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bowel impaction

nancy in AZ

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Friday morning when I woke up Minnie was clearly not acting herself. She was listless and the look on her face told me she was feeling uncomfortable. Last time she acted this way she'd had a disc problem in her back. I palpated her spine but got no reaction. She followed me outside with the other dogs, but her gait was slow and deliberate rather than her normal morning jog, and she didn't wait at the gate for me like she normally does while I feed the horses and clean the corral. Thinking back, I tried to make a best guess as to what could be going on with her. The previous night, all the dogs were barking and running the fenceline chasing something that I presumed was a javelina (I came out at 2:00am with a flashlight but only heard whatever it was scurry away. They all tore out of the house in the middle of the night to go after the beastie lurking in the dark. This is the down side of having a doggie door--they were at it again last night at 1:00am :rolleyes: ). So I thought she could have been sore from the activity.


I wanted to see if she had an appetite so I gave her about a 1/3 portion of her normal breakfast, which she finished. Still, she wasn't her over-eager food obsessed self. I brought her with me to the office where she typically lies quietly on her bed until it's time for our mid-morning walk. My vet's office is a few blocks away so I figured I'd monitor her behavior and take her in if she didn't perk up. When she refused our morning walk I called the vet. It occurred to me that she didn't have a bowel movement on our walk yesterday morning, which is not normal for her. I felt her belly and she appeared and felt somewhat distended.


The vet took an X-ray and there was a large balled up mass of food/fecal material in her gut. He gave her fluids and an enema and kept her all day until she had a b.m. When I picked her up she appeared perky and eager to go home. According to my vet , she had passed most of the fecal material along with a balled up mass of what appeared to be whole green beans with some chunk chicken meat??? (which I had not fed her) mixed in (I had given her some canned green beans in her kong as well as some with her breakfast the previous day). Minnie doesn't chew her food, she gulps it down. I smear it in her bowl to make her work at it, but she still swallows it whole. Where she could have gotten the "chicken" I have no clue.


My parents were flying in for a visit over the weekend and I arrived home with her just as they got there. Fortunately, they had decided to stay at a hotel this time around (Three guesses why... It starts with a B and ends with oo) So shortly before I was getting ready to feed the animals Minnie threw up what little breakfast I had given her that morning. I decided not to give her dinner, figuring her gut was still irritated. I dragged out the carpet shampooer and then ran out the door to meet my parents for dinner, leaving her in the house.


When I came home from dinner there were three huge vomit-soaked spots on the carpet. She had drunk about a quart of water and threw it all up. Minnie looked awful. She was in so much discomfort that she lay in a sphinx position on the floor with her head outstretched but not touching the ground, her eyes half closed. I called the vet's emergency after hours number and used three bath towels to sop up all the water she had vomited while I waited for him to call me back. When he did, he reassured me that it wasn't unusual for extreme nausea to set in after what she'd been through that day. He advised me to remove her water and and give her some pepto bismol. She barely moved as I shampooed the carpet for the second time. Poor thing, she looked so miserable! She finally was able to put her head down and sleep. Then she woke up and threw up some remaining water along with the pepto. I dragged out the carpet shampooer for the third time and cleaned up my now pink carpet and stayed up with her until she fell back asleep. By this time it was after 1:00am.


My folks were very understanding when I opted not to accompany them down to Phoenix and spend the day at museum's yesterday. By last night she appeared to be mostly recovered, though even today she's still a bit listless, asleep under my desk with pink pepto stains in the corners of her mouth. Poor ol' girl. She gave me quite a scare.

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Minnie's appetite and behavior are back to normal, and her mid-morning walk today and yesterday was...productive, so she appears to be mostly recovered. Of course, I've been watching her "under a microscope" so to speak, and second guessing whether I'm imagining problems, or just maybe, since she'll be 12 next month she's just an old gal that can't keep up the way she used to ( boy, do I relate!!)


She had just had a complete blood and urine panel done prior to this incident in advance of getting her teeth done this week. My vet put off her last dental appt (last spring) because of some dicey results in her blood work and urinalysis. Then she had the Cushigs dx in Sept. Her levels have stabilized so he felt OK about proceeding with the dental. Hope we can still proceed as scheduled tomorrow, her teeth are in serious need of attention.


Thanks for all the well wishes guys!

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