Ben at Five Months

Ben is now five months old and the last two weeks have been turbulent. We have had a pretty major health scare with Ben.

Ben began looking a little ‘flat’ one day, I thought it may have just been the heat, but he began to get progressively worse. He was sleeping constantly, drooling everywhere, and just looked awful. He had no diarrhoea, no vomiting and no temperature. He was still eating but wasn’t interested in going for walks or playing. All I knew was that he had pain around his mouth. The night before I took him to the vet was a difficult one. I slept with Ben to keep a close eye on him.

Off to the vet first thing in the morning, and he was so sick that he had to be admitted to the hospital for tests. Going to the vet I knew he would have to stay there, as there was no obvious answer to his symptoms. Despite this it was still so difficult to leave him there, I couldn’t help but cry when I said good bye to him. I wasn’t worried that he was going to die, in fact I felt better that he was at the vet receiving treatment. What made me so emotional was how concerned I was for him, Ben has already become an important presence in our home and family- I was going to miss him terribly that day.

Hours later, I got a call from my vet to say that they had discovered some trauma to the back of his throat. Ben had probably been chewing on something sharp (maybe a stick) that had cut his throat. It explained the sensitivity around his mouth and the drooling, the pain he was in explained the fatigue. Ben was put on pain killers, anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics, and brought home.

That night when I saw Ben I knew he was feeling so much better. The best moment was when he started carrying my daughters’ toys around, I had my naughty puppy back again! Or so I thought….

A few days later Ben came off his medication, and the next day he showed the same symptoms, but this time he was even worse. I quickly called the vet and had to carry Ben everywhere as he would not walk. While we were waiting to see the vet, Ben simply stood still and would not react to anything. It was as if he was catatonic. I was so worried about him that all I could do was sit on the floor, stroke him and cry- right there in the waiting room.

The vet had no definitive answers for me and sent us to a specialist vet clinic in the city. We were seen to immediately and the decision was made to admitt Ben overnight for tests and to recieve IV treatment. 

That night Ben had around the clock care from nurses and vets while they carried out many tests. Nobody knew what to look for, all we could do was continue to test and eliminate illnesses. As certain illnesses began being crossed off, Ben could start some medication. Over a few hours he began responding to the drugs, and the next afternoon he was able to be brought home.

The 24 hours without Ben was very difficult. I just wanted my crazy puppy back. The specialist center was wonderful, as I called a few times throughout the day and night, and they were always there to give me an update on Ben. I slept well knowing that he was well looked after and that they would call me should his condition change.

Ben was diagnosed with damage to his oesophogas. He had not only cut his throat but it was also suspected that whatever caused the cut had also damaged his oesophogas on the way down. Ben was brought home (with a bucket load of medication) feeling much better.

Ben has made a full recovery and is back to his normal outgoing self again. Thank you so much to all of that staff at the Eltham Central Vet Hospital, and Advanced Vet Care in Kensington– if you ever need emergency care they have everything your pet will need.

So what has all of this taught me? It’s taught me to get your dog used to being examined. Each night when your dog is sleepy spend some time examining them. Look at their teeth, look in their ears, open their mouth and look inside, and check in between their toes. While you are doing all of this tell them how wonderful they are and how good they are being. If your dog is a little uncomfortable with this just start off slowly, with lots of stroking in between. Your vet and groomer will thank you.

The second big lesson for me was thank goodness I crate trained Ben. He had no problem being locked in the vet clinic crates because he was used to it. In fact, as soon as the vet opened the cage Ben walked straight in with out faultering. This made the carers job easier, Ben wasnt as stressed as he might have been had he not been crate trained, and I felt much better about leaving Ben at the vet because he seemed comfortable. If your dog ever has to spend time at the groomers or the vet you will be thankful that you crate trained them.

On a lighter note, I have been able to settle in to a nice routine with Ben. His training is going well, I never leave home without my fresh meat and a toy. Ben’s mouthing has settled down with the help of teaching him to ‘get your toy’. Whenever he is excited I say ‘get your toy’, Ben runs off looking for one of his toys and brings it to me. This has been so helpful in training Ben to have something in his mouth when he greets anyone or wants to play. He is becoming a wonderful dog.

Dont get me wrong, he is still manic at times, and regularly drives me crazy, and is, at this very minute getting in to mischief. I take it all in good humour though- it was my decision to adopt him. I’m so glad to have him back healthy.


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