On Monday night Otto gave us a scare. Everything ended up fine, but for an hour or so I was literally shaking.
I took Otto out to the backyard for his last bathroom visit of the night. Our motocycle is parked in one corner of the backyard, and occasionally Otto goes behind the bike to explore. We don’t store anything back there, so usually it’s perfectly safe. However, on Monday night when he emerged from behind the bike he was foaming at the mouth. I immediately started worrying that some sort of poisonous plant was back there, or the bike was leaking some nefarious fluid, or that some horrible person had tossed something poisonous over our fence.
Otto came inside, foaming and shaking his head from side to side. NOT convulsions, more like he had something on his face that he was trying to shake off. I hollered for Grimbil (poor guy had gone to bed early), who came running downstairs when he heard the panic in my voice. He found the emergency vet number, and by the time I had them on the phone the foaming had stopped. Otto drank a little water and then started wandering around the house as usual, so the vet said to just keep an eye on him for the next hour.
Grimbil went back to bed, and Otto curled up on my lap. After about 20 minutes he tried to get up, but his hind legs didn’t seem to be working very well. Once he did get up he was walking strangely, limping and kind of hunched. So of course I became worried that he had ingested some sort of neurotoxin which was potentially paralyzing him. Cue hollering for Grimbil again. He agreed that Otto was walking a bit strangely (by then he was just limping), so I called the vet back and booked a pet ambulance. It’s probably the one time I wished we owned a car.
45 minutes later the pet ambulance arrived. It only had room for one human passenger, so Grimbil trundled back to bed for the 3rd time and Otto and I were off. Fortunately the emergency vet is only on the other side of the common so we were there quite quickly. And of course, by the time we got there Otto was bounding around the vet’s office sniffing everything in sight. I’ve never been so happy to look like an idiot.
The vet examined him anyway and gave him a clean bill of health. The theory is that he tried to eat something (probably a plant or a frog) that didn’t agree with him, hence the foaming. Being a bit shocked or stressed could explain why he was walking strangely. And to be honest, when he first wakes up in the morning he tends to be a bit clumsy with his hind legs.
So thankfully it was not a big deal and Otto is completely fine. I’m looking at it as a good trial run of our emergency care system. Now we have the number for the pet ambulance and for the emergency vet readily available, we know how long it takes to get there, and we know that the pet ambulance is not always quick to arrive. Time to find a nearby car service that takes dogs!