Life Is Like A Bag Of Tennis Balls…

It has been a brutal few days for all of us, but especially Cody. As I said in my last post we have a treatment plan that involves a vet visit twice a day for an entire IV bag of fluid, and multiple shots to keep his energy and immune system functioning. We have two visits under our belt since my last post yesterday afternoon. Last night he got fluids and shots around 6pm… he is pretty exhausted so it is effort to get him back and forth to the vet. He seemed good after the visit last night and had a relatively uneventful evening, laying around and snoozing.

Around 1:30am he got up, he sleeps in my bedroom on his dog bed that I haul in there nightly for him and back out to the living room during the day. I heard him get up and start salivating. I rushed him out to the slider in the living room and got him outside where he puked twice, all bile. Ugh! There is NOTHING in his stomach for him to be puking and it worries me terribly that his nausea woke him up from a sound sleep to puke. Clearly he is not digesting anything as there was a tiny bit of carrot that he ate reluctantly that afternoon… almost 8 hours prior.

We came back inside and he went to his dog bed in the bedroom again without drinking any water, and slept the rest of the night. This morning I called him up onto my bed and he basically passed out. I went out to the kitchen to make coffee where he usually accompanies me… but not this morning. In fact he was so out of it I started to get truly scared, having all the panic thoughts I try to avoid. Is this it? Have I killed my dog here at the end of his treatment when we are SO close to the finish line? Will he recover from this or is this it? Why is there no improvement after almost a week and a half since the shot? Is he allergic to this drug now? Will he pull through? Does he have organ damage?

His breathing was really labored. His eyes heavy and he had no interest in anything at all that was going on with our normal routine. I am panicking and holding back tears all morning. I shower and as I am getting done it dawns on me that I don’t know how I will get him in the car if he is so out of it.

Tennis ball.

Wow it was like the Miracle Cure! He jumps up, grabs the ball and starts throwing it around the bedroom! I mean I know it is a false positive but this is the sign I have been looking for. As long as he gets out of his depression even for a minute there is hope and we have a chance to recover. So I play with him for a while… he runs out to the living room and is hopping around like he is fine. Total 180! I do not want to get him too worked up, he has no fuel in his system at all. So I let him play while I finish up getting ready, comb my wet hair and throw on whatever I can find that clearly doesn’t match and get my purse. This is not about me. I get him in the car and off we go to see Dr Butzer at 8am.

We are there for two hours this morning. Cody is absolutely as sick of being there as I am. He gets his IV of fluids, shots and then Butzer and I talk about what is going on. He thinks Cody has Pancreatitis. I found a definition of this online:

“Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas caused by leakage of active digestive enzymes into the pancreatic tissue. This causes various clinical signs but most pets affected by acute pancreatitis have abdominal pain, depression and decreased appetite or lack of appetite. Vomiting and diarrhea occur in many dogs with pancreatitis. In severe cases of pancreatitis there may be signs of shock or total collapse. Chronic pancreatitis in dogs may occur, with similar but less severe symptoms. Digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas are capable of digesting the dog or cat’s body just as well as they digest food. For this reason there have to be very good self-protective mechanisms in the body to keep the digestive enzymes from leaking and to deactivate them when they are leaked. Both of these mechanisms have to work well in order to prevent pancreatitis. There are a large number of things that can interfere with the protective mechanisms of the pancreas. Most dogs with pancreatitis benefit from fluid therapy designed to keep their electrolytes within normal ranges. Low potassium levels are a common problem in dogs with pancreatitis but high potassium levels can also occur and are more dangerous for the dog. Keeping a dog well hydrated makes him or her more comfortable and aids in the recovery from pancreatitis, as well.”

At least I know we are on the right track and doing the best we can. We talk about his labored breathing and that it is most likely due to his weakness since he has not eaten in so long. We decide to try to force feed him a bit to get something in his stomach. Normally I would be against this, I don’t want to force him to do anything and I certainly do not want him to puke again, but I agree he needs to eat. We get a big syringe and some gross soft Science Diet that they have for sale there, and shoot syringe fulls into his mouth, which he does swallow!!! He ate half a can (cat food size can) and kept it down fine… and a lot of it ended up on me. I am so glad I showered before going to the vet and sitting on the dirty floor with him and dousing myself in slop ;)  After all of that I take him home with two more cans of the food and some syringes. He has kept it all down and I am hopeful that this is a good sign! As long as he is eating SOMETHING I am happy, and once he is back to eating without being forced we will get back on his good diet. I don’t like the ingredients in this slop of Science Diet but again… as long as he is eating.

And so here we are at noonish and he has not puked, he is sleeping and he seems to look a bit better. Or maybe I am just overly positive. I feel like i have to be. I tried a bit more syringe food just a bit ago, and he ate some again, which was an interesting battle trying to keep the cats out of the way while doing so. Both cats love the sound of a can opening and come running as soon as they hear it, not to mention this crap is so stinky they were going bonkers around Cody. Regardless he ate about a 1/4 of a can and is now sleeping again.

I am hopeful.

We go back to the vet after 6pm for the fluids and shots again… and I am hoping with all my heart that there is a noticeable improvement over the weekend. Fingers, toes, eyes, legs crossed!

Here’s to Tennis Balls! Our miracle cure!

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~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on April 8, 2011.

2 Responses to “Life Is Like A Bag Of Tennis Balls…”

  1. As a reader of this chronicle I feel compelled to say that your love and devotion to Cody is so touching. I feel for you, as I would do the same for my dog. I just wanted to voice my support for you and Cody! Take care and best wishes!

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