Friday, January 29, 2010

Trauma: Life in the (Vet) ER

I want to tell you about the experience I had yesterday now that I am no longer hysterical. My little Chihuahua, Coco (named after Coco Chanel of course) almost died. Coco is like one of my children. She is my answer to not being able to have any more babies, and I would have been beyond grief-stricken if she had died!
I came home from the grocery store and let the dogs out in the back yard while I put the groceries away. I always leave the door cracked open so they can just come in whenever they want. Coco, however, LOVES the outdoors and is always the last to come in. It took about 15-20 minutes to finish with the groceries , and I went outside to call Coco in. I noticed she was laying under the patio table with her head weaving from side to side and a completely dazed look in her eyes. As I got closer, I saw she had vomit down the side of her mouth and had defecated on herself. As long as I live, I will NEVER forget her head weaving around like that and just how WRONG she looked! I picked her up and she was a limp as a noodle. She was barely breathing, taking very shallow breaths with too long an interval in between. At first I thought she was choking and suffocating on something. I pried her mouth open but couldn’t see anything, but her gums and tongue were completely white. I have a magnet with my vet’s number on the fridge so I called them in a panic and they told me to bring her in immediately.
I ran out of the house with her and sped all the way to the office, which is about 15minutes from my house. I ran two stop signs and would have run a stop light if cars had not been in front of me. Coco was completely non-responsive, and the only way I knew she was still alive was because she would take an occasional gasping breath. I was terrified she was going to die before I got there! A vet tech was waiting outside the clinic for me. He took Coco, ran inside with her and took her to one of the back rooms.
My vet, Dr. Purser, came out about 15 minutes later and told me that he thought she had a severe allergic reaction to an insect or spider bite, and she was in anaphylactic shock. Her blood pressure was extremely low, her body temp had dropped 4degrees and she was in severe respiratory distress. They had started an IV, gave her antibiotics, steroids and Benadryl and were doing blood work to make sure they weren’t missing anything. He went over the blood work thoroughly with me when it came back and said it supported anaphylactic shock – said that with her weighing so little, it wouldn’t take much venom from an insect or spider to send her into it if she was allergic.
Thank God and my vet, Dr. Pursher had Coco sitting up and looking a little aware of her surroundings within 45 minutes. He let her go home with me after 3 hours. He kept the IV catheter in her leg and gave me his cell number to call if I noticed any change at all overnight (one of the reasons I love my vet so much). I took her back in this morning for Dr. Purser to check her out and take out the catheter, and he says she should make a full recovery.
There were no obvious bite marks, welts or stingers so we may never know what it was. I am having my pest control company come out, though, and thoroughly spray my back yard for anything and everything! And, whether she likes it or not, Coco won’t go out anymore unless I am sitting outside with her!
Right now, she is sitting next to me, wrapped up in a little blanket which she loves, and I am so thankful and grateful she is here to share this day with me!

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