Monday, September 21, 2009
Illness - of a canine variety
What a stressful weekend. ** Warning graphic content in parts of this post**
As you may (or may not know) we have two lovely dogs, that is Charlie on the left, we got her as a puppy back in 2001 for Christmas when we first moved in together as a family. About 6 months after we moved to Newcastle we *acquired* Skye on the right from a work colleague of mine who was moving to an apartment in Sydney. Jamie and I were both working full time and Mark had started school so it was time for Charlie to have a companion. They have been inseparable since. They are both now 8 years old and are really good dogs, don't fight, behave themselves, eat well and are very healthy.
Over the last couple of years they have been a bit of an after thought. They are truly outside dogs, amuse themselves and get exercised... well sometimes. I keep thinking that we should give them up to the RSPCA, but then vow to walk them more and spend more time with them. We always decide that we love our dogs and they are apart of our family.
This past weekend has proven this. Skye got sick. Saturday morning at some point his eye became inflamed. We all went out in the morning and when we got home, Mark went into the back yard to find something and told Jamie that Skye's eye looked yucky. Jamie was busy cutting wood for our kitchen, so didn't really react. I came outside soon afterwards and Mark told me, I took one look at the eye and my immediate thought was "YUCK" followed by what the hell can I do, I'm not good with human eyes, (I hate doing eye drops at work, have had a couple of patients with glass eyes and they disgust me), so off to the emergency room for animals on Saturday afternoon we went. ($150 to walk in the door and then it goes up).
The vet was 39 weeks pregnant!!! She gave it a good look at, followed by some antibiotic cream, and we had to go home to bathe it in saline and put the cream in twice a day. Skye got progressively sicker, hardly able to lift his gorgeous head, every time I went outside, he came and rested his head on my knee with a look that said "Help me mummy". Phoned the vet again last night (Sunday about 8,30pm) cos it was looking worse, really red and very painful looking. She didn't think it was an emergency, but to go to the local vet on Monday morning.
We were able to get the 8.30am appointment at my local vet this morning, he looked very concerned. He felt it was a retro-orbital abscess (ie, infection behind his eye) and that he'd need a general anaesthetic for a better look and that he may lose his eye altogether. Dr Smith called back about midday saying there was no obvious cause of the infection at the front of the eye (scratch, injury, seeds) and that his original thought of it being the retro-orbital abscess was the most likely. We could treat it conservatively with antibiotics with a 10-15% chance of success (they are NOT good odds), but the likelihood of it tracking back causing meningitis and ultimately death was too high. The best option he thought was to remove the eyeball and clean out behind it. So that is what we have done. Dr Smith called back about an hour later saying that we had made the correct decision, the infection behind his eye was HUGE, and he would have lost the eye at some point. He is on the way to a full recovery. He has stitched up his eye socket and should be good as gold again soon. Supposedly dogs do very well with vision only in one eye (the only one he has now).
My poor puppy, what a weekend. Its amazing how your thoughts turn to cost when faced with a vet bill. It will cost about $1200 all up by the end of it (I hope), but the thought of losing him is just a bit much. If it had been cancer, and he'd need radiotherapy or chemo... well that is a different story. Dr Smith says he'll be back to his old self in a few days, may be a bit disorientated until he realises that he can't see out of his right side, but will recover well. Need to call them back in about an hour to see how the anaesthetic is wearing off.