Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Suspected poisoning

It was raining heavily when I came home yesterday, so I had to wait for a few hours before I could take our new dog, Cora, for her delayed afternoon walk. As usual, she was very pleased to see me when I came home, and followed me everywhere I went in the house (yes, she tried to enter the toilet with me). Even when I was sitting down and she was lying down, her eyes would follow every movement.

When the rain finally stopped, we went out for a walk. As usual, she investigated the hedgerows and picked up loose paper with her mouth. When we got home, we noticed that her mouth was white; in fact, she was producing volumes of foam. This is exactly what happened with Mocha the evening before she died, although the foam appeared several hours after our final evening walk. When I saw this, I immediately told my wife that we were taking Cora to the vet.

Once we arrived,  the vet gave Cora a quick check: her pupils were fixed and enlarged, and she was still foaming. First, he weighed Cora (22.5 kg), then gave her an injection containing an emetic (apomorphine); as the linked wiki article states, "The emetic properties of apomorphine are exploited in veterinary medicine to induce therapeutic emesis in canines that have recently ingested toxic or foreign substances."

After Cora vomited three times, the vet shaved a patch on her foreleg, inserted a cannula and proceeded to give her an infusion of Ringer's solution, in order to prevent any dehydration which might have been caused by the foaming and vomiting. All this time, Cora was very quiet - as much due to the apomorphine as to the suspected poisoning; she was also shaking a little. After the infusion finished, she sat with me in a corner for an hour, under observation.

By the end of the observation hour, her pupils had contracted and were now reactive; she had stopped shaking and was behaving in a more normal manner. The vet said that we could go home, but if any symptoms returned, then we should get in contact, even at 4am. My wife sat with Cora for another hour for continued observation.

This morning, Cora was as if nothing had happened, although maybe she was a little subdued. I took a completely different route for our morning walk, walking inside the kibbutz instead of outside. My wife took me to work in the car (because of the heavy rain), and at the beginning of the drive, I showed her the route that our walk had taken us the previous evening. In the daylight, one could see that one hedgerow had been sprayed with weed-killer; a strange practice to perform when it's raining heavily (the rain deactivates the weed-killer and washes it off the bushes).

Thus we managed to save Cora from dying; she was the beneficiary of the harsh lesson that we learned from Mocha.

On a completely different note: for some forgotten reason, I again looked at the list of notable Old Bristolians on the Wikipedia, and was surprised to see someone from my year: Sir Andrew CashI think that he was in the parallel class to mine for several years but we weren't in the same house (I suppose that everyone these days knows about Gryfindor and Hufflepuff, so there's not much need to explain) and so we would have known each other by name but would not have had much interaction. 

It turns out that there are two lists of distinguished Old Bristolians at Wikipedia: the one which I linked to and one connected with the entry for the school itself. Sir Andrew does not appear on the second list. Well done, Andy Cash.

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