Oreo is a two-year-old adopted Japanese Spitz- Alaskan Malamute mix. When we adopted him in 2018, he had severe anxiety and he was not comfortable with people at all. He cried every second he was home and it took a lot of training (both home and professional) to improve his behavior.
Towards his family members, Oreo is a sweet and gentle fellow and is honestly one of the most obedient dogs I’ve seen or had. Today, he no longer barks at strangers but he isn’t outwardly friendly to them-so you can imagine a trip to the emergency vet was a nightmare for him (and maybe the nurses too!)
August 5, 2020
The day started out typical with Oreo and our Shih Tzu named Yani doing their normal routine of playing, sleeping, and fighting each other. At around 6:00pm, my mom reminded us that a flea collar needed to be put on the dogs (we use a collar because my Shih Tzu couldn’t take oral medications due to kidney issues). My sister obliged and put their brand new collar on. We didn’t think much of it because we’ve been using the same brand for almost 2 years now. The dogs didn’t seem to mind either, there was absolutely no change in their behavior.
At 8:30pm my sister went to bed with the dogs (yes, it’s early I know) and at 10:00pm she woke up to Oreo pacing. She thought Oreo was just restless so she went downstairs to get herself a glass of water. When she returned, she realized that there was white foam and blood on the bedsheet. Oreo was now vomiting but still strong and playful, even then we knew something was wrong and we prepared to take him to the emergency vet.
We saw a part of his flea collar chewed off (1/4 an inch-very tiny) and suspected that it might have been poisonous.
Since it was lockdown in Metro Manila, all the usual vets that we go to for emergencies were closed. We spent 18 minutes calling and finding a vet that would take him in after office hours. We finally found one and due to the road blockage, it took over 30 minutes to get there. The wait was excruciating, Oreo started changing within 48 minutes. He wouldn’t drink water, he was drooling excessively and he was panting.
It took two nurses to carry him out. The vet confirmed our suspicions that it was probably the flea collar and asked us to remove it from our other dog immediately.
Unfortunately for Oreo, an x-ray confirmed that the collar was no longer in his stomach and induced vomiting would no longer help. He needed to be warded for at least 3 days because with poisoning things can take a turn for the worse quickly as they start to digest the poison.
Oreo’s treatment consisted of charcoal pills, an IV drip, and extra oxygen. His first night, he was extremely weak and unhappy. This vet was a whole new place for him and his usual humans were not around.
The next morning we got a message from his vet that Oreo refused to eat anything they gave him. My sister and her partner prepared Oreo’s favorite meals and visited him. The only place Oreo was comfortable and familiar with was the car. For the next days, it would be routine for my sister to visit Oreo and for the nurses to carry Oreo to the car with an IV to be fed.
By the third day, you could see a big improvement in Oreo. He was no longer drooling, he was stronger and he even seemed to be smiling again. There were still a few problems, the first one was that his kidney levels were not completely back to normal and the second was that for 3 days Oreo did not want to pass stool in the vet’s office.
The vet decided that the next day (4th day) if he was still in stable condition, he could continue medicines for his kidney at home in the hopes that he would be in a more comfortable area where he can pass stool. Passing stool was important because Oreo needed to excrete the collar so it would stop releasing poison in his body.
The vet warned that taking him home would mean constant monitoring and any sign of drooling, pale gums, or seizures in the next 3 days would warrant an emergency trip back to the vet.
Bringing him home
Oreo was discharged on August 8, 2pm. The next few days were filled with sleepless nights because we were continuously monitoring Oreo. Finally, on August 11 the vet was officially happy to declare that Oreo survived the poisoning and is out of the critical zone.
- Always have a list of emergency vets. We wasted precious time just figuring out where to take Oreo. It’s important to update this list especially during COVID where establishments change their hours.
- Socialise your dog. It’s important for them to be very comfortable in a vet’s office. We realized after that Oreo never had a pleasant visit to the vet. We tried to avoid vet visits previously due to his anxiety but when he really needed to go, he was uncomfortable, to say the least.
- Never use Bayopet flea collar. It’s insane how only 1/4 inch of the collar could poison a 20kg dog. I shudder to think about what would’ve happened if it was my Shih Tzu that ate the collar.
Today, Oreo is back to normal. He’s happy and playful but his poisoning was a traumatic experience for everyone. We can’t believe he was poisoned by a flea collar – an item that has been deemed safe for dogs to use.
At some point, Oreo still needs to do a blood test to check if his kidney function is back to normal. At the end of the day, we’re just proud and happy to have our pup back home and healthy!