Wednesday, 30 October 2013

What about GDV?

Something new happened yesterday.  It hit me by complete surprise.  I had popped out for an hour or so and returned home to find my prize winning kitchen doorknob had failed on me (Read Kitchen Defence for more details on kitchen safety measures including the award winning doorknob:

Caesar's always keen to help out with the cooking.

I've returned home before to find that the kitchen had been ransacked but this time, to my utter amazement, there was only one thing out of place.  It was an open bag of dry dog food and it was lying in the middle of the floor.  Now, we ordered this new 12kg bag about a week ago and it came the next day.  Usually my dog food is kept in an airtight plastic container but as Gemma and Caesar now have different food for their dinner, I have yet to buy another container or to find where to put it in our poxy kitchen.  As I lifted the fallen bag into place, I noticed that it was still very heavy.  'That's good' I thought, foolishly 'if he's had any, it can't have been much...'

The rest of the day passed in a whirl.  I was busy tidying the kitchen and cooking and then cleaning.  Caesar sat quietly in the kitchen.  Then, at tea time, I called the dogs to come for tea.  I had decided just to pop a hand-full of food into the bowls.  After all, I didn't know which dog had been at the food.  Gemma sat impatiently at the door, dancing from foot to foot and waiting for her tea.  Caesar, on the other hand, almost turned green.  He looked at the food, then turned away and walked off.  This is Caesar we are talking about too; I've never seen him turn food away in his life!

Caesar's stomach had swollen terribly.

It was then that I began to notice other oddities about my little friend.  For example, his ears were back and he did keep breaking wind, which is a little unusual for him.  Within minutes of me noticing this, his stomach seemed to swell.  The more I looked, the more he looked like a balloon standing on four cocktail sticks... I wasted no time in ringing the vet who told me to bring him immediately.  By this time, it had been almost five hours since Caesar had eaten the food.  'I should have known!'  I thought miserably.  'I should have taken him earlier!'  In hindsight, I thought, I perhaps should have got him checked just in case.  But how was I to know?  It didn't look as though he'd eaten much at all.

Before going to the vet, I quickly pushed the bag onto the scales.  9.5kg.  Gemma had been eating from the same bag for almost a week now too.  How much had he really eaten?

Not his usual playful self at all - Caesar didn't want anyone to go near him, let alone touch him.

Why is it that when you're in a rush to get somewhere like, for example, the vets, that everyone decides to go slowly.  The person in front of me, who was already only going at 20mph, decided to break when I came up behind them.  For no other reason, I thought, than the fact that I looked like I was in a rush.  Also, possibly because I said a mean word that they didn't hear but probably did see my face which was getting redder and redder.

Caesar, who is normally very slim.  Looked as though he had swallowed a balloon.

The vets is already 20 minutes away but, in this traffic, it took me nearly 30 minutes.  The car windows were all open as Caesar filled the car with toxic bottom gases!  And the person in front refused to speed up.  Finally, I got there, jumped out of the car and rushed Caesar in.  By this point, he was squealing...

Feeling very sorry for himself.  

The vet confirmed my fears, it was too late to make Caesar sick so all we had to do was wait and hope that the food passed through.  She gave me two symptoms to look out for:
1.  Bloat - beyond what I was seeing now...
2.  Trying to be sick/go to the toilet but failing.
She also explained that she could admit Caesar for the night but that I would probably be better watching him myself.  After all, he is my dog and I am supposed to know him best.  Then, she gave him a strong painkiller which she told my might send him off to sleep.  All I could do now was wait.

By the time we got home, Caesar was bellowing in the back of the car.  As soon as I stopped, he jumped out and went to the toilet.  He went another three times between the car and the house.  I ran out of bags and then embarrassingly had to retrace my steps with hands full of bags.  A man asked me "have you lost something love?"
"....yes.  A poo..."
Rather unsurprisingly, he didn't answer that.

Things were bad overnight and Caesar lay on the floor howling in pain.  At one point, I let him into the garden and then could not find him anywhere.  Eventually, with the help of a strong torch, I found him hidden among some bushes, shaking.  A few times, I dialled the emergency vet number and then changed my mind.  Caesar wasn't showing either of the two symptoms that the vet had described.  His stomach was swollen but only to the same extent it had been when I took him to the vet.  At least I thought so.  He was managing to go to the toilet....every 5 minutes in fact.  The problem was that he was making a lot of noise and everytime he began to sleep, he jumped back up in panic.  Caesar continued to go to the toilet and let out his trapped wind.  I've never been so pleased to pick up runny dog poo or put up with the smell of dog pumps as I was last night.  These signs, the vet had told me, were good ones.

I woke up this morning with Caesar cuddled into my shoulder.  It was progress from last night when he refused to come near anyone.  He was still whining quietly but when he came downstairs his tail wagged manically to see my mum and dad.

Today, I am going to buy a safe container to put our new food in so that this will never happen again.  If you haven't got one already, I recommend you do the same.  GDV or Gastric torsion can kill in minutes - hours.  It's never worth the risk.

Know your facts about GDV/Gastric Bloat/Gastric Torsion  - ASPCA on signs of bloat and what to do  - Article on what Dog Bloat is.

Thanks for reading!