A Sick Dog is Never Fun
I have a previous post about doggy diarrhea, but thought I’d pass along my recent experience. Swagger has been attending doggy daycare a couple of days a week plus training one night a week in agility and to help him get ready to go into the show ring in the near future. I added that so you’d know he has been out of my home environment a lot lately. About three weeks ago, he lost his appetite, but I thought it was just because I had a girl in season which isn’t unusual for the little man of the household. He hasn’t been a hearty eater anyway and was starting to look really thin…not good.
As it always happens, his symptoms of bloody diarrhea and prolific vomiting started to show up on a Saturday afternoon after all the local vets were closed. I texted one of my contact vets and she didn’t seem concerned and just wanted me to hold food and give Pepcid and Pepto Bismol. Because I’ve been down this road occasionally, I knew it was more than just an upset stomach but did as she instructed. Sunday morning and things were much worse overnight. Poor little buddy was sick…very sick and those sad eyes were asking for help. Being Sunday….off we go to Blue Pearl, the emergency clinic in our neck of the woods for blood work and to be checked out. I was seeing $$$ of course.
You guessed it….most likely good ole Giardia! A quick Google search will give you all the info you need about this stomach bug aka protozoa that is all around and sometimes populates inside our poor doggy’s gut (and ours eeek!) and makes them very sick. The biggest danger for Swagger was that he was thin at that point and could easily have become dehydrated, which luckily he didn’t. Giardia is very difficult for a vet to test for because of its life stages, so typically the symptoms tell the story after ruling out something worse like pancreatitis or ingesting a tennis ball!
A diet of boiled chicken and rice along with a 5 day regimen of metronidazole did the trick. I keep that drug in my stash and could have saved a couple hundred dollars, but you know, it could have been something else and I just didn’t want to risk my little boy. All’s well that ends well!
Within a few hours, Swagger had his swag back on and was yearning to frisbee and had emptied his food bowl, asking for a second helping. But metro is an antibiotic, so we all know it’s important to finish the round even if the pup is feeling better.
I put in a call to my breeder friend who is my goto when I have a question and asked her protocol. She emailed me info that the metronidazole should be followed up with a 3 day round of fenbendazole (Safeguard) in the event the other drug didn’t clear the bad bugs from the system. I buy Safeguard at Tractor Supply and use for worming my young puppies and also every 3 months with my adult dogs. It had been 3 months so it was time for a round anyway. Giardia is very contagious, so I dosed everyone as a preventive and also to clear any worms that might be hanging around. In my case, I had everything I needed for Swagger in my medicine cabinet but given the same symptoms again, I’d most likely make the same call for a vet’s advice.
It’s good to look back and say that was nothing serious and I’ll know next time. Then the next time, when the symptoms show up, I second guess myself and start to worry that it could be more…and it always could. I’m pretty confident with my dogs and their glitches and upsets, but never confident enough that I don’t seek a professional when it’s warranted.
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