Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad Day

This morning, after my shower, I headed into the kitchen to grab my coffee and toast. There, on the floor, was a plastic bag with a bunch of pearl onions Aa'd bought the day before. Zack had clearly taken a couple of big bites out of the plastic bag (he chews plastic when he's worked up about something). What I couldn't tell, though, was whether he'd eaten any onions. Onions, along with garlic, grapes, chocolate, and caffeine, are toxic to dogs. With onions, there is some sort of chemical thingie that happens that basically makes their red blood cells fall apart. The loose hemoglobin eventually causes kidney failure.

I called my vet to tell her what happened. I expected her to tell me that I should watch him for signs of toxicity (the first of which are sluggishness and disinterest, which is basically what Zack is like every morning anyway). Instead, she told me to bring him in immediately so they could induce vomiting. Aa was unreachable, and he had the car. I called a cab, grabbed the Zacker, and headed to the vet. They checked him in around 11 am and asked me to "stay close". So I spent the next 3.5 hours wandering aimlessly around the neighborhood near our vet's office. It was really strange to just walk around, not knowing how my dog was doing, and not knowing what to expect next. I mean, I wasn't even sure if he'd eaten any of the damn onions. But clearly it was serious enough for my vet to want to take immediate action.

Around 2:30, my vet called. They'd used morphine and a water flush to try and get him to puke - no dice. Zack was just refusing to throw up. We needed to decide whether we were going to take him to an animal ER to have his stomach pumped, or if we just wanted to give him some activated charcoal to help move whatever toxins he'd might have ingested through his body. I called Aa and updated him, and he left work to come meet me at the vet. It was then that he asked me if I'd counted the number of onions left over. No, of course I hadn't. My first thought was whether our dog was going to die from onion poisoning.

We picked up our totally high-on-morphine dog after asking the vet to give him activated charcoal as a precaution. The poor guy could barely stand up, and he was leaking black liquid out of his butt. "It's kind of like Ex-Lax", the vet explained, as she handed us some pads and garbage bags to line the car interior. We went home to count some onions and try to devise a method of diapering our dog. As we got in the car, Zack started leaking more aggressively while trying to lay down in the grass. Aa looked at me and asked if I was sure about wanting kids.

So it turns out that Zack ate either no onions at all or a very tiny bit of onion. I can't tell if I overreacted or did exactly the right thing or what. The vet's response made me think I responded the right way. But if I'd dug the grocery store receipt out of the recycling and weighed the onions before calling the vet, I would have known Zack was going to be fine, thus saving Aa and me a day of worry. And, it should be mentioned, saving Zack an afternoon of morphine and charcoal and leaky black butt and Pampers (I totally did diaper him for a couple of hours there). I'm so, so glad he's fine, but I am a little mad at myself that I didn't think about trying another means of verifying whether he ate any onions this morning. So I guess I learned a lesson today? Or something?

Did I mention I got a new library card today? There's a library right by my vet's office. I spent a lot of time there today. That was cool.


Tankboy said...

You totally did the right thing. I've had a couple of those sorts of encounters with Betty -- though luckily she pukes things right up if I give her some hydrogen peroxide -- and it is FAR better to be safe than sorry.

Ryan Schierling said...

I had the same experience after eating an entire plastic ham filled with petroleum jelly. Except the doctor told Julie to just have me put down.

Luckily, I got better.

I think Zack wants more variety in his diet.

McTodds said...

I have also done the hydrogen peroxide route because 3 times (yes, this is all my fault) Osa has eaten enough chocolate to kill her. She got back at me the second time by spitting the hydrogen peroxide in my eye as I was trying to force feed her.

Diapering babies is way more pleasant than diapering dogs. Babies smile at you while you clean them up.