Elsa, taken yesterday while I gardened. We were in the garden all morning without problem. It was in the afternoon when we were not gardening that the incident occurred. There will be many more fences like this one now.
Holy shit, that's all I can say about yesterday afternoon. I realize after the event that I have been shaken by the close proximity of Jessie and Tilley's deaths more than I thought. Typically I am a rock steady type; the sort that could get you to the hospital while you are bleeding to death and be okay with it. Although I didn't come completely unglued I was most definitely rattled with a touch more panic than normal; but still very much in control. Control and taking control is so very important in emergency type situations. You cannot fall apart, you wait for after the crisis is over to do that.
It was a beautiful day, I was sitting outside painting my nails with Luke on the lounge and Elsa chasing lizards. I looked over to Elsa who had lay on the ground and I thought it was strange. I figured that she'd caught a lizard. But when I got over there she was chewing at her foot; I immediately thought of a rose thorn. I checked her entire foot several times. I went over her foot with my eyes and my hands and found nothing. But something was most definitely bothering her. I went and sat again and she came over with her paw up. There had to be something in it, so I had another feel.
In a panic she ran to the grass and pooped, evacuation style. Right after that she lost her breakfast, vomiting 5 or 6 times before she stopped. Now I was worried. She ran to me and stood by my side. Panic started to build; "could it have been a snake, a black window?" I decided we should go in and got her to lay down for minute before checking her gums; they were pale, not good. Elsa was panting, not hot type panting; shallow, rapid panting that is never good. She was not herself; her tail was down and she seemed confused, out of it. I tried talking to her but got very little response from her.
I jumped in my chair and typed Canyon when my vet came up in the search bar. I looked up the number for my vet and checked her gums again; this time they were white and so was her tongue. Not only was her gums and tongue white; but her face was cold. Full on panic hit and adrenaline shot through my body. The image of holding Tilley's cold face with white gums flashed through my head. I called the vet and told them I was coming.
Everything was racing through my head. This had to be an allergic reaction of some sort. Could it be a bee? She'd been bitten so many times last summer because of a huge hive in the neighbors yard. Was it this, was it all the stings that finally caught up to her. Trying not to speed too badly so that I actually got her to the vet; I talked to her constantly to reassure myself. As long as she was still standing I felt better. Funny, I am not one to run to the Dr. or the Vets; I am very hands on and deal with most issues myself. But there are times when you just go; don't think, go.
It didn't take long to get there, maybe 15-20 minutes but time had gotten away from me; time is your enemy in these type of situations. I pulled up, hopped out and grabbed Elsa. She was walking, not steady but walking. When we got into the office there was a Labrador puppy in the waiting room that made her wag, yes. Honestly, how many things can rush into your head at the same time. I was watching Elsa's every move; thinking about Tilley along with questions, so many questions. I just wanted her in and being treated immediately. Typically I am very hands on, you all know how I feel about turning my dogs over. But in a situation like this I wanted to just give her to someone to fix.
They were amazing at the Veterinarians and when my own Vet, Dr. Brower came out I could not have been happier to see anyone in the world. I told her what happened and she said it sounded like an anaphylactic reaction and she took her into the back. I sat and took a huge breath in; I think we have a tendency to hold our breath at times like this. Glancing over to the small table on the left; where my book,When Luke Met Elsa sat, I shook my head. I was very close to tears; trying very hard to push away all the bad thoughts, the technician said "I'll check on her." So nice, they were so nice there. She was back in a flash and said that Elsa was okay and it was in fact a bee. A huge sigh of relief left me and I tried to shake off some of the horrible feeling you are left when you get an adrenaline surge.
Bee Stings - VetStreet
Pet Wave - Analphylactic Shock
2nd Chance - Anaphylaxis, allergic shock to vaccines. (Not from bee sting but the same reaction caused by vaccinations.) This is such a good article I had to include it because many people are still over vaccinating or going to the cheap vaccine clinics.
US National Library of Medicine - Epinephrine
How to recognize is your dog is healthy
Earth Clinic - Bee Sting
After a bit my Veterinarian came out and told me that they had retrieved a stinger and she was doing well. She'd had a shot of benadryl and cortisone and they were monitoring her vitals. "She's going to be okay," were the words I was waiting for and they came, thankfully. They wanted to keep her for a couple of hours to make sure; that was fine with me. I thanked my Vet and the wonderful girl in the office and head off for a couple of hours. I immediately started thinking about my garden; things had to change. The idea of having a dog allergic to bees was overwhelming. We are such an outdoor type of family; how on earth was I going to keep Elsa away from bees?
On the way home I stopped at Lowe's and headed straight for the fencing area. I grabbed four of those folding type garden fence things. Most of my gardens have fence type things around them to keep the dog from running through them but the one where she'd been stung did not. That is the garden where the lizards hang out and Elsa stomps regularly. So I was going to fence it all in. I couldn't get rid of all the gardens but I may not be primping them as much for blooms now.
As soon as I got home I started my research. I also let my huge FB group The Standard Poodle (nearing 8000 strong) know what was going on. I have to thank all of the wonderful people who sent best wishes and support to both Elsa and I. It means so very much at a time like this.
At 4:30 I climbed back in the Xterra to go pick Elsa up. When I got there another one of the Techs told me about her little dog who was extremely allergic. The stories were freaking me out; I told her that this all sounded horrible and that I did not want a bee allergic dog. After talking for quite a while she said "you cannot let it consume you." I have never had to deal with allergic reactions in my family; everyone so far has been (knock on wood) good. I have severe pollen allergies but that is just the typical, runny eyes, sneezing my face off and coughing. Nothing like anaphylactic shock.
When the vet brought her out she was happy. She wagged and greeted a man who was waiting for his dog and then went crazy when she saw me. We had a moment and then the vet explained it all. I asked about an epi-pen and she discussed the serious side effects of epinephrine. I am still researching the whole epi-pen thing and will share the information when I can find it. There is very little information about dogs and epi-pens out there. For now I will be carrying benadryl with me. I am off this morning to stock up. I intend on carrying it on me in my dog walking pouch, in the car and have it in the house. Liquid is the best form as it can be digested the fastest. I will also buy several syringes so that I can dose and administer it quickly.
If you are going to use a syringe you must be careful how you squirt. Do not just open the mouth and blast, it could end up going the wrong way. Place the syringe in the side of the mouth; life the lip at the back molar area and slowly apply so that the dog swallows the substance.
***After coming back from the drug store I have opted to carry adult gel tabs. Each contains 25 mg so I will need 2; this is much easier than the liquid and syringe. Plus it is less diluted.***
I have always known about the swollen faces on dogs from bee stings but I did not know that they can have such severe anaphylactic reactions without all the swelling. Education is the best way to arm yourself; I will be well armed.