Oolong ate a lizard and got sick

Oolong is usually a pretty active and playful dog. But when we went home last Thursday, he was extremely lethargic; he welcomed us with a lick at the door and went back to his room to sleep. Oolong was sick. I could see in how he dragged his paws across the floor, how heavy his step was from one side of the room to the other. I went in and spoke to him, and he barely raised his head. He usually licks my hand when I stroke him but this time he wasn’t up for it. At this point, alarm bells were going off in my head.

Vomitted at 1am
The moment our worry for his illness went to the next level is when he vomitted his food out at 1am.


As worried pawrents, we took him to a vet hospital immediately. We booked a cab and went straight to a 24-hour animal hospital

First Diagnosis
At the hospital they did some checks, checking whether there was any indication of a serious food poisoning. They squeezed his stomach area too to check for any discomfort to check for gastric blockage, and Oolong had a slight fever going. But the vet couldn’t pinpoint what was exactly the issue, so he recommended us to do an x-ray and blood test.
FYI, doing a consultation, blood test & X-ray in a pet hospital at midnight is much more expensive than a normal vet. At a day neighbourhood vet, a blood test costs around $280 for a comprehensive one, x-ray around $120 and consultation around $50 ($450 total). The 24-hour pet hospital quoted $300 each for the blood test and x-ray and $160 for the consultation ($760). Be prepared to pay 2x more for a midnight vet trip vs a normal one.

As it was already 3am after the consultation, we figured to wait until the next day to bring Oolong to our neighbourhood vet to save some $$. The vet gave oolong an IV jab under his skin to keep him hydrated, along with 2 medicine jabs to prevent nausea and lower the fever.
First bill was $280++

Surpise Lizard time + Teething
The next morning, we found a dead lizard head next to his body. This stupid boy must’ve eaten the lizard sometime yesterday which is now causing a stomach upset. We also realised that his gums were bleeding from his teething issues, so these 2 double whammy must’ve affected his appetite and condition quite abit.

2nd Vet visit
As Oolong still was not feeling well, we went over to our neighbourhood vet to do a 2nd round of checks again, just to be on the safe side.
Same procedure; the vet pressed the stomach to feel for any discomfort or blockage, and checked the temperature. His temperature was down at least which was a good sign, and he is a little more active.
The vet suggested that the lizard might be the cause of his illness; dogs get food poisoning too! But it affects every dog differently, some dogs vomits, some dogs get dirrehea, and some get both. She gave us some probiotics and antibiotics to help, and told us to monitor his for the next few days. Some good signs to look out for is pooping (meaning he has no gastric blockage) and higher activity level.
2nd bill was $110+.

Aftermath
Based on some online information and vet recommendation, we decided to feed a diet of soft food for him to aid his digestion. This consisted of boiled chicken and milk.
Luckily for us Oolong condition did improve, he became more active and has been eating better, hopefully this episode will teach him not to eat lizards again!

Conclusions
After the whole debacle and stress, we came out of the whole experience feeling much better as Oolong was recovering. But there were a few key takeaways that we have to abide by:

1) Unless its an emergency, do your checkups at day day vets instead of 24-hour hospitals
This needs some judgement as if your dog is really sick or is poisoned, time is of the essence. But unless absolutely necessary, it’s best to wait until daytime to see the vet as the costs is usually much cheaper.

2) Buy pet insurance (#notsponsored)
This is really important as if there happens to be a gastric blockage and there is a need for an operation, the cost of it would easily run upwards of $7k. If Oolong did need an operation then, it would be emotional and financial stress at the same time. At least with insurance, I can be rid of much of the financial stress.

3) Have one logical person in the discussion
Having a pet being sick is a huge emotional stress, but it’s very important to have a logical person in the situation to steer clear of emotional decisions and overthinking. In the whole situation i was the emotional one, while my partner was helping me to look at the logical signs of recovery and next steps, which really helped calm my mental nerves quite abit

I hope this article helps anyone who faces a similar situation to me! Do ping me if you need any advice!

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