Here’s a personal story from my archives that I thought I’d share to testify to the wonderful properties of Chinese herbs. Disclaimer: It can be graphic in certain sections, and it probably isn’t the best story to read over your afternoon tea or lunch. Also, I would like to preface this by saying that should you ever encounter a similar emergency situation, it is always ideal to find your nearest veterinary emergency facility. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
People often tell me there are advantages to living next door to a vet. Being the aforementioned vet, I don’t always reap the same benefits! So the next time I relocate, I think I’ll look for another vet to live next door to, and perhaps then I’ll understand what it’s like to have a vet so close to home! :)
A few nights ago, I settled in to watch prime time TV (Dancing With The Stars?!), when I heard a knock at the door. It was one of my neighbors, with an emergency situation with her little dog. I usually don’t take emergencies because my clinic / home isn’t equipped to accommodate that kind of service, nor do I have the trained staff to assist me in those situations. Since it was late at night, and this was my long-time friend and neighbor, I decided to look over her dog to see what kind of trouble she was in.
The Trouble With Little Bianca
A small black and white rescued dog, named Bianca, was waiting at the door. She looked similar to a papillon, and her owner told me she is deaf, despite being only 5 years old. She’s normally very healthy and free of issues (other than her hearing loss). Poor Bianca has been vomiting food and water all day, and has been lethargic from bouts of straining and multiple attempts to pass an obstruction through her system. I wondered if she had something like a small fragment of bone stuck in her system. The prognosis does not look good – Bianca has been passing bloody and mucous-covered stools, which means that this is very serious.
Her owner informs me that Bianca was feeling fine the night before, but Bianca has free-run of their large property during the day. They live on an acre of jungle/forest land, which means lots of adventures for Bianca, but sometimes little pups tend to get into things they shouldn’t during the course of the day.
As I have said, my clinic is not equipped for emergency situations, so I immediately referred them to a couple of other vets who are able to take on emergency cases. The first vet did not answer the call and the second required that the pet already be a registered client before emergency after hour care was offered. They recommended that the owner wait until morning to bring the dog in. Unfortunately, there were no other options, as Kauai has no official 24-hour emergency clinics.
What’s The Culprit? Bones? Poison?
I thought Bianca needed an x-ray because she might have eaten a bone. Her owner told me that she had given Bianca a small soup bone that was boiled for 3 days in a pot of soup. The x-ray could help us see if there was an obstruction and where it might be located, but again, I don’t have that kind of equipment at my clinic so the x-ray would have to wait.
The next concern was that little Bianca could have gotten into some rat poison. The landlord of the property had treated the areas around their house a couple of years ago, and we were concerned that there were some residual toxins present. But sudden onset of these kinds of symptoms is usually not the case when dogs get into rat poison.
Perforation of the intestines is a very serious situation in these cases, so I then palpated her body to check for pain spots. The good news was that she didn’t seem to be in pain, and she also had no fever present. So it was safe to conclude that Bianca did not have a perforation or peritonitis. Whew!
Initial Attempts To Help Bianca
I instructed Bianca’s owner to make some tea at home to see if she could stop the vomiting. She tried chamomile tea and coconut milk… but little Bianca immediately threw it up.
I asked them to come back and let me check their dog further.
Bianca seemed pretty spirited, but would have periods of regression and become listless and trembling. I examined her. Her tongue was a dark red. In TCM that means “blood stagnation,” which is a blockage related to Blood. This can indicate perforation of the intestines, intussusception, peritonitis, or an obstruction by a foreign body causing bruising and bleeding.
Poor Bianca was trembling, but the spirit in her eyes was bright. She continued to strain and try to poop but only mucous and blood were coming out.
I knew I had to stop the bleeding. So, how to you stop bleeding with a pill, especially when the dog continues to vomit?
I gave her some Cimetidine, hoping to quell the vomiting but she of course threw that right back up.
A New Strategy
It was time to try a new strategy. I decided to use Yunnan Paiyao to stop the bleeding. Yunnan is great because it works both internally and topically. So I mixed some yunnan with some coconut milk, added some enzymes and acidophilus, and gave the little dog a high enema with the solution, about 2 oz (60 cc) using a 60ml syringe attached to a lubricated infant feeding tube.
I then held the fluids in by clamping her tail down over her butt for a short period. Afterwards, I sent them home with more Cimetidine to use before bedtime.
Back To Normal
The next morning the owner called me to report that the dog is 80% better, no bleeding! The Yunnan Paiyao really works! Bianca even ate some chicken, and was able to keep it down. Her behavior was also back to normal. We scheduled a follow-up visit for that Saturday, and by Saturday, Bianca was doing much better.
Yunnan Paiyao is a great herb to have in your first aid kit. It can be found in pill (capsule) or powder form and is great for stopping bleeding until you can bring your dog into a veterinary clinic. You can apply directly to the wound, then wrap, and bring your pet into a clinic.
Again, in the case of a serious medical emergency like the one described above, I highly recommend contacting your nearest emergency veterinary clinic. Please do not attempt this techniques at home as you can seriously injure your pet if you give an enema incorrectly.