We’ve been preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, and I suggested to Dave that we go to the beach one last time before the storm hit, with the pups, of course! We loaded them up and off we went. I swear Sammi knew where we were going, because as soon as we turned onto a road that led right to the beach, she started freaking out as though we were going to the dog park. (Same thing, right?)
Because of Irma, we didn’t stay long, but we did get a chance to take some pics. Sammi of course opted to plop down into the water literally the second she was deep enough to be fully submerged. Being in the water is quite possibly her most favorite thing, as long as we’re nearby.
Later that night, I noticed she wasn’t too thrilled to eat, but she did anyway. I didn’t think anything of it, because she ate her food and whatever. But when we sat down to eat our meals, I noticed she kept lingering by the door, but just figured she wanted to go wander and explore outside. We didn’t let her out because it was raining off and on with Hurricane Irma slowly approaching. A bit later, I realized she kept licking her lips, and she had a grimace on her face, which is an immediate sign of “Mom, I need to throw up..” so I let her out and she ran to the grass and started eating it. My first reaction was bleh… great, her stomach’s upset. So I sat outside with her while she did her thing, never actually saw her throw food up, but when she came back near me, she started vomiting this foamy white mucus stuff. Great. So I let her in, thinking we were done, but nope. I took her out, over and over again, and it was more of the same. Pacing, licking lips, trying to lay down, acting unsettled, getting up and walking around again, laying down, and then throwing up. White foam, with stringy, mucousy stuff, and piles of it. Her poor tummy was full of this!
Dave and I were both sitting outside with her at this point and stressing, not knowing what to do. I started texting with our vet, the one who did the amazing surgery on her, and we were all trying to figure out the severity of this. I felt her ribs, her tummy, her abdomen, they were all tight, but not so tight that I was super concerned. Her ribs seemed to be bulging out though, extended outward because of the excess gas or air in her belly. Whenever I pushed on her ribs (like, compressed them, pushed them inward, in an effort to ‘squeeze’ the air out of her, she would start moaning and groaning, and I’d hear this rumbling sound, and she’d have air escape. And then she’d throw up the white stuff again. I started doing my Googling, and came across several suggestions for Gas-X. But we didn’t have any… And there’s a Hurricane coming. Literally nothing was open. Not even Wal-Mart. You know it’s bad when Wal-Mart is closed…
I ended up posting on our neighborhood Facebook group to see if anyone had any form of simethicone (Gas-X), and keep in mind it’s 11p now. And within minutes I had several neighbors offering help! We seriously have the most amazing people surrounding us. With the Mylicon baby treatment secured, I set out to fix my dog. I gave her a quadruple dose of what it calls for, or 1.2mL. Online, it said to start with a double dose in case of bloat, but I wanted to make sure she reacted well to it. I rubbed her tummy and pushed on her ribs, and the burps came up. She’d drink a little, then throw up more water, and then I rub her again, and we’d get more foam. She’d moan and cry just about every time. Lick her lips, swallow over and over, and then vomit. But, the good thing was, she finally started to settle and calm down. We went to bed, and she had to throw up a few different times. I’d jump out of bed and rush her into the shower so she could vomit, and eventually she just laid down in the shower and slept there almost all night. I brought her some water when she was in there, and she drank so thirstily! This was a good sign, yes? She’d drink, lick her lips, swallow a lot, and then sometimes throw up again. Once she’d finish that though, she seemed mildly comfortable, so I let her be. And even more astounding, our vet texted with us late into the night, like 1a, to keep checking on her. (seriously best vet ever.)
I woke up to the sound of Sammi coming out of the bathroom and plopping down next to my side of the bed. One thing I noticed during most of this, was that she wouldn’t lay on her side, only on her tummy. She usually sleeps on her side, so I knew there was something causing her to be uncomfortable. This morning though, same thing. I read that activated charcoal was another remedy. And I remembered having seen some in our cabinet last night when I was frantically searching for Gas X. So I gave her a couple capsules, compressed her ribs, and you could literally hear the air slowly working its way out of her (through her mouth). It would escape with these moans and weird sounds, but she seemed to get relief from it, so I’d do it periodically. I felt like, if I was squeezing her ribs, I was helping get the air out and keep her tummy from getting so full of air or gas that it caused permanent damage.
This morning she threw up some more water, and some more white foamy stuff, but it was minimal compared to last night. We were desperate to see her doctor, but with Hurricane Irma causing all sorts of crazy winds and rain, all of which had worsened overnight, it was going to be difficult to see him. He was in a tornado warning area, and the x-ray machine at his office had to be shut down due to power outages. We literally could just hope for the best at this point. No emergency vets were open. Not only is it now Sunday, but the entire state has been called to evacuate because of the storm.
Sammi resting after her bloat scare
After reading about the activated charcoal, I also read that it’s good to keep them walking, or moving, as it helps to alleviate the gas. So Dave and I waited for a hurricane band to pass, and we headed outside with the pups. We got down one house, and Sammi pulled her back leg up, almost like she had a nerve twinge and then basically collapsed into the grass. She couldn’t get up, she just looked up at us like, “Hi guys, I don’t know what happened!” Dave took Tex and I scooped her up and brought her back inside, and I set her down on this elevated dog bed in our front room, that overlooks the front yard. We were all kind of like, “well shit… now what do we do?” I gave her some water, she kept it down, and she rested. And rested, and rested. She got up, moved to a different spot in the room, and I grabbed pillows and hung out with her. By this time, her tummy was less hard, the gas had subsided, and she was resting as comfortably as she had since all this started.
Because of the hurricane, Dave and I had to run out to our office to get some of our materials up off the floor. Dave’s stepdad came with us to help, and Dave’s mom stayed with the pups and kept an eye on Sammi. By the time we got back, she had moved again, but was alert, responsive, and looking much better. Our vet texted us throughout the day to check on her, and by this time, we figured it wouldn’t be necessary for him to risk meeting us, especially with tornado warnings and a hurricane on the way.
Fast forward to tonight. Sammi has now gone out and peed a few times since this afternoon, and she even had a BM tonight, too. I was able to feed her a few bites of her regular homemade food and after that, she didn’t want any more. She has been alert, not bloated, not gassy, not in pain at all since earlier today. I attribute the first round of relief to the simethicone, and the second round of relief to the activated charcoal. I gave her 2 450mg capsules 3 times today. I would’ve just done it twice, but one of her throw up episodes this morning had the charcoal in it, so I wanted to make sure she got more of it.
I do believe she had bloat. I also believe we caught it and were able to remedy it without intubating her, or taking her to a strange emergency vet with no assurance of the outcome. I believe we acted according to our gut instincts on this and did the right thing for her. I don’t know if it’s related to her Hemangiosarcoma, but it is easy to attribute her sudden sickness to salt water ingestion. I checked her gums constantly and they were never anything but pretty and pink, so I’m 99% positive she didn’t have a bleed anywhere in her body. If she did, she likely would’ve been anemic and her gums would’ve been pale.
I don’t know how much longer we will have her, but I do believe we are all enjoying our time together as much as possible.