By 2 p.m. every day, Sugar is usually sitting right beside me, looking at me with those puppy eyes, waiting to go walking. Yesterday she wasn't which was odd, but we have company over for the weekend so she was a bit out of her routine.
|Sugar yesterday before I realized she was sick.|
We eventually gave up on her and put her back inside to lay down, and we went to dinner. We thought perhaps she had strained a muscle - after running around like a wild dog after her bath Thursday night (she does that after baths) - and we thought she was just tired and maybe sore.
We came home to a dog who had vomited twice and was obviously not feeling well.
Throughout the evening the vomiting continued - about once every hour or so. Then over night it continued - and got worse. I stayed up with her the entire night catching her vomit on towels and cleaning up her chin after every bout. By morning we both were exhausted having slept very little, and I was extremely worried.
Never before had she vomited this much continuously. Concerned she was getting dehydrated, I gave her some water. She vomited that up. I gave her some Pedialyte. The same thing occurred. Nothing would stay down. I was beyond concerned now. I called the vet around 7 a.m. and we had Sugar in to see the doctor by 7:30 a.m.
|Sugar's 12 Birthday in February|
The blood work revealed high liver and pancreas enzymes. Apparently that can mean a multitude of things or just pancrea-itis (she ate something that didn't agree with her). The doc was leaning toward pancrea-itis but he strongly suggested that we leave her at the vet so that they could put her on an IV for fluids (to avoid dehydration) and give her anti-biotics and pain meds until they could get her stomach settled enough to take solid food.
Leaving her there was the last thing I wanted to do, but the doc felt it was VERY important for her to stay and get onto an IV for fluids. We ultimately decided to leave her there for a day or two with the plan that we'd check on her throughout the day and tomorrow (Monday) re-evaluate where we were at.
|Sugar - Christmas 2011|
I'm writing about this for several reasons. One is that I've been very fortunate. Since my grandmother died almost 10 years ago, I've never had a family member in a fatal health situation. It's an area that I'm glad to have little experience in, but it's also such an emotional and stressful time. Now, some may take exception and say that a dog is not "family" but to me...us...she's just like one of our children. And it appeared this morning that she may be in a life and death situation.
Secondly, I'm always amazed at what veterinarians can do these days. They have x-rays, ultrasounds, surgeries like humans, and dog vet specialists. If there's an ailment, there's a medicine, a surgery, a test for it.
Third...those tests are expensive. Here's a look at Sugar's total bill for one day (left column) and two days (right) column. We had to leave a deposit of $950 for her to be treated!
And finally, all this brings up the issue of when is it more humane to let her pass away? Is there a cost that is too much to try to save her? Is there an age that once she passes it, you look at medical treatment differently.
While filling out the paperwork to admit her for the two-days, they asked that if she went into cardiac arrest (which was highly unlikely), should they resuscitate? How do you decide the right answer to that question? If they bring her back, there's no guarantees that she'll be the same dog or be able to function.
Coincidentally, this was a question that my husband and I have discussed in detail about ourselves since one of my best friends had an aneurysm and survived. She's been in a nursing home for nearly nine months in a state I'm not so sure she'd want to live the rest of her life in. But what's the best answer in a situation like this when it's your family member? Your dog?
It's been a stressful day for sure. One Memorial Day weekend I'm sure I won't soon forget....