Article by Vet Nurse Grace
In an effort, I can only assume, to bring merit to my writing, my beloved pooch recently decided to test my knowledge (and nerves) by ingesting toxic and dangerous substances not once but TWICE in one day!
Maybe he was simply trying to prove that even those of us in the veterinary industry fall victim to toxicities in our pets, and no matter what your occupation, stress and worry hold no prejudice!
Not two days after posting our recent food toxicity blog I returned home to find an open and empty block of chocolate on my carpet! My cat burglar (in whippets clothing) had opened the pantry door and retrieved said chocolate from the shelf third from the top! Darn him and his long legs! Adding insult to injury it wasn't even my chocolate! Although this fact I would later thank as I am a fan of dark chocolate and had he helped himself to my stash the effects could've been far worse! I can assure you that my panic was still severe enough that anyone would of thought he'd helped himself to a kilo of chocolate. Luckily I used the chocolate calculator we had previously posted to calm my nerves and discover that an upset tummy would be all that ails him. Even still I was worried so I decided to take him with me round to my mothers where we had previously organised a delicious chicken dinner...
Part two: In my effort to keep my darling doggy out of harms way I had essentially brought him into the path of yet another risk! A delicious dinner finished, our left over bones had been deposited in the bin safely... or so I thought. My whippet burglar was not only tall but very nimble! He managed to open the PEDAL bin and retrieve who knows how many bones, all while Inspector Frost held our attention. After my initial over reaction of contemplating amputating his legs so he couldn't reach shelves or stand on pedals, I took a deep breath and knowing that at this point there was nothing I could do to fix the situation, I chucked a tantrum! Tears galore! My response was the same as any dog owners would be, sheer and utter terror. My mothers soothing rationalisations; "Think back to medieval days when the hounds were tossed an entire cooked chicken leg from the table of a feast" were undone easily with my response (through tears) of "But their life expectancy was lower... probably because of the bones!"
Sometimes too much knowledge about a situation can be a bad thing; I knew that potentially everything would be fine, but I also knew of conditions that might eventuate. Instances of obstructions and Peritonitis were rushing through my head. With the unlikely scenario of, what if he gets an obstruction and I didn't notice, taking the immediate forefront. Unlikely because I am devoted to my dog and would notice if he was blinking funny, but my stress was causing me to second guess myself. As I began to think more clearly the potential for Peritonitis became a real concern. Peritonitis occurs when the abdominal cavity or Peritoneal Cavity is injured and the Peritoneum, which is a thin watery membrane lining the abdominal cavity becomes inflamed. The bones had the potential to do this, thanks especially to the fact that they were cooked and would most likely have splintered as they were scoffed down! All I could do was to sit tight for the next couple of days and keep an eye out for symptoms. I was now on the look out for vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, bloating, increased heart rate or arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) and signs of shock. To a worried mother, I swear I saw those signs within seconds of Snip eating the bones, when in reality I was just fearing the worst so I was seeing the worst. It took a phone call to Dr Adam Stefani to set my mind at ease, but when he agreed with me and re-affirmed what to watch out for, a weight instantly lifted off my shoulders. Sometimes we just need re-assurance and for someone outside the situation to weigh in!
In conclusion it can be very easy to lose our calm and begin thinking the worst when we believe our pets might be in trouble and we become desperate to fix them. That's why it's important for us to take a step back and distance ourselves a little from the situation. Remember that our entire job is to be there for not only your pet but for yourself as a pet owner as well, we are here to care for and treat your pet and can do so with a clear and informed head. We are invested in your pets welfare but are trained to work under pressure, so we can administer treatment promptly and efficiently. Speaking from experience I can say that keeping calm is easier said than done but we are always here to provide you with information and assistance to help put your mind at ease. Our entire working day is devoted to you and your pets so use us whenever you need to, we are only a phone call away!