Sick Pets: Trust Your Gut!

HondaHonda is an 8 year-old Golden Retriever I rescued 4 years ago. It’s pretty unbelievable that such a handsome, loyal guy needed to be rescued in the first place, but lucky for me he did. It didn’t take me long to get to know Honda (now he mostly goes by “H”) and the fact that he basically lives for four things: food, squirrels, tennis balls and me. Last Monday, when Honda wouldn’t bat an eye at any one of those things, I knew something was really wrong. Vets will tell you that when an animal is very sick, he or she will do one of two things: cling to you or go into complete isolation. Honda’s strange behavior prompted a call to my vet about my sick dog.

Last Monday morning I took Honda into the vet and after a quick look-over, she diagnosed Honda with a bacterial infection in his stomach. A little skeptical of the diagnosis, I took him home keeping a close eye on his behavior. That night, Honda refused dinner, water, a game of fetch, and my call for him to come inside for bed.

The next morning he seemed even sicker than the day before. He had a bloated stomach, no appetite, no energy and was showing no love. It was all so very un-Honda like. I called the vet’s office that morning to report my observations and gut instinct that this was more than just some bacterial infection. They asked me to bring him back in for another look and a couple x-rays.

Twenty minutes later I got a devastating call at work. X-rays of Honda’s stomach showed large pockets of air that were obstructing his digestive tract. If they didn’t perform emergency surgery on him to find out what was causing the blockage, I was possibly going to lose him. It had gotten so bad that quickly. Turns out Honda suffered from an intestinal torsion. Out of 25 feet of Honda’s intestine (humans have 40 ft.), 10 feet were twisted up (picture a balloon animal twisted at different parts). The vets needed to untwist his intestine and hope that only a small portion of it was badly damaged. If too much of the intestine was damaged, Honda’s chances of surviving were minimal. It turned out only 2 ft. (of the 10) were really bad. During surgery, the doctors cut the damaged part out and sewed the other ends back together. Honda’s vets told me that if I had waited any longer to bring him in, the damaged part would have been too bad and he probably wouldn’t have made it.

The five days of recovery following an intense surgery like Honda’s are the most crucial. In fact, recovery can be so painful and traumatic that animals sometimes do not survive. Honda remained in the hospital for 2 days under the vet’s watchful eye, hooked up to IVs that provided him fluids and pain medication. Every day, Honda’s recovery was “amazing” and he was healing the best he could under the circumstances. Now, it’s over a week later, and all is still amazing. Honda is back to carrying 3 tennis balls around in his mouth–a true sign that the old “H” is back!

If you’re like me, you sometimes wish your pet could just talk! But, if you trust your gut and look for signs from your companion, you too may catch a sickness before it’s too late.


Oh, and here’s a picture of “H” on Thanksgiving Day!


4 thoughts on “Sick Pets: Trust Your Gut!

  1. For those of you who don’t know Honda…well, you should . He is such a cool canine who just seems to know what’s up. He’s an old soul who takes life on like he has a specific purpose. Seeing how quickly they took to eachother when Abby rescued him, I have no doubt that his greatest purpose in life is being a loyal companion to Abby. He’s been there for her through some tough times and knows when he is most needed. I know it means a lot to Abby to be able to return the favor. Basically, they were made for eachother, and even use the same colorist! Ha, just joking….they’re both natural read heads.

    If Honda could talk I think he would say, “I ain’t going no where kid. It’s you and me for a long long time. Besides, I haven’t got me that squirrel yet”, in a deep southern accent. Or maybe he’s Jamaican in which he would say “No worries”. We’ll never really know what Honda sounds like, but Abby can read her old buddy like a Harry Potter book so he’s in good hands. On that note, cheers to Honda’s amazing recovery!

  2. Glad to see H is on the mend…our pets and thier tummy problems. H’s feline cousin Monte sends his best wishes and he gets stronger every day. Monte knows what it’s like to be at the vet for surgery. Not cool! So he’s glad he’s home safely 🙂

  3. I am so glad that Honda is alive and well due to a vigilant owner!~~! I am on now reading this today because my little min-pin Cosmo has been sick for two days now. The first day I didnt really know he was sick. Infact I thought my 22 year old son had taken him with him that day because I get up every morning and go straight to work in my office. Well, I always have 3 little companions hanging out with me and day before yesterday, Cosmo wasnt there. He didnt come in for his greenie treat or his wellness snacks and that is not at all like Cosmo! That night when my son got home and I realized he didnt have Cozzy, I immediately started looking around for him and he had been in my bed all day under the covers sleeping! This morning , once again, he didnt come in for his greenie and so I took him to the vet. His temp is normal, his gums look good and he has no other symptoms except an emptyl look in his eye and no energy at all. The vet gave him a cortosone shot and antibiotics. I must say though that I left the vets office feeling worried that by Monday, he might not be alive anymore , the way he is behaving. Even w/ a normal temp, he is sick for sure and I know it! I just dont know what is wrong exactly but after reading this, I wish I would have insisted on an xray. I did mention it as well as ask that he draw my dogs blood and he said for now that we should just treat his symptoms. I am so worried about him and now tomorrow is Sunday and I feel like he should be taken back immedaitely and xrayed and have a blood panel drawn! Vets sometimes!!!! I wonder how common a condition like Hondas is and did the vet have any other ideas of what might be wrong? this vet seems to think it could be pancreatitis. He isnt vommiting and stomach is not tender to the touch. I really would love some help with this fast! Thanks for sharing your story! Laura from Oregon

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