So... two ER vets and six hours later... I still don't have any idea what's wrong...
I gave Mick two Benedryl (50 mg) and we raced to the first ER... his breathing did get better on the way there, but as soon as we went inside the clinic he started hyperventilating (probably due to anxiety), and I dragged him off to a quiet corner so he could calm down.
Paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork followed... then we waited.
Finally we saw a nurse who took his history... then we waited.
30 minutes later we saw the vet assistant, who peeked at him from behind the chairs in the waiting room, assured me that we'll be seen soon... then we waited.
The vet tech had me put Mick on the scale, and I weighted him THREE times to be sure - he weights 74 pounds!!! - then we waited.
Finally the vet came out, informed me that Mick will have to be sedated (DUH!) and that they will prepare an estimate for me... then we waited.
Vet comes out again, asked me what kind of sedative Mick should get - I suggested a fast-acting horse tranquilizer - and said that they're almost done w/my estimate... then we waited.
We were allowed to go into an exam room... and wait some more.
Vet tech poked her head in again and informed us that now they are expecting three cats who were attacked by a racoon, and that Mick will be seen after
the cats are taken care off.
My daughter asked if Mickey wasn't considered an "emergency" and she answered, yes, he most definitely was, but the cats might be injured badly and would have to be seen first. But - yahoo!!! - my estimate is just about ready!
At that point we had been there for about two hours, and I was so pissed off that a horse tranquilizer for ME was probably a good idea..
We stuck around for another 15 minutes and I decided to leave. The receptionist followed us out in the parking lot and asked for $85.00 for our "visit" at which point I was ready to mow her down w/my daughters car... I didn't pay and I don't plan on it, though she promised to send a bill in the mail.
ER #2... my daughter went inside to explain our situation and the attending vet came out to the parking lot to speak to me. I went through the whole scenario again while Mick was semi-"passed out" in the back seat and didn't even attempt to act like a fool. The vet suggested, and administered, an injection of Depo-Medrol to keep him as stable as possible (w/his breathing) and told us that he was pretty certain that Mick was NOT having an allergic reaction to anything (no welts, no hives, etc.), and he also felt that he wouldn't be able to have any conclusive results before our regular vet is open in the morning. He didn't want to put the dog through sedation and blood tests just to have our vet do the same again later on today and thought that Mickey would be okay 'til then. The ER vet definitely thinks something major is going on (he mentioned abcess, infection or possibly Lymphoma) but he also said that I would probably pay double for every test he'd run tonight - and we'd have to see our vet for a follow-up visit in the morning anyway.
He didn't charge us for the "visit" or the shot.
So we went back home and I'm just sick to my stomach now... between the weight gain and the other crap... Mick is just happy to be back home and found a warm spot under my blanket on my bed. Bless his heart - he was very well behaved, considering.
The swelling hasn't gone down at all, and I can't remove his collar... but the Benedryl has at least knocked him out. Earlier his eyes were like slits and really blood-shot, and when he did open them they looked sort of "droopy" and like they were rolling back in his head.
Now I'm waiting for 8 AM to bring him in... wish us luck...