The Poodle Plague
Finally, after two emergency trips to the vet and nearly two weeks of antibiotics and special diets, we have two happy and healthy poodles who have kicked what we have named “The Poodle Plague.”
Leko has had his fair share of stomach viruses. Usually a few days of eating chicken and rice fixed him right up and got his system back to normal. Whatever Cooper and Leko caught this time, was an entirely different experience.
The culprit of what we call “The Poodle Plague” was Cooper. He was his normal, playful self on a Thursday evening, and playing a game of fetch with me. Each time he went to retrieve the ball, he would trot back to me slower and slower, then finally he dropped his head and curled up on my lap. I cuddled with him and asked him what was wrong. He leaped off my lap and rang the potty bell to go outside. It seemed like the typical GI bug that Leko would get: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite.
At only 11 months old, we never experienced what it was like when Cooper became sick. Unlike his brother who plays and acts no differently, Cooper completely shuts down and wants nothing to do with anyone or anything. It’s scary because it makes you wonder how terrible is he really feeling. He spent the rest of Thursday evening laying in his doggie bed under a blanket. Even when my husband came home, he would barely greet him.
The next morning, Cooper started perking up a bit. Since he had no episodes of vomiting or diarrhea overnight, I gave him some chicken for breakfast. He did fine all day, and kept the chicken and rice down, along with the pedialyte that I scooped up to keep him from getting dehydrated. I thought we were in the clear, until early Saturday morning he started passing blood.
We rushed him early Saturday morning to our local emergency clinic. After examining him and ruling out it was something that required a hospital stay, they said he had a bacterial infection in his colon that was causing the swelling and blood. Whatever it was he came into contact with, he had fought off and was getting better, but just needed antibiotics to heal his colon. They also said had I not seen the blood, that infection in the colon could have spread into the bloodstream… and potentially fatal.
Cooper was given an IV for dehydration before we were discharged. I must say… I never heard of Sub Q fluids! I thought IV fluids were administered directly to the vein. I gave the nurse a confused look when they said “don’t be alarmed if he leaks or is puffy.” When they brought Cooper back out to me, he looked like a little camel with a hump on his back! It was the strangest thing, and slowly absorbed into his body over the course of the day.
Cooper was on a special diet of yogurt, chicken and cottage cheese for several days, eating only 2 tablespoons at timed intervals to allow his colon to heal. By Monday, his system seemed to be healing perfectly and going back to normal.
Not knowing what exactly could have caused this sickness, or knowing how to prevent it really bothered me. Cooper is more curious of things outside than Leko is, but he is never off-leash or unsupervised when we are outside, so if he did get into something.. I would be right there and would know about it. We really thought we were in the clear thinking Cooper simply just got into something and the sickness would be isolated to just him, until Tuesday morning Leko started showing signs of nausea and then started passing blood as well.
Taking care of one sick pup is tough… now imagine two!
Since Leko couldn’t get to the vet the day his symptoms started, the vet instructed me to start him on a dose of Cooper’s antibiotics. When I got him to the vet, he was running a very high fever and was dehydrated, so he got the same IV treatment as his brother. The vet was baffled by whatever it was they caught… bacteria or virus….and that the incubation period was so short and took down both pups.
After a combined two weeks of antibiotics and special diets, both Cooper and Leko have fully recovered and are back to normal. My house is as sterile as a hospital. I spent the following weekend completely bleaching and cleaning everything.. from bedding, to floors, to their toys. Even though it was something caught outside, it made me feel a little better knowing anything that had their saliva on it was cleaned so maybe it would prevent them from re-catching it.
Hopefully after this stressful ordeal… they’re good and healthy for a LONG TIME!