Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It has been a "ruff" day

I had a great post planned about my BlogPaws experience but today has really been one of those "Awful, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day(s)".

First things first: Bella is okay.

But let me start by bringing you up-to-date about Bella's health. On April 16th, Bella had a second steroid injection for her shoulder injury which lasted exactly 24 days. Resigned to pain management and medication, we started her on Metacam on May 13th.

The improvement was immediate and remarkable.

Bella seemed to realize she was no longer in pain and was initiating play with me and showing more eagerness to run now that she knew it would not leave her limping for days afterwards. We have still been taking it easy and slow at agility - no jumps or A-frame in her future, sadly.

But she's been doing really well and we were relieved to finally be able to provide a reprieve from her pain.

And then there was today.

I can't imagine what you're talking about.
I am NOT high maintenance.
Bella woke me early today insistent that I take her out. As I staggered through the house to find something to put on my feet, I noticed two small spots where she had vomited.

Bella has, in the past, vomited bile in the morning due to her nervous, empty stomach. So I thought little of it and headed outside with her intending to holler at Jan that Bella left him a present in the master bedroom.

(Oh yes, it may be helpful regarding my state of mind to know that last week, Jan and I moved into the spare bedroom because, for whatever reason, Bella now refuses to sleep in the master bedroom. More on that someday in the future.)

Moving right along...

While we were out, I could immediately tell Bella didn't feel well as she chowed down on grass. I could see that kind of creepy, little smile she gives right before she hurls and encouraged her to "Get it out, honey. We've all been there."

All well and good until I came back in and started to clean up the mess she left in the bedroom. (Yes, I am awesome, I know. Thank you.)

As I cleaned up her puke, though, I noticed there were red bits of spew in it. I thought for sure it couldn't possibly be blood, right? I ran outside to poke through the puke she has deposited out there (oh the things we pet parents do) and found the same red splotches.

It scared the crap out of me.

Of course, this only begins to describe the start of my "awful, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day" because after all of this, I went to work. Whereupon it became immediately obvious that the sole victim of the currently raging political firestorm was going to be: me. I can't carry on too much about that except to say the first thing I ate today was a Twix bar at 2:37 in the afternoon. That was also when I had my first cup of coffee. (Food I can live without. No coffee puts those around me at risk.)

Next up, there was a bit of a mishap with a volunteer project on which I'm assisting. And finally Jan, as a friend of mine noted, should have had just a little more "situational awareness" not to press me about which shower handle I preferred before he placed the order with the glass company. (Sorry, sweetie. Dan was the first person to get a smile out of me all day. Sorry it was at your expense.)

In the midst of all that, frantic phone calls to vets were made: Bella had recently had a series of vaccines at our primary vet - what were they? Is there any chance they caused this? Our Neuroligist had prescribed the Metacam for her shoulder. Could this be the cause? Dr. Sisson, please advice? Or could it be the behavioral medications prescribed by Dr. Dodman? In combination with the Metacam? Calling Tufts Behavioral Clinic, stat.

My primary vet wanted to see her in the office today but I wanted to wait to hear back from the specialists before setting up that appointment. Dr. Sisson from Angell Animal Medical Center responded immediately chastising us that we hadn't notified him earlier. We were to stop giving Bella the Metacam and cut off all food for 24 hours.

"So it goes..."

Which brings me to this moment where my dog is sitting behind me mumbling and muttering at the back of my head because "It is time for her after-dinner chicken!", don't ya know. Not that she had dinner but we had to get her behavioral meds in her somehow.

So that folks, is lame excuse #497 why I did not write the blog post I intended to tonight.

Bella, of course, seems fine, if a little disgruntled that she didn't get her dinner. I took her outside to run and play in an effort to distract her and she was totally game. She even, gasp!, played fetch for a few tennis ball tosses.

I'm sure she is going to be fine. I also know that folks out there have had their dogs on Metacam before. I was so concerned about Rimadyl but my Lab was on Rimadyl for 5 years and he never threw up blood. Were my concerns misplaced?

Dr. Sisson says once she has not thrown up for three days, we can restart the Metacam but I'm not sure I want to. Have you ever had a dog that threw up blood and successfully went back on Metacam?

PS - To add final insult to this "awful, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day" while I was writing this post, my blog host decided to log me out. Luckily, I was able to salvage it and not have to re-write the entire thing.

I think I'm just going to go to bed and cuddle with my doggie now before anything else blows up on me.


  1. Poor Bella, poor you :( I hope it is the Metacam, I guess if she doesn't have it for a few days and still vomits blood you'll know it isn't. But then if it is the Metacam what else will she go on? Good luck!

  2. Oh, jeez. You seriously need that snuggle ASAP! And perhaps a glass of wine? So sorry to hear about your horrible day. None of my guys have ever been on Metacam, so I don't have any insights there, but it sounds like you're heading in the right direction. Sick dogs... oh, it's just the worst.

  3. I'm sorry about your Alexander type day, but isn't it nice to have a dog to console you?

    Jan and the Poodles and dogs

  4. All I can say is big hugs!!!! I hate these types of days. I've never had a dog on Metacam. I know if they eat when a full meal when they take it it can lessen the chances of bleeding.

  5. :( So sorry you had a hard day. We've all been there and it's NO FUN. Sending you and Bella some love.


    Jules of Canines & Couture

  6. Oh my, I'm so sorry :( I'm glad Bella seems to be feeling okay. I think going to bed and snuggling sounds like the perfect ending to a less than perfect day :)

  7. Go to bed....in the spare bedroom that is :) Interested to hear THAT story. My day is always terrible when something is wrong with the dogs. I hope everything turns out ok.

  8. What a wretched day. That you wrote any post at all is a darned miracle (You're a better woman than me). Sending lovey snuggley thoughts to you and Bella.

  9. Poor old Bella......and you. Hope you get her sorted out soon. Note to Bella: I love grass. Eat it all the time. It drives Mum mad!

  10. My sister Katie, a Kuvasz has been on Metacam for her arthritis for over 6 months now with no side effects except that she feels so much better. She weighs almost 80 lbs and gets the dose for 60 lbs. Maybe Bella just doesn't react well to it, some people have side effects to medicines that others take forever with no problems. We tried Rimadyl but it did not help Katie with her pain at all. If it were Katie mom would leave her off it for a few days and then try it again. Maybe something else caused Bella to throw up with some blood but I would think the vet would have more insight. I do know that different breeds react differently to certain medications. Hope it all works out. We love Metacam at our house.

  11. Hi Emma, thanks for that - it is really good information to have. Do you mind if I ask why Katie is on a dose that doesn't match her weight?

    When I first talked to Dr. Sisson about putting Bella on the Metacam, I asked about the dosage knowing she is extremely sensitive to medication. He seemed to be of the mindset that there was one dose based on body weight period and I didn't question it further. This time I will press the issue.

    We also found the Rimadyl didn't give Bella the relief that the Metacam seems to and were so thrilled when this worked. That said, I was really, really frightened by what I saw yesterday.

    Thanks so much for your input - it is really appreciated.

  12. My vets said to start at the full dose and then wean it down to the least amount we need to keep her comfortable. It states everywhere to give the dose for the weight but I like to give as little medication as possible and our vet is the same way so I think we did 4 days at full dose and then I went down 5 pounds every couple of days until I found the point where it wasn't working as well and I ended up at about 55 pounds but in the winter she had some more problems with the arthritis so I upped it to 6. They always tell me to just give her what she needs and not the full dose unless she needs it. Let me know if you have more questions.

  13. Thanks again for this, you can't imagine what a relief it is to talk to someone with experience about this. I also try to give as little medication as possible and fought tooth and nail to find an option that didn't include medications.

    When I finally admitted defeat and considered the meds again, I specifically asked for Bella to be put on the lowest dose possible and was told "There is only one dose. There is no low and high." :(

    I have always had great relationships with my vets but this one, while brilliant, is a bit difficult to work with. Thanks again for taking the time to talk to me about this. It really has helped tremendously.

  14. My 10 year old corgi uses Metacam with no issues. However, it's on an as needed basis when I see his arthritis bothering him more than usual. He's never had any stomach trouble from it, but I am sure to give it right after a meal. My vet had me give the least amount I could....starting at full dose, and lowering some if it still worked, and then going to every other day. Basically using as little as possible to get the job done. It may be great for pain, but it does take a toll on the liver/kidneys over time......

  15. Oh you poor thing! I do hope Bella is feeling better, as much as I grumble about Delilah, I don't like to see her ill. I'm assuming she has had no more vomiting? Have you considered acupuncture for her shoulder? It might be an alternative to the meds. The holistic Doc gave Sampson a quick treatment and some herbal drops that fixed him up smart!

  16. She has been fine since. Although she seems to think we were punishing her last night by not giving her dinner - sadly that's not really a joke.

    We have considered acupuncture but we still can't get figure out how to make that work given that no one can touch her. The rehabilitators got close but nowhere near what it would take to do acupuncture. :(

    I've gotten some great support and info here in the comments which makes me feel a LOT better but I still would rather find an alternative to meds that we can actually do.

  17. Thanks Taryn, that sounds like what Emma's girl Katie has done as well. That's always been my approach to meds, especially knowing Bella is so sensitive to them.

    I'm kicking myself for not pushing harder about lowering the dosage but this neurologist is considered brilliant and comes with the highest recommendations so I was too intimidated to ask. I know better now.

    Thanks for the input. It is appreciated.

  18. Remember I mentioned Dr. Landau? He came to our house and had an acupuncture needle in Sampson's head in a matter of seconds and I don't think he even touched him! I know you said that you didn't think she would be comfortable with him at your house, but I wonder if he couldn't see her at his office? Based upon what I saw with Sampson, if he could put the needle in without touching her, you could probably pull it out. Just a thought... and please I'm not trying to shove the holistic down your throat, I'm just trying to think of something to help you all.

  19. Oh no, don't worry, I don't see it as pushing. I would love to find an alternative to the meds. I am curious though how he got the needles in Sampson without touching him? Were you holding S while the vet applied the needles?

    I really would love to find an alternative, I just don't know how to make it work. Maybe a phone call to discuss her situation is in order...?

  20. Oh, that is a ruff day :( Mom has not known any dogs to vomit blood while on Metacam and the vets she's worked for use it a lot, but every pup is different and Metacam can cause stomach problems.

    Mom has been looking into less harmful anti-inflammatories since I hurt my cruciate ligament and she learned about one called Alenza, which a few people have recommended. I don't know if it would help Bella, but just in case. I'm sorry some of your vets are being kind of difficult...just remember even geniuses don't know everything and you know your pup a lot better than anyone else does.

  21. Well I was sitting on the floor with Sampson but I wasn't restraining him. It was weird, he was sitting in front of him then he made this movement with his hand and the needle was in Sampson's head. LOL

    He has an office manager she might be able to answer your questions without having a direct conference with him (initially) just to see if she thinks he can help. :-)

  22. Hey Leslie...first off, I'm so glad Bella's okay. Secondly, sorry you had a crappy-have-to-give-in and eat chocolate kind of work day. It seems its going around....as is the blood. Not sure if you realized, but the Meloxicam I just took Leah off of because we suspected it caused HER mystery blood - is actually generic Metacam.

    We have not put her back on it, so I can't answer if that would help, but so far so good on the Rimadyl - which we were afraid to put her on. Sigh. These NSAIDs, so scary, yet in cases like these, so necessary. I hope you find a solution for you and your baby too.

  23. Hi Donna, I had sort of put that together but wasn't quite positive. I wasn't sure you were positive.

    The improvement in Bella's mobility after the metacam was substantially better than when we had her on Rimadyl so, after much discussion here on the blog (and many kind assurances), I think we may try again but being VERY careful about the dosage.

    I wouldn't be able to bear it if something happened to Bella because I wasn't diligent enough in protecting her. :(

  24. You guys are all making me get weepy with your kind words and assurances. Thanks for the tip about the Alenza, I will definitely look it up.

  25. Eek, htat is scary :( I hope everything is fine.

  26. Thanks. She was a little clingy today but otherwise seems fine. (And the clinginess could be just because she was confused why we didn't feed her last night.)

  27. Whew, Bella's mom! That WAS a super terrible awful day! I'm very much glad that Bella's gonna be okay (but I don't know anything abouts that Metacam stuff so I can't help you out there). I can't BELIEVES you went so long without eating! My mom woulda been in jail for SURE! She is less than enjoyable to be around when she's hungry. Speaking of hungry, let Bella know that I am sending her visions of CHEESE to hold her over til she gets noms again. And I'm sending YOU visions of...er...whatever it is that makes humans the happiest!

    Wiggles & Wags,


  28. Poor Bella and you! :-( My Dalmatian was on Metacam for years and it helped her tremendously. I knew a Lab, (client), who also had issues with Metacam though. She was taking another medication in conjunction with it that settled her stomach. Wish I could remember the name of it, but, I'm sure the vet would know. Here's hoping for better days!

  29. Oh, poor sweet Bella. (And I recognize that "creepy little smile" you mentioned too. My Bella has a similar one when she's about to get sick.) I hope she is feeling better! (And I hope that your week is slowing down a bit!)

  30. Sorry yesterday sucked! Hope today and Bella are a lot better. :)

  31. OMG Leslie. Awful? Bad? I somehow think the words can't even begin to describe your day. I am so sorry. I would be nervous about the Metcam too. It really sucks when the one option that seems to work also makes Bella sick. I am wishing you better days ahead. Bella - we need a healing prayer for you.

  32. One of my dogs vomited while on Metacam - there was no blood but my vet took him off it right away & we have never used it since. She prescribed Deramaxx which is also an anti-inflammatory - he hasn't had any issues with it. It's a tablet - ask your vet about it.

  33. You're right in that we aren't positive it caused the mystery blood, but we strongly suspect it, and it has not returned since taking her off. I'm afraid to try it again, and my vet didn't seem interested in prescribing it either.

    That said, although Leah is doing well on Rimadyl (so far, knock on wood, and all that), she did even better on the Meloxicam, so I can understand why you would want to give it another shot. Good luck, and hope it works out! As far as protecting her....you are doing an awesome job! With every med there are pros and cons.

  34. Alfie EntlebucherMay 30, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Rooo I'm sending lots of express cuddles your way right now! I also got an upset stomach from Metacam this week, although no sight of any blood thankfully. HOpe Bella feels better soon *Waggy tail*

  35. KB - RompRollRockiesJune 1, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Oh my, a very ruff day. I'm so sorry that you had to go through it. If it's any consolation, in my 25 years of having dogs as part of my life, I've seen dog vomit with blood in it at least a half dozen times. I freaked out the first time, and then I was told by my vet that it's often just a sign of an extremely upset tummy. So, now, I don't freak out anymore but I do still always take them to the vet when it happens.

    I hope that Bella's good trajectory continues.