Quatsch: A Doberman’s Refusal to Eat
Back to work: Obedience Competitor, Agility Training and Therapy Dog
March 17, 2012. It was raining and cold. Quatsch, our Doberman, age 4, who I compete in obedience and rally trials with, who had been on the cover of Dog World in October 2011, refused to eat.
I called my vet at home, since Quatsch (a German idiom meaning “I don’t believe you” or “baloney”) always eats her food. When I brought Quatsch home from the breeder I was told “If my puppies don’t eat, something is very wrong.” I had taken her temperature, it was normal, but her gums were very pale. As I talked to my vet I saw Quatsch throw up blood. It was a Saturday night, so we started with the local emergency vet. In the car, on the way to the emergency vet, she had diarrhea, again, it was bloody, and I was scared.
Within eight hours the emergency vet realized they did not have the diagnostic tools they needed to find out what was wrong with my dog. They gave me a choice of three places I could go. I chose ASG where I knew one of the technicians and where a friend had her dog successfully treated for a variety of problems. I had heard of their excellent reputation.
ASG started to access the situation. The only thing I could remember Quatsch chewing was a “safe” bone purchased from a pet store. It was a large knuckle type bone. ASG diagnosed that somehow a splinter had to have broken off and punctured the stomach or intestines. They tried to pinpoint the location of the puncture, but were unable to find it through X-rays.
They couldn’t operate without knowing where the problem was. The next few hours were crucial. They kept me well informed, explained they would have to do blood transfusions and would give her a substance that would coat her intestines and stomach to hopefully prevent any more blood loss. In the meantime I contacted our pet insurance carrier, Trupanion, to learn what I needed to do to cover Quatsch’s medical bills.
This is the first dog I have ever insured, but after losing two dogs to cancer and having major surgery on a third dog, I could see that as a dog gets older vet bills are inevitable. I just never thought I would need the insurance for a four-year-old healthy dog.
It was a very long week, but Quatsch pulled through the transfusions and procedures to come home. Slowly, we returned to her regular schedule as a working therapy dog that visits patients at Verdugo Hills Hospital and working with troubled, abused teenage boys at a residence home. The boys were worried about their friend that is one of the first living beings that has given them unconditional love. They wanted her back in their lives. As she improved, she returned to her agility training and obedience work.
Then, seven months later, it happened again. I was just home from a business trip; Quatsch had stayed home with my husband. She refused her dinner. I checked her gums and they were pale. It was after 5:00 pm, my vet was closing. I didn’t waste time; I loaded her in the car and drove to ASG.
They accessed her and realized she was having a recurrence. I called my husband, the night before he had a pork chop. He searched the trash and the bone was missing. Somehow Quatsch had found it. After an anxious few days and another blood transfusion, Quatsch was healing again.
Our pet insurance followed through, we paid roughly 10 percent of Quatsch’s bill ourselves, leaving us able to tell ASG to do what they needed to cure her.
It has now been more than seven months with no recurrences. The hardest thing Quatsch is allowed to chew is a raw carrot or a cookie. She is back to agility and almost ready to compete. She has represented our obedience club at Top Dog competition in November. But, best of all, she is back to visiting her teenage boys who love to play with her, tell their troubles to her, and benefit from all the love she has to share.
– Karen Saunders