Monday, January 13, 2014

PSA: Poison

Yeah, did you know hops were poisonous to dogs? Me neither.

Saturday was a great brew day. R2-DBREW worked like a charm. I even remembered all the ingredients, and I didn't break anything! Fantastic!

Well, ok. I did forget to make a yeast starter. No matter though, I'll still get good beer in the end.

But this is where my day started, but at the time I didn't know it. I was cleaning out my kegs in the back yard, something I typically do in the front yard. I dumped my spent grain into a bucket to send off to my buddy's compost, and washed the rest of the grains out into the back yard. I also took my cop canister and tapped that out in the backyard (which in retrospect is strange because I usually add that to the compost as well). As I looked a the pile of spent brewing materials I knew I was going to be cleaning up dog puke later. I really couldn't think of a way to prevent my sweet dog Savannah from getting into the leftover ingredients. Not that I spent a lot of time thinking about it, she's got into them before. At some point, when I'm not looking, she eats some, and later she throws it up. No big deal.

As I was doing some evening gaming I stood up to get something from the kitchen. That's when I noticed the little pile of puke on the back door rug. I was thankful, having it on the rug made it very easy to clean. I picked up the rug, brought it out, hosed it off, and left it to dry. No big deal.

An hour or so passes and I emerge from my man room again to top off my diet coke. Savannah is laying on the ground (typical), panting (not so typical).  I laughed and thought, "silly dog, apparently hops give you indigestion and dry mouth." Made sense to me. Hops have a way of drying you out. No big deal.

Another hour or so passes, I emerge from my man cave to check on the laundry and watch some Hockey. Savannah is still panting. Poor girl. I'm going to post about this on facebook!


Not ten minutes goes by when I get a comment from an old friend that I haven't seen since 2002. Keying me into the fact that HOPS ARE POISONOUS. Yes, you heard right. Hops are poisonous. That's when I headed to a website talking about how 5 out of 5 greyhounds died from eating hops. Canine hyperthermia. Makes the dogs body temperature rise dramatically. 104 is dangerous, 108 you pooch is either dead or warming up on an Asian bbq grill.

Red flag. Savannah lying on the ground, still panting. Part of me still really isn't believe this. I take her temp its just a hair over 103. That's when I text my vet friend. I'm still half thinking "she didn't get into that much..." Vet says call animal poison control. Animal poison control answers and asks some questions. Puts me on hold for a quick 15 seconds and responds:

"Yeah, lets get your payment information really quick so you can get her to an emergency vet right away."

Well shit.

Now I'm panicking a little bit.

I get Savannah in the truck (11pm) and I start driving. 5 miles down the road and a damn spider crawls over my window, and I think, "really? now??" Well instincts kicked in and I atomized that spider with a swift left karate chop against the window.

One day I will break my window doing that. I hate spiders.

Then at that point I notice that my tank is on E. And I mean really on E. I remembered a that point parking it
in the driveway earlier that day with the empty light on thinking, "well I'll fill up the tank tomorrow." At this point I'm only a few miles from the clinic and I start going through scenarios where I run out of gas. The image that keeps running through my head is hanging Savannah over my shoulders while jogging barefoot (I was wearing flip flops) to the emergency clinic.

Well the story ends well. She did have an elevated temperature. But she's a big dog, and she only got into less than an oz of hops. I ended up getting home at about 1am. The clinic decided to keep her overnight. They gave her a catheter and did some other stuff as well, and she is alright. My bank account is a little lighter, but oh well.

Which makes me think, as they go over the price with me, they itemize everything, which is nice. Then they ask "how does that sound?" What am I supposed to say to that? No, do this, but I don't think that's necessary. I'm not veterinary expert. Just keep her alive!!!

So in summary, hops are very poisonous to dogs. Savannah managed to get into less than an oz of spent pelletized hops, and it was enough to see noticeable side effects. That's less than an oz. affecting a 65 pound golden retriever mind you. If your dogs do get into it, call animal poison control immediately. A lot of vets don't know about the effects of hops. Poison control will give you a phone number and a case number, so the second you get to the vet, they can call the poison center and the center will give the vets step by step instructions.

I almost killed my dog. On the off chance that I made a post on Facebook possibly saved her life. Thanks Nikki and Brandin from high school! If you're ever in central Florida you've got a place to stay.

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