Horrible day yesterday. …

Horrible day yesterday. Nilofer and Zara came over; Zara had a slight fever. Kevin went out to get some baby Tylenol for her. He brought it back, she took a dose, we hung out and just talked until around 4-ish. Then we all went up to the roof to look at the budding trees, and I thought Ellie came up with us, but apparently somewhere in there she found and shredded the bottle, swallowing an unknown amount of the Tylenol. Based on the package, she swallowed up to 1200 mg. 3500 mg is fatal to a 50-pound dog. Ellie is 29 pounds.

We called the emergency vet, they had us induce vomiting, and then had us bring her in. I was holding it together until then, but when the vet started talking about how they couldn't know for certain whether she'd gotten a dangerous dose or not, I started losing it. They said they had to keep her overnight, and treat her with IV fluids and some medicine that treats the toxic effects on her liver. If all goes well, the course of treatment will be over sometime late tonight or early tomorrow morning. (I wasn't clear on that.) We came home and pretty much bawled the rest of the evening. Kev stayed calmer than me, but not by so much.

Here's details on acetominophen toxicity in dogs, including all the terrifying symptoms. Even if she didn't get a fatal dose, she may suffer long-term liver damage. Please note for those with pets -- Tylenol is apparently much more dangerous for cats, with a small dose (just one pill) likely to be immediately fatal. Cats, I imagine, are less likely to shred open a fairly tough plastic container, but either cats or dogs will happily swallow pills left where they can reach them.

Ellie seemed to be breathing sort of funny while we were there, but that may have just been anxiety on her part because we were acting weird, or frustration that there were all these other dogs and we weren't letting her out to play with them. The breathing calmed down before we left. I called them last night, and again this morning. So far, Ellie's okay; they say she's been very calm, no symptoms, just lying there looking bored. That page says it can take up to twelve hours for first-stage symptoms to develop, so I'm hopeful that if she's okay now, she didn't get a dangerous dose. I'm calmer this morning, though still anxious. I want her home.

It's going to be a long day.

I feel like such an idiot, not picking up that bottle and moving it out of reach. I did think about doing that, a couple of times, but it was on the other side of the room, and we were all there, and I didn't think Ellie would be likely to get to it. I didn't realize that a tiny bottle like that could actually kill her, even though I know Kevin has told me before that Tylenol is really bad for dogs. I am going to be a terrible mother. Kevin says I just have to learn to pay more attention to this kind of thing, to small risks that might have severe consequences. I don't know.

8 thoughts on “Horrible day yesterday. …”

  1. Oh no, I’m so sorry Mary Anne. I really hope Ellie is OK. You’re not a bad dog-mom and you won’t be a bad baby-mom. Kids take a lot longer to grow up so you have more time to get used to moving stuff out of the way all the time. Every dog gets into stuff she shouldn’t. Don’t over-blame yourself and let us know when everything is OK.

  2. Don’t beat yourself up, Mary Anne. You’ll do very fine as a mom — these kind of things happen with the best of intentions. It was an accident. Good luck with everything. Hang in there and keep the faith.

  3. Hang in there! Sending good thoughts to you and Ellie!

    Please don’t be too hard on yourself. You just can’t predict what animals will get into. I never would have guessed a dog would open or destroy a plastic bottle to get what’s inside — and I’ve had many dogs in my life.

  4. Hang in there, Mary Anne. It’s hard sometimes to think like a dog (or a child) and imagine all the possible things they might get into. I hope she’ll be just fine and back home soon!

    ~Kristina

  5. Dear Mary Anne,
    Still enjoying your blog and all of your successe very much.
    Not to worry.
    It could have been worse but wasn’t.
    Your instincts will help you along the way. 🙂

  6. I’m so sorry you all had to go through this. But really don’t beat yourself up for it – dogs are constantly getting into things they shouldn’t, no matter how hard you try to keep them safe, and no one can be 100% perfect at predicting risks all the time. You can’t keep your dogs or babies 100% safe…all you can do is do your best, which you are doing. Give Ellie a kiss and pat for me when she gets home!

  7. Thanks for the reassurance, guys. Kev insists that it was as much his fault as mine — we both saw the bottle sitting on the couch, and just neither of us thought to pick it up and move it out of the way.

    We really should know better by now — other dogs may not do this as much, but Ellie is very good at shredding things. So far, the list includes: leather shoes, telephone cords, wall molding, furniture legs, plastic vaseline containers, plastic jello and yogurt containers, sheets, and of course, many stuffed dog toys. She has very determined teeth.

    Ah well. Live and learn (and pay truly massive vet bills, just to drive the point home, in case we weren’t paying attention before). At least she’s okay.

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