Lifestyle

Fast thinking, surgery saves beloved dog

Junior, a golden Lab, is full of life again, thanks to veterinarian Kevin Cox, left, of the Redmond-Fall City Animal Hospital. Here, the dog plays with owners Carol and Bob Odem, right, and their grandson Ryder, 3. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Junior, a golden Lab, is full of life again, thanks to veterinarian Kevin Cox, left, of the Redmond-Fall City Animal Hospital. Here, the dog plays with owners Carol and Bob Odem, right, and their grandson Ryder, 3.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Junior was a mellow, 12-year-old gold Labrador retreiver in his golden years, living the good life as a semi-retired bird dog.

But when he suddenly faced a life-threatening condition, owners Bob and Carol Odem didn’t hesitate to seek emergency help. It took a fast intervention by veterinarian Kevin Cox and staff at the Redmond-Fall City Animal Hospital to bring Junior back from the brink of death.

Junior is the oldest of the Valley couple’s three retreivers. A trained bird dog, he has a lot of oomph.

“He’s always been a super active dog,” Carol Odem said. “He’s just a sweet, fun-loing, go-gettum dog.”

When the Odens picked Junior up from the breeder more than a decade ago, they received due warning about his energy.

“Are you ready for this?” Carol was told by the owner.

Junior was trained by Canine Country Club in Fall City and takes his bird-dog responsibilities very seriously. On the hunt, he would leap into the water and retrieve any birds Bob shot, and sometimes what other hunters downed, too — he was so fast, he’d beat their dogs to the quarry.

Last April, Junior had eaten his supper and then went out to make his rounds in the Odem’s yard.

“He likes to bark at the coyotes, back in the back 40,” Carol said.

Around 8 p.m., the other dogs had come in but not Junior.

“Where’s Junes?” Carol asked Bill.

Bill searched for him and found him in the back field. The dog was sitting there, moaning. His stomach was bloated and rock hard. Something was very wrong.

The hurried to the animal hospital, which was open late. Cox performed emergency surgery on him that night, because Junior’s stomach had flipped. He had a life-threatening condition called GDV, or gastric dilitation volvulus. G

DV affects dogs — often big young dogs — when they are too active after eating and drinking and can’t expel gas. Their stomach flips and cuts off the blood supply. The condition can potentially kill within minutes.

Typically, dogs are supposed to have an hour or two of ease after eating before they get active again.

In Junior’s instance, it may be that his oomph got the better of him.

The Odems believe Cox saved Junior’s life. They are thankful to the hospital staff for helping their pet when time short.

Junior took several days to recover, and the ordeal left the Odems with a hefty vet bill.

“But we’d do anything for this dog,” Carol said. “He’s the best.”

For several weeks, Carol cooked him a special convalescent diet of chicken and white rice.

“He had gourmet meals, for a dog,” she said.

Carol saw he was better when Junior started playing his favorite game again.

“He loves to play soccer with fir cones,” she said. “He’ll flip one over to you with his nose. The day he picked up a fir cone outside, I knew he was going to be OK.”

Faced with the emergency, his owners didn’t want to lose him, “especially not like that. We thought, let’s give him a chance here,” Carol said.

Now, Junior is back in action.

“He still has lots of spunk left in him,” Carol said.

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