SNAKE BITE; Not many Chow breeders go through this traumatic experience but it can and does happen.
The date is Thursday night 18.11.93.
I allow Apollo and Monique out of their kennel run each night, so that they can sleep on the veranda by the front door. On Thursday night it was no different, in the morning as usual I then put them back into their kennel for the day. Neither of them are energetic dogs nor therefor do not run all over the grounds as the younger Chows do. When I got home from work on Friday I noticed that Apollo was not standing on his left leg, and after questioning both Rick and Robin as to his activities during the day they both said that neither of them noticed anything unusual. I examined his leg and found it to be very swollen, presuming that he might have strained a ligament; I gave him an Indocid tablet with his supper of which he only ate half. On the Saturday morning I took him over to the Vet, who after examining him agreed with me that he had hurt his leg and put him onto a course of anti inflammatory tablets to reduce the swelling and the pain. I took him home and put him straight back into his kennel, with strict instructions that he was to rest his leg as much as possible. I gave him his tablets with a small amount of food and again tried to feed him his supper, which he was not interested in. The following morning he appeared to be worse, he was not very keen to walk on his led, I again examined it and to my horror found that his glands in his groin were very swollen he had a very high temperature and when I lifted him to see if he could stand he collapsed, I called Rick and showed him the swelling saying that if this was a ligament problem he should be able to stand and not collapse as he did. I immediately realized that this was a very dangerous situation and a snake had possibly bitten that he. Possibly a small Night Adder, I phoned every Vet in the book and eventually found a Doctor in Hillcrest where we immediately took him. By this time Apollo was battling to breathe he could not even lift his head or his body he was in a comatose state, the doctor examined him and immediately agreed with me that a snake had bitten him, and due to the large swelling of the groin this was the possible entrance of the fang bite. He was put onto a drip and placed in the intensive care ward. He managed to survive the night but was still not out of danger when I phoned the Vet at 9am on Monday. I again phoned him at 5pm when I got home to be told that his temperature had gone down and the drip had been removed, He was able to stand, but not on the swollen leg, The Doctor said he was very depressed, and when he slept he snored all the time, He was afraid that Apollo might be getting respiratory complications. He said he thought Apollo's face looked rather puffy, but then he had never worked on chow before, I explained that most Chows snore, and that Apollo's bone structure was normal and that he did have rather big cheeks. The Vet assured me that he was better than he had been in the morning, but he would like me to go up and see him on Tuesday after work to help his access him, and his condition and that I must phone to see how he was doing in the morning, and that hopefully he would be able to hold out through the night. Although in a very critical condition he said he thought that Apollo would survive this bite. It's Tuesday morning the date is the 23.11.93 and its been 5 days since Apollo was bitten by a night adder, this morning when I phoned the Vet, he said that Apollo had had a good night although he had snored all night. He had eaten a little chicken for breakfast, and was standing up on all four legs. When I got to the hospital this evening I saw a remarkable change in my very sick dog, from almost being a dead dog, to come to me when I opened his cage, and stood up on all four legs and even wagged his tail, he then placed his lovely head on my lap as I sat in his kennel on the floor next to him. He was so happy to see me, and I think he was so grateful to still be alive, he tried to follow me out the Hospital ward door, and was still very shaky on his legs, I put him back into the kennel an told him that I would see him tomorrow. I then spoke to the Vet whom said that he would like to do a thyroid test on him tomorrow and that hey would like to keep him in another day to make sure that here was no relapse. Apollo was nearly just one of the many Chows to walk in Doggy heaven, but thanks to a wonderful medical team he is not going to be in Heaven until the right time comes.
Wednesday 24.11.93 I phoned this morning and the Vet told me that he felt that Apollo would be better off at home, due to bad depression. I picked him up this evening, he was still very confused and we took him home. On arrival at home I allowed him to take a short walk in the garden allowing him to urinate, you could actually see a smile on his face when he suddenly realized that he was really at home, he wagged his tail and had a very short walk around and then Rick picked him up and carried him inside, and put him into the Shower room, where I had made a cozy bed for him, hopeing that he would sleep there and settle down, I gave him a small amount of supper which he heartily ate as he had refused to eat anything at the hospital, I then allowed him to eat what Tasha had Left, a good meal for a dog that had not eaten in 6 days. He is still very weak but I am sure he will grow stronger each day now he is at home. The swelling in his leg has gone down and the only swelling now is where the actual snake bite is, but this has considerably reduced from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a ping pong ball, he is still not very happy about walking on the leg but does try his best to get up without help, which is very difficult on the bathroom floor. The Vet has given him tablet to take that should set him on the path to full recovery.
30.11.93 It has been a week now since Apollo came home from the hospital, his condition has improved very slowly and today he was able to stand for a few minutes on his damaged leg. He is still taking anti-inflammatory tablets and shall do so for the next week, I have put him back into his kennel as he appears much happier there with Monique, He is eating well and looks much better. I have now put him onto a course of Arnica tablets which I think had helped in his recovery, I also rubbed his leg every day with Arnica ointment, these are available at your local pharmacy, and I advise anyone who has dogs to keep a supply of them at home, they reduce swelling, sprains, bruising and inflammation, they are truly a wonder tablet. This will be a long procedure for Apollo but I know that he will regain his strength in his leg. I shall follow this up with a report next week to inform the progress he has made.
Apollo has improved tremendously since he has been on the Arnica tablets, and although his leg is still weak he is now walking slowly around our garden on all fours.
I know this is a very touchy subject to write about, and I know I have written about it before in chapter one, but feel that this story and the follow up in Afrikaans by Mrs. L Naude are an essential part of my book.
Over the years we have lost some of the best dogs in the Chow World, To Gastric Torsion. The first I knew of was "Adoons" Andries du Toit's male, then my "Halley" died suddenly, "Sheila" of Johan Naude used to suffer from gastric torsion, "toper" Cheryl Ann's lovely dog, and then my dear old "Lady", "Tinkerbell" of Coen Myburg, "Benjie" Elize Greens imported male and also "Suster" of Tom Putter, as well as our beloved "Tangerine dream - Tangie" owned by Alma and Andrew, Toppie van Niekerk also lost number of Chows due to gastric torsion, and as I have said, a great loss to all of us.
Now I know that once this happens there is very little that can be done, but on Thursday night when I got home from work all my dogs appeared fine, I fed them at five and allowed them out to do their business before settling them down for the night. At 9pm I heard a terrible scream from "Apollo's" kennel, I rushed outside to see what was the matter, all the time with the fear of the dreadful Bloat in the back of my mind. I was right, his belly was blown up like an over size football, ready to explode. I knew if I could not reduce it in size he would die, we did not even have time to get him to the emergency Vet in Westville, as he would have died by the time we got him down the drive. I screamed for Rick and Robin to help me, We cut a piece of hose pipe and while Robin held "Apollo's" mouth open with a piece of wood, I battled a few times to get the hose down his throat into his stomach, It seemed to take hours, but only a few seconds had passed when we heard the sound of air escaping through the tube. Rick pressed gently on his belly helping to expel the excessive gasses that had built up so quickly. I gave no thought to what other damage the hosepipe might cause; I just knew I had to reduce the gas if I wanted my dog to live.
Within five minutes the belly of my dog had reduced to almost normal, I gave him a massive dose of Arnica to reduce swelling, bruising and shock and allowed him to sleep inside during the night, I stayed up with him the whole night to see that it won't happen again and also that he did not suffer a heart attack.
The following morning, I took him over to our Vet who examined him and said that he was a very lucky chow to have me, as he would have died if I had tried to move him. A hosepipe was all I was able to think of too release the gasses he had built up. To prevent this from happening again he is now being fed a mixture of food that is liquidated into a pulp to aid his digestive system. He has a limited amount of food per day and his water intake is restricted before and after meals. I did not allow him to eat anything for 24 hours after bloating and today, a week later he is back to normal.
Bloat is something, which I know now, is to be treated immediately on the spot, you do not have time to wait for a Vet or even get to a Vet. This is how I lost my "Halley". Any flexible tubing inserted through his mouth into the stomach will help to reduce the gas built up, but unfortunately if left to long or a car trip could cause the stomach to turn and this will cause the death of your dog. Try to save him before moving him, fast thinking, no fuss and fast work and you dog may live to see many more happy years. I hope and pray that Apollo will and that my little story will be able to save maybe one Chow chow out there. Please don't be afraid to try this treatment on your own, Your Chow is a valuable member of your family and his life must be save if at all possible.
In die lig van bogenoemde artikel, wil ek ook net graag iets ontrent"bloat" kwytraak. Eerstens did is seker die aakligste dood wat 'n hond kan sterf. Dit is ontsettend pynlik en soos Carol gese het indien verligting niebinne sekondes of 'n minuut to twee bebring kan word nie, slaan die hond se maag on en sterf hy binne 10 minute.
On whet die gavel met "Sheila" 'n swart chow tee wat Gerald net nadat sy 'n werpsel kleintjies gehad het(as die kleintjies sowat 'n week oud is) "ge bloat" het. Gelukkig was ons elke keer tuis on na haar om te sien. Die pyp waarvan Carol gepraat het werk uitstekend, Dis is miskien 'n goeie idee om so 'n stuk pyp, wat van 'n sagte tekstuur moet wees on maklik kan buig ann te skaf vir die wis en onwis (verkrygbaar by die Veears). Wees eerder voorbereid as om in die middel van die nag; terwyl jy deur die slaap is to wonder wat moet ek nou doen.
Nog'n metode om die gas uit die maag te laat ontsnap is deur gebruik te maak van 'n hol naald (verkrybaar by die Veearts) was dan so 2 sentimeter onder die laaste ribbebeen
van die hond ingedruk word. Die hond moet op sy sy geplaas word en voel dan met die hande waar die laaste rib is en ongeveer twee sentimeter verder (in die maag) word die naald dan ingedruk en die opgeboude gasse ontsnap dan deur die hol naald. Die hond moet egter nadat die gasse ontsnap het so spoedig moontlik by 'n Veearts kom sodat daar vasgestel kan word of daar enige verder skade was en of die maag nie dalk omgeslaan het nie.
In "Sheila" se geval het haar maag die eerste maal werklik omgeslaan en moes die Veerats opereer om dit weer reg te draai. Dit was net blote geluk dat ons haar nie verloor het nie. He het aan ons verduidelik dat die maag in sy opgeswelde posisie soos 'n ballon is wat vol water gemaak is, as die hond enigsins sou beweeg gedurende hierdie "vol" toestand dan draai die maag om, in welke geval die gasse glad nie kan ontsnap nie en die giftige gasse in die ingewande versprei word. Lewerskade word ook op die manier opgedoen.
Hierdie toestand het " Sheila" net oorgekom nadat sy kleintjies gehad het en op 'n vrag aan die Veearts waarom, het hy gese dat verskeie faktore daartoe kan bydra. Onder andere to groot maaltye (tewe vreet gewoonlik meer as gewoonlik nadat hulle kleintjies gehad het) en daarna drink hulle te veel water. Nog 'n oorsaak is te veel oefening (rondhardloop, speel ens.) nadat hulle geeet het. Spanning by sommige honde kan dit ook veroorsaak deurdat spanning veroorsaak dat die maag gasse vrystel wat dan opbou en sodoende die toestand veroorsaak.
Die oplossing is on te sorg dat die hond eerder twee of drie kleiner maaltye per dg kry as een groot maaltyd. Maak ook seker dat jou hond nie 'n groot doeveelheid water op 'n slag drink nie. Voorsien eerder 'n kleiner waterbak en sien toe dat die bak altyd vol vars water is en dan natuurlik, maak seker dat daar nie gespeel word of rondgehardloop na maaltye nie.
"Bloat" ge beur gewoonlik in die laat-aand of nag wanneer almal slaap en as jy nie 'n ligte slaper is nie, tel jy jou hond die volgende dag dood op. Wanneer die toestand ontstaan sal die hond op 'n baie vreemde manier begin "skreeu-blaf-tjank". Ek wet nie wat om dit anders to noem nie, jy sal dadelik agterkom dat daar groot fout is en dat die diere in geweldige pyn verkeer.
Ek hoop van harte nie dat hiedie toestand enige verder Chows in ons geledere sal tref nie. Soo Carol gese het, dit is 'n groot verlies vir die Chowwereld. Prgtige honde, ingeevoerde honde is all o die maniere dood en dit wil al lyk of dit ongelukkig iets is wat die Chows nogal gereeld tref. As jou hond dit eenmaal gehad het en jy kon hom deurhaal, kan jy maar seker wees jy sal hom voortaan soos 'n valk moet dophou want die kanse dat dit weer met hom sal gebeur is 99% party honde isgeneig daartoe ander nie.
Die belangrikste van alles is, is om nie die hond water of medisyne to probeer injaag of om hom onnodig te beweeg nie. Moenie paniekbevange raak nie, as jy die pyp of hol naald byderhand het gebruik dit en wanneer dar verligting is kan die hond beweeg word of no 'n Veearts gebring word.
Leana Naude