White Dog and the rest of the Army long ago had reached the point of hiking over to the vet’s office to rescue their brother and bring him home. It HAD been a tortuous all day wait. Steve called after four to ask if we had heard anything and at the “No!” wails of White Dogs announced that he was just going to go over there and bring Ferguson home because he had class in a very short time.
We all hung by the phone, waiting for a teleconference between us, Dr. Julia and Steve but none came. Steve pulled into the drive and brought Fergus inside. He was very out of it but at least seemed much less fearful than he did yesterday. We all welcomed our boy home then turned to Steve expectantly, “Well?’
“There is no well. There was a line out of the door and everything was crazy. They gave Ferg to me and said Dr. Julia would call you probably after office hours to powwow.” Then he dashed into now rush hour traffic to get back to school in time for class.
Ferguson sat in my arms for some time and benignly let his family come up to him. Then he asked to get down. He curled up on the side of my chair and slept. Candace and I speculated and waited until she, too had to leave for work. I prayed we had not been forgotten.
It was nearly seven when Dr. Juia phoned; the WDA arranged themselves around me so all could hear the conversation. We made note that he is still in pretty bad shape, still barely stumble walking and mostly just lying there. But we finally we are sorting through issues. Our concerns in order of priority are the fact he is not eating or drinking on his own; his personality changes (so fearful yesterday and sometimes snappish); mobility/cognition abilities; and his lungy breathing that seems to produce rock solid pellets of mucus.
Dr. Julia’s further research indicated horse nettles cause huge gatrointestinal problems that take a while to be expelled and the tissue healed. Ingested the nettles that cover the stalks and leaves of the plant dig into the gut lining and cause infections, hundreds of them, that fester from the poison until the body manages to dissolve them. (And Ferguson seems to have been munching on them semi-regularly for awhile before he made himself sick; so imagine the damage.) No wonder Ferguson stopped eating. I fear his lungs are fighting the same battle from snoofling to chose the perfect weed.
There is no antidote for horse nettles except time...and we believe the continual IV flushing of his system is offering some help. He is on both carprofen and tramadol for pain management right now and to help him reestablish sleeping through the night (instead of his constant pacing which we also believe is attributable to pain in conjunction with the epilepsy).
Dr. Julia believes that Ferguson has epilepsy that has been awakened by horse nettle's toxicity. He has probably been an epi-dog for some time and probably had only few seizure episodes. But he is a rescue dog and who really knows his history before his saving and rebirth as a member of the WDA.
We are cautiously watching but right now we agree that putting him on seizure meds will complicate his neuro and gastro systems; we are going to avoid any of the options there unless an emergency need arises. We want to effect a return to normal mobility and awareness first. So Ferguson will continue going in each day for IV intervention for tomorrow and Thursday and then we will take precautions to be prepared for the weekend.
A start, at last! I feel we at least have a tiny island of solid ground to stand on as we work to bring Ferguson back. At last the WDA feels we have something to hang our hope on and cheer about but as Benson noted, not unkindly, our boy still looks and acts like there is a long road to recovery.