Last night was a long time coming. I knew it was likely that something like that would happen at some point, though I’ll admit I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Gwynn is, after all, my first dog. His existence is like fertilizer for my paranoia, and many things he does/has done/will do give me a sense of dread.
I feel like now’s the time to mention that everything’s ok? It is. Honest.
We enjoyed a nice pitch-black walk, a cheerful romp in the park with a playful Newfie puppy (8 months old and already more than double Gwynn’s weight), and all was good. I was appreciative that my sister Peanut and my practically-sister (who spends about equal time at our house and her own house, and has since she and Doodle were in kindergarten) had come on the walk with me. Conversation is great for helping to ignore the cold in the air. Extra people are great to have along if I want to go into the dark, Dark Park and make my way through the ominous shadows, across the graffiti-ed bridge, past the parking-lots full of sketchy people in cars, and to the dog park.
Once all our extremities were nearly solidified with cold, we went home. Gwynn was eventually fed with his Kong Wobbler, though not right after getting into the house.
There was nothing I could find to figure out his bizarre behaviour. He was licking his nose repeatedly and compulsively like a frog on crack, just sticking his tongue in and out the front of his mouth in rapid succession like he was trying to taste the air.
He got me to let him out time and again, only to rush anxiously around the yard, scarfing grass like reaching maximum grass-pacity would save him from the monsters. I’d bring him in (which required chasing him down, because he was so nervous he was fighting to avoid me – racing around the yard pausing to jam as much grass into his mouth as possible before hurrying away from me), and he’d be ready to go out again within minutes.
Licking his nose repeatedly and then making the face and neck motion of a choking/gagging/wanting to vomit dog, but without any noise.
FREAKED ME OUT.
So, after establishing that my vet (despite their website claiming they’re open till 9) was not answering my 8:30 pm phone call, I found an emergency vet to call. And, yup, the strange behaviour of my 50 lb deep-chested dog was enough for the vet to suggest that I come in, just to be on the safe side.
FREAKED ME OUT.
He had slowed slightly with the lick-lick-lick gag-face, but it was still happening, and he was still behaving extremely out of the usual.
I made the decision that, whatever it was that was wrong with him, it would be better to see the vet and be capable of sleeping at all that night.
We drove, pausing at my vet on the way, to establish that, yup, it isn’t 9pm yet, and yup, all the doors are locked. I AM NOT IMPRESSED.
We finally pulled up at the 24 hour vet, I opened the trunk to let Gwynn out, and there he was, not a lick-lick-gag in sight, wagging his tail excitedly.
He just about dragged me into the veterinary office, despite the fact that we’ve never been there before. He showed ZERO sign of issue. He might even have seemed healthier than before he’d started showing bizarre crack-frog behaviour.
I am feeling a bit embarrassed at this point, me with my polka-dot shoes and argyle socks, with my light-and-inadequate-for-the-weather-sweater and hat-hair, with my big purple binder of all-things-dog, juggling the binder, the purse and a peppy and completely healthy seeming puppy.
The vet was great – handled my pet-paranoia like a pro (which, I guess, he is), and gave me some tips on dog bloat issues, and some signs and symptoms I could notice. He also gave me some of his thoughts on what the lick-lick-lick-gag-face thing might mean, and did a thorough physical check, just to make sure.
He heard unusual noises in his upper intestines. He thinks it’s likely a bit of gas, and that’s probably why he was making the retching faces.
Since I was already there, and since it’s something I always forget to ask at my own vet, I got him to check Gwynn’s fat and/or skinniness. He’s become extra fluffy lately, and it’s always nice to get confirmation that I’m neither starving nor stuffing him. Apparently he’s at a very good size, nothing to worry about. Bonus.
So… $115 for an emergency vet visit to get confirmation that my dog has gas, seems quite healthy overall, and is at his ideal weight. At least it confirmed that he isn’t dying.
He threw up in his crate last night… a big wad of grass that kind of reminded me of one of those owl-hairballs… less the mouse bones and fur. However, I’m betting that the cause of that throwing up? Reaching Maximum Grass-pacity.
Extra bonus points to the 24 hour vet for doing a follow-up phone call this morning, I really appreciated it.
Do you know where your nearest 24 hour vet is? I’ve got mine – their magnet is on my fridge.