Scariest dog moment of my life

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Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby GWPtyler » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:22 am

I'm not sure what it is about hunting dogs and health issues, but man, in five years and two dogs I've experienced more than I ever imagined.

The most recent (and most traumatic) came Saturday, which was duck opener in North Dakota. I was with three other hunters. I brought both my wirehairs along because, well, why not? Weather was nice. Wind was good. Ducks were plentiful. Can't complain.

Long story short, after many retrieves and a long search for a cripple, my young pup Blitz had enough. I first noticed something was wrong after we returned to the group, which had assembled to tally the ducks and see where we were at. Full disclosure, Blitz is high strung and a bit of a whiner. He likes to search for ducks and retrieve them, but he hates sitting still. Most of the morning (especially the inactive parts) was spent shivering and whining next to me.

Well, I had to practically drag him to follow, which I initially attributed to him mentally "checking out." He plunked down by our gear and whined. I figured he could just stay there while we finished our limit.

After a bit, I stopped hearing his whining. He wandered over to another one of the hunters but then disappeared. A bit worried, I heeled my other dog Remy out of the cattails and decided to call it quits and just lay down with Blitz until everyone was done.

Amy, who had been sitting with Blitz, mentioned that it appeared he was injured. He didn't want to stand up and seemed to be favoring his back legs. I thought that was odd, as he hadn't shown any signs before, but figured it was best I give him a look over. It took a lot of coaxing to get him to walk to the gear pile so we could lay down, but he eventually came over and plopped down.

Then the spasms started. Initially I thought he was falling asleep sitting up, thus causing him to twitch/startle awake. Then he did it again. And 60 second later, again. I thought it might have been from muscle cramps, but he had a very strange look of shock on his face each time it happened. After the third or fourth episode, I told everyone we were heading back to the pickup and to start grabbing gear.

By this point, Blitz would not stand, so I grabbed him and began walking out of the field. We were halfway back to the pickup (roughly a quarter mile) when I set him down to rest. I tried coaxing him to walk, and then noticed the large amount of froth at the corner of his mouth. Chalking this up to him being thirsty, I made a mental note to get water for him back and the truck and picked him up again. We took 10 more steps when he seized.

He shook so hard I nearly dropped him. Then he froze, solid as a rock, frothing from the mouth like he was rabid. He eyes rolled back into his head and bulged, simultaneously pissing all over himself. Blitz looked like a 3D snapshot in full sprint: his back legs were straight behind him and his front legs were straight down.

My buddy Adam was the first to come running. He said they couldn't tell if the screams were me or the dog. I honestly don't remember screaming, but I couldn't see well because I was blubbering like a fool. Adam sprinted a quarter mile to the pickup (in waders) to look for water while I staggered with my limp dog in my arms. I thought he was toast.

Adam's wife came next. She had grabbed a bottle of water and ran the whole distance from the pond to the truck, then spent the next 20 minutes watching over Blitz while I helped finagle our gear.

For the next hour, Blitz gradually came to. He fought to sit, then stand, but couldn't without falling over. On the way back home, we stopped at a gas station and I took him out to nearby grass. He took a couple feeble steps, then vomited.

By the time we were home, he hopped to of the truck and took a little lap around the yard. Erin had called the vet, who instructed us to give him some Gatorade, water and some food as he likely had low electrolytes. We didn't need to bring him in yet, but if he seized again it would be an emergency situation.

By that evening, he'd eaten two bowls of food, a couple Pedialyte pops that were for my son, and plenty of ice cubes. Yesterday morning he was his old self.

My wife has him at the vet as we speak just for a look-see. They suspect his electrolytes were off and he might have been hypoglycemic, but they want to make sure it's not any other myriad issues that can cause seizures.

I'm looking forward to getting an answer so we can avoid this again. It was the most traumatic dog incident so far, and I've witnessed lacerated tongues, broken necks (same dog, actually, a year ago), bowl obstruction, etc.

Anyone else experience this? The good thing is the worst appears to be behind us.
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Re: Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby orhunter » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:05 pm

Scary indeed.

My first guess is diabetic shock. My next first guess is, toxic blue/green algae.
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Re: Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby GWPtyler » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:02 pm

Vet said it was from hypoglycemia. Sounds like I need to start feeding them him the morning of the hunt, as well as bring corn syrup along for emergencies. Think I'll also be packing peanut butter granola bars along, too, to supplement his energy needs during the day's hunt.

Dogs...criminy...
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Re: Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby orhunter » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:54 pm

You can get those small plastic packets of honey for emergencies. Best to avoid the emergency.

Whole wheat bread with peanut butter (if peanuts don't make your dog sick) or bacon grease, is a tasty treat during the hunt. Shouldn't take much to keep a dog going. Helps them make it back to the truck after eight hours of Chukar hunting for sure. A little extra food in the bowl the night before is a good idea.
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Re: Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby GWPtyler » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:41 pm

orhunter wrote:You can get those small plastic packets of honey for emergencies. Best to avoid the emergency.

Whole wheat bread with peanut butter (if peanuts don't make your dog sick) or bacon grease, is a tasty treat during the hunt. Shouldn't take much to keep a dog going. Helps them make it back to the truck after eight hours of Chukar hunting for sure. A little extra food in the bowl the night before is a good idea.


Those are great ideas! I'll have to look for honey packets at Costco. I bet they'd have 'em.
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Re: Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby orhunter » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:56 pm

You may never need to use it, the Costco size is probably overkill. Heck, you'll more than likely eat it all yourself. Might be able to steal some from your local coffee shop or restaurant?

If you go to feeding twice a day, don't make breakfast a real meal, just a snack. I feed a fried egg and 1/4 cup of regular dry food. One thing nice about fried eggs, you can stockpile a few for hunting trips and keep them in the cooler.
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Re: Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby Scott Linden » Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:27 pm

orhunter wrote: One thing nice about fried eggs, you can stockpile a few for hunting trips and keep them in the cooler.


While I am still reluctant to feed in the morning (stomach twist and Purina research on performance) something low volume like an egg makes more sense than a bowl of food.

I wonder if you can even freeze those fried eggs?

See you in the hills - you know, the ones above those rivers in those spots we both know but can't mention.
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Re: Scariest dog moment of my life

Postby 3drahthaars » Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:47 pm

Scott Linden wrote:
orhunter wrote: One thing nice about fried eggs, you can stockpile a few for hunting trips and keep them in the cooler.


While I am still reluctant to feed in the morning (stomach twist and Purina research on performance) something low volume like an egg makes more sense than a bowl of food.

I wonder if you can even freeze those fried eggs?

See you in the hills - you know, the ones above those rivers in those spots we both know but can't mention.


I fry an egg for myself and my pup on hunting mornings. And, in off season when I run her on the weekends I give her a scrambled egg in place of her regular kibbles before we leave.

The honey or even peanut butter is an excellent idea to carry with the emergency first aid bag in your vest.

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