Buddy of Port Richey, Florida was Dog of the Day on the Daily Corgi nearly a year ago. His Mom Patti wrote to me recently with an update on Buddy.
Over the Summer, this otherwise healthy Pembroke developed a condition known as Hemorrhagic Gastro-Enteritis (HGE). HGE is a serious illness, and Patti wanted to share her experience with Buddy here so that other people can learn from what she’s been through.
Note: Buddy is still very much alive, thanks to his Mom’s alert observation and careful follow-up!
* * * * *
“I woke up early that June morning, at the unusual hour of 6:00 a.m.
On my way to the kitchen, I noticed Buddy lying listless on the sofa. At that point, I hadn’t turned on any lights. I approached Buddy to say good morning, but he wouldn’t even lift his head. Then I smelled “that smell”. I turned on the living room lamp and was horrified by the sight of our living room carpet covered in explosive, bloody diarrhea and vomit.
Buddy wanted to drink water, but each time I allowed him to have a sip, he vomited it right back up. I cleaned him up and waited for two hours until my vet’s office opened at 8:00. With Buddy in my arms, the wait seemed to go on forever. When I finally reached the vet’s, they told me to bring him in right away.
After examining Buddy, the vet said his condition could be one of two things: Parvo (CPV), or Hemorrhagic Gastro-Enteritis (HGE). I didn’t see how Buddy could have Parvo, since he’d had that shot. The other disease I’d never heard of. Buddy was severely dehydrated, and the vet advised hospitalizing him for the day.
The symptoms of Parvo mimic HGE, but differ in that there usually is no fever or low white blood cell count. The tests ruled out Parvo, and Buddy was ultimately diagnosed with Hemorrhagic Gastro-Enteritis (HGE).
The next day, Buddy was put back on IV fluid therapy with potassium. I was allowed to pick him up and bring him home for the night, but had to have him back to the hospital again the next day. He wasn’t allowed any food or water. That night I slept on the floor with him, listening to his every breath, his every move, his every sigh. I was terrified. Sweet boy he is, all he asked of me was to rub his belly.
The following day, Buddy continued IV therapy and was given antibiotics. When I picked him up that evening, he was a different Corgi. Energetic, bubbly and very glad to see me.
This time, Buddy was going to be OK!
Faced with this serious diagnosis, I set out to learn as much about it as I could.
I discovered that HGE isn’t contagious, which came a huge relief, as we had a puppy at home barely a year old. I learned this disease can affect any breed, gender, age or size dog, and although the exact causes are unknown, it can be attributed to diet, bacterial infection, stress, virus or reaction to an intestinal parasite. I also learned that if left untreated, this disease is deadly.
I believe all dog owners should be made aware of this life-threatening intestinal condition. We’d rescued Buddy from the Humane Society seven years prior to this, and it was the first time HGE reared it’s ugly head. If your dog shows any signs of this disease — most commonly sudden onset of bloody, watery diarrhea — it is imperative to seek medical treatment immediately, as dehydration can cause them to go into shock and die within twelve hours.
Aggressive fluid replacement is vital for recovery.
If I’d simply left Buddy home and went to work that day, just thinking he had a stomach bug, he’d have been dead by the time I got home.
Most dogs do recover from HGE in a few days, but some dogs can have repeat episodes. Buddy had another episode in September, but luckily I knew what it was and was able to get him in before he became dehydrated. He must remain on prescription food for the rest of his life and is limited as to what treats he can have.
Not an exciting life for him, as he loves his food and treats, but our precious Buddy is still with us.
That’s all that truly matters!”