Hi, this is Elizabeth, Maggie’s human mom. I am writing this in place of Maggie because she is very, very ill. I know she would want all of you to know about what happened, so the Starved Rock post will have to wait while I update you on her condition.
Maggie mentioned last night that she was “serious” on the way home from boarding. In truth, I was worried about the serious look on her face. She seemed stressed out, and I attributed that to being away from home for the weekend. Maggie did not smile on the way home. Very unusual.
When we got home, Maggie drank a whole bowl of water and lay down. But she couldn’t seem to get comfortable. She let out a couple of hacking, loud coughs that sounded like they hurt, and I began to worry even more. I knew she had been vaccinated against Kennel Cough, but since many viruses can cause it, she could still have picked it up. Maggie did not look happy. I remarked to Jim that usually she was smiling and her tail going a mile a minute, like a propeller. Again, I had misgivings, but thought perhaps it was a combination of stress and exhaustion. Maggie used the facilities and crawled into bed for the night.
As I lay there, I could hear Maggie’s ragged breathing. She sounded like Darth Vader. She could not sleep and neither could I. Up and down, up and down, around and around the bed she went, trying to make herself comfortable. Finally, she did the unimaginable and lay down on her own bed for a while.
At 12:00 midnight I took her out. Nothing. At 4:00 a.m. I took her out. Nothing. At 6:00 a.m. she let out another cough. She had a bloody stool when she finally went to the bathroom. I called the Vet, Laurel, and Jim. Emergency, Dr. Craig!!! The nice lady at Dr. Craig’s office said to come over pronto, so we did. I brought the bloody stools with.
Maggie showed a few signs of life at going in the car, but when we got to the Vet’s office, she was not active. I cannot stress enough how unusual this is for her. She loves her Dr. Craig and when she sees him, she goes all out. But today, I put her on the table in the examining room and she gave a few kisses, but pretty much just lay there. No tail action.
Dr. Craig came in and frowned. “This dog is down in the dumps! Let’s have a look at her.” He took her temperature. This entailed putting a muzzle on Maggie and inserting a rectal thermometer. It came out bloody. Dr. Craig frowned again. Maggie did not have a temperature, and he palpitated her stomach to feel for any masses. Dr. Craig listened to her heartbeat, and frowned for a third time. He said, “Her heartbeat is 90. What was it last time?” The nurse checked Maggie’s records, and said, “120”. Dr. Craig looked as unhappy as Maggie. He checked Maggie’s eyes, ears, gums (dry and tacky), tongue (dry), nose (warm and dry), and palpitated her stomach again. Finally, he said that Maggie was suffering from severe dehydration and a possible infection in her intestine. He said that she hadn’t been given enough water to drink over the weekend. Dr. Craig and his two assistants gently shooed me out of the examination room so that they could administer IV fluids and antibiotics under the skin. Maggie watched me go without much emotion. She was a shell of her usual self.
I cooled my heels in the waiting room and called Jim. No answer. I called Laurel, and she said she would meet me at the house. Finally, after a long time, the nurse came out and told me I could come back into the room.
I swayed a bit on my feet when I saw my dog, who had three large lumps under her fur. She looked like some kind of camel-dog hybrid. My eyes strayed to the IV bag hanging there. Most of it had been used. Dr. Craig indicated where he had put the fluid (the two large lumps) and the IV antibiotic (the third, smaller lump). He told me he would advise against keeping Maggie overnight at the hospital since she was so stressed. He told me to take her home and baby her. He gave me strict instructions and four prescriptions: two antibiotics, a probiotic/anti-diarrhea, and a box that looked like chicken stock, but was actually canine “pedialyte”. I was to cook Maggie rice, mix it with the canine “pedialyte”, and give as much fluid as possible, including Gatorade if she would take it. Dr. Craig said he would have the fecal results tomorrow, and the hospital staff would be calling me to check on Maggie. I am very, very, grateful to the staff at Oak Forest Animal Clinic and Dr. Craig. They are medical personnel you can believe in, and trust.
We arrived safely home and fifteen minutes later, Laurel came in. She sat with us and talked and kept me sane while I cried, feeling guilty for having left my dog this weekend in the first place. Laurel stayed with us a long time, and I cooked Maggie’s rice, and gave her the fluids and her first round of antibiotics.
Laurel tried to coax Maggie out, but Maggie just lay upon the couch. She told me that Maggie would probably sleep a long time, and that I had done the right thing by taking her to the Vet. I am beyond grateful to Laurel for her dog expertise, her love of Maggie, and her friendship.
Laurel left and Jim, who played “White Knight” this hectic day by taking Jamie to school and rearranging his schedule to pick him up (so I did not have to crate Maggie or leave her alone), soon arrived, with Jamie in tow. Maggie stayed on the couch and did not greet them. Finally, she got up and feebly waved her tail once, then sat down next to her human father, who pet her gently, noticing the red marks on her back (from the IV fluids). Jim had to run back to work. Jamie said, “I heard you had a rough day, girl” and gently caressed Maggie. Maggie soon fell back asleep on the couch.
And…there she stays. She is still there now. She looks so depressed I cannot include a picture.
I thank you all for reading this very long post, and for caring about Maggie. She is, as Laurel said, in a deep sleep now, and since the administration of the fluids, has stopped coughing and breathing roughly. Her nose feels better. I think she is on the mend.
Oh, one final thing. Dr. Craig said I probably should not board Maggie again. Laurel is going to help me find a sitter who, when we have to go out, will stay at the house and look after our dear girl.
Your friend, Elizabeth