Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘sick dog

Not Better

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If something is not getting better, does that mean it is getting worse? Not necessarily, but possibly. We continue to face the parallel issues of Cyndie’s recuperation after breaking her ankle and Delilah’s mystery illness that is looking more and more like what may be the end of her life. Cyndie and I are striving to be positive and calming alongside the obvious sadness we are experiencing.

The main evidence we are getting from Delilah is that she has stopped eating. Short of further expensive veterinary options, we are left with that clear X-ray and good blood results as the only reference for ruling out easily resolved causes. There are a variety of other afflictions that may be triggering Delilah’s shutting down but at ten years old, putting her through the trauma to learn more won’t necessarily provide much in the way of extending quality years for her.

Since kitty treats were the only thing she would accept (her ignoring scrambled eggs this morning was a real gut punch), we figured she could enjoy those yesterday and get a little more than zero calories.

That just resulted in a return of her vomiting this morning.

I’ve shortened her walks to just long enough to pee and/or poo if she has it in her to do. I told Cyndie this morning Delilah’s poop was rather cat-sized. I guess that’s what you get on a diet exclusively of kitty treats.

She mostly lays at Cyndie’s feet but still occasionally pops up to bark at something outside that neither of us can identify. Delilah shows no signs of pain or discomfort so we are left with witnessing her slow down between glimpses of her old spark.

If she continues to refuse to drink water or broth or eat anything we offer, it will be a matter of days before we will need to make that final decision which is never easy to make.

Not much else beyond keeping Delilah comfortable seems very important to us at this point.

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Written by johnwhays

November 20, 2022 at 11:33 am

Food Issues

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How strange it is to have our Belgian Tervuren Shepherd becoming finicky about eating. In our attempts to treat her for what was becoming chronic vomiting, she seems to have lost trust that we are offering nutrition in good faith. We tried hiding her two prescription pills in every possible enticing morsel. She ate the first one or two and ever after has successfully separated the pills from whatever we hid them in.

Now Delilah is refusing the prescribed diet offerings and even turning away from servings of her regular food. The only thing she still gladly chomps are kitty treats left over from our days with Pequenita.

Maybe she misses her kitty sister.

Honestly, I think Delilah won’t get back to normal until Cyndie is back to normal, too.

This morning I heard Cyndie report to someone over the phone that she was off the prescription pain meds, so she is continuing to make good progress. The biggest burden she is struggling with is not that her ankle surgery is only one week old, but the fact that Delilah is not doing well.

I continue refining my technique for serving the horses their three feed sessions. Since half of them are supposed to receive larger portions, I can’t just leave them on their own or the bolder ones will move in and push away the two who should get the larger servings.

When I am successful in splitting them into groups by serving size, I can care less about who is stealing whose portion.

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Light is notorious for wanting to get in Swings’ space, yet Swings is the primarily dominant mare of the herd. Why Swings tolerates the intrusions from Light is beyond me. Is Swings peacefully sharing or is Light perniciously seeking control?

I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter to me since they both receive the same serving size. They both eat together until the servings are gone, so neither is getting short-changed.

Now if Delilah would resume eating until her servings are fully consumed and keep them down long enough to digest them fully, that would be great.

I need to go feed Cyndie. She seems to be having no problems eating food.

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Written by johnwhays

November 19, 2022 at 11:38 am

Status Update

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One week down, seven to go before Cyndie can hope to be allowed to put weight on her right leg. Not that I’m counting. I’m noticing promising progress in her pain control as she is reducing narcotics and replacing them with over-the-counter alternatives.

I wish we could say Delilah is showing as much improvement. Even though she is no longer throwing up like she had been, her energy has dropped and she’s totally rejecting the vet-prescribed food and meds that are intended to help her. We’ve been throwing money at the problem and have learned there is no blockage visible by X-ray and her blood levels all fall within a healthy range.

Taking Delilah for a walk has become an exercise of my patience. Instead of pulling me down the trail like usual, she now trails behind as far as the leash reaches. At one point, as she stood foraging for grass to chew, I hooked her leash to a fence post and continued on to feed horses without her.

Normally, she would bark and bark if we left her behind. This time, she didn’t seem to mind one bit.

I think Cyndie and Delilah are unconsciously in a contest to see who gets better first.

Between my tending to each of them, I have continued to chip away at tasks we had hoped to take care of before snow arrived. Yesterday, I finally retrieved Cyndie’s prized “door-table” that she sets up on two plastic sawhorses in the woods under a big tree. It’s a novelty that she loves having, but it sees little if any use throughout the summer. It is now stored in the barn for winter.

I also pulled out the ATV snowplow from the back of the garage and installed it on the Grizzly. In the morning, it seemed like I was going to have snow to scrape off the driveway but by the time I was ready to plow, the snow had again melted from the pavement.

It looks like we installed heating in the asphalt. I’m pretty sure that residual ground warmth is fading fast. Our temperatures are due to drop for a few days, swinging us from unseasonably warm to colder than normal for mid-November.

Eventually, I will need to plow the driveway. For now, I am more than happy to wait.

It feels strange to walk the snowy trails without Cyndie. Winter will be half over by the time she gets to join me again.

It challenges one’s ability to live in the moment when you can’t put weight on a leg for two months and the immediate moment involves uncomfortable surgery pain. It’s safe to say that both Cyndie and I are setting our sights on a day that is weeks away. For now, that’s the moment we are living in.

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Written by johnwhays

November 18, 2022 at 7:00 am

Outwaiting Inevitable

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And there go the last 14 hours. Gone. It would have been nice to sleep through some of them. Okay, I’m exaggerating. I slept a couple hours at a time, twice. In between, I was standing out in the yard holding Delilah’s leash while she searched for grass long enough to chew and swallow.

The moon looked pretty cool through the clouds at 2 a.m. I didn’t see it at 5 a.m.

I was desperately hoping for vomit, but that never happened. At least, not yet. Hers, not mine.

For whatever reason, her symptoms are hinting that all is not right yet, but not manifesting in any obvious drastic changes. Is her throwing up inevitable? Time will tell.

I continue to keep one eye on her, one eye on Cyndie, and one eye on her mom when she needs help in the kitchen. It’s got me feeling a little crosseyed at times, but I can wait out the chaos with my sights set on the day when Cyndie’s bones have healed enough for supporting weight.

Is it inevitable that they will heal? I sure hope so.

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Written by johnwhays

November 13, 2022 at 11:18 am

Two Patients

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That was one heck of a day, yesterday. It turns out that I have two patients to take care of because, in addition to Cyndie recuperating from her surgery, Delilah is experiencing a problem with continued vomiting.

Delilah’s condition isn’t too concerning at this point because she is regularly drinking water, pooping healthy, and is full of her typical spunk at normal times. It is, however, inconvenient to have her making disgusting messes unexpectedly at the worst times possible.

We can’t rule out stress as a possible contributing factor but there is also a possibility we have a bad batch of food or she could be developing an allergy to an ingredient.

I’m pretty sure Delilah doesn’t grasp the concept but I have her fasting for a while in an attempt to disrupt the troublesome routine she has fallen into. Then I will need to decide what food I will start testing to see if we can solve whatever is ailing her.

Tuesday night didn’t start out well for her because the thunderstorm we endured was quite dramatic with booms of thunder that shook the house. She was having a fit in her overnight crate trying to bark back the storm that wasn’t letting up. I tried staying up late with her to give some support but that didn’t seem to ease her distress much.

After a few-too-few hours of sound sleep, I was woken by Cyndie at 3 a.m. because she could hear Delilah throwing up. With her splinted leg propped up on pillows, Cyndie couldn’t do anything about it.

Last night, Delilah threw up again, just before dinner time. I was in the middle of cooking my own dinner and manning the phone tree of contacts with reports on Cyndie’s status. The doctor had called me to say everything went well and there were no complications. It was time to walk Delilah and tend to the horses but I was waiting for a sitter to show up and take care of those tasks.

I put Delilah on a leash in the front yard, tossed paper towels over the mess in the front entryway, answered my phone, and turned over fish fillets baking in the oven.

I thought last night was going to be a moment of rest while Cyndie was tended to by professionals. Nope. Forgot about the other patient here needing TLC.

At least Delilah doesn’t seem to realize anything is ailing her. If she had a bum leg, she’d still try to run anyway. That’s the way dogs are.

Good thing Cyndie doesn’t take after her dog.

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Written by johnwhays

November 10, 2022 at 7:00 am

True Love

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First, let me report that Delilah is no longer emitting as many outbursts of shrill vocalizations of pain as a couple of days ago. Maybe the meds are taking the edge off. However, things are still definitely amiss. We are seeing behaviors that are obvious indications that she is incredibly uncomfortable.

Between moments of normalcy, she is suddenly out of control in reaction to something that even she doesn’t seem to understand. Her behaviors give me the impression she wants to crawl out of her skin. I think, …allergic reaction.  To her meds? Then, she focuses on licking at her groin, which isn’t easy because she still looks like it is hard to move, …like her back is still a problem.

We wondered about maybe a kidney stone?

Of course, it was Sunday, so we have waited until today for our next consultation with the vet. Delilah is managing incredibly well for extended periods of time between her bouts of discomfort, so we decided it wasn’t an emergency situation. We also recorded a video of her weird behavior to show the veterinarian.

Life around the house is relatively normal, with just an odd fraction of the impression that things are not alright. I think Pequenita is aware, but unsure how to respond.

She gave us a good laugh last night while we were laying on our bed. Cyndie always talks about how ‘Nita is totally in love with me, but doesn’t think that much of her. As she often does, Pequenita was laying across my extended legs when Cyndie slid over to lay next to me with her leg across mine.

Pequenita didn’t move a muscle, other than to make sure Cyndie wasn’t touching her.

We started laughing about it after Cyndie pointed out the scene to me, and suddenly our cat turned and gave me a look.

At first, I wondered aloud why she was looking at me. It was Cyndie who was horning in on her love.

Then, in an instant, Cyndie and I came to the same conclusion.

That look seemed to be saying, “Are you going to do something about this intrusion on our space?”

‘Nita didn’t look happy with our outburst of laughing to tears.

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Written by johnwhays

October 2, 2017 at 6:00 am

Animal Care

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Caring for our animals is a lot like caring for children, except they will never grow to become self-sufficient and eventually move out and have a life of their own. Do I sound tired?

You know that part of my life where I go off on bike rides because I find time to embark on such a frivolous pursuit? It happens a lot less often after we decided to have pets that require so much care. Luckily, humans tend to fall in love with animals almost as much as they do with their own children, so it ends up being a labor of love.

Of course, when you love people and pets, it is tough to watch them suffer illness. Even though it took almost three days for her to reveal symptoms, Cyndie thinks that Delilah’s current problems have a high likelihood of being the result of her activity while roaming loose on the neighboring properties last Saturday.

Tuesday afternoon, when I got home from work, Cyndie reported two interesting morsels of news: 1) She found the fully intact and well-preserved remains of the infamous goldfish when cleaning debris from our landscape pond. Surreptitiously deposited back in May of 2016, it was only spotted two times over the course of it’s time here. 2) Delilah was suffering from severe diarrhea.

Seconds after they followed me into the house, Delilah vomited on the old Hays family farm rug in the porch. When Cyndie went down to the barn to tend to the horses, she left Delilah in the house to rest. A few minutes later, Delilah came to the chair I was sitting in and looked at me.

I hustled to get her leash and get out the door. She practically pulled me across the driveway and down the slope into the trees and leaves where she experienced the worst canine diarrhea I had ever witnessed. Our doggie was seriously ill with some gastrointestinal disruption.

Tuesday night was one of constant sleep interruptions, and Cyndie described yesterday as producing gradually reducing symptoms. Delilah ate some rice with chicken broth. I took her for a walk after work and saw what we hope was one of the last gasps of an attempt to release the pressure of mostly virtual diarrhea.

I marveled at Delilah’s ability to proceed with the remainder of the walk in her usual mode of inspired curiosity at the world of scents. It was as if the disaster that I just watched playing out in her digestive system had never occurred.

It made the role of loving witness to her suffering that much easier to bear.

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Written by johnwhays

April 6, 2017 at 6:00 am