Saturday, April 10, 2010
Down and Out
Poor Cliff. He went in for a dental this week, as the vet found an abscessed tooth in the back of his mouth. It was a molar (which I guess is considered a major tooth). I also wanted to have his back right leg x-rayed since he's been having such a hard time walking.
7:15 AM: Drop Cliff off at the vet. They tell me that they'll call when he's out of surgery.
7:15 AM--1:00PM: Bite fingernails and try to concentrate at work.
1:00 PM: I can't wait anymore! I call to check Cliff's status, and find out he's on the table being worked on.
2:50 PM: Dr. G calls me to say that Cliff is finished. The x-rays are fine, but there is some dysplasia in the hips- they couldn't even extend Cliff's leg all the way. BUT.. there is less osteoarthritis than expected. Three major teeth- all molars- were removed during the dental. A strange finding: Cliff's right leg muscles are much larger than his left, which is odd because Cliff's right leg is the lame one. If anything, the LEFT leg should be bulkier from being used more. Vet palpitated for tumors or masses but didn't feel anything. Made a note in Cliff's chart for monitoring. I get all the details on his recovery care and hang up feeling fairly happy about the outcome.
3:30 PM: Vet receptionist calls and asks if I can come to pick up Cliff asap. He's screaming, crying, really stressing out. "He wants his Mommy," she says.
4:30 PM: I roll into the vet's parking lot. Dr. B, who has come on duty after Dr. G., meets me at the door. It's NEVER a good thing when the vet meets you at the door, let me tell you!! "Your boy gave us quite a scare," she said, and brings me in the back room. Clifford is laying on the operating table, drenched, shaking like crazy- beside him is a tub filled with ice-- apparently he was so stressed that his temps skyrocketed from 98 to 107!! They had to give him an emergency catheter and ice bath to bring his temps down. He was so upset that he pooped all over, bit his tongue and split it, and nicked a few of his toes. He didn't have a stroke or seizure (thank God!!) but 107 is dangerous territory for a dog! When I came in back... poor Cliff!! Laying with his big feet in the air, both legs shaved, catheter in, bloody muzzle from the dental, bloody tongue, bloody toe, trembling and wet-- I almost lost it. He looked so elderly and frail-!!
I sat with Cliff for awhile, trying to keep him calm. The vet explained that she thought this was stress-induced BUT it might not be... we could transfer him to Cornell for monitoring (since they closed at 6 and Cornell is a 24 hour facility)... or I could bring him home and then rush him to the ER vet in Syracuse if his temps skyrocketed again. I decided to bring him home. We kept the catheter in in case he needed fluids again. And with that... we got Cliff down from the table, helped him into the car, and went home.
I'm happy to say that once Cliff got in familiar territory, he was MUCH more comfortable. He had some difficulty laying down that evening (I'm assuming stiffness from being manipulated for xrays) but ate half his chicken/rice dinner and gulped his antibiotics and pain killers (etodolac and tramadol). His catheter came out this morning... and he's doing great! I have to say though, from this experience and Lucy's dental... I will be MUCH more hesitant to put an older dog under anesthesia again. Both of these instances were my fault, because I was too lax with tooth brushing and hand-scaling the past couple years and their mouths got bad... but never again. Once Cliff's mouth heals, he and Jack will be getting nightly brushings. No excuses!