Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Very Bad Scare

Yesterday, we very nearly lost the sweetest little dog in the world. Soozee has been sick since Tuesday, not eating anything, throwing up occasionally, and having less and less energy. Janis took her into the vet on Thursday. The vet thought that she may have pancreatitis. She was certainly dehydrated, so they gave her a subcutaneous injection that seemed to revive her. He also took some blood tests, but they wouldn't be back until the next day. Janis took Soozee home and kept an eye on her. Mostly, Soozee just slept.

Friday morning, she wouldn't, couldn't, move and lost control of her bowels. Janis took her in to the vet right as they opened, and as soon as they saw Soozee, they went into gear. Soozee was dehydrated again, her heart rate was very low, blood sugar was very low, her blood pressure was so low they couldn't get an IV into her, and her temperature was ten degrees below normal. The poor little dog's systems were shutting down and she was literally at death's door.

The vet gave her a shot of dextrose to get her blood sugar up and a shot of cortisone to get her system going again. She stabilized and then, slowly, started to come back. It took six hours for her blood pressure to come up enough for them to finally get an IV into her. A little later, Janis was able to see her and got a weak tail wag in response. By evening, she was looking better. Weak, but better.

Soozee spent last night in REACH, the emergency animal hospital in Asheville, still with an IV in her. By today, she was much better, jumping and licking Janis when she arrived, and very happy to see her sister Indy. She still won't eat anything, but I think that's because she's in a strange place and they want her to eat strange food from a strange bowl. Soozee is a piglet, but she's a very particular piglet. At this moment, she is still under observation at REACH, but may be able to go home soon.

We think that Soozee has Addison's disease. Her sister, Indy, came down with it in March '08 (see my entries here, here, and here). Addison's is not really a disease, it's a condition in which the adrenal glands quit working. Forever. It is deadly if not caught in time. We caught Indy's in time ... I thought her case was a close call, but then we damn near lost Soozee yesterday. But although Addison's can't be cured, it can be treated. Indy is on a regimen of a shot at the vet's every 26 days, plus half a prednisone pill every morning and evening. Once we finally found the right dosage, Indy's body chemistry settled down and she's been her normal self since then. The vet will give Soozee a specific test on Monday for Addison's, but since it's hereditary and Indy already has it, and the symptoms are much the same, we're pretty certain Soozee has Addison's, too.

Janis handled everything like a trooper. She was an emotional wreck but was still able to think things through and do what needed to be done. Me, I was a basket case. I was stuck here in Iraq, seven thousand miles away, and unable to do a thing to help. I've often said that if anything ever happened to one of my dogs, they'd have to put me down. Well, they almost had to last night. I was worried sick, shaking, unable to talk to anybody without breaking down. After all, this was my little girl who might die at any moment. It's an awful, gut-wrenching, unbearable feeling.

But she came through. She came through thanks to Dr. Ryan Hammond at the Animal Hospital of Reems Creek. This is the second time he's saved one of our dogs for us. The staff at REACH kept that momentum going. These are good doctors, good people, and I owe them.

I am not a religious kind of guy, but last night, I thanked God from the depths of my soul that He let my little girl live.


1 comment:

SillyLittleLady said...

I'm so glad she's ok, its so hard to lose a pet (fur-baby). I hope her recovery continues and she can come home soon!