Knowing Better

The update from our dismal weekend is-we got a diagnosis from the vet: No infection indicated in the urinalysis and culture and no stones in the x ray. No further treatment(antibiotics) required unless symptoms return-and they haven't returned.

It looks like what we had was a prepucial infection that was localised and didn't travel any further to infect the urinary tract or bladder.The reason for the infection was most probably a hygiene issue. French Bulldogs can't clean themselves down there so its my job to do that. I do, do that but from now on the procedure will be much more regular and much more elaborate. A three hundred dollar vet bill can inspire you like that.

I was very keen to rule out the possibility of a UTI because I have seen with other Frenchies how an undiagnosed one can take hold and become very difficult to beat they keep coming back and the antibiotic therapy needs to get longer and stronger. The situation was complicated by the vomiting but it seems like the two were not connected.

As our dog's caretakers we make decisions for them when we see symptoms that we recognize or whisk them off to the vet for diagnostics and treatment when we see symptoms that we recognise as potentially serious or don't recognize at all. It did occur to me during this episode though, what does an adult dog do, by way of his own natural instinct when he is experiencing symptoms of illness. From Eti's perspective the whole weekend was about not feeling well, dealing with nausea and pain. What was his own instinctual, innate response to the situation? Without my or a vets intervention in the wild, what would he have done?

Although the general guideline for vomiting and digestive upset is to fast for 12 hours, I decided to offer him food. Given a previous experience with vomiting and diahrrea where he refused food I figured -he has some kind of inner radar about this, lets see what he wants to do. He looked at the food as if he was thinking it over and then he turned to his water bowl and had a drink of that (he's never done this) and then he ate all of his food. Many hours later he puked up a little clear liquid with some undigested carrot. His food was ground lamb (with a little carrot) with some pieces of lean chicken -so it was interesting to see that his system had digested all the meat and bone but left the carrot intact.

The next meal he again looked at the food, it seemed he just wanted to make sure it was ok and ate it all. No more vomiting after this. He did however drink a lot of water. He drank at least five times his usual intake. He was obviously and intuitively flushing his system. In between meals he just lay on his bed quiet or sleeping. I think this distressed me most as he is generally such an active dog but I understand now that this is better percieved not so much that he is sick but that it is what he does when he doesn't feel well. Being quiet is curative and healing.

He's completely fine now. If this happens again, I'll know to just go straight to the vet in the morning- clumsily trying to get a free catch of a urine sample was a complete waste of time- the vet wanted to do a sterile draw with a needle anyway. I know now, as noted above the cost efficacy of increased penile hygiene procedures. I also got to know Eti a little better, and learnt to trust him a little more about some of the decision making when he's not feeling well- he knows a thing or two about how to make himself better.


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