28 December 2016

When good organs go bad

What happens when you combine dogabetes and IBD? Pancreatitis! While the exact cause is not known, diabetes can bring it about. And just for funsies, a previous bouts is a possible indicator of future bouts. Since Zero can't exactly say, "My tummy hurts, I don't wanna go to school today," we discovered the problem the same way anything else is discovered with a dog - through a sudden change in behavior.

Normally Zero eats everything and anything you put in front of him. If it's feeding time at the O.K. Corral, he's front and center waiting by the trough. Except suddenly he wasn't. He was barely moving, just lying in bed. We coaxed him over for food, even brought food to him, but he was completely uninterested. Zero being uninterested in food means time for everyone's favorite thing - the vet!

Zero walked slowly down the stairs and tried to sit by the door, but it was obvious sitting was painful. I wasn't sure if picking him up would make things worse, so we ended up letting him walk to the car.

After an extensive medical history and some X-rays, the vet confirmed that Zero had pancreatitis. He had a minor case a few months before the dogabetes diagnosis, which required an overnight hospitalization, but he quickly recovered. This time wasn't so easy.

Reese was not a fan of leaving Zero behind at the vet. We visited him every day, and every day Reese would stop at the top of the stairs to wait for Zero.
Where's Zero? We can't leave without him!
At home, she went on a hunger strike, refusing to eat much of anything as long as her brother was missing.

Meanwhile, Zero wasn't getting any better. There isn't any miracle cure for pancreatitis. IV fluids, monitoring, and waiting are the basic protocol. Unless the patient refuses to eat for a few days, in which he gets a feeding tube up his nose, down his throat, and into his stomach. In case that's not bad enough, a couple of stitches hold the tube in place on his snout.
Let me out of this cage!

Now that I'm out, let's go home.

About five days in, Zero finally started to turn around. He became more active and even began eating on his own. Much to his delight, the feeding tube came out. One more night, and we were finally able to bring him back home. It took a few more days of rest at home, but he did recover.
Much better.

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