In the beginning of November Sasha threw up around 5 pm just before her evening meal. It shook e up because it contained some bright red blood. When a dog vomits blood it’s called hematemesis. Assuming the role of “Dog Mom” I immediately panicked. Then I reminded myself I was also a nurse and took a more logical approach. I immediately took photos (don’t worry I’m not including them). Before clean up began I examined the “evidence”. Sasha is a bit of a trash can in that she eats grass and occasionally chews a piece of a kong off and eats it. Sure enough the evidence contained grass, plant stems and a piece of a rubber ball about 1′ x 1.5″. I still contacted her veterinarian and we agreed to keep an eye on her.
Hematemesis is vomiting either new or recent blood, which is bright red. It could also involve vomiting old, partially digested blood, which has the appearance of brown coffee grounds. Sasha had bright red blood and not a lot. I was hoping it was because she’s a four-legged trash can. She ate well that evening and as days passed no further issues. Dr. Stuer did a thorough examination later that week during her session and her abdomen etc. all seemed well. Sasha has had horrific gas lately. In fact, she can clear a room or drop a rhinoceros.
In addition to her room clearing gas I’ve heard her tummy grumbling from gas so I knew she was a gas monkey playing around in there. Remember, we sleep in the great room together and she usually lies near the sofa.
Then it happened again earlier this week only this time no debris or grass….just liquid tinged with blood. I should mention that it was within the same time range as the first episode ~ a bit after 5pm. Once again panic initially set in then I got a grip and quickly took photos. I put my hand down next to one of the three little puddles so that Dr. Stuer could guesstimate the amount. Later that evening it hit me ~ she “might” have an ulcer. She’s on several different mediation but the real culprit is the Medrol (methylprednisolone ) which is a corticosteroid. Stomach ulcers can be caused by medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, steroids and aspirin. Corticosteroids definitely fall within that category. Dr. Stuer agreed and put Sasha on Prilosec which is an over the counter human medication. He also called in a prescription for carafate, another drug used by both humans and dogs. Carafate is a joy to give. It’s a large white pill and the best way of giving it is to make a “carafate sludge”. You put about 15 mL of water into a medicine cup, add the pill and in a few minutes stir it then have the patient swig it down. It sort of has the consistency of Mylanta. I knew Sasha was NOT going to drink it from a cup and since it must be taken on an empty stomach trying to hide the “sludge” in her food wasn’t an option. So I bought several size syringes and proceeded my test runs. The best one was the 20 mL syringe. I put 15 mL of water into a medicine cup, droped the carafate pill in, stirred it a minute later then dumped the contents into the syringe. I gave the syringe a few shakes, push all the air out which brings the liquid up to the end then squirt it into her mouth. It’s only been since Tuesday but so far so good. She got sick again tonight, also around 5pm but it didn’t appear to have any fresh blood. I had just given her one of her larger pills and think that might have caused it. I’m rearranging her medication schedule (probably need a spreadsheet) to see if that might help.
I sent the photos of this weeks episode to her internist, Dr. Sarah Noble (Sasha’s BFF) and she agreed that it coud be an ulcer. We are going to continue with Dr. Stuer’s treatment protocol and see how she is over the net few weeks. If necessary she could have a gastroduodenal endoscopy (scoping) which is the most definitive means of diagnosing gastrointestinal ulceration. The problem with endoscopy is that Sasha would have to be anesthetized for it. One can always try just plain x-rays first to see if they show an ulcer which is the route I would choose because 1. it’s less invasive and 2. doesn’t require anesthesia.
So stay tuned as Sasha’s medical journey branches off into yet another direction…
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💜Next up ~ Sasha makes a pit stop💜