First, let me say thank you for those of you who have left comments of support and those of you I’ve talked with. We all love our furbabies, and your kind words are treasured.
I hospitalized Bailey this morning.
Yesterday morning she had to be coaxed to eat her biscuits. She flat-out refused the MiniChunks. In the afternoon I noticed a slight change in her behavior. She was a little more confused than normal (she’s almost 14 and I’ve noticed signs of canine dementia for quite a while). And she totally lost interest in her biscuits. We made her some lean hamburger for supper–she reluctantly ate it. By bedtime she only took a couple of laps of water. She didn’t wake me during the night to get her off the bed for a drink and potty–I woke her at 4 AM–she very reluctantly went out to potty and had absolutely no interest in water. I knew then that it was time.
So at 7 I got up and got dressed–normally Bailey would have moved from her pillow at the head of the bed to the foot of the bed in prep to getting down, but not today. She refused water, food, and she wouldn’t go out to potty. I called the clinic–both Dr. B (our usual dogtor) and Dr. C (our stand-in from Friday) are off today, but good fortune smiled because Dr. T was in. I used to work with Dr. T, so I knew we would be in very caring hands.
The folks who work at the BR clinic are so wonderful! The 2 receptionists were so caring and empathetic as we waited to see the vet tech. They made a point of coming out from behind the counter and giving Bailey a scratch and me a pat. They are such lovely people.
We met first with the vet tech who got Bailey’s vitals. Dr. T was actually scheduled for surgery–but he was able to put it off so he could meet with us first. He did a very thorough exam, asked me lots of questions, looked over Bailey’s records, and took lots of notes. He also did x rays of her lungs and her liver.
The lung xray was to make sure that there was no cancer in her lungs. They’re clear.
The liver x ray was to see if we could get any hint of what might be happening. Her liver is enlarged, but Dr. T also had an x ray of her liver from a year ago and her liver was enlarged then, too. So no significant change in the size of her liver over the past year. He also looked at her blood-work–again, we had the same panels from last year and there’s no significant change.
He called Bailey “our little enigma.” He said that between the blood-work and the x rays he cannot find a reason for her symptoms and maybe we’re looking at a combination of things. Some of the older dogs he treats have lately had more problems with arthritis because our weather has been so cold. Also, he confirmed something that my friend from work Dr. Amy said to me yesterday: Sometimes older dogs who have symptoms like this simply need some fluid support to snap out of it. I’ll call him later this afternoon to see how she’s doing.
One thing I know for certain: we will not do any “heroic” measures to prolong Bailey’s life. I will not put her through invasive surgery or chemo. Her comfort is my paramount concern–and I will not consent to causing her pain just so I can have her companionship for a few extra months. This is a decision I made 4 years ago when we discussed putting her through chemo and radiation. And please understand, what’s right for me and Bailey is not what I consider right for every pet owner. We each make our own decisions based on our own experiences and knowledge of our pets.
I will probably have the dogtors take care of the bad tooth that Dr. C found on Friday–but I need more information about it before I make a decision.
So Bailey is now in hospital, and I miss her like crazy. The house seems empty without her here. But I still feel confident that I’ve made the right decisions. Keeping her home over the weekend allowed her to rest comfortably, and made me feel better too. But today her condition is beyond my skill and she needs the help of professionals. I’m going to do my best to keep thinking positive and hang on the idea that many dogs snap out of these symptoms after fluid support at the vet’s.
But, oh Dog! the house is so quiet.