Warning: some graphic poop & mucous talk ahead.
The Fluffy Dog has Canine Cannonbutt. I’m pretty sure that’s the technical term. It’s been happening on and off for six days now, with decently solid poops every second day, and otherwise a mucousy mess that he can barely hold in.
My bromate called me at work yesterday morning to let me know the Fluffster had been pacing and whining frantically, and when released into the yard, his back end basically exploded. The bromate had to actually cut away the Fluffy Dog’s butt hair to clean him up. (Fortunately I have a stash of disposable latex gloves. Unfortunately, the poor bromate didn’t know where they were.)
When I got home at lunch, I inspected the poop, as any good mama does. It was as slimy and mucousy as the last few times, but still no blood. But it reminded me that he had vomited the other day, with some weird slimy phlegm (like, weirder than normal dog puke, I mean). And when I took him out on a playdate on Saturday, he wasn’t really feeling it, and seemed kind of lethargic.
I’ve been trying to feed him milder food (plain chicken breast, overcooked sloppy white rice, a tiny bit of plain yoghurt—rather than his usual steaks and tenderloins and venison), but it doesn’t seem to be working. So I made a vet appointment for today with Dr. Beggs.
This morning, when I threw his Most Favouritest Yard Toy in the whole world (a little red Kong), the Fluffy Dog plodded over slowly and merely sniffed it. I was glad I’d made the appointment. But of course, by the time we got to St. Vital Veterinary Hospital, my goodbad dog was bouncing around happily. Yo! Fluffster in da house! His tail was wagging, his eyes were sparkling, he was begging prettily for treats (no way, diarrhea boy), and he was barking joyfully and singing bits and pieces of the song of his people (it goes like this: “roo-roo-rooooooo-oo-oo, awroo-roo-roooooooo, roo roo”—catchy, eh?).
Long story short, after prods and pokes and stethoscopings and palpationing and a superfun rectal exam in which Dr. Beggs bemoaned her lack of piano fingers and in which the Fluffy Dog demonstrated a classic WTF Face, it turns out that there is nothing immediately shocking. No parasites, nothing infectious, no blood. No palpable tumours or weird prostate changes, no fistulas (a really gross thing to which shepherds in particular are prone). His temperature was fine, heart and lungs were fine, no bad abdominal sounds, and so on and so forth.
So it is possible that this is the beginning of some Inflammatory Bowel Disease, like Crohn’s or colitis. Or it could be a gastrointestinal presentation of an endocrine problem, like Addison’s. Or it could just be that Mr. Fluff is having a bad week. So the fabulous Dr. Beggs (who always explains things so thoroughly, and who seems to really like my animals) advised that we should treat him symptomatically and keep an eye on him. They sent us home with some packets of probiotics, and a two-week course of metronidazole.
It broke his sweet heart that nobody at the clinic would give him treats because of his diarrhoea, although Dr. Beggs won his forever love when she found a bland rice treat for him before we left. But once we got home, cannonbutt be damned, I loaded two of his pills onto a spoonful of peanut butter and let him have at it. I’m thrilled that he doesn’t have anything that’s scary right now, and that he’s cleared to go to daycare tomorrow.
I mean, I’d rather have spent the money on books and wine (or, more realistically, groceries and some new insoles for my winter boots), but no matter how much I try to talk big (“You’re such a bad dog! I’m gonna trade you in for a puppy!”), the truth is that I’m always happy to be in a position to take care of the animals. It’s tight sometimes—heck, a lot of the time—but I figure this is part of the job.