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October is National Animal Safety and Prevention Month; a month dedicated to promoting the safe practices of handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals. ... National Animal Safety and Prevention Month was created by the PALS Foundation. PALS is dedicated to helping people and animals coexist in a way that benefits all of nature.
Being animal safety month, I want to share my story that just occurred over the Labor Day weekend when I took Josie to the local beach here in Malibu. It was a beautiful weekend, and would be slightly cooler at the beach, so off I went with a friend and her two labs. We went early in the day, around 10am and planned on leaving at 1pm. It would be a short day to just get the fur kids on the beach, and the water was actually warm here on the pacific which is rare, and a good time to go and enjoy the water.
I take Josie out to play with her tennis ball in the morning and evening at least 5 times a week. She is a dog motivated by the ball, more than food to do anything, and the thing that brings her most happiness. She absolutely loved running for the ball at the beach, (she does not really care for the water), so I would just rinse her under belly down to keep her cool, since she is also black and attrack’s heat. She truly was so happy-running, playing, other dogs were there her size doing the same, and just a fun day. Upon returning home, I went for a swim in my pool, and Josie was inside to rest. Around 5pm it was time to head to the park to meet with friends, and do just a little play since she had already been at the beach…This is when I started to notice issues. She was just not herself at the park. She actually spit up some water, and had some poop issues-not really like her. We came home and she was still acting strange/quiet- she then threw up two more times, and I just knew something wasn’t right. I looked on google and was shocked by what could be happening from my day at the beach.
I called my best friend to come with me, and we were off to the Pet Hospital by 8pm. She was physically examined and I was told, she seemed ok, but probably best to do a X-ray since there was sand in her behind, and I agreed. The Vet came back in and said, we have some bad news-she had a 6 inch impaction in her large intestine, and a 4 inch pack of sand in her small intestine as well. I have included the picture for you to see. They look like little hot dogs, but really packs of sand. She now was going to have to stay for the night, have a IV to keep her hydrated, and since it was already moving thru her system-they wanted to see if it could pass naturally first. I went home and was riddled with guilt. How could I have not known that a tennis ball could attrack so much sand and that this could happen.
Dogs have always played on the beach, but I found out that due to her size (she weighs 16-17lb) and she has a large tongue-these things could happen. That didn’t really make me feel better, but now it was time to pray for Poop! The clinic is 24 hours so I was able to keep an eye on her all night, and called every few hours. She was doing well, and by 9am the next morning-we had some success in her passing sand. Again, pictures attached. My lesson learned-Sand, Beach and Tennis ball can lead to a very serious issue and become a $1,000 beach day. There is also problems with dogs injesting to much salt water that could also lead to very serious issues.
I am sharing this personal story to just help others be aware. Again, this being Animal prevention and safety month-just want to help others keep their pets safe, and no one have to go through what I did. I am truly blessed, I was able to take her home the following evening and just watch her for the next few days and keep her to a bland diet while all passed. I asked so many other dog owners, and they all had no idea, but while at the vet-it seemed pretty common. Life is such a process of learning when you have animals, and just grateful my story has a happening ending. Next beach day-bringing a rubber ball that may not be as likely to pick up sand, and be much more careful.
Always try and rescue when pawsible,
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