Monday, August 8, 2011

The Passing of a Friend

Charlie, one of the guard dogs, died very suddenly last night. Brian and Autumn were about ten minutes away from the animal hospital in Charlottesville when he passed away.

Although we didn't know it until talking to the veterinarian, Charlie had canine bloat, a very serious and often fatal problem that usually occurs in deep chested dogs, which Charlie was. Basically, the dog's stomach twists downward, which makes the dog unable to vomit or get rid of anything in its stomach. Gasses build up, and within a few hours the dog dies.

We first noticed something was wrong at noon, when we were heading into lunch. Charlie had jumped the fence and was panting pretty hard. Other than the panting, he seemed fine, so we took him back to his area.

That evening as Brian was doing wrap-up, he noticed that Charlie was gone. When we found him, his mouth was dirty, his tummy distended and hard, and he was still panting a lot. He wouldn't eat or drink anything. We thought he'd probably just eaten something bad, but decided to take him to the vet anyways. Brian and Autumn drove him, since I was getting up at 4 for the Charlottesville Farmers Market.

Charlie died on the way to the vet's office. Even if he'd gotten there before he died, there wasn't anything the vet could have done by that point. We need to keep an eye on Ben, Charlie's brother - apparently canine bloat is hereditary. Susan is thinking about having a preventative surgery done where they would tie down Ben's stomach so it couldn't twist - a fairly common procedure, it seems.

Bye, Charlie. You're a good pal.

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