worried about Spook

Discussion in 'Dog Health Care' started by tessa_s212, May 13, 2009.

  1. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    Spook is our 9 year old English Setter we took home from the shelter last winter. Due to his back problems and barking, no one wanted him and if we hadn't taken him, he would have lost his life in a cold, dark shelter. This dog has truly made me in love with E. Setters, despite all his quirks.

    Six days ago he stopped eating and stopped walking. We thought it was his back again, But this time even when we increased his dose for his back, he was not eating and he did nothing but lay there, completely motionless. He went to the vet today and all I could find out from my sister was that he has elevated liver enzymes and WBC. He tested negative for heartworm(cheapest tests were run first, just to rule them out though we knew the likelihood of it being heartworm was zip.) He's being put on a home-cooked diet, and they are doing a Differential or CBC.

    I've been working at the clinic long enough to know when they start running all these expensive tests, it just isn't good, especially with the liver. I'm so worried he's in the beginning stages of liver disease or even cancer of some kind.

    So his total clinical signs are:
    lethargy
    anorexia
    increased thirst and urination
    weight loss
    pain in abdomen
    no recent bowel movements
    and some small amount of blood in his stool(which was just three little tiny squirts of diarrhea) about a week ago

    Anyone else ever had a dog with similar symptoms or can give me a clue of what more specifically may be going on. Elevated WBC and liver enzymes could mean so many things.
     
  2. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Can't really help you here, but it sounds like maybe liver or kidney problems

    Good luck and keep us posted on Spook!!
     
  3. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    Everything I keep finding points to liver disease - now it is really just a question of how much damage there is to the liver. The medication he was on for his back for quite some time, we were forewarned, could be hard on the dog's liver. And I've since called and spoken to my mother, and she's further confirmed that Spook has had dark/orangish urine, yet another sign. I was also told that the vet seemed very concerned, so it may be something that is quite serious.

    I'm actually also very surprised that the vet didn't push Science Diet. Spook is now on a egg noodle, kidney bean, cottage cheese diet for the rest of his life. Can't have a lot of meat based protein because of the extra wastes made from meat digestion and the stress it can put o the liver.

    My sister knows how to use a computer as well, but I've gotall sorts of resources at my fingertips being in vet tech school. I'm not telling her anything yet about liver disease or failure just quite yet. Ignorance is bliss.

    It is just so upsetting.. we've had him just a short time, and I know if it comes down to expensive treatment, my sister cannot afford that and even if he does have some quality of life left, euthanasia will be the only answer. Just hoping it doesn't have to come down to that for at least a good sum of time. But unlike what both my mother and sister expected or were hoping, this isn't a quick fix... it will likely turn out to be a slow, downhill battle.

    Now we just wait patiently for test results and a confirmed diagnosis and prognosis.
     
  4. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    64,812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'd start with an Xray and if there's a question and ultra sound . Many vibes coming your way !
     
  5. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    did they do abdominal xrays?
     
  6. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    They didn't do an ultrasound or x ray yet because of the expense. The bill has already stacked up to a little over $300 I believe, and my sister just doesn't have that money. I think they are also still waiting for one more test to get back. I'm not sure where we are going from here. All I know is that they're going to have to focus on treatment, rather than expensive diagnostic testing, so that we can put all the money into making him comfortable and managing his liver failure until my sister can't afford it anymore and then euthanasia

    I wish I knew more, but I wasn't at the appointment and getting sister and mother to repeat all the science mumbo jumbo is impossible. I can look in his file when I work saturday when I work.

    And I did get a specific on the WBC - they are up to 2200. So just really not good. I'm going and visiting mother and sister tomorrow to check on spook and see if I can find out more.
     
  7. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    i would think that getting pictures of his liver to rule out a tumor would be pretty important.
     
  8. filarotten

    filarotten Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Messages:
    8,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    3 Filas 1 potbelly pig
    Location:
    Texas
    Sending a ton of good vibes for Spook.
     
  9. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    Sister just can't afford an ultrasound or xray. She's not sure yet how she's going to pay the $300 as it is. I'm not sure how she's going to afford to continually feed him a homecooked diet. I'm going to help as much as I can, as I can buy many of the food supplies on my food stamps. SO's grandparents will just have to stop forcing me to spend my food stamps on them so that we can keep Spook alive, comfortable, and happy as long as possible.

    For now we're just keeping the vet informed on how he's doing. He gets back in town Monday, and we'll just have to see what he says then.

    He's walking around today, and you can just tell he's more comfortable now that he's off the pain medication, on new meds (antibiotic, B6, glucosamine, etc) and getting all sorts of special treatment. He's still laying around a lot, but that painful look is out of his eyes. I'm not sure what to expect and I'm sure we'll just have to play it day by day until that time comes.

    He's just 9 years old. When we took him home he had back problems, and we thought it would likely get to the point where we just couldn't afford huge surgeries and treatments for his back and he'd be euthanized then. And I know what we've done for him is wonderful.... He's had a year of a great life with other dogs and people that love him - no one yelling/hitting him for barking, no one throwing him out like garbage because they had a baby. A permanent, stable home that isn't going to toss him away. I just wish we were rich and could do more for him - not as if ultrasounds or x rays would help him more. It would only tell us more specifically or confirm diagnosis.. so we're trying to do the most for him and leave it at that. And when that time comes, it won't be in a cold, dark, cement building like it would have been a year ago. It just that it was hard to let go of our other two at 11 and 12.. 9 is just too early. Especially since we've only had this wonderful, magnificent dog just a year. It just isn't long enough.

    Needless to say, he got some goooood long belly rubs from me today and the butt scratching/massaging he so thoroughly enjoys. And it was so good to see him up walking occasionally.

    I just have to end with... it is so hard thinking that we are likely going to lose him much sooner than anyone would have imagined. So hard. And many people woudln't even take a chance on an older dog - which is why he almost lost his life in the shelter. But even if we lose him only at 9,.. It was such a privelege to take this dog out of a shelter and have him in our lives. Something about older dogs that no one else wants... they're so wonderful. I do believe when I can afford my own place or afford Cocoa a companion, it will be another old dog that I adopt. If only to give that dog a year or two, it'd be worth it.
     
  10. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Messages:
    17,830
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    1 Dog
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Home Page:
    My opinion wont be popular, but I think the time to coddle Spook and make his last days easier was a while ago. He hasn't eaten or walked for six days? You're five days late for the vet. It's good that he's walking around today, but I think you are at or past the point where he needs to be PTS. Don't drag it out until it's horrible for him.
     
  11. Agreed.

    While he is walking around and such, it's clear that it's his time.

    Don't make him suffer.
     
  12. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    17,300
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    AL
    Tessa, I'm going to agree with Nol and AC.

    I'm sorry :( (((hugs)))
     
  13. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest


    As for why it took a while to get him to the vet - he's had a history of back problems. And the first signs we saw of his liver disease were identical to his back problems. When his back pain acted up this past winter, he stopped eating and wouldn't walk. (ETA: He wasn't eating his regular dog food, but we could occasionally get him to eat chicken/rice or hamburger/rice.) When he showed these signs again (my mother and all of us) assumed it was his back. She increased his meds for 1-3 days like in all previous times(increase them for 1-3 days, and then wean him back), and when that did not work, it was evident it wasn't his back. In the meanwhile, his owner was out of town - traveled to NY with a friend. (No, no cost to her. She was invited and all expenses paid.) And it was a weekend. We couldn't get him in until after the weekend when his owner, my sister, returned and could take him. He got in at the soonest available appointment the beginning of the week. And even though I knew they'd do expensive tests, and told my sister, he got to the vet and she's just going to figure out a way to pay that vet bill off. We're just very fortunate that because we work there and are reliable that she didn't have to pay it same day.

    We're certainly not new to euthanasia and a painful end. Both our previous family dogs had to be euthanized once they told us it was time to go. And I've worked in a shelter too. I'm not new or shy of euthanasia. I would never keep a dog around just for my own selfish wants as I feel that to be cruel when we as animal owners do have that choice to make their end peaceful and painless as possible. However, I also realize that it is a very personal decision, one that can only be truly made by the owner and people that know the animal - and see it in its every day life. To know when that animal has finally reached that point where its bad days occur more often than the good.

    Euthanasia is a sensitive topic, I understand. And I realize none of you can see Spook in his daily life, and as dreary as I sound, I imagine it is sounding really bad from your end. However, I'm just a kind of dreary person, I guess you can say. I prepare myself for the worst, always. I half expected we may have had to make that decision this early, but since seeing the vet his quality of life has improved drastically. Yesterday spending time with him and other dogs at home he was walking outside, rolling in the grass, cuddling withe foster kittens, barking again, and even trotting and following us around. All together, that painful look is out of his eyes and it is evident he's feeling better, at least for now. He is still slightly reluctant to eat, but is eating, especially loves his chicken. Yes, he still lays around more than he normally would, and he still is slow to rise, but we no longer have to coax him to go outside. He now initiates getting to go outside by getting up himself without any encouragement, and waiting by the door. And the one time we were talking (actually, about euthanasia) was the one time we somehow missed his getting up (we've been following him around like a hawk) and he had to bark at the back door to get our attention to tell us he wanted outside. He's got a certain quirkiness about him - and he's regained much of it. When he starts his obnoxious, happy barking, it is just clear he's more comfortable. Thinking back now, it seems ironic - almost as if he could understand what we were talking about and would have no part in us being sad or talking about euthanasia quite yet because he's not ready to give up.

    When he lets us know it is time, we will listen. But right now is just not his time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2009
  14. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    Our vet is back in town and sister gave him an update. He's improved from his previous condition, but still hardly eats. He turns his nose up to chicken even, and bout the most my mother could do yesterday was physically put boiled egg yolks in his mouth and force him to chew a little and swallow. About once a day he'll willingly pick up just a little to eat of something we give him, but that is about it.

    Yet, he still is walking around, bathing in the sun, wagging his tail, and certainly not suffering. His back actually doesn't seem to be causing him any pain, as he's back to jumping up and down from couches and the back step to go outside. But again, still reluctant and sometime downright refusing to eat, and not completely normal. Sister's boyfriend has agreed to pay Spook's vet bill and is doing all sorts of overtime, so Spook is going into the clinic in the morning for an ultrasound. Dr seems to think there might be more going on than just a bacterial hepatitis.

    I've been worked up and so upset. It is costing me in gas, but I visit him every day to make sure he gets my awesome back/butt massages. I don't dare skip a day visiting my mother's in fear that it may be his last day.

    The vet has not said that he's in any considerable amount of pain and has not yet even brought up the thought or suggestion of euthanasia, so I try to remain hopeful about the overall prognosis.
     
  15. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    It's time.

    Since Monday, he's been slowly going downhill. Tuesday morning they found out what I told my sister to expect the night before: intestinal cancer. He didn't have bacterial hepatitis, or at least that wasn't the primary cause. Vet offered laparatomy to see if they could open him up and take any of it out, but wasn't optimistic and said it'd probably end up being an open/close surgery leaving him in more pain with no recovery in sight. So instead we took him home on more pain meds that evening and called and set the date. Today at 5:15 he's being taken in.

    I still haven't decided if I'm going yet. He'll have both my mother and my sister there. I do want to be there, but I also know three's a crowd and I wouldn't want to get in the way of letting them say their last goodbyes and comforting him. I love him with every bit of my heart, but he's Tasha's. I'm the aunt he adores butt scratches from. And with my "condition" it is so much harder to hold myself together. I try to be calm, loving, relaxed and peaceful as possible for the dog's sake, and it was hard enough without the hormones of pregnancy with the last two. I don't think I could handle being calm enough while in the room and I don' think that'd be fair on Spook.

    He loooves being outside so we've had him out sitting in the shade for the past two days and that is the plan today. I'm going over in just a little bit. I couldn't force myself to go to school today, so now I'll have more time with him. Yesterday we spent over 5 hours laying outside in the shade and grass. We let some of the other dogs out front. Misha was playing frisbee with Dustin and Tasha, Cocoa was wandering and following Dustin around, and Spook seemed soo much happier to be outside. He always does. It sounds almost weird, but after I lay and sat with him andpet hiim the entire time, while we were all laughing at Misha's and Cocoa's antics... It still breaks my heart. He's leaving us way too early, but I've been at more peace with his euthanasia than any other of our animals - we've been truly able to make him more comfortable and be able to enjoy his last days. Thank you God for such wonderful weather to allow him these last beautiful days.

    To think just three weeks ago he was a normal, happy, "healthy", middle aged dog still so full of life.

    YouTube - Before I Met You: A Movie for Spook

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    27,406
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I'm so sorry to hear about Spook. What a beautiful video you did as a tribute. Spook will be in your heart and memories forever.
     
  17. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    64,812
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm so sorry for you all ........pass peacefully Spook . You are a beautiful dog .
     
  18. Giny

    Giny Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    5,544
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Maine
    Aww, I'm so sorry, Tessa! :(
     
  19. tessa_s212

    tessa_s212 Guest

    He was ready. He really was. His last day he was outside a lot except for the very hot times, and would roll over frequently to get good long belly/chest rubs. I didn't go at my mom's request. I was upset enough as it was, and she didn't think it'd be any better on the baby. I've seen many dogs, even old sick ones, fight euthanasia to their last breath. It is how our last two passed. But he took just a few deep breaths and let go.

    The weirdest part of it all is that two months ago even I started thinking "We need more pictures of Pookie. One day he might not be with us anymore." I'm not sure where that feeling came from but it was as if I sensed it even that long ago when he had no symptoms whatsoever.
     

Share This Page