Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dealing with my SECOND animal crisis this year, or, how owning a Dachshund is EXPENSIVE.

I swear, I'm cursed as far as animals go.

Last Thursday, I took my mini doxie, Oscar, to the vet. I'd found green discarge on his penis, he yelped when touched near his back end, and I worried he had a sheath infection. So off to the vet, who examines him, tries to get a urine sample (no dice) and then informs me that he's got some weakness in his back end. Okay, that was not what I was expecting. She put him on metacam and told me to call back on Monday to talk about how he's doing. Okay.

Cue Friday night. I go out to bring Oscar in (he loves the outdoors, and so he plays in the back yard during the day) and can't find him. I eventually do, hiding in the garage. I try to get him out of his hiding spot, and he starts screaming and biting me. I lost it and started sobbing, partially out of shock, pain, and knowing something is horribly wrong. I bring him inside and set him down. He attempts to go lay down, but his back legs are not cooperating. My mind reels, and I know that this is the start of a bad thing.

I calm myself enough to call the vet's office. It's 7:30pm on a Friday night, but the vet has his personal cell phone number left on the voicemail for emergencies. I call and explain what happened. He reassures me that Oscar will be fine until Monday, continue with his meds, and then tells me to take care of my wounds (Oscar broke the skin in several places when he bit me) fine.

Today comes, and I call the vet's office. I tell them Oscar has deteriorated significantly since Thursday. I ask for the soonest appointment, and it's set for 1pm. The time comes, and I load Oscar into the car, still in his bed. We get there and Dr. Rich examines him. I know what's coming, every Dachshund owner's worst nightmare, the prospect of Intervertebral Disc Disease. I voice my fears to Dr. Rich, and he agrees xrays are in order to see where the problem is.

On a bit of a side note, Dr. Rich knows I want to be a vet, and that I'm currently trying for my Animal Science degree. Because of this, he always keeps me 100% in the loop, and consults with me on care and such. He treats me like not only a customer and pet parent, but also a colleague. I see all test results, and we discuss them together. So when Oscar's xrays came back, we took a look, and though being closer to the brightness of the backlight and having a harder time seeing it originally, the problem was plain as day from my vantage point. A narrowing of the space between the L1 and L2 vertebrae. Classic IVDD.

My world collapsed a little. I knew what this meant. Oscar would need aggressive treatment if he was to regain the function he'd lost. Surgery is the best option, but unfortunately, I don't have $3000 to do that. That left only one option, steroids. We discussed outcomes and quality of life, agreeing that if he was in pain constantly, euthanasia would be the best option, but obviously we'd try what we could first. Dr. Rich said at one point that he'd like to try doing a lamenectomy sometime at their clinic. Obviously he's not a specialist, but he'd assisted on a few in vet school.

So it was that Oscar is now on steroids, in hopes he'll rally and all we'll have to do is modify what he can and cannot do, and he'll live a long, happy doxie life. Second best outcome is he'll only need a cart, and will live paralyzed but pain free. Worst outcome is he'll get worse and be in immense pain, at which point the decision will be to put him to sleep so he doesn't suffer. My mom and I talked about it, and if it comes to that point, we will offer Oscar to Dr. Rich to attempt a lamenectomy on, depending on how much it would cost. Obviously he's no expert, and hasn't ever done one himself, hasn't assisted on one in years, but if there's no other option, we'd at least give him a chance.

For now Oscar is confined to the laundry room, carried outside to go potty, and his activity is kept to a minimum. He's on prednisolone and tramadol, so every eight hours I shove a tramadol down his throat, and twice a day I do the same with the steroids. It's a pain in the ass, but I love him and would therefore do anything for him. All people entering the house are told to, under no circumstances, touch or otherwise engage the dog. Thankfully my mom and step-dad have been helping with potty breaks so that I get a break. All in all, I'm terrified, I can't lose my best buddy, I've already lost one animal that meant a ton to me this year, I don't want to lose another.

And that's been my life recently.
Prayers and healing thoughts would be much appreciated.
I hope things are going better for the rest of you.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear that your baby is sick. I hope Oscar feels better soon and the steroids help. My thoughts are with you. I know how hard it is when your pet is sick, they really are members of the family.

  2. Oh, that's awful. I'm so sorry! I hope steriods and rest do the trick! I'm rooting for you, little guy!

  3. Oscar has a pretty awesome mummy who knows her stuff and what's best for him.
    Sending out tons of juju to your a Oscar. Hope you're both feeling like a million dollars soon.