Tummy Bear

Our dog Tummy Bear, is a 3 year old English Mastiff. He is a lap dog, or tries to be, without realizing he weighs 185 pounds. He’s always ready to great me at the door with sloppy wet kisses, and he makes sure I am never alone. He’s my shadow. This past summer, my husband and I were up very late, around 2 in the morning. I noticed him panting strangely. I thought, because our summers here are brutally hot, that he might have been dehydrated. I got him into the bathroom and surrounded him with towels, then hosed him down with the shower head. I tried to get him to drink water, but he wouldn’t even lift his head.

While drying him off, I noticed his stomach was huge, and very hard. I called our local emergency vet and explained the breed of dog we had, his symptoms, and how quickly he was deteriorating. The lady on the other end of the line sighed sympathetically and said, “Oh honey, it sounds like bloat.” I asked here what that meant and she explained that it was very bad and we needed to bring him in right away. My husband and I carried our dog to the car, and laid him on the backseat. We then raced across town, breaking every posted speed limit along the way. As soon as we got him there, several attendants rushed out to the car to help us get him inside. The rushed him to the back and stuck a metal rod into his stomach to deflate the air. When bloat occurs (usually in large chested dogs), their stomachs flip and fill with air, causing pressure on the lungs and heart.

He was suffocating. Meanwhile, I’m speaking (and crying uncontrollably) with the receptionist. She explained the procedure, his chances of survival 50%), and how much the emergency surgery would cost. The vet then explained that even if he did make it through the surgery, once they flip the stomach back and reattach in, it will release toxins into is blood that might go straight to his heart and kill him anyway. The receptiont then asked me if I would like to go ahead and have him euthanized since his chances of survival were not very good. I don’t mind telling you, that this was the closest I have ever come to strangling someone. I asked “I almost killed us getting here to save my dog at 3 am, and you’re asking me if I want to euthanize him?? Are you really this stupid??” Thank goodness, cooler heads prevailed and my husband told her that we would do whatever it took to save him. Later we found out, that had we had a normal schedule like most people, we would have slept through the entire process, and Tummy would have been dead when we woke up. He did make it through the surgery, and is still, thankfully with us.

Amy from TX