Tragic loss of dog Big Blue raises an array of questions - Albuquerque Journal

Tragic loss of dog Big Blue raises an array of questions

First in a series.

He couldn’t even raise his head, his gums were pale, his pulse weak and thready. Had an injury caused this black German shepherd mix to bleed internally? Was he anemic from an autoimmune disorder? Had he been poisoned? I remember wishing he could tell me what happened.

Only a minute earlier, this big dog had burst through the front door, just not under his own steam. His 80-pound self was hefted by a couple of burly, bearded men, so highly agitated they were shouting over each other. They’d found their dog barely conscious only 30 minutes earlier next to their home in Placitas. They were frantic for a miracle.

Martha, the quiet example of composure, was the usual first stop for our clients, but had been bypassed this time. She immediately joined the action by inviting these rough, but earnest, men into an exam room to gather a history. That freed me and Amos to do our best to help – fast.

While holding “Big Blue” on his side on the treatment table, Amos spoke in soothing tones as I palpated the somewhat distended abdomen. Using a syringe I easily withdrew a generous quantity of blood. A quick microscopic exam showed no sign of clotting. Rodent poisoning with an anticoagulant like d-CON topped the list of suspects.

As I ordered a vitamin K1 injection from another veterinary nurse, and a venous sample to estimate blood loss from another, Amos started warming blood for a transfusion. Speed matters in emergencies, but it isn’t always enough. Big Blue passed away in front of us.

Explaining death and comforting grieving pet parents is part of being a veterinarian. It felt exceptionally hard during my first years in practice. It’s no easier now. As I shared my condolences and the likely cause of this tragic loss, larger questions began swirling in the back of my mind: Like many dogs in the free-living community of late 1970s Placitas, was Big Blue allowed to run loose? Would this be an isolated case?

Next week: Conflict: The real diagnosis.

• For help with behavior problems, you can sign up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.


Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in person and via groups on Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week, he shares a blog and a video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

 

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Tragic loss of dog Big Blue raises an array of questions


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Picture perfect 50th Balloon Fiesta opening
ABQnews Seeker
In what can only be described ... In what can only be described as a picture perfect morning, about 625 balloons launched in a mass ascension early Saturday as the 50th ...
2
Ian lashes South Carolina as Florida's death toll climbs
ABQnews Seeker
A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal ... A revived Hurricane Ian pounded coastal South Carolina on Friday, ripping apart piers and flooding streets after the ferocious storm caused catastrophic damage in ...
3
Man found guilty in 2019 shooting death
ABQnews Seeker
Police: Argument outside woman's house led ... Police: Argument outside woman's house led to fight
4
Federal judge bars IDing defendant as SNM gang member
ABQnews Seeker
Man convicted on firearms charges Man convicted on firearms charges
5
Prep football: Cibola stays unbeaten, tops Atrisco Heritage
ABQnews Seeker
For the first time in a ... For the first time in a month, no comeback was required for the Cibola Cougars. Cibola has been living on the edge in recent ...
6
Lawsuit filed after in-custody death in McKinley County
ABQnews Seeker
Suit denounces incident as a ‘violent ... Suit denounces incident as a ‘violent and abhorrent killing’
7
Visitor center now completed, but not yet unlocked
ABQnews Seeker
Route 66 Visitor Center is ribbon-cut ... Route 66 Visitor Center is ribbon-cut ready, but won't open until 2023
8
Two MDC officers testify in their trial over inmate's ...
ABQnews Seeker
Each is charged with involuntary manslaughter, ... Each is charged with involuntary manslaughter, faces 1-2 years in prison
9
Lujan Grisham rescinds six pandemic-related executive orders
ABQnews Seeker
Move is part of a periodic ... Move is part of a periodic review of COVID-19 mitigation measures