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The Story of the Painful (and Confusing) Pup

December 1, 2012

I know I haven’t been around much lately. Work has been incredibly busy and stressful, but finally started to slow a bit before Thanksgiving. Because of this, I was hopeful that I would get to spend the extended holiday weekend cleaning my house and writing on my blogs.

But it was not to be.

Thursday, I relaxed. Friday, I was sick. Saturday, I took friends wine tasting. And Sunday … well, Sunday, all hell broke loose.

On Sunday, Cooper woke with one of his stomach aches. He whined and yelped and bit his tummy over and over again. In between attacks, he wanted nothing more than to have me rub his belly and his back. Finally, by mid-afternoon, it was clear that the episode was getting worse rather than better, so I headed for the emergency vet clinic an hour away. I’d love to say it was our first trip, but this is Cooper.

The minute the vet saw him, she decided he needed to be admitted for pain medicine, IV liquids and tests. The X-rays, of course, showed nothing. They never do. Neither did the blood work.

The vet told me they wanted to keep him overnight. I should head home and they would call with an update. By the time I got back to town, the vet called to say that, given Cooper’s repeated stomach issues, she thought he should go to an internal medicine specialist for an ultrasound or endoscopy. She had already scheduled the appointment. All I had to do was pick up the pup in the morning and head over to his office.

Of course, with Cooper, nothing can be easily solved with just one more test.

It seems that Cooper’s symptoms don’t really match any intestinal issues common to dogs. Still, the internal medicine specialist recommended that we do the ultrasound and decide what to do from there. Of course, the ultrasound was — in his words — unremarkable. Only one small area of his intestine showed signs of minimal thickening, which could be an indication of inflammatory bowel disorder. But IBD shouldn’t cause the amount of pain he experiences.

His recommendation? Exploratory surgery.

I might have said no, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard it.

Given the number of unexplained stomach pain (and by unexplained, I mean that it clearly doesn’t involve an eaten toy, rawhide or bully stick) his regular vet has recommended it before.

So, I bundled up the owie little doggy and took him to the surgeon, who made a special trip to her office on her day off to examine him.

Long story, short, he was seen on Monday, had surgery on Tuesday and I got to pick him up on Wednesday. The surgery didn’t show much, but biopsies of his stomach and intestines were sent to a pathologist. I drove the owie and stoned little doggie home with no more answers than I had before.

Now, I am dealing with a painful pup who has already figured out how to get around the inflatable e-collar to lick his belly, has decided that he can’t stand the feel of shaved skin (it itches) and has to wait two to three weeks before he can run and jump like normal.

Preliminary biopsy results have shown that he seems to have a mild case of inflammatory bowel disease and his stomach has the same factor that can be found in the stomachs of people who have ulcers. The internal medicine specialist called me today to say that the ulcer factor was of no concern and he couldn’t be sure that IBD was really the issue until he saw the full report from the pathologist. Until then, he remains unconvinced that we have found the answer.

So, once again, it would appear that my Cooper is a frustrating, irritating conundrum — although for different reasons than usual.

I guess he wouldn’t be my dog if he wasn’t a little confounding. I just wish he would give me a break one of these days and actually stop at “a little.”

Cooper broccoli

Cooper, feeling completely normal, on Thursday night. And yes … yes, that IS broccoli on his nose. He loves broccoli.

Stoned doggy

My very, very stoned little doggie after I picked him up Wednesday afternoon from the vet.

Sleeping Doggy

Poor Cooper trying to sleep off the pain meds Wednesday night.

Dog bed

Cooper using his new bed for the first time today. I’m sure he only climbed into it because he still doesn’t feel quite right. We’ll see if he ever uses it again once he feels better.

From → Animals, Cooper

  1. Meaue permalink

    Poor Coop the Pup! I hope he gets to feeling better and you find the cause to his owie stomach. 🙁

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