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Seriously not a joke.  Only this time Chloe had one stuck under her tongue! These are the WORST things ever!!! So where do I begin? I have a feeling that foxtails were responsible for Chloe’s bizarre symptoms mid May, so I will start there.

I wrote a post a while ago about Chloe having GI issues.  Well that’s what we thought at the time. She was doing this funny constant ‘gulping’ followed by frantic pacing, pawing to go outside and consuming large quantities of grass.  After staying up all night, we had a general physical the next morning (convenient?). Vet thought it was acid reflux from the weird gulping that resembled pigeon head motions. She prescribed Chloe some pepcid AC.  Symptoms kind of subsided, then a few days later Chloe vomited A LOT of grass and looked pretty miserable. Called her vet and I brought her in.  Xrays didn’t show any obstruction, but did show the beginning stages of arthritis in her lower back. After a week of pepcid, she really didnt do that gulping much. Thought it was over. See video below for some of the less intense ‘gulping’.

Flash forward a month. More gulping, vomiting and looking miserable. Tried more pepecid and monitored her symptoms for 2.5 days. She got worse. She didn’t want to eat much, she refused to drink water, and didn’t even want to go for short walks. This was not normal behavior.  On Friday of last week, she started drooling this extremely foul stuff. Looking up ‘stinky drool’ online indicated she might have an infection of some sort.  We went to the vet and waited 2 hrs to be seen by a specialist. After talking about GI issues blah blah blah, she opened Chloes mouth, looked under her tongue and found two large swollen masses. One with something possibly poking out. Vet explained that if it is from a foxtail, they would remove it, but that it might not be the only one in her body. So if she still showed symptoms a couple weeks after her recovery from the procedure, she would need to be scoped. Chloe was immediately prepped for surgery. They took a blood sample to make sure her vitals hadn’t changed since her wellness exam 5 weeks prior, gave her anesthesia and found a foxtail in the mass. The other mass was just inflammation from the large foxtail. They also removed a couple pieces of grass and seed pod of a foxtail lodged in her tonsils. I am thinking those were the culprits for her gagging symptoms. Eating grass exacerbated the problem and led to the foxtail under the tongue.

I told the vet Chloe was probably dehydrated from not drinking much the previous few days (other than the chicken broth I could force down), so they hooked her up to an IV during the procedure. Approximately 1 liter of fluid went into her body. Some intravenously, some under the skin.  When I picked her up 4 hours later, she had a lion mane of fluid because all of it went to the extra skin around her neck. It was a little funny. She also walked around with her tongue sticking out a little because her face was probably numb. That too was a little funny.  Then we drove home. I drug my twin sized mattress out to the living room, set it up with lots of blankets and slept with her the next two nights. They shaved a spot to draw blood and put in an IV, so I put a shirt on her to prevent her from licking.

So for the next few days, I gave her pain killers, anti-nausea medication (she had a shot of antibiotics, I didn’t want to deal with more pills) and some throat/stomach coat for possible ulcers.  Did you know you can get some pet Rxs filled at participating Costco pharmacies? Vet told me to get the ulcer medication there. Only $20 since you get a discount being a member! But I guess what’s another 20 when you just spent close to a thousand…. (@$^$%%#$ foxtails!!!).  Food included organic chicken broth, brown rice and canned chicken. Yes she was spoiled. She certainly didn’t have a problem eating those yummy, slurpy foods! Within 2 days, Chloe was starting to get back to normal.  More energy, happy, less gulping.

Fast forward a week. Yesterday Chloe had her one week post op check up.  The vet was very pleased to see that her mouth had healed so quickly.  Last week there was talk of another shot of antibiotics depending on how her mouth was doing. She again reminded me to watch for symptoms after all of her medications are through because she might need to be scoped. Trust me I will keep an eye on her symptoms.

It took me this long to write this post because last Friday was the trifecta of life hitting me at full force and I lost it. A week and a half prior to Chloe’s procedure, my grandfather passed away.  Granted, it was not a surprise because he was in the hospital for the past 2 weeks fighting pneumonia. He requested to be taken off all machines if he was in the hospital for more than 2 weeks because he didn’t want to be a burden. He passed away only hours after they took him off the respirator.  There will be a memorial service for him in a couple weeks because he wanted to be cremated.  I am very close to my grandmother and it killed me to call her and hear her so crushed. Then a few days later I was having roommate issues.  He just got back from a 3 month scientific research cruise. When he left, I was extremely stressed out from his girlfriend feeling entitled to come whenever she wanted for however long she wanted.  While he and I talked about this many times, I was actually looking forward to a reprieve especially since he made is seem like they might not stay together.  3 months later he came back. And gave me a 24 hr heads up that his gf would be staying at our house for 5 days. I said that he and I needed to talk about that before she came and then we argued. For the first time. Apparently she had worked all last week to take this time off.  And he was just telling me this now. Not cool. The thing is, I don’t sleep well with her here. This is an old house and I can hear EVERYTHING DAY AND NIGHT. They also like to stay up late to watch movies.  I end up having to find creative places to sleep so that I can actually get some sleep. It was very hard on me because I knew I just couldn’t live this way anymore. I wanted to live with someone who was willing to find some sort of compromise for the situation.  But in the end we had irreconcilable differences and we no longer live together. Apart from the whole girlfriend situation, we were friends and we did get along when it was just us living in the house. I did a lot of crying that day because it was so hard to do, but it was best for me because it was driving me crazy.  Then Chloe started getting sick.  During her procedure I was beating myself up for letting her eat grass (I grew up in an area without foxtails) because we already had a foxtail in the eye adventure last year.  I cried because I had a lot on my plate. Grandfather passing, telling a friend to leave, and the unknown condition of my dog (before it was confirmed they found the foxtail). I did go to the pool to burn off some anxiety, but I did cry a little in my goggles. I was emotionally spent. And now that I have had a week to recover, I can tell our story.

Good news is that my grandmother is doing much better. My mom and uncle have been helping her with a lot of the stuff that needs to be taken care of. I have a new housemate, a good friend, a person in my lab. I have a feeling that she and I will have a good year together. No significant others to have drama with. Chloe is pretty much healed and I am 5 weeks into training for my first half marathon in October.  For those of you who didn’t read my previous post, I will be wearing a tripawds rule bandana and passing out business cards at the event. To run for our past, present and future inspawrational tripawds.This experience really made me realize how close we have grown in the last couple years. I will be sad to lose her one day, but we won this battle.  Chloe is a fighter even though trouble finds her. And I make sure to love her every day.


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Posted by on June 30th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

3 Responses to “The Foxtail in the Hound 2”
  1. 1
      etgayle says:

    well, you indeed, were dealt a full hand. so sorry about your grandfather, hard to lose someone you’ve know your entire life. glad you were able to get chloe through this most recent challenge – thank goodness we don’t have foxtails on our property (mel eats everything too…). sending ET juju, hoping you guys can have a boring summer, with no radical adventures to report!!

    charon & spirit gayle

    • 3
        Chloes mom says:

      thanks and I hope we have an uneventful summer too 🙂 and we hope mel doesnt get into any trouble by eating things….

      • 5
          princess says:

        Wow. I’m so glad we don’t have those foxtails here. That’s one less thing we had to worry about.
        It isn’t easy losing someone you have known all your life and it is all the harder when your pup is sick as well. I hope the summer is good to you and Chloe. Good luck in the marathon. Please let us know how you go.