Tuesday, May 20, 2008

USOs..."Unidentified Swallowed Objects"

My weekend was spent at the ER...the Animal ER, that is. Caution: The following blog post may contain graphic references not recommended for the faint of heart...or stomach. On Friday evening, I got home and found (to put it mildly) about 10 places where one of the dogs had thrown up. At the time I didn't know which dog it was, but I soon learned that it was Jack, my 11 year old Jack Russell. He continued throwing up about once every 3 minutes, in between me calling vets (none of which were open) and cleaning up the previous mess. It was horrible. The weird thing was that it was all water...nothing solid. Then I found it...in the far corner of the guest room, he had evidently gotten rid of whatever it was he swallowed. It looked like a big pink eraser, but I couldn't imagine what he had gotten into. Well, I put it in a Ziploc bag as evidence, and whisked Jack and the Ziploc bag to the Animal ER. It was a LOVELY 15 minute car ride in which Jack managed to go through 6 towels. Could Ryan have possibly been in town for such an exciting event? Of course not. BUT, he did call at a really appropriate time..right when I got the estimate for the $3000 surgery Jack needed. I was a basketcase, which I know sounds silly, but Jack is like my kid. I know he has 4 legs, sheds a lot, and doesn't speak "human", but he is definitely my companion! Anyway, I signed the papers, and left Jack at the ER at about 1:30am. At 5:00, the vet called me to say that the surgery went fine. They found another piece of the same thing I had found, and called it the "Unidentified Swallowed Object", or "USO". They also found that his small intestine had severe scar tissue. Because of that, they couldn't just remove the USO. They had to remove almost 3 inches of his small intestine. There is a really high risk of infection when they have to do that, and they have to be extra careful that there's no chance of the small intestine leaking or rupturing later on. How scary is that?!! He has 2 layers of stitches and 14 staples in his little tummy. Poor baby!!! So, Jack spent the next 2 full days in the ER hooked up to IVs because he wouldn't eat or drink. I had to visit him in the emergency room the first 2 times, but after that they would bring him out to me in his own room. He would just lay there like in this picture. It was SO pitiful.

They wouldn't release him until he ate and drank, so finally on Sunday night, I was able to get him to take 3 bites! WOO HOO!! Luckily that was enough to get the vet to release him. Unfortunately, we got home and he refused to take his medicine by mouth. I literally tried everything for an hour to get one pill down him, but he wouldn't have it. So, it was back to the ER at 12:30am for him to get 4 shots. They threatened to keep him again, but I begged for them to let me take him home. I couldn't stand seeing him in that place! At 7:30 the next morning, I took him into our regular vet (since it finally wasn't emergency hours) and they gave him his medicine, took out his catheter and gave me the best animal product I have ever purchased. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present:

They are the only way Jack would take his medicine, which is saving me a TON of money. His shots were $30 each, and he was getting 4 of them three times a day. You do the math. Anyway, he has been on the up and up ever since. So much that he managed to pull out 3 of his staples today while I went to work for 2 hours. We just returned from vet appointment #4 because of it, so I'm praying that this is all until he gets his staples out next week. What a weekend!