John’s Trip to the ER

John at the vet post-sedation

John at the vet post-sedation

Two nights ago, I was awoken to the sound of intense, incessant licking coming from the foot of my bed. Since John is a bit older and not nearly as agile as Lucy, he has to sleep in his crate instead of on the bed with us. So I looked over the side and saw him, licking feverishly, at his dog bed. It was like the thing was covered in peanut butter (it wasn’t) and he was trying to scrape off every last bit of it.

The noises he was making were, well, gross. Slurping, snorting, huffing and puffing. It had to stop – it was 2am after all! So I got out of bed and went over to his crate and gently lifted his head to look at me. I gave him a couple of pats and watched him lay back down. I got back into bed. The licking started again.

I began to consider that maybe this was just attention seeking behavior. That he wanted me to get out of bed and pat his head. This time, I was determined to not give in. “Reward the good, ignore the bad.” This was an undesirable behavior on my end, and I didn’t want to reinforce it. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And I waited for nearly an hour. Being that John is deaf, I just let out a big scream because I knew it wouldn’t bother him. I was beyond frustrated and tired, and I wanted him to stop.

 

I got out of bed again and physically interrupted him again. It was then that I noticed that his dog bed was completely soaked through. I couldn’t determine what had made it so soaking wet, whether it was his saliva or something else, but all I knew is that it didn’t smell good and it probably wasn’t very comfortable for him. So I removed the bed, cleaned the crate, and got back in bed. With the dog bed gone, John seemed to be more at ease. But now I wasn’t. I was so concerned that something was wrong. I resolved to call the vet in the morning to talk to them about it and see if he needed to be seen, and to monitor him throughout the day.

Well, the vet agreed that he probably didn’t need to be seen right away, but to keep an eye out if the behavior didn’t improve, I should bring him in. Well, later in the evening, on our walk, I noticed something even more weird: John was urinating blood. And not just urine tinged with blood – this was bright, red pure blood. Totally shocked, I took John to the closest emergency vet right away.

Well, after some diagnostic tests at the vet, including sedation for x-rays and an ultrasound, and collection of a urine sample and culture for a urinalysis, John was discharged with antibiotics for what is expected to be a prostate infection. Situations like this are possible when male dogs are neutered at an older age, like John. So that’s the first suspicion. But we’ll have the results from the rest of the diagnostics in a day or two and will hopefully know more about what’s going on with our sweet old man.