I honestly hope after my post next week, that all of my blogging therapy will be finished. As I mentioned last week, these last two months have been nightmarish. Some will sympathize more than others because this part involves my dog Jory. I want to preface by saying that both of our dogs are like our children. We make their food, we baby them and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. This entire post is about what I feel was a battle for my baby’s life…(It’s long-winded, so if you want to know the outcome, skip to the last couple paragraphs.)
3 days before I returned to California (after being in Indianapolis and losing my aunt to cancer), my boyfriend said that my “baby” (Jory) was whining at night and did not want to go to sleep. He normally has some separation anxiety so I wasn’t really surprised because I had been gone for almost 2 weeks at that point.
The following day, Jory began to refuse to eat. For most dogs, this isn’t an issue, but Jory has been a diabetic for almost 4 years. He has to eat so he can get his insulin otherwise his blood sugar will be out of whack and he can require hospitalization.
I was worried, but knew I would be home within 36 hours and I thought he would perk up when I returned. So when I walked in the door after traveling for more than 8 hours, I knew we would have to make an appointment with the vet. It was definitely more than separation anxiety.
I took Jory to the vet on Monday morning and had him tested for Addison’s disease, which is an adrenal disease. We had the results back on Tuesday…the cortisol levels in his blood were very high, indicating that he had Cushings disease. Additionally, almost every value on his blood panel was abnormal.
We were directed to a special veterinary internist to discuss Jory’s case. Diabetes complicated with Cushings is complex, so it was important to see the specialist. We discussed options for Jory and then an ultrasound was performed to confirm the diagnosis. Also, chest x-rays were performed to rule out any sort of mass on/around his heart.
On Thursday, the Cushings diagnosis was confirmed. Although, I felt a little discouraged at the prospect of dealing with another disease…I was more worried because they had started to mention that they thought Jory may also be in kidney failure. As I mentioned before, I would do anything for him, but I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t agree to performing a kidney transplant no matter how much I begged.
We started Jory on Cushings medication on Thursday, but each day he seemed a little worse. He was lethargic and would not let me get more than a foot away from him. At night, he couldn’t get comfortable and he would whine for hours…it was so upsetting because there was nothing I could do to make him feel better. It was breaking my heart. Each day when it was time to walk the dogs, Jory would get so excited to go, but he could only walk for two minutes and then I’d have to carry him back to the house. This was awful for me because normally Jory loves to take long walks.
Jory is an older dog (he’s 13.5), but he has remained very active and hasn’t had any problems except the diabetes. So to see him go from fine to frail had me gutted. He got to the point where his legs couldn’t hold him up:(
At 1am on a Saturday night, he was looking at me with the saddest eyes and he couldn’t stand up. So, I took him to the emergency vet. They had to keep him overnight. He was extremely dehydrated and required 1.5 liters of IV fluid, which is insane because Jory only weighs 18lbs. I left Jory there about 3am and was calling to check on him just 2 hours later. It was really hard for me to go home without him and it was devastating to learn that he did indeed have chronic kidney failure.
The next night I was able to bring Jory home, but had to take him back in the following morning for more fluid support. That continued for 3 days along with staying up all night with him, checking his blood sugar every couple of hours (which requires drawing blood from his back leg), giving him subcutaneous fluids and being paranoid that he would stop breathing. I cannot imagine my life without him.
Miraculously after a couple of weeks of hell, on a Friday afternoon, Jory started running when we took him out for a walk…RUNNING. I called both of my parents and 2 of his vets (we’re working with 4). I wanted to share the good news…I was so excited because I thought we were out of the woods…but I was wrong. Saturday, Jory took another turn for the worse, so we had to reduce 1 of his medications. He was shaking so badly and couldn’t walk again…I would not put Jory through so much, if I thought it was “his time,” but it isn’t his time.
After changing the medication, he bounced back again…and I think we are on the path to being relatively healthy. It was 3 weeks on the brink and about $4k out the window…but I’d go to hell and back for him…and maybe the poorhouse, too.
You should see Jory today…he runs like a little deer. He tolerates being poked with needles. He takes 7 pills a day. He has his blood drawn and sugar checked. He cries when we give him his subcutaneous fluids, but he manages…AND when he’s done, he still loves me and wags his tail and is happy. It is truly priceless for me to have him in my life. He’s doing well…I hope I am as lucky, but that’s for the next post.
Thanks for being a part of my therapy…