of course, they spotted her two knee replacements right off the bat (I didn’t need to hear what they said to each other: “heeey… this dawg got mohn-aaaay…”).

While there, she managed to stagger outside, piddle for nearly a minute (jeesh, puppy…) and crapped up a storm.  Huzzah!  Maybe we can go home…?  Hopeful, hopeful…?  I gotta admit, I had a dig through the poo before I closed the bag.  Smelly but no trash in evidence.  Got the still-uncomfortable hound back inside as I scouted for a trash can (duh!  NOOOO!)

Went back in, the nurse grabbed the bag like it was gold and said “I’ll take that!” and hustled off with it.  Ooo.  Sorry.  It’s not in its original format, I kinda mushed it up.

No such luck on the early exit.  Not doing emergency surgery, but let us quote you for the “conservative” treatment we recommend:  assisted vomiting, then a barium wash out if needed to see if her gut is still moving.  A young woman came in and read us a litany of services they would provide with a price tag attached to each.  Emergency visit, $79. IV port, $79.  X-rays, $120 each….This I did not understand.  Were we gonna pick and choose what Abbs would get?

(“Yeah, so, we’ll take the x-rays, but naw, she doesn’t need that much vomitty-stuff.  We’ll just take half that.”  What???)   $1,700 total.  Holy moly.  Well, at least we get airline miles, I guess…

So she stayed overnight to vomit.

The barfy stuff was unsuccessful.  On to the barium.  They take x-rays every two hours to see if the blockage is moving through her gut as they pour the glowing goo down her gullet.

They. determined she was NOT going to be able to rid herself of it, even with the assistance they provided, but her gut was still moving some.  It’s stuck in her pylorus, they said, the muscle that forces food from the tum to the small intestine.

BUT… in the interim… we discovered this emergency vet hospital is under investigation by the state’s attorney general’s office for negligence and is at risk for losing its license. WHAT??!! My baby is where??   Okay, they seem nice and all, but I REALLY don’t want…

So they said they want to shift her to their other facility 40 miles away to try to scoop the offending fluffy bit outta her, then if that doesn’t work, they’ll open her up like a canoe.

And yes… the other facility is also under investigation.  Not only do I see negligence rolling around, I envision one unsuccessful attempt after another piling up… Yeah, well, this procedure didn’t work, so we’ll try this one.  Oh, HELL no.  Particularly since they know we have the resources to pay, and my puppy gets subjected to one procedure after another like some victim of a weird doctor form of Munchausen’s by Proxy.  I don’t think so.

So… we opted to go to the hospital 40 miles in the other direction where she’d had her knees done.  BUH bye.  We picked her up from the original place and poor girl was dopey and still miserable.  Tum-tum still pretty solid.

Drove her down after having the dozen or so x-rays and notes sent to the new hospital, quite the relief to walk in where they knew her and had her history.  Even if it proclaims to have veterinary specialists in cardiology, internal medicine, neurology, etc on staff… you know THAT’s not gonna be inexpensive.  At least she’s getting the good treatment.  As my mom said – it’s a people hospital for animals.  

She had yet MORE x-rays, an ultrasound, blood workup and five hours later her orthopedic surgeon came by and said “I walked by her cage and said “Abby!  YOU’RE here?!  What did you DO?!””

Great.  Just what we want.  A veterinary surgeon who recognizes our dog on sight.  On the plus side, though, he was very opposed to surgery… he wanted to avoid it if there was any way possible.

The long wait gave us a chance to see some of the oddest dogs ever.  One looked like the love child of an oval coffee table and a purple-brown shag bathroom rug that didn’t wash well.  It had a spherical body with stubby legs at each corner and a tiny little head.

And a bulldog the size of a small bulldozer.  They had to wrap the leash around his midriff.  A pittie mama in labor with a baby, eyes tightly shut, being rushed behind her.

Also, HIPPA has no place here.  Triage happens out in the open and everyone listens interestedly as to what’s wrong with each other’s pets.  Well, okay, except we had to fess up to Abby’s transgressions while seated next to a couple of tough truckers types with their big ole fighting dog.  Suddenly they were fascinated by the pattern on the ceiling.

So by the end of a remarkably long wait, the ultrasound and x-rays showed no more sign of the offending object(s), and her stomach was a lot more palpable.  HOORAY!!  They kept her overnight to do a food test and to see if she’d produce anything.  She produced, but not what we were looking for, and she ate dinner (no surprise there, she’s ALWAYS hungry).

We got to pick her up the next day – we have to keep our eyes open for an emergence.  Unsurprisingly, the bill there was as much as the first place, with a lot less actual work done.

4F440B19-91E4-4E90-8EFD-6FE7C7936048She’s now fast asleep on the easy chair in Beloved’s lap.

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