DANELINKS.COM                                                                                                                                       11.17.05 

By Vivian St. Pierre


Know your dog. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a routine and to  
follow it carefully. I believe that, along with two great vets, routine is what saved Dusty.

It was a normal Friday and I was home with the boys all day. Around 4:00 PM I took Dusty with me to the bank and post office and we were gone for 45 minutes or so. A little after we got home I fed the boys, it was a normal day, a normal meal, nothing out of the ordinary. It was routine.

After a couple of hours, I went to the computer room where we have a day bed for the boys. As usual Dusty jumped up on the day bed and went to sleep, very deeply as he normally does. Around 10:30 I noticed that he was getting (1) a little restless, he was tossing and turning on the day bed. This is unusual as I usually wake him up around this time and we go outside for the last time. I took him outside to pee and instead he went farther up the hill (we have a hilly back yard) and he sat to poop. Only a (2) small amount came out. I then walked down the hill and since he normally follows me I didn't look back. When I got to the bottom I noticed that he was just standing there with his (3) head hanging down. I had to take him by the collar and bring him down to the house, (4) slowly.
When we got back in the house he just stood there with his head hanging when normally he would go and get a drink before we go to bed. Sensing maybe something was wrong I gave him 4cc of Phazyme liquid and called him in the bedroom where he just (5) stood in front of the bed and didn't jump up until I coaxed him to do so. Once on the bed he laid a (6) bit stiff and would not lay as he normally does. I went to the kitchen and got two Phazyme caps wrapped in cream cheese which is his absolute favorite food on this earth. I offered it to him and he (7) refused it. This was a siren going off in my head.

My husband was out of town so I called a friend, Mary. She got to my house in under 25 minutes, and meanwhile I was getting dressed securing the other two boys and calling the emergency clinic to get directions as they had moved to a new location. By the time I got Dusty into the car, Mary arrived. Dusty knows Mary very well, but made no attempt to greet her. She looked in his mouth and could see his gums and lips were turning white and his feet were cold. We took off for the emergency clinic. We were there in under 15 minutes, just about 11:30. Thank God that it was a slow night and no one else was there.

Now, as I think about this, there were none of the normal signs which we are all indoctrinated to look for. No gagging, vomiting, drooling, no extreme restlessness, no swelling of the abdomen, he walked normally, none of what we call the normal signs of bloat. He just simply wasn't himself. At the clinic they asked if he had any of the normal “signs”, and I said no. They asked why I thought he was bloating and I had to tell them, I just know.
They took him back to do an x-ray and came back with the horrible news, no bloat but he had torsioned. The stomach showed very little gas and a very small amount in the intestines. His stomach had torsioned so hard it was all the way up against his spine.

The vet, Dr. Deitz, was awesome. She was very knowledgeable about bloat/torsion repair surgery and has actually practiced it extensively as she only works at the emergency clinic and knew she would be facing this problem multiple times. Dr. Deitz stated that depending on what she found, once she started the surgery, she may come out and give me the choice of saving him or letting him go. Mary asked to let us know if there was any necrotic tissue on his stomach or any other organs. Dr. Deitz said she would definitely let us know if things didn't look good.

After what seemed like hours, (but was only about an hour) the vet tech came out and said that the vet was totally amazed. She had flipped his stomach over and there were absolutely no signs of necrotic tissue anywhere and the stomach was pink and healthy looking!!!! She said his organs all looked good and healthy also. She then went back to gastropexy him.

We left him in their very capable hands at 2:30 and we even got to go back into his very large crate where they had him in blankets, comforters and a pillow for his head and Dr. Deitz sat inside the crate with him, comforting him. Amazing! She said he did great and that she had a very good feeling about a good prognosis for him.

Now, for the next 48 hours we watch for the dreaded arrhythmia and infection that kills so many of our babies.

The next morning I called them at 5:30 and they said he was resting comfortably and no complications. Since it was Saturday morning and the emergency clinics close from 7:00 AM until noon (most vets offices are open during those times), I was to pick up Dusty at 7:00 and take him to my regular vet, Dr. Rick Marrinson. When I arrived at the emergency clinic the vet met me and said that he had done terrific and he would probably be able to walk to the car, which we all did, including Dr. Deitz. I drove him to my vet' s office took him right in. Dr. Marrinson examined him and put him on the EKG monitor. No irregularities!! Fantastic news. After he gave me a prescription for pain I took him home. I was told that the only reason this has ended as well as it has was because of time, because that is the enemy in most of these cases.
The next day Dusty developed a small problem with urinating, he tried and tried but couldn’t. I spoke to Dr. Dietz about it and she asked me to bring a urine sample in and she gave me some antibiotics for him.

The next morning, Sunday morning, Dr. Marrinson called (he had also called Sat evening to check on him) and asked that I bring Dusty in to do another EKG. He checked his incision and then because of the urinating problem we catheterized him and got 460cc of urine!!!! The EKG showed absolutely normal!!! We went home very happy and we are continuing to monitor him carefully but hopefully God will let me keep him around for a while longer.

I am relating this to show how important routine is with these big guys. Knowing your dog's every habit, no matter how small it is could make the difference. Both vets agreed that this is probably what made the difference. Even though I agree with them, I still feel that there were two angels watching over him and both of these vets have my undying gratitude.

Vivian & the boys
TerraGold Great Danes

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