Saturday, June 9, 2012

Too much of a good thing can be fatal

Summer, sunshine, the heat, water, they all go together.  You hear it "stay hydrated", you watch your two leggeds go to the umpteenth mile to get you and offer you water during your walks and when you are playing outside.  That is the way it should be. But if you are like Morty, a Chesapeake retriever who loved retrieving balls from the pool, you have a different relationship with water. You have learned, the hard way, that too much of a good thing can kill you.

Morty's family had a pool party last year. Lots of people, lots of children and lots of fun. Morty was surrounded by playmates. Everybody was willing to throw the ball in the pool for Morty. And Morty never disappointed, he went after every single ball. After all he is a Chesapeake retriever! 

As the party wound down, nobody notices that Morty was no longer outside. A quick check in the house and his momma found him listless, staggering, vomiting clear liquid, drooling, and in obvious distress. She grabbed a towel, wrapped him up and off they went to the ER Vet. A million thoughts in her head... Did someone feed him something? Did he ingest something? Was this disease? By the time they arrived at the er vet, Morty looked like he was dying and his momma was hysterical.

The young vet took a complete history and was particularly attentive to the party story and the pool and the chasing of the balls.  After the initial exam they diagnosed HYPONATREMIA.-- aka extreme water intoxication. Every ball Morty retrieved was a gulp of water he swallowed. Water intoxication disturbs the electrolyte balance, resulting in a rapid decrease in serum sodium concentration and eventual death. It is a very serious condition. It is a hard to recognize condition because the symptoms are similar to dehydration:  loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. Symptoms progress to difficulty in breathing, collapsing, loss of consciousness, and seizures.  Morty was gasping for air when he was first examined.

You cannot treat this condition at home. The ER was the right call. While Morty was being treated and stabilized, family arrived at the ER to take care of Morty's momma who by now was shaking and crying and pacing and praying and in her words "a quivering mass of guilt and feeling the stupidest person on earth".  [Hardly... Morty's momma has a PHD ...she is NOT stupid at all]

Morty is OK.  He spent two days in the ER. Lots of sodium replacement therapy. Lots of love, many tears by his momma and many many I am so so so sorry...

So.... now there is a basket of balls with numbers by the pool.  There are exactly 15 balls.
The rules are simple. Morty gets to retrieve each ball ONCE. Once the basket is empty, it stays empty.  NO MORE BALLS for the day. Also, the new rule is: at a party, one human is solely in charge of Morty and solely responsible to monitor Morty and the sole ultimate authority on all things Morty for the duration of the party.  Basically Morty gets his own human sitter. This year his sitter caught a child trying to feed Morty some grapes... nuff said.

Be aware, oh and by the way, HYPONATREMIA kills two leggeds as well.

Be careful out there,


Hey Morty, wanna play?


NanaNor's said...

Hi Silvie, Thank you for sharing this story-a very important lesson for all of us-although Hunter doesn't seem interested in playing in water of any kind(is this a Bichon trait?). I had never heard of this condition but important to know about.
Thanks for always sharing such important info with us.
Wags, Noreen & Hunter

Kolchak Puggle said...

I never even knew this was a thing. Wowza, we're gong to share iit on the weekly woof.