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From  Issue
11 August 2002
How I Did Not Quite Kill My Dogs...

By Annie Fitt - [email protected] 

I apologize if you have already seen this on the other lists I have posted this to, but I feel quite strongly that I need to pass my experience on to as wide an audience as possible...

Folks, I know we all try our best to cover all bases, but sometimes things that seem perfectly obvious in hindsight come out of nowhere to bite us in the butt. If the past 60 hours have taught me anything it is that there is no such thing as being too careful.

It has been very, very hot here in Virginia and the dogs haven't gotten their usual exercise which has led to bored dogs with lots of energy and few outlets. I have been getting up at dawn to run their little heinies off before the heat of the day, but even that wasn't enough for Soup, who is *very* bright, fit, and energetic. He is a kleptomaniac of epic proportions at the best of times. Early Sunday morning he stole my purse from the top of a 5' bookcase and snuck it out the dogdoor. This would have merely been a major irritation (the wallet, the cash, the credit card, the driver's license, the $450 pair of glasses) but also in the purse was a major

All human and canine medicines, etc., live on a high shelf in a closet in my bathroom, and the door is kept shut to the bathroom at all times. Cleaning materials are kept safe from curious dog jaws. I make a real effort to keep my guys safe.

The danger I overlooked was the bottle of 25 Advils I keep in my purse for those times when my aging body tells me it needs a little comfort...

3 to 6 200 mg tablets of ibuprofen (the generic name of Advil) is enough to give a dog bleeding ulcers. More than that can cause permanent kidney and liver damage, and even kill. With 25 tablets we are talking *well* into the lethal dose for a dog the size of a Whippet.

That was mistake #1. Mistake # 2 was even though I always keep a bottle of peroxide on hand to make a dog vomit if I have to, the bottle was too old and had lost its fizz. Flat peroxide does NOT cause vomiting. Trust me on this.

Some things I did do right. I didn't listen to the receptionist at the nearer emergency clinic (only 45 miles away who said "Feed him a couple of slices of bread and keep an eye on him". I *did* call the Animal Poison Control Hotline. I did get Soup and Bean into the Richmond emergency clinic, and Goose into my regular vet.

Soup and Goose are fine and will be released from care after 72 hours on IV fluids and various meds. They are looking at bland food and oral acid blockers for a week or so, and a couple of more blood tests to monitor their recovery. Bean was not so lucky, and it is too early to tell if she will have permanent kidney and liver damage. She will be on fluids until she gets better or there is no more improvement. Hopefully she will fully recover, but even now she should have decent quality of life if we are careful about her diet and maintenance...

So, *please* go through your purses/tack bags/whatever -- anywhere you might have medicine that could injure your dogs and make sure it is removed or put into a truly dog-proof container (i. e., NOT plastic...).

Go through your emergency kit and make sure your hydrogen peroxide is fresh and bubbly and make sure it is replaced often. A couple of dollars is a cheap price to pay to avoid a lot of grief.

Keep the Animal Poison Control Hotline number available where you can find it even in a dead panic. It costs $45 to consult them but is worth every penny. They will know whether you have nothing to worry about or just minutes to get to a vet. The number is 1-888-426-4435. This is the number for the USA. If you aren't in the US, find out if there is a hotline available to you and write the number in a prominent place.

It is perhaps odd to feel lucky after spending close to $2,000 with no end yet in sight, but all I can think is I *am* lucky. Lucky that things ended up no worse, that 2 of the 3 dogs affected seem to have dodged the bullet, that Bean may never get back to normal, but should be OK. Lucky that even though it was NOT what I had planned to spend all this money on I had it available when I needed it. Soup is lucky, too, because I was too busy being worried to get mad...

Annie Fitt <[email protected]> & the Ragtag Horde ~ Whippets, of course!

PS: Permission to repost is given as long as my name and address stay with it. In fact, the more places it is posted the more likely it is that someone else and their dogs will avoid going through the same kind of experience

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