By early afternoon, Pirate vomited six times already.
That in itself is a big red flag.
Projectile vomiting, vomiting repeatedly, vomiting blood (fresh or digested), unproductive wretching, any of these things are an emergency. So is vomiting combined with other symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, shaking and signs of distress and pain. ~Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog
Pirate was clearly not feeling well, and his mom reached out online to see what she should be doing. With this constellation of signs and symptoms, there is only one correct answer, and that is to see a vet asap.
Meanwhile, Pirate was getting worse.
As they arrived at a pet hospital, Pirate threw up all over their lobby and was extremely weak. He needed help quickly. They needed to run blood work and x-ray his abdomen to see what was happening.
An obstruction was high on the suspect list.
Pirate wasn't eating or pooping for a couple of days. His vomit almost looked like feces. He threw up any water he tried to drink and was getting seriously dehydrated.
X-rays didn't show any obstructing object. However, there was an area which seemed full of feces or gravel ... Pirate needed surgery.
Once the veterinarian got in, they discovered a wire and a piece of plastic stuck in Pirate's intestine. The whole thing was hooked on the back of his tongue.
The surgery went well, but a chunk of Pirate's intestine had to be removed, and things could still go either way.
However unbelievable this sounds, such things happen way more often than you'd think.
Nobody had a clue how Pirate got his mouth on whatever this came from, and his life was still hanging in a balance.
Pirate is a fighter, though, and by the next day, he was starting to look better.
By the time he was released from the hospital, Pirate was acting as if nothing ever happened.
"Death's door? What do you mean by death's door? I just had a little upset tummy."
Because his mom did not wait with getting the care he needed, Pirate made it.
His odds were dropping quickly, and if she did wait, he might have died. The strange pieces that ended up in Pirate's intestine turned out being parts from a kids toy which accidentally made it into Pirate's yard. No matter how careful you might be, things can still happen which are beyond your control.
What you do have control over, though, is making the right and timely decisions for your dog.
If your dog vomits repeatedly, that in itself calls for medical attention. Paired with any other concerning signs, it needs to be an emergency trip.
Note: the name I used is fictional but the brief account of events is real. I'd like to add that Pirate's mom did not have the money for any of the medical expenses but put in an extremely huge effort and with help of some great organizations and online community she was able to afford the care Pirate needed to save his life. Stories like this are the reason behind my dog health advocacy efforts, my book and my plan on using half of the profits from the book's sales to help people like Pirate's mom and dogs like Pirate.
When Is It an Emergency?
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Vomiting
Is Profuse Vomiting an Emergency?
Is Unproductive Retching an Emergency?
Is Vomiting Bile in the Morning an Emergency?
Do you have a story to share?
Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!
What were the first signs you noticed? How did your dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?
Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.