Last Monday, while Tom was out running down the liquor license, I was home with a sick pup. Nock had been off her feed since the end of the previous week, and on Monday she started vomiting. She wanted nothing to do with food Monday evening or Tuesday morning, so we decided that we’d add a trip to the vet to the errands we planned to run together on Tuesday. We took her to the vet who spayed and castrated Beli and Stout. He couldn’t find anything wrong with her, so he took some blood and sent us off to the lab – the same lab that tested our blood the previous week.. The vet was picking up some of his own bloodwork at the lab that afternoon, so he had us tell them that he’d pick up Nock’s results when he picked up his.
Wednesday morning, we had a very detailed email from the vet explaining the results of Nock’s bloodwork. She seems to be having a problem with her liver, and is having trouble processing protein – something called cholestasis. In the email, the vet explained that it’s impossible to tell what’s causing the problem unless we do a liver biopsy, which the vets aren’t prepared to do here in Belize. The good news, however, is that no matter
what’s causing the problem, the treatments are the same, so he gave us a list of what medications to get for her, as well as details on the dosages, what each medication does, and the best form to buy the medicine in Belize. Vets here don’t seem to buy their own pharmaceuticals – they just send their patients’ owners to the people pharmacy, where the owner goes over the vet’s recommendations with the pharmacist and the pharmacist figures out what the animal needs and how the medication should be administered, and provides a prescription label just like we get on people prescriptions in the US.
We started Nock on the medication yesterday, and this morning she ate her breakfast and didn’t throw it up for the first time in a week. She has to stay on an antibiotic and anti-nausea medication for two weeks, and on a liver pill and a vitamin pill for a month, and then we’ll get her blood tested again. So, we’re hoping for the best. We figure that even if we were in the US, we wouldn’t put a ten-year-old dog through surgery just for diagnostic purposes, and would probably be handling this just like we’re handling it here – although we’d probably be paying a whole lot more for the vet supplied drugs. We’re not sure if it’s good for the animals that they’re treated just like human patients here, or if that’s bad for the humans that they’re treated just like animal patients, but we’re just glad that Nock got almost immediate relief, and we hope she licks whatever is bothering her.