We’ve been on a medical odyssey with Scout over the last month. It started when we took her in for some dental work, and she had to have like 10 teeth pulled. She had to go under anesthesia, which meant having a tube down her throat. We brought her home, tired and sore, but okay.
(Non-trigger warning: the dog doesn’t die at the end of this one.)
She seemed to be recovering nicely at first. But that weekend Lucy and I headed to Mount Hood for some snowboarding, and Becky found out the hard way that Scout couldn’t keep any food down. She began vomiting every couple of hours. Becky spent 5 hours at the emergency vet on Sunday evening, and Scout spent the night there. We also stopped by Costco to buy a carpet cleaner.
The vet got her stabilized, and sent her home a couple days later with an armload of meds. The diagnosis was aspirational pneumonia – she had accidentally breathed in some vomit, and her lungs got infected. Then Becky left for Wisconsin for a week, and Hank and I mostly took care of Scout. She would still throw up (hence the sheet over the dog bed), but she was getting food down, and I thought it would pass. Hank would snuggle with her at every opportunity.
When Becky got back, Scout had taken a turn for the worse. She was losing weight, and her vomiting had come back with a vengeance. She was in and out of the vet, running lots of tests, and in the meantime put her on some different meds and a special kind of food – hydrolyzed protein, or as we like to call it, chicken liver gruel. She started to get better.
That was two weeks ago, and she’s doing very well now. She looooves the new food, which makes it easy to crush up a pill or two each day and mix it in, and she’s starting to plump up again. She’s got all her old vigor back, and it even seems like she can jump onto taller furniture than she could before.
Her diagnosis is still unknown, but the working theory now is that the top of her small intestine is constricted somehow (scar tissue from the dental tube?), and when she swallows any kind of solid-ish food, it won’t go through, so she throws it up. The gruel is really smooth, so it can pass through the smaller hose, and it’s super nutritious. None of that is certain, though.
The vet has offered to do a biopsy surgery to diagnose for sure, but Scout is stable and happy, and that would be really traumatic for her. She’s not a young dog, and we don’t want to risk losing her just to know. So we do a little extra to feed her and keep loving on her.