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Dimity, our red female, will be 1 year-old on the 27th. It's been a rough year for her, however: 2 surgeries--a partial toe amputation 7 months ago and abdominal surgery last Wednesday for a suspected small bowel obstruction. Three months ago she incurred a paw infection, and then had trouble with the medications used to treat that. When the suture's are removed in a week, we should be able to remove the Elizabethan cone. All illnesses considered, she will have worn an Elizabethan cone for a cumulative 2 1/2 months during her first year.

The abdominal surgery found no obstruction, and a biopsy of inflamed lymph nodes revealed no infection. The vet says we will probably never know what caused the diarrhea and the misery she was in, as everything--save an allergic reaction to something she ingested--has been ruled out. Other than a rag she vomited up a few days before we rushed her to the vet, I don't know what could have caused the problem.

There is a 6-foot cedar fence enclosing the back yard. I am 90% sure that whatever caused the problem is on the property, as she never leaves the property except on leashed walks. Moreover, she is primarily an indoor dog, allowed only brief excursions on her own in the back yard. Her diet consists of Solid Gold adult dog food and Merrick dog food. The vet considers her diet to be excellent, ruling out her food as a potential allergen.

I am building a fence around the irrigation ditch that runs through the back yard, consisting of 315 feet of welded wire and T-posts (yes, a fence within a fence!). I want to keep her out of that area. Perhaps there is upstream pesticide runoff in the water or toxic weeds on the banks. She will still have 1/2 acre of yard to play in. Other than building a fence around the ditch, I have been going over both the side and back yards very carefully, looking for anything that she might chew on or swallow. We do not use pesticides on our property.

I apologize for the length of this posting. It is difficult to describe how we feel about the situation and how hard we are trying to provide a safe environment for Dimity. If anyone's dog has had experience with toxic agents/allergens, we would like to hear about it. Any hints or suggestions would be most welcome.

Regards,

Steve Wynne
 

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I am so sorry to hear about your Dobie's trouble. She is very lucky to have a responcible owner that cares enough to respond quickly to problems. I could be wrong, but the towel may have caused some gastroenteritis. Although she vomited it up, some pieces could have stayed in and caused a little temporary obstruction and irritation. Maybe there was also some kind of cleaner on it. Lymph nodes may also swell from the bowel irritation. As long as the diarrhea has subsided, then I would not worry so much. Just be mindful of items that she can get a hold of.
 
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