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Unidentified Poisoning

It seems ages ago now and thankfully Arthur is all recovered but I was looking through some old photos recently which prompted me to write about Arthur’s unidentified poisoning which gave us all a scare.

I can remember it all so vividly. A dog is a man’s best friend and I can confirm that’s the case in our house! He’s my shadow, he sits patiently when I’m cooking (who needs a hand held hoover when I have one that can catch a falling crumb before it hits the floor), he listens to the music I want to listen to and doesn’t complain, he doesn’t turn his nose up at ANY food and is a very cosy cushion when I flop on the sofa.

Back in January Mook had a paediatrician appointment on and was subsequently referred her for an MRI scan which was swiftly booked in for the next day. With her back at school I took the dog out whilst it was dry.

Hmmmmmmmmmm. Hail!

Then the rain and hail stopped. We had a lovely walk, passing the fields of cows on the way to the steam where Arthur retrieved some soggy sticks, killing them by throwing them in the air and then rolling on them, then a really muddy walk through the puddles (I did think of the Vicar of Dibley sketch on more than one occasion!) and trees before hitting the open road. Road walking isn’t my kind of fun so we cut up by the fields and trudged back home in a big loop.

Job done, massive long walk, quick cup of tea and off to school run feeling upbeat after exertions! Had a normal kind of evening and was then up early for Mook, who had the MRI scan and came home for a snooze.

When she woke up she shouted “Mum, Arthur’s behaving really oddly, he’s coughing and retching” oh great I’m not good with sick! Then more urgently “Mum, Arthur’s sicking up blood”. Panic. Panic. PANIC. PANIC!!!!

Phoned the vets and spoke to the lovely receptionist (they’re all lovely but Angela just so happened to take the call) who said bring him in. Off we trotted with a blanket full of clots and a throat clearing dog. On arriving at the vets he climbed onto the scales and I clocked 40kg before being shepherded into the vet’s room. Explained about the coughing and blood (which was both visible and audible) and Ben said he would need an exploratory. Cue tears and pound sign. Without further ado he had an emergency exploratory where they found cuts to his palatine artery poss caused by a retrieved stick which were cauterised and he came home rather sorry for himself.

The vet had told me to look out for black poo so I was ready and waiting for that, poor dog had swallowed so much blood his whole tummy must have been drawing in blood. However the next morning he was peeing blood which sent me into a panic, so when I eventually got a sample (IKEA food bag in a small saucepan waved around under the dog when he looked poised to pee, incase you are wondering) in the late afternoon I went back to the vets and he was seen almost immediately. Ben checked him over, saw that there was no bleeding from his mouth and said he would have to run some tests and suggested NBM. I went home and lay on the sofa with my listless shadow who had no idea what was going on.

The vet phoned back to say that his blood results had come back and it was a coagulation problem, either an unidentified poisoning or a primary clotting problem. The vet suggested warfarin poisoning. I cried.

It could have been anywhere but I’d been doing the same route for a few weeks passing farm fields and wooded areas where quite possibly some rat poison was put down, or a rat had made its way to somewhere and Arthur had inadvertently picked up some warfarin, or the rat had died in the stream where Arthur was happily dragging out sticks and killing them. I won’t ever know. It’s likely that the cut to his palatine artery was the entry point for the unidentified poison (poss warfarin). The vet ruled out E. coli as his white blood cells were ok. Copper poisoning is rare but when he has the next blood test in a week it can be looked at. He was on VitK for 10 days and wasn’t allowed to do anything that would cause a bruise or a bleed, so he sat on the sofa and caught up on trashy telly whilst I fussed around him.

Who knows where it all happened but a big hurrah to Kynoch Vets who dealt with a tearful owner, a bewildered family pet and the insurers.

I’m happy to report that 6 months later he is back to his normal self, he’s now 28kg and we have changed our route.


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