What an ordeal. The last two weeks have gone by in a blur due to my Miniature Pinscher Taco’s fateful encounter with a dead squirrel. Since I discovered him with a squirrel carcass, I have been to three different veterinarian offices, and have spent more than $3,000 dealing with his symptoms.
We’ll never know for sure, but my Vet thinks we’re dealing with Salmonella. Taco went downhill the Saturday after our first Vet visit on March 12th, in spite of three injections (anti-bacterial, anti-nausea and pain medication). He stopped eating. His eyes grew squinty, his gums were engorged red but very tacky, and he bit at us while we tried to medicate him.
On March 14th we took him to the San Antonio Animal Emergency Clinic, which is rated second in the state of Texas behind the facilities at Texas A&M. Taco spent the night with IV fluids and antibiotics, along with heating pads to raise his abnormal and dangerously low temperature. There were Xrays and a sonogram. No sign of tumor, no sign of pancreatic distress, no damage to the liver. Just sever inflammation all along the gastric track and inflammation around the liver.
March 15th and 16th were spent at Spring Branch Vetinerary Clinic, where my Mom takes her dogs. We brought him home on March 18th and he saw his regular doctor on March 19th. His blood work was improved and she gave him 300 ccs of sub-cu fluids, a powerful anti-biotic injection, and a full round of additional meds. We fed him via syringe, but Taco became more balky and by Sunday, March 21st, Taco had bitten both me and my husband so hard that we couldn’t give him anymore liquid medicines (muzzling him became an exercise in avoiding Taco’s teeth).
March 22nd, he went back to the Vet for more fluids. He seemed to improve, making a poop and even eating a bit more enthusiastically on his own. I found a way to get him to take his pills—a dab of whipped cream cheese worked wonders. On March 23rd, a friend of mine helped me give him 200 ccs of sub-cu fluids at home to keep his electrolytes in balance. Afterwards, Taco ate shredded boiled chicken and I/D dog food. He pooped again the next day. However, by afternoon on the 24th, he was refusing most food, except for a couple T/D kibbles.
Today, my friend and I gave him another 200 ccs of sub-cu fluids. His temperature was normal, and his attitude seemed better. He is still reluctant to eat—I have five open cans of special Hills Science Diet dog foods and he only sniffs at them. He ate some kibbles, a bit of I/D and a bit of rice. However, tonight, his gums are pale and tacky, and he’s hunched over again. Instead of letting him sleep with my daughter, I’ve tucked him snugly in his “Happy Place,: a bed in the closet.
My daughter, who is almost 16, asked if maybe we had done the wrong thing by treating his illness—she wanted to know if he is in too much pain and needs to be euthanized. At each stage of this process, I have asked the presiding Vet whether or not we’re trying to treat a dying dog. Each time, I was told he was critical, but not dying. We’ve spent more money on this dog to fight this than I’ve ever spent on one animal, but the problem is that once we started treatment, we were pretty much committed.
Tonight I am concerned we are losing the battle. I have an appointment for Taco in the morning. Plus, I had a long conversation with Taco’s doctor this afternoon, and she was hopeful that his improvement would continue. But his symptoms appear to be worsening. I am not confident that we can save him. Only time will tell.