I’ve been posting small updates on Maisie and her kennel cough here for a week, since she first started showing the telltale signs. But since things are changing it is time for a longer update.
First, yes, Maisie is going to the vet. I’ve been on the phone with them last week and today. I’m not a vet, and I’m not going to take chances with her life.
A week ago Maisie started coughing a little bit. Then the signs: hacking cough, ending with gagging. Then the white foam. No abdominal discomfort, swelling, rigidity, or pain. Heart sounds strong and clear. Lung sounds clear. Eyes clear. CRT/gums normal. Activity normal. Appetite normal. No coughing during the day. No fever that I could discern.
Still, on Wednesday I started calling local vets. We wanted to continue using her vet but they’re 60 miles away. Definitely too far in an emergency. I started with the vets I knew were highly recommended; none were accepting new patients. Then I started calling the vets within 10 miles. Ditto. (Except for one, who only saw sick animals if they were already established patients.) Then 20 miles. Nobody accepting new patients. I have never heard of such a thing! So I called our vet; they had no openings for urgent cases for EIGHT DAYS! And openings for routine visits were scheduling out a month in advance! I have no idea what is going on with all this, it’s crazy! But I scheduled her for the 23rd, after talking at length about her symptoms which were typical for kennel cough.
Kennel cough doesn’t usually require veterinary care and runs its course in a couple of weeks, unless a secondary infection crops up – like pneumonia. No signs of that, however. They told me to use their suggested Vet ER if necessary but if it was during office hours to call them first to check for cancellations or scheduling changes.
Friday she started looking a little different around the eyes and the way she held her ears. Still acting fine, eating normally, etc. Just something that nobody else would probably even notice. So I started watching her carefully. And I kept the phone number for the emergency vet nearby.
Saturday morning she was ok, though, back to just the normal kennel cough stuff. So we went through with our plans but came home as early as we could. She was still the same. Late evening, though when the coughing usually started worsening for the night, was different. Coughing was heavier both in frequency and forcefulness. She brought up a little phlegm, but very little. (Still, phlegm is better coughed up than sitting inside!) It was running its course, still doing what kennel cough does. Still no signs of anything more serious going on. She coughed up a couple more specks of phlegm but 99% still the typical foam.
Sunday – yesterday – she coughed all day; that was different. But she did run around the yard, get some exercise, eat, work, etc. When evening came, which is when the coughing had begun in earnest throughout all of this, she brought up more phlegm – not necessarily a bad thing, especially after exercise, though phlegm is different from the typical white foam of kennel cough. She was starting to feel feverish. (I don’t have a thermometer which is criminal, I know!) Then started wheezing between coughing. By late evening she was still breathing ok but pushing her sides in to move the air out. Time to call the emergency vet, I didn’t want to wait until morning for this!
I called – they couldn’t take her. It was nearly midnight and they closed at 8 a.m. and wouldn’t take in any pets that may need hospitalization. I was shocked! It’s further even than her normal vet but obviously worth the drive! They suggested MSU – 100 miles away but whatever! I looked on their website for the phone number; they closed at midnight! There were a few places down in Detroit, one in Grand Rapids (only served people in the western counties), Ann Arbor… All of them HOURS away!
By this time it was only 7 hours until my own vet opened. When she DID fall asleep, she had no signs of hard breathing or wheezing, nor did I hear anything alarming in her lungs; awake, the wheezing always turned into coughing, almost like the first stage of a coughing episode. I was slightly – very slightly – reassured that she was ok when sleeping, though. So, flashlight and stethoscope in hand, I sat up with Maisie to wait it out. During that time I “discovered” another Vet ER that for some reason isn’t listed anywhere. 100+ miles away but at least they’re open 24/7…
Once Pete got up at 5:00 I dozed off on the davenport. When their office opened I spent a while trying to get through to our vet – busy signals on Monday mornings are expected. When I updated them they made an opening for her tomorrow morning. I’m not sure whether we’ll take it or if we will go to the Vet ER today. Neither of us got much sleep overnight (we each had a nap, basically) so Pete is sleeping right now. If we have to drive down there at least one of us should be alert.
There are also other things to consider: The a/c stopped working on our car, it will be in the 90’s, and both of us do very poorly in heat and humidity due to our own health issues (COPD, asthma, cancer, heart disease, etc.). The car has developed a loud noise that we were planning get checked out after the first of the month, after driving it only sparingly until then; being stranded in this kind of heat/humidity with a seriously sick dog (and possibly seriously sick US), is something to think about. We had to postpone signing the title work on our house which we are selling; if the vet costs are above a certain level we won’t be able to close until after the first, possibly threatening the sale altogether; we’ll be dipping into the closing costs to pay emergency vet fees which aren’t cheap! (Obviously I WILL DO IT if it comes to that!) Those are the main issues. The worst, for me, is the very real threat of car trouble which could make everything not only worse, but dangerous for us all. Everything else can be dealt with.
Thanks for reading. I am thankful and appreciative for any petitions you can take to the throne of grace. Especially for wisdom and discernment.