Friday, April 24, 2009

Who Would Have Guessed

On Wednesday, April 22, 2009 we got our puppies from a local animal shelter. The shelter said that they were Dachshund mix and that they think they are about 4 months old. I believe they are dachshund mixed with beagle (so cute). We got them around 5pm because they were away getting fixed that morning. I brought them home and everything seemed fine. They were a bit scared, but they warmed up nicely. I bought a kennel for each of them, but they like being together. They explored in the backyard while we played with them. They played with toys when we brought them inside. They were very happy and constantly wagging their tails.

I did not fed them food per the instructions given by the shelter. They did drink water. They are the perfect puppies that love attention and each other. Around 9pm I was instructed to give them their pain medicine (because they were just fixed). It came in a syringe, so I just had to squirt it in their mouths. The female dog did fine. The male dog started throwing up within 15 minutes.

***Disclaimer - Yes, I am horrible. I do not have names yet. When we were trying to adopt the puppies there was a high possibility that we were not going to get them. I did not want to name them because psychologically that means they are mine and I didn't want to be disappointed if I didn't get them. I was only given 1 hour notice to come pick up the puppies, so everything has been very rushed. We are currently working on figuring out their names, but haven't come up with good ones yet.***

I read the information that the shelter gave me. They said that some dogs may throw up and to call them if they continue to throw up after 24 hours. I was not too worried.

Thursday morning they both ate breakfast and seemed to keep it down.

I called the shelter to tell them what happened since the male dog was still throwing up. They said to call the place where the dogs were fixed because they did not have a vet on staff, but the place that the dogs were fixed was not open today (that's not much of a help). So, I called a friend of mine who is a vet. I weighed the dogs so she could check their pain medicine dosage. The male dog weighed 16 pounds and the female weighed 11. The dosage was correct. She said that it may be the medicine making them sick, but she couldn't know for sure unless she saw the dogs.

That night I did not give the male dog his medicine, but I did give the female dog her 2nd dose of medicine and she started throwing up 15 minutes after that dose. Maybe it was the medicine even though she took the first dose fine. Neither dog ate or drank. I got a syringe medicine dispenser and started feeding them water and chicken broth. They kept throwing up.

Friday morning I decided to take them to the vet. I called my vet friend's office. She had no appointments all day and none of the other doctors in her office could see the dogs until 4pm. I decided to call other places to see if they could see them sooner. One place near my home said I could come and sit in the waiting room and they might be able to work me in, but I might have to wait a long time. That was fine with me.

I arrived at the vet with my dogs, signed in, and was immediately shown to a room before I could even sit down. That has NEVER happened to me before. Kinda nice.

The vet tech weighed the dogs. The male weighed 13 and the female 9. That means that he lost 3 pounds and she lost 2 from yesterday. All scales are different, so the weight loss is not accurate. She took their temperature, which was a very high 104 for both. She also did a parvo test and all the other stuff that they do. The vet came in and did more of an exam. They noticed that my dogs are laboring to breathe. They believe my dogs have canine distemper. Yes, there is not really a way to 100% tell if a dog has canine distemper, so this is a guess. They gave my dogs antibiotic shots and a flea treatment. They sent me home with lots of paperwork, some antibiotic pills, and the instructions to do whatever it takes to make my dogs eat and drink.

After paying several hundred dollars, I was on my way home almost 2 hours later. I was in shock. I have not even had them 48 hours and they have a 50% chance of dying (not to mention how much money I have paid for the dogs, supplies, and now vet fees). I am not going to give up on them and hopefully they won't give up on themselves.

When I got home, I let the dogs rest after trying to get them to drink. I went upstairs to research distemper on the internet. I forgot to close the gate on the stairs and the male dog made it up 3 steps and was sitting there when I found him. Maybe he was looking for me or trying to get away from the female dog because he was not feeling well.

Basically, canine distemper is a virus. There is nothing that can be done about the virus. We were given antibiotics to combat any bacterial infections that the dogs may have or get. Right now all we can provide is supportive care for the dogs and hope that their immune system can combat the virus.

The flea treatment given is a surface treatment that was not supposed to be touched because it could rub off. Because of this, I kept my kids away from the dogs. I also wanted the dogs to be left alone because they are not feeling well. I have decided to keep the kids away from the dogs until they are better because I don't want to kids to become too attached in case the dogs take a turn for the worse.

I tried to feed the dogs continually. I got dog food and crushed it up in water. I used the syringe to feed it to them. They were not too happy but did not fuss too much. I did 1 milligram every 30 minutes and eventually got to 3 milligrams every 15 minutes. They threw up a bit, but I believe they got some into their body.

I got their antibiotic pill in their mouths, but they are really good at spitting it out. I ended up crushing it up in a little water and feeding it to them with the syringe.

The dogs seem to like it when I let them lay with me while I watch TV. I put a towel down on me (in case they get sick) and let them lay on it. The female dog got sick twice in 30 minutes, so I put them back on the mat.

I made a bed for them with 2 towels in my large bathtub. The bathtub is near my bed so I could hear them. I left room towards the tub drain so that they could vomit away from their bed.


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