Saturday night, saw my wife, Bonnie and I rushing to Brewer to the Eastern Maine Emergency Vet with our 7 year old Great Dane, Elmer. He had a 'flipped" stomach, and it's thanks to my wife, and the crack team at the Eastern Maine Emergency Vet that he is alive and home.

Elmer on the Couch, Pebbles on the Dog Bed. Photo Chris Popper
Elmer on the Couch, Pebbles on the Dog Bed. Photo Chris Popper

Last night we were downstairs, and Elmer and Pebbles were upstairs when we heard a dog whining. It was Elmer and he was in distress. He eventually settled down, but never went back to being himself. He was breathing rapidly, he was foaming at the mouth and retching. He also was almost catatonic...He wasn't paying attention to us at all. When I tried to take him outside he wouldn't move.

My wife googled Great Dane stomach bloating, something we had been warned about. Both Pebbles and Wilma had their stomach "tacked" when they were spayed, to prevent this. But Elmer was never neutered, and we just didn't have the procedure done. If you have a large dog, you definitely plan on having it done! It will save you money and worry!

Luckily, when we called the Brewer Emergency Vet, they were open. They are closed Tuesday and Wednesday nights because of staffing shortages. They said to bring him right over, and as soon as we arrived they took him right in and X-rayed his stomach. Sure enough it was twisted. They recommended emergency surgery.

The Emergency Vet Clinic is expensive. There's no downplaying that, but, Elmer is like our child, and the alternative was to have him put down. Luckily we were able to put the treatment on a credit card. Many aren't as lucky, and are faced with the heartbreaking decision of putting down their dog.

We were able to say good-bye, praying Elmer would survive the surgery, He was on pain killers and was wobbly, as he tried to stand next to me.

They called us at around 2:15 a.m. and told him he survived, and that they thought he would make a full recovery.

We were able to bring him home late this afternoon. He's to limit his activities, on pain meds and be closely monitored. Looks like Elmer, Pebbles and I will be sleeping downstairs in the living room tonight.

Lessons learned?

  • Always have your dog's stomach tacked if the vet recommends it. You can think it will never happen to you, but it can. You'll save yourself thousands, having it done preventively rather than having it done on an emergency basis.
  • If you think something is wrong, call and talk to the vet They will advise you whether you should come in, or if it can wait.

Elmer is part of our family. We would have been devastated if he had passed. Things like this happen in a blink of an eye. Cherish any and every moment you have with your loved ones, both furry and human. Life is too short.

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