Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gross Dog Digestive Issues. Don't read if you are delicate.

Okay, so if you go back through my archives from, um, May '08 through October '08, you will capture the story of the end of my mother's life. She really did die of congestive heart failure - her heart just plumb wore out and quit working right - but the thing that ran hand in hand with it, and gave her endless misery, and ultimately hastened the end, was C-diff.

And Murphy visited her several times before I knew dogs could GET C-diff. Yes, they can, and it has killed some nursing home visiting dogs. And I sorta feared that Murphy might have picked it up, but he got back to as normal as he ever was, so I put the fear aside.

Murphy's poopies were normal 1/2 the time, and mildly not some of the time. This is a dog who cries for Greek spinach pie, and can eat a chicken enchilada the size of his head, so intestinal outbursts sort of came with the territory. Occasionally we would have bursts of Ugliness, but by and large, all was normal in the Murphy's Potty Habits Department. Until lately, when we had major outbursts of...er..."angry not normalness", which, unfortunately, moved indoors yesterday morning. (If you need me, I'll be cleaning the carpet.)

And worse - he abruptly stopped being his sunny, perky self and was mopey and tired. That was the biggest warning sign - I'd say, "Want to go for a walk?" and he'd raise his head, look interested, and then reconsider. This morning I dragged him for a walkie, he hiked a listless leg on the mailbox, stood for a moment, considering, and then turned back to the house. That is not Murphy. That scared me. He's a wee little dog, and dehydration and possibly death can happen in a day or two. I did see that he was still drinking, but still, that freaked me out.

So today I left work early and took him to the vet, where they did various tests, exams and cultures, and yes, this dog has C-diff., and probably other issues like getting up in years and not digesting fat well, and on and on, but the vet wasn't too freaked out. By the time we got to the vet's office Murphy was being Murphy again, all bouncy and opinionated. We left with a sample of a higher fiber Science Diet, a different probiotic supplement, and 10 days of Metronidazole.

The vet also gave him some fluids under the skin - he came out of the Mysterious Back Room bulging oddly - it was really kinda creepy looking. Two hours later, those bulges have absorbed, and Murphy is back to being Murphy - he ate like a horse, played like a crazy thing in the hose, and is just his perky, normal self. I think that he dehydrates overnight while he's sleeping and wakes up listless, and then as he drinks water during the day he bounces back. The fluids under the skin worked like a case of Red Bull - he was full of himself before we left the office. Now let's hope, for the sake of the carpet, that his other meds work their magic. But yes, Murphy's system has been in paw-to-bug combat with C-diff for almost a year, and it temporarily got the upper hand, and I'm so glad I left work early to deal with it. This could not have waited until Saturday.

He's 7 lbs. now. That is not scarily underweight - 7 lbs. is breed standard, and he came from a show kennel (after being deemed pet quality), so he is just about where he should be. Before Dudley moved in and the competitive treat eating kicked in, he was around 6.5-7 lbs. But he needs to be watched more closely now, because a wee dog cannot afford to get dehydrated. He has lost the body fat he gained in his years of competitive eating with Dudley, which is good news for his little knees, but he now has no cushion to help tolerate a bout of diarrhea. So let's hope the probiotics and antibiotic work their magic - my nerves can't take another round of this!

Neither can the carpet.


Anonymous said...

I had similar problems (for very different reasons) with our first Italian Greyhound, Brutus). And if you think Murphy looked funny after the re-hydration.........!

One tip our vet gave me was to supply his drinking water with a dilute form of rehydration med - Gastrolyte or some such, less than half strength seemed to work.

Get well, and keep well, Murphy,

Gae, in Callala Bay

Catherine said...

Murphy is so teeny we are working on the food end first - probiotic powder on normal food, with unlimited normal water, plus antibiotic. But that rehydration worked like magic, and now I know to really worry about his hydration, particularly in this heat!

Linda said...

OH! I never would have thought a dog could contract a human condition! I'm so glad you did and kept an eye on Myrphy.

Herry said...
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T.T.J. said...

That is so good to know about the c-diff, I had no idea! I hope Murphy starts to feel better and has fewer digestive "issues"!

Catherine said...

So far, so good -he is MUCH better today - back to normal, really. We will see if the, er, OUTPUT is also back to normal.

ellen said...

That's life with the older dog - looking at the poop every day. The older ones dehydrate faster even when they're not little bitty things.