• For the Love of a Dog

    Date: 2012.04.02 | Category: Dogs, Family, Health, Home, Leela Fish, Mark, Pets, Sarah | Tags:

    Dogs have always held a special place in my heart. My parents have raised border collies since before I was born, and as soon as I had a place where I could accommodate my own dog, I got Leela.

    Leela is four years old and very much a part of our family. She’s active, playful and silly, understanding more English than we give her credit for.

    Saturday morning we discovered some throw up on our bed. It wasn’t very much and we had no idea if it was from one of the dogs or cats. Saturday I spent most of my day out running errands. That evening I came home, took Sarah outside and started throwing ball for the dogs, as usual.

    I quickly noticed that Leela was acting weird. Instead of bounding for the ball, racing back at top speed and tossing it into my lap, she was slowly trotting to the yard and stumbling on her slow walk back to me. Huh. I figured she had hurt her hip doing some big jump, or had a sticker in her paw. I checked her feet, they were clear.

    That night she wouldn’t leave my side. She normally sleeps at the foot of the bed, but all night she was right next to me, acting like she does when she’s scared of storms. At about 3:00 a.m. she threw up again.

    Sunday morning she was worse. Her legs kept giving out and she wouldn’t eat, drink or get up. After consulting with my dad, we took her to the emergency vet.

    It was a very long day. The vet was nice but didn’t hold back. Leela was  very sick and dehydrated. They started fluids and did blood work. Two hours of waiting later we found out just how sick she was. Her sodium, potassium, blood sugar, heart rate and a number of other things were severely out of whack. She was going into kidney failure and considered “critical.” Needless to say there were lots of tears shed. The vet hugged me and told me Leela would need to stay overnight. We got to love on Leela before we left, comforting her and sobbing over her bandaged legs and weary walk.

    As we were leaving we saw another couple who had been at the ER vet all day with us leaving with their dog in a box. It shook me and I felt so bad for them.

    Over the course of the night I made several phone calls to the ER vet: at 7:00 p.m., at 10:00 p.m. and at 1:45 a.m. I talked to the vet directly two of those times and was so impressed with how great everyone was there. Finally, at that last early morning call, the vet said Leela was showing improvement. The vet told us she thought Leela might have Addison’s Disease, which basically means the adrenal glands in her kidneys weren’t producing enough steroids and causing her kidneys to fail. The good news is that it is treatable.

    We picked her up at 6:45 this morning and took her to her regular vet at 8:00, leaving her for the vet to look at and call us.

    Simultaneously, Mark took Sarah to school and discovered she was running fever, so he had to turn right back around and bring her home.

    After hearing nothing from the vet after several hours, I called. The regular vet had been in a car wreck, but was ok. He was running late though.

    They finally called me at 1:30 with an update on Leela. By a miracle all her levels were back to normal. My vet talked to me quite a bit about how critical Leela actually was. There is a good chance that if we hadn’t brought her in Sunday she would have died.

    He needs to test her for Addison’s disease now. The ER vet had given her a steroid shot though, so she can’t be tested for the disease until the steroid runs its course. So they fed her, made sure she kept her food down and sent her home with us. She’s resting now with the IV still in her leg, but she will go back to the vet in the morning to have the test run.

    The amount of money we’ve spent so far would probably cause you to have a stroke, but miracle of miracles we actually got a tax return this year thanks to having a baby. And while Mark and I had been debating how to spend the unexpected tax return, Leela pretty much took care of it all for us… and there is still another expensive test to be ran. And while the money spent sucks, Mark and I both agreed we would willingly spend that twice over to save the sweetest member of our family.