Sick dog, happy parents

Mickey got sick. We always said that if he ever refused food, we’ve got a problem. So, one Saturday, after a morning of not eating, we whisked him off to our neighborhood vet, Oakland Veterinary Hospital. They couldn’t find anything overtly wrong with him, but based on his symptoms, put him on antibiotics and took blood as a precaution.

He appeared to get a bit better, got his appetite back, and acted like it was just a glitch. After all the crap he tries to eat off the street, we thought this episode would pass.

Wrong. On a Monday, he started to get restless around three in the morning. He went between our bed and the couch in the other room, back and forth, little nails clicking on the floor. And he wouldn’t stop licking and licking and licking – his legs, his body, the bed. I sleepily fed him some cottage cheese for breakfast and as I was brushing my teeth, I really looked at him for the first time that morning. His face was completely swollen. His eyelids partially closed, remnants of cottage cheese stuck to his chin whiskers. I woke Shelly who thought he looked normal. Um, no. So, at 7:15, before he even got his morning walk, we headed to our emergency vet (yes, we’ve been there before) in San Leandro.

Naturally they were packed, the night shift was going off duty, the day shift coming on, and it was the usual emergency vet chaos. I finally got to the counter, explained the problem, and stat, out rushed a tech to evaluate Mickey on the spot. Unbelievably she said that he wasn’t in any distress, had a case of hives, and because they were so overwhelmed, I should take him to our regular vet.

Dr. Dorsey saw him at 9:30, had our test results from the weekend, and said his blood levels were not good. The hives indicated that his body was in major stress. She did an ultrasound right on the spot, and said that his gall bladder looked pretty bad. She admitted Mickey’s problem was getting outside of her expertise and she said we needed to get him to a specialist pronto. She’s a pretty even-keeled vet, but her sense of urgency got our attention. She called ahead to the specialist vet, explained the situation, made an appointment for us, and sent us away with the ultrasound. We headed back down to San Leandro to the same emergency vet I had visited earlier that morning. It doubles as a specialist vet during the day.

They kept him until the next day, ran more blood work, did another ultrasound, and started him on IVs. The diagnosis: pancreatitis and a gall bladder problem. Poor little guy. When we picked him up, we received four kinds of drugs, a bill for $3,500, and a glassy eyed, shaved Mickey.

Mick, in 2006

A few weeks ago, our regular vet called in to check on him. Wow. Our own doctors don’t even check on us. And as far as we’re concerned, Dr. Dorsey saved Mick’s life. And the emergency vet, although very expensive, took very good care of him, and set him right again.

It’s now been about a month and Mickey is back to his old self. He’s on special food, down to two meds, and off people food. He runs around with his toys, begs his sister to play with him, jumps on and off the furniture. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell that this old guy is around 15 years old.

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  1. #1 by Cousin Wendy's manfriend on August 3, 2008 - 5:16 am

    Wow. That was close. That is interesting that a vet would call to check up on the patient while our own doctors cash our checks with nary a peep.

    I hope all is well with Mickey for a while. 15 years and still hanging in there. That’s pretty dang good.

    -Ross

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