Zolza has had an eventful life so far. She was born in Poland, and was brought to Ireland when she was only six months old. Bartosz and Magda had obtained a pet passport for her, and her arrival here should have been smooth and simple. Unfortunately, there was a mix-up with the transporting company, and her passport ended up in Paris when Zolza landed in Dublin. She had to stay in the quarantine kennels near Dublin Airport for four days while her passport was retrieved. It was a worrying time for her owners, because they didn’t speak much English at that stage. They found it difficult to communicate clearly with the Irish officials about the complexities of the situation, but Zolza was released into their care in due course and everything ended well.
Eighteen months later, Bartosz and Magda can now speak English fluently, and even Zolza has become bilingual. She understands “Siad” in Polish, as well as the English translation of the word: “Sit”.
Zolza is a typical lap dog, spending most of her time close to her owners, and even sleeping on their bed at night. They watch her carefully, and when she developed a “runny tummy” and went off her food, they were concerned. When she started to pass blood and mucus instead of a normal stool, they brought her straight down to see me.
It’s always serious when an animal passes blood instead of normal stools. There are many possible causes, including viral diseases, serious bacterial infections and poisoning. If early treatment isn’t given, animals can die, so it’s a sign that should never be ignored: a visit to the vet needs be a priority.
Zolza seemed bright and well when I examined her, but a blood test showed that she was dehydrated. Other tests showed that her general metabolism was functioning well: the problem was caused by a direct irritation of her intestines, known as Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis. There can be a number of different underlying reasons, including viruses, bacteria and allergic reactions. It’s usually impossible to pinpoint the precise cause, but the treatment approach is generally the same in each case. As long as the animal recovers, the specific reason for the disease isn’t often a critical issue.
Treatment is straightforward: Zolza was admitted to our veterinary clinic for a two-day stay. She was set up with a continual infusion of intravenous fluids to correct her dehydration, and she was given antibiotics and vitamins to support her.
She was very quiet initially, but after twenty-four hours of treatment, she began to perk up. Once she had stopped passing blood, she was offered a special bland diet (the canine equivalent of scrambled eggs on toast). When she scoffed this down hungrily, wagging her tail and looking for more, I knew that she was ready to go home.
She came back in for a check-up yesterday, and she’s looking better than ever. Bartosz and Magda are very relieved that their little dog is back to normal. They still have a valid pet passport for her, and perhaps one day they’ll take her back to Poland. In the mean time, all three of them are enjoying their time in Ireland. Bartosz and Magda tell me that they find Irish people very friendly; as she licked my hand and wagged her tail, Zolza seemed to be telling me with her body language that Irish vets aren’t too bad either.
- It’s always serious when a dog passes blood in the stools
- There are many possible causes, and urgent treatment is always important
- With the right care, most dogs recover well, returning to normal within a few days