Solar is now 20 weeks old, and has just gone through a health issue, which is still ongoing.
Last Sunday we were awoken to Solar feeling poorly, retching but not being physically sick, enough to give us concern to contact the out of hours vet for a emergency visit in the small hours.
This began a week of concern where we were to encounter prejudice, opinions more important than ours, along with lack of information and support, however that was mostly turned around yesterday.
When we got Solar to the emergency vets, he underwent an examination, at this time we were unaware of whether Solar had ingested something whole or had drank or eaten something, but it was evident it was an intestinal reaction.
His gums were pale, and he was in a lethargic cooperative state, not a bouncy twenty week old German Shepherd puppy.
We agreed to blood tests being carried out, and the results would be known within 15 minutes. Off Solar trotted with the vet without a backward glance. The news was not good, Solar had high lactic levels of 6.9 where normal is 2.9, his blood was not generating oxygen sufficiently, he needed to be put on a drip to help his fluid levels, bordering on the edge of going into shock. More concerned for his welfare we agreed to pay the deposit required, which would also see Solar booked in and placed on a drip to induce fluids.We could do no more than leave him with the professionals to work their magic on this very poorly pup.
We were to spend many hours, if not days wondering what could be the root cause, a hoof chew was missing, Solar had been swallowing sea water the week before, he had eaten cow poo, he loves to drink from puddles while out walking, we have a garden pond which he drinks from when seeking a reaction, and so the list goes on, in essence it could be any, some or none of the afore mentioned.
Anxiously we awaited a call, but it was us that called them at 9.00am for an update, he was responding to the drip. A long story short we were to get updates through the day on his condition but it was evident that there was something wrong, yet to be identified and he had encountered a bout of diarrhoea. Solar had improved enough during the day to pull his catheter out, along with refusing any food offered, Sunday evening the vets decided that Solar should be collected Monday morning. We collected him as agreed and paid the bill of £1,200.00+ he was glad to see us, as we were him.
Sue was to spend the next two days off work, booking annual leave at short notice, caring and watching over Solar, the diarrhoea was reducing, the food they had given us, Solar would not even touch. We were advised not to feed him his usual raw food diet, he ended up eating cooked chicken.
There was still vomiting of food, and unhealthy stools, he was taking antibiotics to fight any infection and a probiotic paste to restore the healthy bacteria lost from his gut. Although there were signs of improvement, Solar had began to retch, where his stomach would be heaving and contracting, bringing up white frothy liquid not dissimilar to bile.
In himself he was bright, playful and keen to eat his chicken, the concern was that every two hours he would bring up this fluid, so we made an appointment to visit our own vet on the Thursday.
Solar had a thorough check over and the Vet concluded that there was no longer any signs of swollen internal organs, but should be fed brown rice and chicken, as it could be hunger that was now an issue, raw food should be held off and re-introduced gradually as he improves, temperature was normal. Once again our decision not to have Lepto 4, immunisation against Weils disease was questioned, our information was based on evidence of other dogs suffering sometimes fatal episodes with a vaccine that can not cover all strains.
To our dismay and concern the retching returned Saturday morning, once again an appointment was made for later in the day. In the meantime trying to find out how much cooked chicken he should be given was nigh impossible to find out. We are still awaiting requested advise from Natural Instinct, phone not being answered, online request unanswered.
What made this retching different to previous days was it was spontaneous, and occurred while Solar was sleeping, it was an involuntary act.
Once more outwardly Solar seemed full of energy, and the visit to the vets did not go well.
On arrival Solar was sparked into barking barking mode because of the traffic noise from the adjacent road, entering the veterinary reception it continued, efforts to weigh him were challenging, he was around 23.5 kilo's
Solar was so unruly, we had to take him outside due to the incessant barking, where the cars were going by and this got him even more vocal and agitated.
Eventually we were summoned to enter for our appointment, Solar had a temperature of 40.3 which the vet was concerned with. She said that even in an agitated state it was too high.
She was concerned he was raw fed, and stated that he looked out of proportion, German Shepherds are a breed prone to many afflictions etc etc. She also asked if we had seen the Mother and Father of Solar.
We were offered an injection to help with the retching, which would last for 12 hours, and if returned, should consult the emergency vet as we did last week. It was said also if this condition continued we should consider booking Solar in for more scans and tests, and the usual are you insured.
Sue said, yes we are insured, but it cost us money and should not be an excuse to charge for unnecessary treatments at costly rates, we have just spent over twelve hundred pounds to be no further forward with a diagnosis.
We were told to give him the equivalent of his original meals replaced with chicken and brown rice.
The Vet, who was a Locum, suggested we kept an eye on Solars temperature, by purchasing a rectal thermometer, Sue purchased one later in the day, but we have decided it is not a good thing to do, as neither of us are trained, and it has to remain in place for two minutes. We couldn't imagine for one moment Solar would stand there let us insert it, leave it in place for two minutes before removal.
We returned home, vowing to seek out another veterinary practice, now with a dog that is out of proportion, too low for his age, not knowing if equivalent food is by weight or volume etc etc.
Sue contacted the breeder to recount Solars condition and the prejudice encountered at the vets.
The breeder was horrified at the way Solar was being viewed and treated, to the point where she gave us some support and guidance how to move things forward.
Solar had met up with his sisters a few weeks previous, as the seven of them played he looked much as they did, size and proportion.
We are now feeding Solar raw chicken and bone mince, a handful at a time and an hour between snacks, the retching has stopped, the poo is still around a 5 out of 10 but he also seems brighter in himself.
There has been a lot to take in the last week, and we will always do what is best for Solar.
It is clear there is huge money invested and spent in the Veterinary practice, but in all walks of life there are chosen lifestyles that should be respected.
At the moment we are happy to challenge prejudice against raw food feeding, pre-conditions with German Shepherds and will share our experiences with others.
Solar stands ready to pounce while lining up with six sisters at a South London Park
Ava; Isla; Azyah; Ruby; Kira; Solar; Pepper