Friday, January 2, 2015

A Free Dog Is Always The Most Expensive Dog....

If you're friends with me on Facebook, then you know that our sweet man dog, Riggs, has been sick for quite some time now. No, we don't know what's wrong with him, but the vet has an "idea".

In November, Riggs started drinking water excessively, only to throw it up about 2 minutes later. At first, I didn't think much of it, but after a few days I was concerned. I took him to a vet close by the house and was told that he had a kidney infection and to take this medicine to make it better. 10 days and a completed prescription later, things were worse. 

We got a referral from a good friend to go to her vet; which we did. After 2 visits with her, she decided it was time to go to a specialist. Mind you, within this 3 week time frame, Riggs was still throwing up, wasn't eating, and had lost 10lbs. I was a total wreck. I didn't want to sleep because I was scared Riggs would need something or something would happen and I wouldn't be there for him. 

The 2nd vet thought that Riggs had either kidney failure or cancer, so off to the specialist we went. Two ultrasounds and about 9 different blood tests later, we still knew nothing. It had been a month now and although Riggs had improved, we still didn't have a diagnosis. Finally, after our last specialist visit, Riggs had improved with 5 different medications and special homemade food (which I'll blog about later). He was eating and drinking normally, started to play again, and finally gained some weight back! We still have a few more pounds to go, but we'll get there.

With that being said, the vet still wanted to do more tests to find out what was wrong with him.... this is where I had to make myself choose what was best for Riggs, not for me, which is easier said than done. The vet wanted to do surgery to get a biopsy to test for cancer. Surgery. That word floored me. Would I do the same for myself? Hasn't he gone through enough? My heart sank. I didn't know what to say. There I was, in a small room with a semi-healthy dog, and they wanted to do surgery? I couldn't give her an answer. After talking to Will and my mom, I decided against the surgery. Let me explain....

Over the past month, Riggs has gone through 7 different medications, 9 different blood tests, 2 ultrasounds, and so many vet visits, I've lost count. It got to the point where he didn't want to get in the car anymore. He knew if he did, someone would poke, pull, or do something to him again.... this broke my heart. He had improved with the new medications he was on and seemed to be getting back to normal. How could I make him go through surgery if we weren't even sure it would be conclusive? We had already done so much that the vet "thought" would give us results and we still had nothing.

I told the vet my decision, and to my surprise, she agreed. She told me she was proud of me and my decision for Riggs. If she did surgery and the biopsy came back positive for cancer, then what? Chemo? No way. Chemo isn't the same for dogs as it is for humans. Chemo can work wonders for humans, but in dogs, it only pro-longs their life a few months, if even that. There was no way I could put my sweet man dog through that.

For now, he's as healthy as he can be. Gaining a little over 6lbs, never complaining about his medicine, and terrorizing his sisters, I'm one happy dog mom. This was an experience I never thought I'd have to go through with an animal, and quite frankly, hope I don't have to again. We got sucked in to the thought of "what if we aren't doing enough" and ended up doing too much. Do what is best for your dog, not yourself. You'll make your dog a happier pup in the long run.


Britni Williams said...

I saw your posts on facebook but never really knew what was going on with him. BUT, now that I read your blog..My parents have a red heeler - could be yours' twin sister in fact. The look very similar, but we have had ours since 2001. She always coughs up her water, not really throws it up but coughs it all back up. It has never occurred to us to take her to the vet for it - we just thought she was drinking it too fast. She loses a ton of weight and then will gain it back - no explanation for that from the vet. She lose random patches of hair - still no explanation from the vet. She gets stuff wrong with her eyes and then really it just clears up - no explanation from the vet....My parents take both of their dogs to that I-20 animal hospital I see you talking about. They saved my welsh corgi's life - long story but multiple surgeries, teeth missing, spleen had to be removed, broken leg, etc. Thought he was going to live and we were going to put him to sleep and daddy said no - lets do the surgery with less than 5% chance he would make it and he did!!!! I don't know how your experience with them was, but we couldn't have asked for a better place.

So - sorry that was a lot to comment :)

Britni Williams said...

*wasn't going to live..


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