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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16513
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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We just spent over $500 on our dog who is restlessly crying

Customer Question

We just spent over $500 on our dog who is restlessly crying and uncomfortable. It seems from the x rays that she is full of food and gas. She acted like she got into something like pot. She couldn't stand right and her eyes were odd looking and she was unconsolable with her wailing. Her blood tests were right on, and no signs of poison or anything. She was dehydrated. Much better today, but what do we do? She urps up any bits of food she has tried to eat. Her poop is hard and dry. I don't know what I can do from asking this on here, just worried. She did eat and threw up a gopher or so we think.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am very sorry to hear about your pup, and I understand how puzzling all of this is given her normal blood test results.

Given her history of eating a gopher, mental confusion, vocalization, increased gastrointestinal gas and now reflux and nausea I am concerned that she was exposed second hand by eating a gopher that was exposed to a chemical used to kill gophers called zinc phosphide rodenticide.

This poison causes the release of phosphine gas when exposed to stomach acid, thus the bloating, and early on in the toxicity blood results will be completely normal, only later do we signs of organ damage. We can see signs of loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting (possibly bloody), abdominal pain, and if enough is eaten, death. It is likely that she ate enough to make her sick, but not enough to cause death.

It is very irritating to the gastrointestinal tract, thus continued stomach upset today.

This toxin targets tissue with rapid cell turnover, like the brain, intestinal tract lining and the kidneys and liver, and causes oxidative damage so eventually we may see organ damage and possibly seizures. It may take a day or two to see the organ enzymes increase, thus we may not know about organ damage for a few days.

Treatment is removal of the toxin by inducing vomiting (much too late for that now) as well as supportive care which includes controlling electrolyte abnormalities, acid-base imbalances, and low blood sugar. Treatment for seizures may be needed too. It is important to supply precursor drugs for an anti-oxidant such as Glutathione to minimize oxidative damage to tissue. S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) and N-acetylcysteine can both be given. We also use acid reducing medications like famotidine to reduce the damage to her gastrointestinal tract.

I encourage you to have your pup rechecked and blood tests rechecked to look for organ damage and for her to receive appropriate supportive care. Dogs that are not properly treated can develop permanent damage to their brain, liver and kidneys.

Best of luck with your pup, please let me know if you have any further questions.