Thursday, February 28, 2008

On Waiting It Out

WARNING: Post of a graphic nature follows.

Saturday: Titan gets into the trash. He eats about fifteen teabags and two ounces of brie, still in the wrapper.

Sunday: LT, Robb, Titan, and myself go to the dog park. He spends a great deal of time in the water.

Monday: Uneventful.

Tuesday: I awake to A LOT of vomit on my throw rug, both solid and liquid. I take him for his walk, and turns out he has the runs. I assume he has a stomach bug, which he's had before, and withhold breakfast.

Tuesday Lunch: No vomit! Yay!

Tuesday Afternoon: Vomit. Dammit. And he still has the runs.

I clean everything up and put my throw rug in the washer. I call the vet's office. "Well, sounds like he could have an obstruction, which could potentially be life-threatening," says the cheerful woman on the phone. "You can either bring him in here for a drop-in, or you can take to the emergency vet hospital."

I dither.

I call the emergency hospital. "Sounds like he should be looked at. Bring him in. That will $95 for the exam, $50 for the blood work, and $150 for the x-rays."

I dither some more.

The thing is, Titan has had stomach bugs before--not this bad, but they have happened. I normally withhold food for 24 hours and then start feeding him small meals of chicken and rice, easy to digest food, and pretty soon he's back to normal. Titan does not like the vet and I hate to take him someplace and pay them $300 for them to tell me that he has a stomach bug, most likely the case. We wait it out at home on Tuesday evening, me stressing out and calling the LT, who forces me to lay out my options. I decide I am definitely not going to the vet's when Titan almost pulls the leash out of my hand chasing after a cat. Clearly he's fine.

Wednesday: Eats breakfast of rice. No vomiting! Still has the runs. Dammit.

Call the vet's office again. They recommend me coming in to drop off a stool sample, but say he's probably fine for another day. He's drinking water and not vomiting, so whatever it is, it's not a stomach bug but he's not over it. Humph.

This Morning: Drop off sample at the vet's, still dithering. Vet technician calms me down: "If it was an obstruction, it would have already gotten way more complicated by now, even though this is the dog that ate all those teabags and wrapped cheese." Titan is famous! For his stupidity, sadly. Vet goes on: "Has he been at a dog park or in the water recently?" Yes and yes. "It's probably [some parasite that I can't pronounce], it's prevalent around other dogs and especially prevalent around water. A test should prove it."

Well, okay! Awesome!

This afternoon, Titan is still fine, relatively, and enjoying his diet of rice. (People food! Hooray!) Could I have rushed off to the emergency hospital? Yes. Can I afford it? Technically yes. Did I think it was worth it? No. He wasn't throwing up water, a sign of extreme dehydration, and he wasn't lethargic, a sign of a real obstruction. Was I needlessly stressed out? Yes. Was $300 too steep a price to pay for peace of mind. Again, yes.

Before you get all animal-rights on me, keep in mind that I put off going to my OWN doctor to have my arm looked at for at least a month, and a year and a half ago when I had terrible bronchitis, I ALSO put off going to the doctor for at least three weeks, getting so bad that the doctors thought I might have whooping cough and two friendships ended.

A lot of other posts on this topic:

Frugal Homemaker Plus talks about her $1000 rabbit.

Ada Calhoun at Salon talks about her $1300 cat.

Emily Yoffe's How to Say No to Your Vet piece that started it all.

No comments: