Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Billy Is Sick

Billy is sick.  He isn't interested in tummy rubs, being brushed, having his bib put on and rushing inside or even exchanging insults with the ferrets.  Billy is very sick.  He just lies on the laundry floor and lets the Kelpies steal his food. 

Last night we made an emergency after hours visit to the vet.  Billy had been lethargic all day and didn't eat his dog kibble breakfast.  When I fed him tinned food for dinner tried to eat it but jumped back in obvious pain when he tried. I investigated and discovered blood in his mouth.  Billy is a very sick little boy. At first the vet thought he had rat bait poisoning because of the bleeding from his nose and mouth and he has very yucky looking eyes as well as taking lethargy to a new level. We have lots of rat baits out at the moment as Spring Rock is in the grip of a mouse plague. The vet says they have been run off their feet with rat bait poisoned pets, but the blood clotting test (the definitive test for rat bait poisoning) proved negative so it's not rat bait poisoning. I told the vet all along that we'd be very surprised if it was because we have made sure none of our pets can get at any of the baits. The thought was he may have caught a mouse that had eaten some, but as I said rat bait is not the problem.

The vet gave Billy a thorough check up and found nothing amiss aside from the fact that Billy just lay there and let the vet poke and prod him all over. He says Billy is a perfect specimen of an older St Bernard, but Billy and I already knew that. We weighed him and he weighed in at 68kilos so he's a good weight for his breed. The fact that we actually got Billy on the scales shows just how sick he is.  Every time we've taken him to the vet he has refused point blank to get on the silver platform. Estimates of his weight have always been taken and medication worked out from there. It only took two tries last night and Billy's true weight was finally revealed.  He's not dehydrated, his tummy and other vital organs all feel healthy according the the vet and he's not even running much of a temperature.

Billy just lay on the floor and gave me a long suffering look while all this was going on. Billy's examinations always take place on the floor because no-one wants to lift him onto the tiny metal table to save crawling around the floor.  He didn't try and make friends with the vet, or tell all our family secrets or any of his usual visit to the vet behaviour. He even let the vet, a total stranger, lift his paws, open his mouth and look inside, generally man handle him for ages and poke needles in various parts of his anatomy.  The only objection he made, and that was a very feeble one, was when the vet took Billy's temperature and I think Billy's indignation was very justified.  The vet found a large bleeding ulcer in the front of his mouth but no reason for it - all his teeth are fine. There seemed to be no explanation for the bleeding nose or yucky eyes either.

At the moment Billy has been given, to quote the vet, "a massive dose of antibiotics and a big dose of anti-inflamatories". He is to have two doses of the strongest antibiotics the vet has twice a day.  The vet said if Billy wasn't better today he will be spending our trip to Melbourne at the vet's so an eye can be kept on him and he can be given his tablets for those two days.

It's all a mystery at the moment and I'm very worried about him. If he doesn't improve the vet wants to do a series of blood tests to see if something shows up. Graeme is starting to mentally add up the bill. I pointed out that Billy is worth it. Graeme said, he supposed Billy was a fixture (his way of saying we would pay what we had to). I pointed out he was more than a fixture, Billy holds a very large place in my heart.

Billy seems to feel a bit better this morning.  He's still very sick, but he ate the food I spoon fed him and looked a bit more interested in life.  I have just arranged with my neighbour for her to babysit Billy for the two days we're away.  I thought Billy would have to go back to the vet's just to be given his tablets and fed soft food, but my neighbour, wonderful woman that she is, is going to keep Billy in a pen in the wool shed where it's quiet and her Kelpies won't object to Billy's presence on the farm.  She will feed Billy spoonfuls of food night and morning and slip his tablets in his food.  Billy loves my neighbour and she is very fond of him too, so it will be a lot better for Billy than staying in a cage at the vet's.  Whether it's a lot better for my neighbour or not I don't want to dwell on at the moment.  It's enough to say I'll be buying her a BIG thank you present for her kindness.

I am not going to enjoy my trip to Melbourne very much if Billy's not anybetter before we leave. Graeme is taking me to the Melbourne Museum to see the Tutankhamen exhibition for our anniversary on Thursday. The hotel and tickets have been paid for for weeks now. What with seven bottle fed lambs we are dropping off for my daughter in law to feed, cats to incarcerate in the house because of the rat baits and now Billy being ill, I know I'm just going to worry the whole time - especially about a big, sooky dog back at Spring Rock.