PSA: Hug Your Pet Today

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If you follow my Instagram stories then you already know that on Tuesday night, Pete and I almost lost our dog, Cash, to an extreme case of fungal toxicity.

The night started like any other. We got home from work, cooked up some dinner and settled in for an episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley. Cash was being her normal diva self, taking up half the couch and siphoning off our body heat in her perpetual quest for the most comfortable snoozing position.

And then suddenly she wasn’t ok.

We noticed she seemed disoriented, afraid of her own shadow. She started shaking uncontrollably and was having trouble walking. I looked up the closest after-hours vet and within five minutes we were in the car zooming through the streets of Christchurch towards help.

In the car, I did my best to comfort Cash, who was clearly scared and unable to understand what was going on. We had no idea what was wrong and all I could do was pat her and reassure her that everything was going to be ok…I was trying to convince her as much as I was trying to convince myself.

We arrived at the centre and immediately jumped the line, heading straight to an examination room for Cash to be checked out. The nurse took one look at her and seeing that Cash was struggling to even stand on her own, went to grab the vet who whisked Cash to the back room for tests. Pete and I were left alone in the exam room, holding on to each other and hoping Cash was going to be ok.

They needed to bring Cash’s temperature down and find a way to stop the shaking. When Diazepam didn’t work, the vet decided to sedate Cash in order to give her medicine intravenously to stop the tremors. We were told she’d need to be put under anesthesia and that they’d also be washing out her stomach in case this was a reaction to ingesting something toxic.

We were moved to the waiting room while they performed the procedure.

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Our best guess is that Cash was nibbling on moldy walnuts that fell into our yard from a neighbors tree. The vet thinks this caused Cash to have a serious reaction to the toxins from the mold, causing all of her symptoms.

Cash needed to spend the night for observation but  we were allowed to see her as she was waking up from the anesthesia. She was such a derp with her tongue hanging out of her mouth but we were so relieved to see her, knowing that she’d made it through the worst. Leaving her there was hard but I knew she was in good hands.

At 1:30am, the vet called to say Cash was 90% of the way towards a full recovery. Picking her up, she was still more reserved than normal but was able to walk on her own and wagged her tail heaps when she saw that she was able to leave with us.

Pete worked from home the next day to keep an eye on her and she’s continued to improve, proving to be remarkably resilient and seemingly unfazed by the ordeal.

The whole incident’s really reminded me not to take our time with Cash for granted (and to seriously consider investing in pet insurance). Coming home to her wagging tail every night never fails to make me smile and I’m looking forward to many more years of snuggles and adventures together.

If you’re a pet owner, I hope you can learn from our experience. Dogs, like humans, can’t eat mold so make sure to seal your trash and check your yard for rotting produce.

I’m so grateful for the amazing team at the after-hours centre who looked after our family and got us through one of the scariest nights of my life.

And now you’ll have to excuse me, I have to go spoil my pup rotten with cuddles and treats for the foreseeable future.


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