On Monday around 3pm Madeline began “huffing.” I don’t know how to explain this except that it is not reverse sneezing & not quite coughing. It’s like if you gently whispered “huff” but blew more air out when you did it. Anyway, I noticed it right away but didn’t immediately think anything was wrong; Madeline reverse sneezes every so often & I thought this was just a low-cal variation of that.
I started to worry when, about half an hour later, she began salivating. Like, Christmas decoration/diseased cow drooling. She was huffing at a faster pace & had 2-3 inches of drool swinging from her flews. Madeline is an American Bulldog & they’re known to be drooly, but she’s not actually very drooly. So the new look was definitely not normal.
I was pretty sure nothing out of the ordinary had occurred that day. I had spent most of the morning outside with the dogs, a large part of it cruising on the chaise lounge reading. We’ve had bufos, but the dogs seemed to know not to touch them & fairly deliberately growled & barked even when I was inside the house to let me know my toad removal services were needed.
I considered she might have something stuck in her throat & fed her some chunks of raw chicken; if anything was in her throat hopefully the chicken would help wash it down. No change. We packed it up & headed to the vet.
At the vet’s we were seen immediately; Madeline is so obviously shy & ridiculously cute about it that everyone tends to gather around & smile at her, which makes her worse. The vet checked her out & decided they needed to move her into their back room to wash out her mouth in case of poisonous contact & to give her an antihistamine shot. Her temperature was 104.3, which is high for dogs (normal is ~101). Madeline didn’t want to move from the exam room because there was a large man standing at the counter in the waiting room & we’d have to go past him. I ended up picking her up & carrying her; fortunately she didn’t argue.
Back seems ok 48 hours later; go me.
In 2 hours (& $130) Madeline had her mouth washed, an antihistamine shot, & an anti-inflammatory shot. The vet said she thought it was mechanical – a piece of grass perhaps that had lodged itself in Madeline’s nasal or esophageal tract. Hopefully Madeline had dislodged it, but was still huffing due to irritation, which would hopefully go down soon.
I did notice that Madeline’s stomach seemed to be contracting with her huffs, maybe a little more than I’d expect from just huffing or coughing. I thought, though, that she was just working harder to huff at this point. However, it turns out there was something to the stomach clenching.
Once we got home I washed Madeline’s mouth out more extensively with the hose (it’s very easy, since Madeline LOVES trying to “catch” the hose water), then fed her a bowl of soup (defrosted Instinct Frozen Raw medallion, mixed in water; I had a medallion thawed out for the cat, but Honeygirl likes the Addiction kibble better anyway, & I had just bought some) to get her hydrated & got mentally prepared for a night of taking Maddy’s temperature every hour & praying she got better.
Then Madeline had an explosive, wet, stinky poop. Because of their diet, my dogs’ poop barely smells. But this I could smell from several feet away. Upon inspection the poop was full of orange seed pods from the gardenia shrubs that grow next to the chaise lounge.
It turns out this poop was cathartic. Madeline’s temperature went back down to 101. Her huffing slowly decreased through the evening, although her tail remained between her legs & she followed me everywhere, even to the bathroom, until the next day. Apparently the huffing wasn’t an attempt to expel an irritant from the nasal or esophageal tract, but from her stomach. Gardenia isn’t toxic in itself, but the amount of seed pods Madeline had ingested can’t have been comfortable. Today she still has some diarrhea, although it’s slowly getting better with rice & pumpkin soup. At times like these it’s nice to have a bunch of chopped up pumpkin in the freezer.
The next time I take my Kindle out to the chaise lounge I’ll have to keep half an eye on Madeline.