Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pins and Needles

It's always something.

For the next 24-36 hours I'll be keeping a watchful eye on young Mr. Sandia.

He sleeps soundly every night on a stack of blankets next to the bed. Till around 6:30 or 7:00am... then he goes into his active phase, counter surfing, table hopping, etc. This is when he gets destructive... grabbing a plastic cup from the bathroom sink and chewing it up, finding the leather sunglasses case and chewing it up, reading paperbacks by ripping out the pages... and mostly- looking for something to eat. You get the idea.

About 6:45 this morning, as I was dragging my ass out of bed, (Margaret had spent the night at her parents to prepare for their meeting with a lawyer this morning), I saw Sandia bouncing something large and cylindrical by the sink. It looked like the blank CD container. If only. It was a container of raisins. There weren't nearly as many as there had been last night when I put the container up in the overhead storage, (absently leaving the door open). He had apparently got up on the ottoman and then the chair to retrieve them.

If you have dogs, you know this is a bad thing. Potentially one of the worst things. Toxicity can occur with as little as 0.16 oz per Kg of body weight.. in Sandia's case that's about 4 oz. I estimate he ate around a half cup, possibly more.

Researchers still haven't found what it is in raisins (and grapes) that is toxic to dogs and cats. A micotoxin is suspected, but hasn't yet been identified. Toxicity manifests itself in some cases in acute renal (kidney) failure, and anuria, (lack of urine production). These are sometimes fatal, and can occur in just a couple of days.

I got on the Internet to see if I could use Hydrogen Peroxide to induce vomiting. Indeed I could. Knowing it was OK, and being able to squirt it in his mouth? Something altogether different. If Rally is the most perfect patient veterinarians have seen, Sandia is her evil twin. By myself it was impossible to hold the dog, open his mouth, and squirt the H2O2 in. Not enough hands. Time to call Margaret and wake her up. I was going to need the car anyway.

I think I manged to squeeze about 15ml into him with no result. I walked him and he started gobbling grass like a milking cow. OK... he was going to do it his way. Still nothing.

Meanwhile, Margaret had called Ann Arbor Animal Hospital and we were good to go. I dropped her back off at her parents and made a beeline to a place I hadn't seen in at least 15 years. Believe me, it didn't look like the picture you'll see at the link back then! In fact, my experience with AAAH goes back to the '70s, when Doc Hergott ran a small 2 exam room facility in a little red house at the same location. That's Ann Arbor for you. They told me Doc was still alive, which is surprising considering all the time he spent at Stadium Tavern, just across the street, where I was tending bar to supplement my GI Bill college fund.

But I digress. I brought Sandia in, and he was immediately swept away behind closed doors.. (I really hate when that happens).. to have vomiting induced. No WalMart Hydrogen Peroxide here, they gave him an injection of Apomorphine. He only vomited up about 12 raisins. He was also given activated carbon, which is an absorptive... to pick up any toxins in the digestive tract and carry them out the back.

They took his blood for a CBC (complete blood count), and a "comprehensive organ function" scan. All values at the time were normal. I have to take him back tomorrow and have this $125 worth of blood tests done again. It never ends. I believe I will follow Patrick's advice, (#8, way at the bottom of the post), and question the $25 dollar item entitled: "Nursing Care Daytime"(?) Just how is that different from the $50 office visit?

Anyway, I will be watching the boy for signs of vomiting and diarrhea (none so far), increased thirst, (about normal), and lethargy, (everybody in this house is lethargic at some point of the day... right now, for instance). Other than being a little quieter than normal, and he's had a traumatic day, he seems pretty normal. His evening walk did give up the evidence that some raisins made it out of the stomach before the Apomorphine made it in.. I made like a CSI and counted around 2 dozen,inflated and looking more like little grapes at this point. Later in the evening, more raisins were produced along with the activated charcoal... now that's something to see: jet black stools.

If we make it through the night without any incidents, I think we'll be out of the woods. And believe you me... I'll be doing a thorough scan of the counters before retiring tonight. Good practice for everyone.


  1. That sounds exactly like what Montana would do. Perhaps they're related too? Hope Sandia is doing well.

  2. I'm sure Sandia will be oke I'm more worried about Dan and Margaret. You need to learn how to live with a Galgo Español. Good luck for the future ;-))