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Mistaking one Illness for another

Mistaking one illness for another lead to the deaths of our pets. Below you will read a story of the events and how they lead to the untimely deaths of 3 dogs.

The turkey was browning in the oven as the ham was being sliced. It was Thanksgiving Day November 23, 2006. Eleven of us gathered together to enjoy a traditional dinner with all the trimmings. The kids were outside playing in the yard with our dogs Sammy and Sasha. We got Sammy and Sasha as pups only seven months ago. They helped make the 1200 mile move from New York State to Alabama more pleasant for our three children ages 16, 14 & 9. We live in the country where friends are hard to come by so the dogs made a nice addition to our family.The neighbor dogs, Cailey and Big Boy came to visit quite often and today they too were also enjoying the blissful glee of the sunshine and rambunctious kids to play with.

What was to be a time of celebration and happy moments turned sad and gloomy for all eleven of us. What was to reveal its self today would be a nightmare we soon won’t forget. Sasha had come inside to rest for a spell. She lay on the carpet at our guests feet panting from the heat of the hot Autumn sun and hard playing she had done. She would lift her head to look around then flop it hard to the floor. We were worried about dehydration and coaxed her to water. She drank down an entire bowl of water with a thirst we hadn’t seen before. She lazily lay down again with a big flop falling to the floor and hitting her head on the footstool. A short while later she took a turn for the worse.

Sasha was trying to be happy and trying to socialize with all her visitors. She stumbled from person to person looking for attention. She strolled over to the door and lost her bladder on the floor. That wasn’t like our Sasha, she never would do anything like that. After that she went outside to sleep on the front porch in the basking sun. We began to eat our holiday meal and then the concerns began to roll in like thunder clouds in a windy storm. Sasha was unresponsive to touch or sound. She was breathing very shallow and acted as if she were in a coma. Her brother Sammy nuzzled her with his nose and the neighbor dogs paced around her. Feeling the concern we all left our meal and tended to her.

Shortly after bribing her awake with hot fresh turkey and ham, Sasha got up and went to the yard once more. On her way down the stairs of the deck she fell, and stumbled through the lawn as if she were a drunk leaving a bar after way to much to drink. She lay down in the grass and rested again. We continued our dinner. Once we finished we went outside and Sasha had disappeared. We found her in the ditch at the end of our yard before the road laying in a puddle of cool water. She was carried back to the house. The kids followed her around and showed a great deal of love to her.

We knew she was sick and needed medical help. Now Sasha was crying out in pain and she was scared to be alone. She would rest for only a few seconds then find someone to comfort her. She wasn’t holding anything down and couldn’t contain her bladder. She had an uncontrollable thirst and drank several bowls of water in a short time. I called the animal hospital and left a message with the doctors answering service. It wasn’t long before the doctor called me back. I was told to give her baby asprin for the pain and benydryl to help her relax and rest until morning when we could take her to the clinic. We feared she had some kind of food poisoning.

Friday morning we woke to find Sasha up and playing as if she had been sick with a 12 hour flu. She was happy and wrestled about with her brother in the middle of the family room. The kids were excited to see her play like a puppy and they all rough housed. It seemed as though Sasha was out of the woods. We thanked God for getting her through. But soon we would learn that it wasn’t over.

Saturday morning Sasha had grown sick again. All the same symptoms came back with added extras. Now Sasha was having seizures. I called the clinic. They were closed. I scrambled to find an open vet clinic and found that Pet Smart was open and was accepting walk in appointments. My 16 year old daughter and 14 year old son assisted me to the vet. Sasha lay in coma like state on my sons lap in the back seat. Once inside the clinic, Sasha whined and cried through several seizures. The doctor did simple tests and concluded that she had an uterine infection. Her system was shutting down.

Her seizures were coming more often now and the strength was increasing with each one. Our options were limited. Through teary eyes we decided she had endured too much pain. Regretfully, we told the doctor to end her suffering.

We stayed beside Sasha petting her and talking to her in a soothing voice. The kids crouched down to look into her face as the doctor administrated the solution of death into her veins. Tears filled our eyes. Sasha relaxed, her eyes closed. the doctor listened to her heart with a stethoscope and said that she had expired. Sobbing filled the room. I requested a pair of scissors and took a clipping of hair from her. Empty hearted we drove home carrying a lock of hair and her leash.

Sammy greeted us at the car with a gift he picked up from the yard. He was always happy to find us presents and bring them to us as we exited the car. He was still looking and waiting for Sasha. He dropped the stick he had brought us and sat down near the vacant car. He continued through day and night in gloom. We tried to console him best we could. We invited his friends Cailey and Big Boy to come play. Sammy seemed as though he was dying of a broken heart. He no longer chased the school bus or ran to meet the kids when they got home. He didn’t chase the balls thrown to him or play with his friends.

A few days passed. Now Cailey was lonely as her son Big Boy had just died. He had the same symptoms as Sasha. His kidneys failed and he too was put to sleep after relentless efforts to try to save his life. I was worried about Sammy. He was sulking all the time and began to vomit. I took him to the clinic where testing was done. The doctor was told of Sasha dying 12 days prior and I told him about our neighbors dog Big Boy dying. He had been the same doctor who looked after Big Boy. This sparked a curiosity in him. He excuse himself from the room with vials of blood.

The doctor returned, He looked at me and apologized. He said that Sammy was having Renal failure. His kidneys were shutting down and there was nothing we could do to save his life. He told me that Sasha, Big Boy and Sammy had all been poisoned. I placed a phone call home and told my husband that Sammy too had to be put to sleep. I left the office with a clipping of Sammys hair and a leash.

If I had known that Sasha had been poisoned by anti-freeze I may have been able to save the other dogs. Anti-freeze poisoning kills within 3 days after consumed. Knowing the signs and symptoms can save your animal if you act quickly. It only takes a small amount of anti-freeze to poison and kill a pet. Make yourself aware. Keep poisons up and away from kids and pets. Educate yourself with knowledge and maybe you can save your own pet or someone Else’s.