Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Further Adventures of Frodo the Faller – more challenges!

Frodo and Foxy D share a bed

On Monday I was chopping up a turkey neck for Dominie. The others had just eaten beef heart but, as usual, were looking for further treats. I gave each of them a piece of neck and thought no more about it.

They all went into the garden as is their custom after breakfast and I noticed Frodo behaving quite strangely. He was standing with back hunched and seemed to be trying to vomit but all he was producing was froth and saliva. I left him for a few more minutes then went to see him. Alarmingly his stomach had ballooned and was as tight as a drum. Aware that he might be about to have a gastric torsion, as one of our previous dogs had done, Barry immediately took him straight to the vet. He remained there for the rest of the day, having been sedated, x-rayed and force fed powdered charcoal to absorb the gas.

I brought him home and he slept well that night and didn't have any seizures which we were expecting after the stress he had been under. The next morning, having been given yet more charcoal he gave an almighty heave and up came Monday's turkey neck. I had been convinced that he had chewed it before swallowing – apparently not! It had not been in his throat or it would have obstructed the tube the vet passed down it.

In the evening he was showing interest in food again so I scrambled two eggs in water for him. The night following was busy! He regurgitated the eggs and then had a very mild short seizure. He doesn't usually have any post-ictal pacing and panting but he was very restless so I wondered if this was a new phenomenon for him. Canine epilepsy is a tricky beast, always moving the goal posts and setting new challenges. Eventually, after he'd been constantly lying down and getting up and pacing I took him downstairs where he settled in his bed next to my chair. He was breathing rapidly but didn't seem distressed. I watched him closely and waited for morning (it was then half past three). My thought was that he had developed pneumonia.

On Monday our vet thought he might have developed megaoesophagus as his oesophagus was unusually very noticeable in the x-ray so he was due to go in for further exploration next week. One of the common complications of megaoesophagus is aspirate pneumonia.Barry took him to the vet as soon as the surgery opened and he spent the day there, having x-rays – and yes, he does have megaoesophagus and pneumonia. After years of telling him to get down from the work surfaces we must now encourage him to stand on his hind legs and reach for his food. In megaoesophagus the normal peristalsis does not take place so food and water are often not delivered to the stomach but remain in the oesophagus.

It's a good thing I don't have a demanding social life since I shall now be feeding Frodo the Faller several times a day for ten minutes at a time – that's five minutes spoon feeding (!!) and five minutes remaining on his back legs to try and ensure the food goes where it's meant to. Oh joy! He's a lovely boy, though, my Velcro dog.


  1. Poor Frodo! As if he doesn't already have enough on his plate (was there an unintended pun in there?)

    And did I see a vizsla in that bed?! More on that Foxy D person please.

  2. Ha ha ha - good pun!

    No, sorry, Foxy D is a fox red working Labrador - my daughter's younger dog - and about half the height of a Vizsla. She's as soft as all get-out and a really nice dog - but not a great retriever, as Jenna and Tia D always get there first so she gives up! Can't blame her, really.

  3. Now that I look more closely, I can see that she has more coat than a vizsla. She is a fab colour.

  4. Poor frodo give him a hug from me XXX Don


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