Hives.

My single biggest regret as a pet owner is that I do not have pictures of the events that follow.

Disclaimer: Pet advocates, I am aware that dogs should be safely restrained in a moving vehicle. Rest assured I treat my puppies as I do my children. Heh. Safe driving advocates I remind you that this is New Jersey. In order to retain my New Jersey driver’s license I was obliged to create an unnecessary distraction because I couldn’t use my cell phone while driving this day, as one of the heathens stole my phone charger.

Monday morning. I have to take the puppies for their shots. They hate the car. It makes me question their authenticity as dogs.

We get in the van. They run all over, sniffing things and eating all the crap that the kids have left in the back. I would pretend that these are things that I’ve missed in my meticulous cleaning of the backseats and cup-holders, but I can’t keep a straight face and type that bullshit at the same time. The only reason the puppies do not eat the crap I’ve left behind is that I do clean out the front seat before I let them into the car. Because they might eat my chocolate, and that would be bad for all of us.

I put the car in gear and begin to drive. This is when the Fuggle starts to be very concerned. He cowers down and starts whining, then makes this soul-rending Beagle howl sound. Sometimes his mouth goes in a circle. I try to pull him to me but he clings to the seat.

Next, he tries to walk towards me. For some reason this is okay as long as it is his idea. His goal is my lap. He is thwarted by the laws of physics. I grab him at a stop light and pull him in. He’s little, so he’s not too difficult to steer around.

The Puggle has completed eating all the secrets she has discovered in the back of the van. She sees the Fuggle in my lap. She prefers to make her way there by climbing under my legs and dancing around the pedals but I block her. Being 30% bigger and more sausage-shaped, she’s more stable and less assulted by the laws of physics. She climbs from the console into my lap.

Now there are two puppies in my lap. The Fuggle continues to whine and howl. The Puggle merely shakes, and presses into me. Hard. The Fuggle is closer to my body and that’s where the Puggle wants to be so she adjusts herself, climbing in between us, until he pops out and I have to catch him before he falls to the gas pedal.

This is difficult to steer around.

When we finally reach the vet they are, at first, excited. So many sniffs! Gradually, beginning with the trauma of the automatic doors, they figure out where they are. They’ve been here before, many, many times. Nothing good ever happens here. They flatten themselves as much as possible. They try to dig their nails in to keep from moving, but the floor is like ice and I drag them along like deflated tether balls.

They get their shots. We get back in the car. Have much the same experience on the way back. At home they immediately fall asleep in their crate.

As Mondays often are, being the day off, this one is packed with obligations. I get back from shuttling kids around 5pm and I see the Fuggle, creeping gingerly to the top of the stairs.

He is walking as if he is in a lot of pain but also very itchy. Wide stance, slowly turning in circles like he wants to scratch but doesn’t know where to start. He looks weird. I take off my sunglasses. Holy crap. He’s completely covered in. . . hives? The Puggle isn’t in the crate so I go down to look for her. I am told that #4 is taking her for a walk.

Me: Did you see Jack?

#3: Yeah, he’s all lumpy. Is he supposed to be?

Me: What about Casey? Is she lumpy?

#3: No she’s fine. That’s why she got a walk. We didn’t want to touch Jack. He’s too lumpy. It’s gross.

I call the vet. I have to bring him in. On my way out, I see #4 across the street and make sure that the Puggle isn’t lumpy too. She’s good. So we drive, the Fuggle and me. He doesn’t make a single sound, except for a very heavy sigh when he lays down in my lap.

We get to the vet and as soon as he realizes where he is he tries to hide under a car, as if that will protect him, as if I can’t find him at the end of his leash. It’s a lost cause; he only weighs like sixteen pounds. Plus, he’s lumpy. The Fuggle simply can’t comprehend that he’s back at the vet for the second time today. This is the worst day of his life.

When I see him in full light, I can tell he’s a little less lumpy than he was at home, which is encouraging. They treat him but I have to leave him behind because they want to make sure nothing worse happens.

I cannot count the number of times I have had to leave one or both of the puppies at the vet like this. They’re not even two years old yet. Every time I leave, I see them in my mind, crying because I am abandoning them, their little dog mouths going in a circle.

I picture this most of the way home. I am worried about the Fuggle and feeling guilty about spending extra time away from the kids on my day off. I get home.

And see the Puggle walk gingerly to the top of the stairs.

She looks like she’s lost a fight. She looks like that kid in Mask.

One eye is completely swollen shut. She looks worse than the Fuggle did. Because she’s 30% bigger, it took her hives 30% longer to show up. Which is roughly the length of a round trip to the vet.

At the vet, she pulled the same move of trying to hunker down under someone else’s car when she figured out where she was. She shook so hard when I got her inside she was blurry.

They came out of it okay. They got de-lumped with Benadryl (note to self: try this at home next time and save three hundred dollars) and we got to bring them home that night. It was a grand total of four round trips to the vet for me.

My vet does not back their vaccines with some kind of warranty against reactions, nor offer a Second Visit In A Day discount. I asked.

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6 thoughts on “Hives.

  1. So I’m assuming you know you’re skating on very thin ice when you write anything about your pets. Sure, you included a disclaimer, but I still think you’ve risked the wrath of dog safety advocates everywhere with this hilarious account of your canine escapades. (Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke)

    However, I do have a suggestion. In the future you might want to consider passing on the shots. You didn’t say what the drugs were, but given the little rats are designer breeds (Read as: genetic cesspools) and already suffer from SNS (smooshed nose syndrome) you should probably try to avoid letting your vet asphyxiate them. Believe it or not, you got lucky because an allergic reaction can be swift and fatal. Have your vet do a vaccine titer and find out if the pups really NEED another vaccine booster before doing them next time around. This costs a bit more to do, but most dogs don’t need vaccines nearly as often as the veterinarian community would like us to think. If it turns out they don’t actually need the vaccine then the vet is usually OK with that as long as they can soak you for the titers. (If it turns out they DO need them then you’re doubly screwed and should probably try to forget I ever advised this.) You might also want to find out what brand of vaccine they used that caused their reaction and be sure to avoid that brand in the future. Brands DO matter. (And yes, you’ll have to probably remember to remind them to use a different brand. Just one more damn thing to think of, I know.)

    Do stock up on Benadryl. Not only does it help ward off the hives, it usually makes most dogs (and kids) deliriously sleepy. I’ve been known to slip my red boy a little antihistamine chaser to help combat his nocturnal zoomies. Works like a charm. 🙂

    I love, love, love your blog! If you get a chance try reading this blog: http://somespecieseattheiryoung.com/ I think you guys have something in common!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions- it was funny afterwards but totally scared the shit out of me when it happened. The vet’s best guess was it was the Lyme vaccine interacting- do you have any thoughts on if that one is necessary? The last time I had a dog was 20 years ago. IT NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS AND ATE BROWNIES FOR GOD’S SAKE!

  2. Well let me preempt this by saying that I live about fifteen miles from Lyme CT, the Lyme Disease capital of the world. All my dogs in the last 20 years have had Lyme. All my horses too. I’ve even had it once myself. Naturally, when they came out with a Lyme vaccine for dogs I was thrilled to death and jumped right on that bandwagon. Shortly after my first dog was vaccinated and has his booster, he got full blown Lyme disease. I thought it was just a fluke until two more dogs were vaccinated and months later developed full blown Lyme. Could they have had Lyme prior to the vaccine but didn’t show symptoms until later? Maybe. But no, I don’t do Lyme vaccines anymore. What I DO do is test my dogs yearly for Lyme and Ehrlichiosis, another nasty tick borne disease. If they test positive then I treat the disease … if not, no harm, no foul.

    What would bother me is that both dogs had a reaction and if this was their first Lyme vaccine then they will require a booster in a few weeks. Um, that doesn’t bode well for them at all. Yeah, I’d be worried and I’d seriously consider taking a pass on that. So what can you do to prevent Lyme? Not much. Get them on a tick preventative and keep them on it year round. I happen to like Advantix because it doesn’t just repel ticks, it kills them. But if your beasties are super sensitive then the preventative stuff can make them itchy too. My dogs get the itchies for a couple of days after I apply the stuff, but eventually that passes. I dunno. It’s kind of a crap shoot: Don’t use anything and you know you’ll be living with two tick magnets. Use something and you could kill the little guys. Ug. Decisions , decisions!

  3. I wanted to check “LIKE,” but that is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read.

    Except the names. Puggle and Fuggle are awesome names.

    And frankly partly why I keep getting suckered into getting pets. No more I say. 😉

  4. Most of your dogs can have regular people meds that you can get over the counter, just call your vet or vet tech and get like a conversion. I live out in BFE in Kansas and we have plenty of country vets who do this, no charge but I’m not sure about where you live.

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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