Home at Last

Whew, what a week.  Part of me feels like I have been in the car for 8 days straight.  I will give an update on our sweet dogie Bear and then try to give the run down of what I have been doing for the last week.  But first I want to thank all of you for your kind messages of support for Bear and our family.  I missed reading your stories and will do my best to get caught up over the next 2 or three days.  Thanks for your patience in my absence.

It turns out that Bear did not have a herniated disc.  In fact they scanned that dog from nose to tail and did not find any physical abnormality, spinal issues, or tumors anywhere.  It took two days but they finally diagnosed him with myasthenia gravis (MG).  This is an autoimmune disease that attacks the nerological system of the body and prevents the messages from getting to the muscles from the nerves.  So even though he had no pain and was trying to stand and walk his hind legs just weren’t getting the message.  Essentially his immune system was killing off the neurotransmitters that send the message.   To finally diagnose this disease they gave him a fast acting medicine and within seconds he was able to stand up and walk around.  The bad news about this fast acting drug is that it also leaves the system quickly so he was back down after 15 seconds of walking around.  To manage the disease we have to give him a slow acting version of the drug which is essentially liquid neurotransmitters, it has to be given at exactly 8 hour increments which has proven to be a scheduling nightmare so far.   He also has to be on steroids to suppress his immune system just enough to keep it from attacking himself.  There is a slight chance the disease will go into remission in 6-8 months and he can live drug free at that time.  That would be great because right now and until that time (possibly forever) we have to be at home at 4:30am 12:30pm and 8:30 pm every single day to administer his meds.

The worst part of it all is that the disease has caused his esophagus to enlarge to the point that we have to worry about him being able to swallow.  Most dogs with MG end up dying not from the disease itself but from choking or of aspiration pneumonia if their food or water get into the lungs instead of the stomach.   So that is the major thing to watch with him.  He has to eat and drink in a sitting position and sit there for 10 min afterwards to make sure everything gets to his stomach.  This means we have to feed him and give him water to make sure he can sit the whole time.  It is so hard to leave him without water all day.

He did get a slight case of pneumonia while he was at the vet that is why they kept him for a whole week to monitor him.  He is doing better now and we were able to bring him the 8 hours home last night.  We got through the night and his medicine and meals and so far he is doing great.  I know this is a lot more that most would go through for a dog but he is our child and we would do anything within our means to take care of him.  Right now he is able to walk around a little bit and go to the bathroom by himself.  He has light in his eyes and plenty of wag in his tail.  If he gets to the point that he looses his spirit we will have to make the difficult choice to ease his suffering and put him down.  But for now he is our spoiled, high maintenance, old man and we are so happy to have him with us.

The majority of the trip was spent in the car driving back and forth from my mom’s house and the vet which are an hour apart.  But I did get to go visit my grandpa who is turning 90 this year.  And I also was in my cousin’s wedding.  She is my younger cousin and we are more like sisters.  It was so beautiful and so much fun to celebrate with her.

And special news just for you ladies.  Cloudy and I got caught in a moment of passion after my cousin’s wedding and did not use a condom, the next morning my temperature spiked and has been up for three days now.  Maybe this wasn’t a practice round after all……


Road Trip to the Vet

I may only be posting sporadically this week. We spent 8 hours in the car yesterday driving our dog to the emergency room due to what we think is some sort of spinal injury. I have had my sweet dog since he was a puppy and he is now almost 9 years old. On Thursday last week we picked him up from doggie daycare only to find that he couldn’t walk.
I have to rant for a second here. I understand that it is likely his spine was instable and that this injury was going to occur whether he was with us or at day care. So, I do not blame them for it happening. However, if he had been with me when this happened I would have taken him to the vet immediately. I did not receive so much as a phone call from the daycare facility. When I went to pick him up I could tell immediately that he wasn’t able to walk. When I asked them about it they said he had seemed fine all day but had been lying in the sun all afternoon. He is a big furry man that looks like he could survive a harsh winter in the artic without so much as a thought. He does NOT look like a dog that likes to lie in the sun for hours on end! I am so angry that they didn’t notice anything was wrong, they didn’t call me, and he was in pain and unnoticed for hours.
Anyway, our local vet suspected a herniated disc but wasn’t able to confirm without MRI and there are only 3 vets in our state with an MRI machine, none of which are very close to us. So they put him on an IV heavy dose of cortisone and kept an eye on him. When he didn’t show any improvement by Sunday morning we were referred to a vet with an MRI machine to figure out what is going on. We dropped him off last night and haven’t heard anything yet. I’m losing my mind over it. Fortunately we have one of the top veterinary colleges in the country right here in our state and he is with them and their eager to learn students and top of the line equipment. We have taken pets there in the past and I know he is in good hands.
One thing it brings up for me is adoption. I have of course thought a lot about adoption since delivering a healthy baby of my own seems illusive. I have wondered if I could ever feel like an adopted baby was really mine. My pets have taught me that yes I can. My adopted fur babies look nothing like me and I feel as if I have given birth to them. Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. They aren’t of course. But they are my children and I love them and would do anything for them.
The other fortunate things about having to come here in the middle of the night is that my company’s headquarters is here so I can sit at a unused desk and try to get a little work done to distract me and not have to use vacation time for this adventure. And my cousin’s wedding is on Friday and we were planning on coming up on Wednesday anyway. A very dull silver lining on the dark cloud that is my poor injured pup.