indiana jones and the bloat of doom

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook know that I nearly lost my beloved English Mastiff Indiana Jones from bloat with gastric torsion last week. But thanks to my paranoid fixation with the condition, I knew exactly what was happening to him and badgered my husband until he helped me load Indy into the car and drive him to the emergency vet in the middle of the night. We’ve been told our prompt action is what saved him.

Oh, and the ridiculously expensive surgery wherein Indy lost his spleen, but not his life.

Indy survived the multi-hour procedure, and when the vet came out to tell me how well he did, he said they were bringing Indy out of the anesthesia, and he’d be able to walk to the car so we could transport him to the regular vet (since the ER closes during the daylight hours.)

Now, I’ve had this dog since he was ten weeks old. And I know how much he likes to sleep. And despite my warning that Mastiffs are notoriously sensitive to all forms of anesthesia and sedation, they truly believed he’d wake up quickly like all the other dogs they’d done this surgery on.

Right. Not so much.

Two hours after the vet told me they were removing Indy from the deep sleep, he was still out cold. They finally extubated him to breathe on his own, but he refused to wake up. (Since my boy had survived the surgery, I felt good enough to gloat, just a little.) I reminded the vet that I’d warned him about the sedation/anesthesia. And he just made that grumbly sound doctors make. Another hour later, he conceded that maybe… just maybe, mind you… I knew what I was talking about. But since the ER closed several hours earlier, we had no choice but to transport an unconscious dog. In the back of my Kia.

Did I mention my dog weighs 180lbs? And he was totally and completely unconscious.

So they rolled him out of the back on the shiny steel gurney, wrapped in a lovely floral comforter so he wouldn’t get cold since we’d had major snowstorm just the day before, and snoring like a freaking chainsaw. (Best sound ever, after the scare we had.)  It took four people to load him into the back of my car. We had to back the Kia Soul practically into the ER lobby so they could roll the gurney up to the hatchback and then lift the sleeping giant ever-so-carefully from one flat surface to the next.

But um, Indy was too long to go in sideways. So the vet climbed into the back of my car (with the empty McDonald’s bags from breakfast that morning and the loose hay that had escaped the bail we’d loaded the day before) and eased Indy in, while his tech and my husband worked to pivot the dog’s large body into the space. Then we were off to the regular animal hospital to unload him like a special delivery package.

A few miles down the road and we’d arrived at our destination (they were awaiting our arrival) and they wheeled out a small steel cart about half the size of the ER’s gurney.

Have you ever tried to put a Thanksgiving turkey on a butter dish? Yeah… that.

But four more people later, we managed to get Indy situated at the vet for his overnight stay. Where, I might add, he slept for twenty-four more hours—at least twenty more hours than I slept.

Next time, I’ll tell you what happened when he came home and yours truly had to play Florence Barkingale. 

If you'd like to donate to Indy's vet fund, please click here. And thank you! :)

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Posted on March 9, 2015 .