Max

Max probably won’t be alive this time next week.

That’s not a fun sentence to pen out, but it’s the reality we’re facing. I first noticed Max in an unusual state Tuesday night when I went out to feed the dogs, as the both of them are usually attacking the door and greeting me whenever they heard me coming. That night, only Jake was at the door, and I looked out and saw Max lying on the ground just looking at me. Eyes drooped, mouth closed; the most he could muster was a slight tail wag to greet me. I looked around the backyard, and noticed some splotches on the ground, and as I brought a flashlight out to illuminate the blobs, I saw that they were of a black/brown/red color. I went back to Max and started inspecting him for any wounds, but didn’t find any. All his joints looked fine and moved fine. I started pushing him to lie on his side and roll over so I could get a look at his underbelly, and he just flopped over with no resistance. Finally I noticed the source of all this leakage was from his rectal area. I tried to get him to eat/drink, but all he could do was move his eyes in my direction; even getting his head up seemed to be too much of a struggle for him. So thinking the worst, I sat with him for a little longer than I usually do, but resolved that I couldn’t really do anything but clean him up a bit (as he’d been sitting on his leakage all day). Once I got the hose out and started spraying him backside/butt area, he slowly got up and walked away from me. Which was a minor win, because it showed he still had energy to move about on his own and wasn’t completely out of it. And he got to the grass area and tried to heave/do his business. But was unable to.

Wednesday morning, I had an early start, and couldn’t get visual on Max until I got back from class. He was in better spirits, tail wagging chilling in a cool spot in the backyard. I got him some chicken broth, and he seemed to drink a little bit of that. Obviously, in combination with the heat and some diarrhea/leakage that I noticed, I wanted to keep him hydrated, and the chicken broth was a small attempt to get some nutrients for him in liquid form. Unfortunately, when night came around, his energy levels drooped again, and again he left his dog food untouched (which is completely unlike Max, as he gobbles up everything in sight, and sometimes even has to be pushed off Jake’s bowl). And again I noticed him having trouble with his bowel movements.

Thursday, I went and got some pumpkin puree for him, as I read that pumpkin could be a source of fiber for dogs, and I’ve given it to Max before, and of course, he ate it up. But no dice. Still lethargic, still not eating solids, but I managed to see him drink some water from time to time, so that was a plus. And of course, the heaving sensation of being unable to pass bowel movements.

Friday, I got off from class and got home and called the vet. Actually the other vet in TC, just because they s’posedly had better ratings than the other place we took Max to when he had his skin problem like three years back. They got me an appointment in like an hour, so I brought Max in. Flat fee of $41 for the examination. Then the vet wanted to run a bunch of tests, such as a cotton swab fecal test, x-rays w/ multiple views, full blood work, and the like. I agreed to leave Max there for a few hours for them to get everything done, and was home by like 2. The estimate here for the whole shebang was just north of $500. I get a call that they need to do some extra cleaning/work, so now we’re talking $600+. They said they’d call me back to let me know when Max is ready, but they never do. So I call back just after 7pm, and they’re like, oh yeah, Max is ready. Get there at 7:15pm, and vet doesn’t come talk to me until closer to 8pm. I finally leave at 8:30pm $900 lighter, with three oral antibiotics for Max to take (remember, he’s not eating solids right now, so 1, he’s not eating orally and 2. you need to eat when you take antibiotics. So… what’s up doc?) and a emergency transfer referral for Max to go to the ER to get IVs in on him and to do an invasive procedure to break up a fecalith (essentially a poop stone) that’s 100% blocking his colon, and his repeated attempts to pass his bowel movements in conjunction with the blockage may have inflammed his colon leading to colitis with some hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (bleeding and inflammation in GI tract).

Thing is, Max was perfectly fine, and this just seemingly popped up Tuesday night. I took the dogs walking Sunday night, and he did usual thing of walking and choosing a spot to poop, and they were of course wonderful solid chunks of stool. Which seemed like a blessing and miracle ago now.

So talked to the parents, and after already dropping close to $1k, dad’s thinking we can’t take Max into the ER for surgery, potentially adding a couple thousand more in bills here. And that sucks. I get it though, financially and practically speaking. But it sucks. Dad’s first alternative thought was to get Max to the humane society asap and just put Max out of his misery. But the doc said there’s a chance Max could pass the poop normally, since the doc tried to pry some of it out (but could only get as far as his fingers would let him). But chances are slim. And there’s also the risk of dehydration, sending the body into shock, and without proper care (ER?)… that’s the end of the line. It doesn’t help that this is the hottest weekend we’ve had in a while.

As I write all this down, the more I think about it, if Max can’t pass his bowel movement by tomorrow morning, the merciful thing would be to get it over with asap. Meaning Max might not even be able to see daylight Monday.

This isn’t gonna be a good week. With this whole Max issue. And it’s finals week. And Jake was already yapping/howling for the few hours Max was gone. I can’t imagine how Jake’ll handle this once its final. It. Fucking. Sucks.

[EDIT] OKAY, WE CAN MOVE DOWN FROM DEFCON5. Saturday night, Max ate a lil bit more than normal. Sunday night (today), he had like 2 cups of dog food (normally I give him 1+). He was with Jake to greet me at the door, and he hopped/jumped/ran a little bit. I don’t think he’s back to 100% normal, but this is a huge marked improvement from the past couple of days (I’d say he’s at 50-75%?). I still need to see him poop, but energy lvl/diet wise, I’m very hopeful right now that everything’ll go back to normal. And he also needs to maintain energy level and diet. But fingers crossed.

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