Coffee heat rising

Charley Back Home

Charley & Ruby in better days

Charley seemed a little better last night, but he was drugged to the teeth with steroids and tranquilizers and more stuff than the human mind can conceive. M’hijito had to build a spreadsheet to keep track of the dosing!

I wouldn’t have believed it…that a dog could silently work itself into such a nervous state that it can give itself a freaking heatstroke…except that before we even got to the freeway on-ramp he was doing the same thing my son described: pressed himself tight against the door, panting frantically, huffing & puffing like a steam engine. This was in spite of being doped up on sedatives! And in spite of M’hijito sitting in the back seat holding him and trying to calm him.

The freeway is within easy walking distance of the fancy emergency veterinary — less than a quarter mile, I’d say — and we were in my car, not my son’s. So presumably the cause is not some strange ultrasonic noise inaudible to humans…unless all newer cars with backup imaging technology do that. I did call Chuck the Wonder-Mechanic last week and asked if there was any way the back end of the vehicle could have heated up despite the AC blasting away…he doubted it. Pete, his business partner and future Heir to the Empire, said he hadn’t heard of any such high- or low-pitched noise issues in late-model Fords, though it was the first thing that jumped to IT Dude’s mind when I told him the story. Pete suggested I get in touch with Ford…good luck with that! 😀

At any rate, if that were the case, I’m sure the word would be out by now. There’s not a credible sign of it on the Web, at least not that I can see.

It was about a 15- or 20-minute drive to my son’s house. By the time we got there, he was already heating up, even though we cranked the AC as cold as it would go. They’d shaved his belly, so you could feel the skin on there: HOT. Schnozz: HOT.

But he now can walk about 20 or 30 feet, so that’s better than it was. We got him in the house. He gulped down about a gallon of water…you have to hold the water bowl up to his head, because he can’t bend his head down and drink.

Got him flopped down on the cool tiles and put an ice pack between his rear legs, as we’d seen the veterinary staff do. I saturated the fur around his head and neck with water, as I’ve been taught to do in the past to cool off an overheated dog. He soon stopped panting, and eventually he fell asleep.

My son’s employer kindly agreed to let him work from home, and provided a company computer and remote connection to the corporate system. In theory, that’s not part of his job description, but it looks like they’re willing to let him do it for a few days.

The Fancy Vet said to take him to the regular vet in four or five days to have him re-assessed. So if they’ll let him work from home today and tomorrow and a couple days next week, that should simplify life some.

Meanwhile, it looks like the hypothesis that the dog hurt his back or neck when he fell out of the car in Show Low may hold a little water. The veterinary assistant said when they would rub him along one side of his spine, he would act like it was sensitive, and when they lifted his right front leg to bandage the macerated spot where IV after IV has been stuck in, he yelped like it hurt. They did X-ray his spine and couldn’t find any broken vertebrae, so if this theory is right, he must have twisted or fallen cattywampus when he fell on the ground, thereby spavining his back. In that case, in a week or three, he may recover his ability to walk.

Whatever becomes of him, obviously he never can ride in a car again. Which is a bit of a problem. Presumably the only way my son will be able to get him to the vet will be to dope him with Benadryl or a sedative.

So in an idle moment, I googled “dog fear of riding in car,” and the search conveniently suggested an alternative search term: “dog is suddenly afraid to ride in the car.” Following that, I discovered that this is not a rare problem: all sorts of sites and discussion boards describe mature dogs that previously had no problem riding in a car suddenly evincing utter terror.

What would bring this on is a mystery. My son has never been in a car accident; the dog has never been hurt or tossed around by a sudden stop. Apparently out of the blue Charley just decided that cars are bad for Charleys.

It is beyond weird.

To say nothing of beyond expensive. My son refuses to say what he’s spent so far, but I’d guess it’s probably $5,000 to $8,000…possibly as much as $10,000. He said he’d just paid off the car (a 0 percent loan!) because he so much hates being in debt. And now he’s in hock to the credit card companies

Our Story So Far…

Day One
Homeward Bound
Back in Town

10 thoughts on “Charley Back Home”

    • Well… Not in this case, but in SOME cases I suspect a volley of expensive care like this is overkill. You know, most things that won’t kill you will heal in time.

      IMHO, the pet industry exploits Americans’ desire to think of small animals as child-like family members…part of that, I suspect, is exploitation of the alienation and loneliness most urban Americans experience. Part of it is exploitation of our sentimentality.

      Whatever it is, a fair amount of it is exactly that: exploitation.

  1. I can relate! My pooch cost me $4000 for a tooth and another $1500 after a Pancreatitis attack … it freaking adds up fast!!!

    Tell your son we are thinking of him! And also the sweet puppy!

  2. Funny, the steroids will make him thirsty. Also, does your son have a small table or something to put the water and food on? I have a Great Dane/Lab mix and he gets fed on top of a plastic bin and his water is elevated on a stool. This prevents neck problems, hopefully. Also, might be better for their digestive system. Good luck. I’m so thankful he seems to be recovering, albeit slowly.

    • Ah. That would explain the frantic slurpfest! 🙂

      Yes. My son has installed a low bench to hold Charlie’s beloved food and water dishes at chin level, so he doesn’t have to bend over. I used to have a pair of stepstools for the Gershep and the hound, but unfortunately donated them to the choir, because so many of us are too short to reach the cubbies for our materials without climbing on something.

      If the sprain or whatever it is happened in his neck, that should make it a LOT easier for him to eat. Even if it’s midway down his back, you’d expect it would be more comfortable for him not to have to stretch his head down.

  3. That is so strange that dogs will suddenly dislike riding in a car after enjoying if for years. Very weird. But for now, It’s good to know that Charley is slowing recovering. Good luck with his recovery.

  4. Yeah, well… One is given pause about that. And about the discovery that this is apparently an increasingly common phenomenon…

    I’ve had a lot of dogs in my lengthy lifetime, and it seems to me the more popular a breed is, the more poorly bred its numerous progeny are. Golden retrievers are among several breeds that suffer from that unfortunate fact.

    Dare to say so and misguided breeders and ignorant dog fanciers jump all over you. Here’s a blogger who had to shut down his comments after he had the nerve to suggest we’re over-producing expensive, hyped breeds:

    Psychological characteristics are largely genetic in dogs (and they’re more so in humans than we’d like to admit…). Whaddaya bet the growing spread of this trait has something to do with overbreeding?

  5. I’ve never owned anything but mutts, both cats and dogs, so I know very little about purebreds. But I have no doubt that overbreeding, or inbreeding, causes health problems for animals. That theory makes a lot of sense.

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