Sunday, February 21, 2010

Revenge Of The Green Pen?

Last night Ellen and I visited the vet.  She had been retching all afternoon, which is not unusual - it's always a pleasant surprise to find chewed up grass, bits of wood, small stones and newspaper in slimy piles on the floor.  However, by evening she was coughing and vomiting, and by midnight it was clear something was wrong.

I got dressed and looked up the nearest after-hours vet clinic.  It was in Fyshwick.  For those of you who don't know Fyshwick, it is our own den of iniquity, a sordid haven for ladies of ill-repute and gentlemen who slip in the discreet side doors of shops.  It is a defiant celebration of our base, animal urges.


Nestled alongside the purveyors of adult toys and brown-wrapped magazines are some of the best bookshops in Canberra, a terrific microbrewery and petshop, and those two holy sites of the weekend family pilgrimage: Bunnings, and The Good Guys.

Despite these beacons of good, the suburb clings to its reputation of being born from the insane dreams of Hieronymus Bosch.  So I was nervous about what sort of veterinary practice would be operating there at midnight.  The type, I imagined, where dogs go to have knife wounds stitched up, no questions asked.  Where purebred cats procure speedy abortions, and where a hyped-up rabbit might find a sympathetic doctor to prescribe a little something to help him sleep.

I was relieved, if a little disappointed, to find a very well-lit and nicely appointed surgery.  Ellen must have been disappointed too, because she immediately vomited at the front desk.

The vet who saw us was lovely, and very adept with a thermometer.  She gave Ellen some pain relief and something for the nausea.  Ellen was not dehydrated (a relief, considering a night there on the drip would have been $800), but had a fever and a tender tummy.  Interestingly, she apparently also has malformed feet - a bit "clubby" was the exact word.  The feet, however, were not the source of Ellen's immediate problem, and the two most likely culprits were kennel cough, or the green pen that she ate a couple of days ago.  Or even a cough that developed in response to infection caused by a green pen.

The drugs gave Ellen a reasonably restful night, and this morning we went to our own vet, a bit brighter than last night.  He's fairly confident that there's no blockage, and her fever has gone. Both excellent bits of news.  We still don't know what the problem is, but we'll keep a close eye on her over the next couple of days, and return for x-rays tomorrow if she doesn't continue to improve.  Fingers crossed that the antibiotics will clear up the cough soon.

We will be sure to make fun of her feet once she has fully recovered.

UPDATE 24/2:  Ellen is doing very well.  No blockage.  Still has a smoker's cough, but is almost back to her old self.  And she loves her cough medicine.


  1. Glad Ellen's doing better, hope she's back to normal soon! You should probably hide the green pens though.

  2. Thanks. And yes - she will not be allowed within 5 metres of anything plastic ever again!


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