Posted by: Adrianna | July 13, 2010

What happened Friday night

So here’s what happened.  Friday late afternoon Elliott had diarrhea.  No blood or mucous, just very soft.  He had a little more around 8:30pm.  That night I went out to a colleague’s going-away party (couldn’t skip it, he was leaving for Texas the next morning), half-expecting to come home to a mess.  I got home at almost 1am (subway construction delay) and he seemed ok.  We went out, he peed, no big deal.  I fed him, he ate well and slept a bit in front of the AC.

He got up around 2-2:30am and was extremely restless so I thought he had to go out to have diarrhea. We went out, he peed a little, no diarrhea.  He wouldn’t settle down after coming back in, so we went out again.  All this time he’s panting and agitated, constantly moving.  He peed a little but nothing else.  He didnt’ want to come back in, and pulled to go into the enclosed courtyard of my building.  It has a lot of grass and trees.  I let him off the leash (it was 3:30am by this time) and he walked around, very restless. I gave him a Gas-X in case he was feeling gas pain.

Eventually I made him go back inside but he was still agitated and wouldn’t lie down, just panted and panted.  We went out again, same thing.  If he was having diarrhea, I would have thought that this was all because of that.  It wasn’t, so I started worrying about bloat 😦

I felt his belly and it didn’t feel taut and inflated like a bloat belly.  He was tachycardic (fast heart rate) though, and he wouldn’t lie down, and he was panting excessively.  So I started to worry.  I truly didn’t think he was bloated, but I also didn’t want to literally bet his life that he wasn’t so we went in to work.

After a very tense car ride, we got there and he promptly threw up.  Physical exam showed tachycardia and abdominal pain.  X-rays showed a big air-filled belly and air in the intestines but no bloat or GDV.  He had some diarrhea after his x-rays.  Elliott was still panting but began to calm down, perhaps because the vomiting and diarrhea released some of the gas!  He was actually very, very tired and I was able to get him to lie down on a comforter and get some sleep.

His internist arrived soon after and did a quick ultrasound to make sure nothing major had changed (he actually looked better than he did at his time of diagnosis three weeks ago).  She suggested putting him on fluids for a few hours and taking him home.  He was completely exhausted; he wouldn’t even get up to go for walks, he just wanted to sleep.  (I hadn’t slept either, I know how he felt!) I think part of this is that he was in constant motion for three hours or so and was physically drained; he hasn’t been getting much exercise in this heat so he is a little out of shape.

Not feeling his best.

A wonderful friend of ours came to Manhattan to pick us up and there were no diarrhea incidents in the car 🙂  Elliott promptly parked in front of the AC and slept hard for several hours; I once again had to force him to get up to go pee, and he did indeed have to pee so urgently that he let loose as soon as we exited the building, not waiting till we got to the sidewalk. (Luckily, no one saw us!)

So, that’s what happened.  Would he have bloated without the Gas-X?  I dunno.  I’d like to think not.  I think what actually happened was that he had diarrhea and perhaps some cramping/gas pain and then wouldn’t settle down because of the pain, and started panting which increased his discomfort so he panted more, etc.  Despite the expense I don’t begrudge taking him in since I think it was too dangerous to leave him at home.  Dogs that bloat but don’t twist are still in danger of twisting at any moment so emergency care is always indicated if this is suspected.

I also want to say that I work with some great people.  Elliott started making a mess as soon as we got there (puking, then pooping in the x-ray room) but everyone said no problem, it’s ok, and was sweet with him.  When the criticalist got to work the next day, I walked Elliott into ICU to see her and he immediately squatted and farted out some liquid diarrhea.  What a greeting!  But she just grabbed some paper towels and was totally cool about it, even pretending not to notice my mortification. Everyone has been asking me since then if he is feeling better, etc.  They are good as people and good medically as well, and I’m grateful for them and the help and support they’ve given us.

While I’m thanking people, I’d also like to say that I have gotten immeasurable support from an online cat community (yes, even though Elliott is a drooly dog!) that I joined years ago when my late cat was sick.  They have given me a ‘keyboard to cry on’ whenever I needed it and I’m thankful for that.

Fingers crossed Elliott burps copiously from now on and doesn’t blow up like a balloon ever again!



  1. You know that YOU are one of those great people you work with. I am absolutely sure that you have never said anything about messes to anyone. A sick animal cannot help it. You should not feel embarrassed at all.

    I had never heard of bloat until a coworkers dog had it from eating too much too quickly after a camping trip. Surgery saved her, but it was touch and go. I sure hope Elliot burps a lot as well.

  2. So glad he’s better now! Hopefully it was just painful gas. Would it hurt any to give the gasx on a daily basis just to prevent that in the future? Or every other day or something?

    & about being embarrassed about him having diarrhea & puking all over the place.. PLEASE! 😉 You work at an ER vet right? Is that not where people rush very sick dogs & cats? Please don’t be embarrassed, as I’m sure (like Karen said above) that you don’t make a big deal out of it when someone else’s loved pet comes in doing the same thing. (((hugs)))

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