Dixie’s Story

  • Friday, August 29, 2014

Photo Provided Four-legged family member Dixie is recovering after suffering a heat stroke.

This is Dixie. She lives with my in-laws. Tuesday, Aug. 19, at lunch time, Dixie was fine, barking from outside, at the ladies visiting my mother-in-law.

That evening mother-in-law became concerned for Dixie, went looking for her in the back yard and found her in a hole she’d dug to cool off, but Dixie was barely alive. I won’t get into the graphic nature of what my mother-in-law found but know that Dixie was VERY sick.

Even though the back yard is heavily shaded, if you recall, Aug. 19’s temperature/heat index went into the 100s. So from noon until about 6 p.m., Dixie went from a very healthy dog to near death and I mean near death.

My mother-in-law had the presence of mind to call my husband. He went to their home, carried Dixie to the car and rushed her to the Emergency Vet Clinic on Montague Avenue where she stayed for 48 hours on IVs of antibiotics and gastro-intestinal meds. When my husband arrived with Dixie to the Clinic, he wasn’t sure she would still be alive, but she was. The vets told him she more than likely would not survive the night, but she did.

The clinic concluded that while it COULD be another condition, the consensus was heat stroke. (Yes, dogs, and other animals, can and do get heat stroke, and it can be fatal). They quickly evaluated her immediate needs and administered the care she needed to survive if possible, thus assuring us that she was in good hands.

My husband brought Dixie to our home Aug. 21 with four prescription medications for us to administer. While he was enroute to pick her up, I was on the phone with the E-vet receiving exact instructions on Dixie’s care. The vet spent a good 20 minutes speaking with me and answering questions for which I am eternally grateful. Dixie’s condition was and still is listed as guarded. She is off the IV and will not eat, but is taking in small amounts of water. Her gastro-intestinal system is very compromised as a result of heat stroke. She is on two strong antibiotics to keep her from getting sepsis and her blood sugar has also dropped several times so we work to get it back up to normal levels.

Since Aug. 19 the cost of Dixie’s care has been $2,000 and it is not over, but what price do you put on a family member? Yes, we consider our pets part of the family. While none of us could afford to continue keeping her at the Emergency Clinic, we made the commitment to Dixie to care for her at home and the vets there gave us the tools we need to administer that care. Some would say we should have put her down but it’s not our nature. While she has improved, Dixie has a LONG way to go but we will be with her every step of the way and will also be under the watchful eye of her regular vet as needed.

So, why am I telling you this? It is in the hope that you will read this and pass it on. Heat stroke can occur at any time to anyone; not just humans, but to animals as well, and it can be fatal.

Please take care of your loved ones…all of them…two-legged as well as four-legged.

Lisa Kearney lives in Summerville.

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