Just need a sec to vent, I suppose...
I am super stressed right now about my 'real-life Spardel', Darwin. He is a 12 year old long-haired chihuahua, and one of my 2 very best friends. (You guessed it, I have another - Tess - she is 6.)
For the last year or so, Darwin has been different. Nothing you can put your finger on exactly, but had had elevated liver enzymes along with other symptoms that could just seem like normal aging. I have been suspicious he has Cushing's, but the vet and I agreed that even if he does, his symptoms are not extreme enough to try to treat for Cushing's - we have just been working to ease/ reduce the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. This is because treatment for Cushing's is a risk in itself and we don't want to go there if we don't have to.
Last week I took him for a follow-up blood test a year after his initial results. We had good news, one of the elevated levels had reduced and the other had not increased by much. I had changed food, and added naturopathic remedies. I am so very careful with him and try to make sure we do nothing to exacerbate his issues. I was so pleased.
Then this Tuesday morning, I could tell something was up. He just wasn't himself. I was working night shifts so not easily able to deal with it, but watching him carefully. He started to have vomiting/ diarrhea and by Thursday I was really worried. I made a vet appt for Friday morning (who needs sleep, right?). My vet agreed this could be flu-ish stuff, but with his age and past issues we didn't want to just assume. I agreed to an Xray and ultrasound to try to find out more. In the Xray we could see what the vet described as a 'balloon-like' structure that confused her. We sent the results away for a second opinion, as she is a vet and not a radiologist. She warned me we may be looking at a tumour.
She called me this morning after having heard from the radiologist. It is not a tumour - he has a ridiculously enlarged gall bladder, which is causing an obstruction. She says there are only 2 known cases of a dog having such an issue, NOT having surgery, and then getting better. She said despite his age and other issues, she strongly recommends surgery. I live in the Maritime provinces of Canada. This is not a very big place, and we don't have a lot of services that other, bigger provinces do. We don't have veterinary surgeons in our province, but there is a vet college on Prince Edward Island, which is where serious vet issues get referred.
I am obviously going ahead with the surgery. I love him too much NOT to do something that is in my power to try. It will likely cost a fortune (his visit yesterday was already several hundred), but I don't care much. We will have to travel to PEI and I will likely need to stay there for a few days. I don't have the details yet as she is working on that and to call me back with more info as soon as she has it.
I guess more than anything I just needed to vent because I am scared and worried about him. We are both confident the surgery is his best chance, and that's the most important thing. I just hate the waiting and the lack of control over the situation.
I don't want to make myself sound like a crazy dog lady. But my boyfriend and I are a couple who have chosen not to have children for a variety of reasons, and my little dogs, I suppose, are the closest I have to that. It makes me so sad their lives have to be so short compared to ours. It is the one thing that makes pet ownership so very hard. You know that that loss is coming no matter what - all you can do is try to keep them as healthy and happy for as long as possible.
I am also seriously contemplating a new puppy in the very near future. I don't ever want to feel like 'replacing' one, and my younger dog could never be alone. I have my fingers crossed Darwin will bounce back after surgery and that, if we got another, they could all be friends and happy together for some time before the inevitable eventually happens. The breeder of both of my dogs happens to have had a litter just last week, and the mother is Tess' sister. I also met the father years ago when I got Tess. The fact that these are the parents especially makes me feel like this new puppy might be a good call, though it'll be a few months before she'd be ready to come home.
Anyway... I know that was a very long story. But somehow writing it out made me feel a bit better. Pet ownership is so bittersweet sometimes. Right now, I am just willing the phone to ring so I can know what's happening and how soon we can help him. Ugh. Anyway, thanks for listening to anyone that actually made it to the end of my post. I know there are a lot of people out there like me who would do anything in their power for their furry little friends.