Concerns for my dogs~

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Some of you may recall three years ago our now 10 year old Sophie was sick with an immune disorder that was basically preventing her body from making red blood cells. The vet used mega doses of immuno suppresant and liver support drugs (her liver enzymes were elevated), which helped her and eventually, after months of treatment and vet bills she began to function better, her body responded well, but it took it's toll on her. She developed livelong liver issues. The vet had at one point suggested a liver biopsy to confirm his suspicions of a certain disease/fungus on her liver. We declined as regardless of how the test came back, there was no treatment.

    Sophie has done relatively well for the past couple of years but we noticed about 6 months ago she was beginning to lose weight again. She's very thin now, about 13/14 lbs (she was 20 lbs). However, she is ALWAYS ravenously hungry, even after a feeding. We give her extra food and snacks and supplements, as well as scraps from dinner prep (my dogs are on a raw food diet). Along with the weight loss, she seems lost at times, and behaviorally, she's changed as well. Last week and the week before, she would pee on the other two dogs' beds. It seemed like a jealousy or territorial thing but regardless, it was a pita. I had to strip easy child's bed and clean everything!!! I had to toss one of the dog beds and wash the other one twice to get the stink out. Also, her pee is VERY strong, dark yellow and she pees a lot. She also drinks A LOT of water, gulps it. She stopped the peeing inside, thankfully, but now she's become agressive towards the older dog, Nala. Twice in the past week they've gotten into horrible scraps and H has had to tear them apart. The first time, Sophie bit his thumb - by accident I'm sure - and the second time, the other day, she bit right through Nala's ear. I've been cleaning it and putting neosporin on it, but I think I will end up taking Nala to the vet because it is puffy, red and looking possibly infected. Grrr.

    The worst part is that the evening of the last fight, I didn't know Nala had been bitten, so we all went to bed later that night and in the middle of the night, Nala came over to my bed crying. I thought she needed to go out and when I went around the bed, there was Sophie, blocking the doorway and just staring Nala down. I think Nala was scared! Which is weird because Nala has always been the alpha between the three dogs. The next morning when I was loving up Nala, I discovered her ear bite and treated it. She cried and cried every time I went near it, gently of course. Poor Nala. Meanwhile, Sophie just stares off to space. Oh another thing. Sophie seems to be exhausted all day, in particular after her walks outside. But at night she is very restless. She either sleeps at the foot of our bed or at the foot of easy child's bed. She just keeps moving and digging and staring. It's creepy, the staring thing. And lastly, I noticed last night that she's favoring her right rear leg and seems to have trouble going up stairs but not down.

    I think they both need to see the vet, but I really just do not have any spare money right now. I would rather take Nala in case she has an infection. I'm thinking that there will be no help for Sophie, unless she is in pain for some reason and can take pain medications. Otherwise, I think she may need to be put down, which I know I sound horrible here, but I wouldn't be heartbroken over doing that with her at this point. difficult child, on the other hand, will throw herself on Sophie's grave, I'm sure, like an old professional Italian mourner...

    Advice, prayers, good juju welcome. Thanks for listening.
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    So sorry to hear about your dogs' troubles...

    I agree - it does sound as though Sophie is suffering. Dogs in pain WILL bite....other dogs and people, too.

    Hope you can get them to the vet soon!
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Has she been tested for diabetes? Excessive thirst can be a sign. Some of the issues can be due to aging too. Ten isn't necessarily "elderly" for a small dog but it can happen. Dogs can become senile just like people do and their behavior can change. Vision problems from aging can affect their behavior too. Dogs can also have strokes too, just like people do. My brothers family is going through this now with their elderly little Shih Tzu. He mostly just sleeps but when he does get up and walk around he sometimes appears confused and disoriented. And when they take him outside, he will sometimes just stand there looking around like he doesn't realize where he is. It will break their hearts when this dog is gone. They had considered having him PTS but he doesn't appear to be stressed or in any pain ... he's just OLD, so for now they are just letting nature take it's course. That may change if he starts acting like he is in pain and suffering. I think about this a lot myself. My larger mixed breed girl is at least 13 but still doing fine, thankfully. And my little Ragan will be 10 on the fourth of July. She too has autoimmune issues that are largely a mystery and two years ago I thought I was going to lose her, but she's hanging in there so far. Watching them age is the sad part of pet ownership.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh, Jo.........I am so very sorry!

    Right now I"m wishing you had my nice cheap practical vet who would see Sophie and not charge you very much to do so. If her personality is changing, there is something definitely going on.......maybe pain......maybe an all around I'm feeling so horrible everyone, especially Nala is going to know it.....thing is going on. And you already know she's had some hefty health issues in the past.

    I don't think you're a horrible person at all. I went through the same thing with our basset Precious and Molly. Precious grew up adoring Molly, seriously. Molly adored Precious. They ate together, slept together, played together, shared toys.....bones, everything. Then out of the blue.......Precious at about 9 mos old started showing aggression toward Molly. I let Molly handle it, Molly had basically raised her if you know what I mean. But it escalated. So I tried to figure what might have changed. And I came up with not a darn thing. Our behavior with both dogs was the same, Molly's behavior with Precious was the same......... Precious didn't act in the slightest way sick. Precious came up preggers not long after........and so I tried to believe maybe it was a hormone thing. Once pups were had escalated really bad. Fights were causing injuries. I attempted to keep them separated........but with kids in the home, they'd forget......and Precious would instantly be on the attack (totally random). After the fight that left my kitchen a bloody mess and took both me and Nichole to separate them (we both know how to do it correctly)......I was so done with Precious. She was a good loving dog, but obviously could not be housed with other dogs. She was rehomed to someone with no other pets. If I couldn't have found her a home like that, I'd have put her down. And by that point, I can honestly said I'm not so sure I'd have shed a tear. Bassets can be vicious attackers and can cause some serious damage......and Molly had simply been hurt too many times because she refused to go all out because this was Precious, someone she loved. Know what I mean??

    Can you take Nala in to be checked and talk to the vet about Sophie? Meanwhile, it's time to start talking to difficult child about this......explaining how unfair and dangerous it is to keep the two dogs together when poor Nala is getting not only attacked but hurt by Sophie. I know it's not easy. I had to do it with Nichole over Lil Bit.......and Nichole wouldn't listen, until Lil Bit turned on her.....and mom gave her no more choice in the matter and took Lil Bit in to be put down. I wasn't rehoming Lil Bit to anyone once she turned on a person. Nichole was devastated, but there was no choice.

    Again I'm so sorry. Is there any way to keep them apart?

    Molly is not out of the woods yet. She kills me because she's having really good days when she has them.......from playing with her ball to literally rolling on the floor and playing with Maggie. (you should see the look on my face cuz I never thought I'd ever see her play with another dog like that again) But when she has a bad day.......well, they're worse than ever......the cough is worse, her abdomen swells.....she has trouble walking.....only thing she does on those days is eat and drink pretty much.

  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Nala will be 12 in September and she's doing great! She's got warts and her body style makes it difficult for her to bend in such a way to clean herself, but we help her out with that.

    Sophie has always been a little "off" - definitely a major difficult child - befitting that she and difficult child are so darned close, lol. Sophie always barks at nothing, chases after everything that moves, she's easily startled, etc. H thinks she has vision problems, but the vet says her eyes are fine. Maybe not so much anymore.

    Cairn terriers tend to last a long time, but just like with every breed, there may be flawed bloodlines. In fact, we had another cairn years before who had to be put down at around age 9 (he was a rescue so the age is a guess) because he developed horrible issues - separation, pancreatitis, aggression first towards Nala and then towards us, her family. I used to have anxiety on my way home from work because I KNEW without a doubt there would be a pee and poop mess to clean up in his crate. He could scale a 5 foot gate!! difficult child would get so angry with him because her meltdowns, screaming and crying would upset him yet he was who she sought out for comfort. Poor dog.

    Today I have Sophie in easy child's room and a gate at the door. Nala and Izzy have free run of the house. I just can't trust that Sophie won't attack Nala again, now that she knows Nala is afraid of her. At least Izzy is so small she can dash under a bed to hide, but Sophie is quick and her jaws powerful. This is her third bite in life, not counting the two times she's bitten H by 'accident' as he was pulling her off the other dogs.

    I will call the vet and see if they can just see Nala for the ear without charging me for an "urgent" visit - yes, they do that here - and if I can bend the vets ear, I'll ask about Sophie. My vet thinks he's running a Mayo Clinic for animals and ALWAYS wants to see them and run 8 million tests on them. I'm like, Jeez, I love my dog, but REALLY?!?!?! I can't get out of the place without a bill for over $300. It's just ridiculous. What happened to the old back country vets?
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    That's who I have, Jo........... old back country vets. I pay a fraction of the normal cost for medical care for my animals. I know that every other vet in the area charges at least twice as much plus will do a zillion tests at even a hint they can get away with it. My vet won't do that unless it's really necessary and they always see how the owners financial situation is first.......never judge if the owner just can't afford to go all out like that. They're really great people.
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Jo, maybe you should look for a new vet! We have the "country vet" type too and I don't know what we'd do without them. I've never paid $300 for anything, including surgery! People around here just couldn't afford that. I know it goes by geographic locations but usually a vet in a rural area will charge much less than one in a large city. Our vet now has another one working with him but for years he was in practice alone. He does the usual cats and dogs but he does farm calls too so he sees horses, cows, goats, pigs ... whatever you've got, he will treat it. People pulling horse trailers drive in behind the office and he comes out and checks the horses outside. When we lived in the country, he once came out to our house in a blizzard to check out an ailing goat who had just delivered quadruplets! One of his techs is my "puppysitter" if I ever have to go out of town. And now he has expanded his practice to include ... elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary here in Middle Tennessee! I couldn't get along without these caring people!
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I have been searching for a new vet forEVER. We live in a very diverse area, but it is known for it's affluence and I think that's the problem. Some people don't blink at the costs involved in Vet care for their animals. The rest of us just suffer with paying exhorbitant fees or our animals go without. This Sat, easy child is taking Izzy to a rabies clinic to get her shot because if she took her to the reg vet, he would want to run blood work and check all her titres for lymes, parvo, bordatella, etc....things that adult dogs do not need to be tested for once they are grown unless they are kenneled. Our dogs never go to the kennel.

  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh, my!

    How far do you go out looking? I'm an hour away from 3 major cities (dayton, cincy, and columbus)........think of them as a triangle and I'm sort of right in the middle of that triangle.

    If you live in those cities........holy smokes vets are outrageous. I hated having a pet in dayton due to it.....which is why I learned to do my own shots ect. It's so high, in fact, Nichole brought her cats down to my vet to be spayed and declawed because it was tons cheaper. And all the vets up there wanted a long drawn out vet record for shots ect before they'd even consider the surgery. Well, now......her cats had always been seen by my vet........and she would have had to drive all the way here to pick that record told them to stuff it, she'd do it here. Sad, huh? Even with the cost of gas added in, it was tons cheaper. And yes, when Nichole's animals need seen, they come here still.

    You need to look for a small town with lots of working farms. Farmers, no matter how well they're doing, can't pay high vet costs......too many animals. The vets they use know that and adjust prices accordingly.

    Shoot, I nearly passed out when I bought the flea medication at the store.......4 times as much as what the vet charged!!! I'll NEVER do that again. They give them at just above costs.

    I adore my furbabies. They're my kids just as much as my other kids are..........but I won't put up with a bunch of nonsense let's soak the insurance co for all it's worth testing don't on them anymore than I will one of my furkids. I'm too practical a person for such things, too poor too.
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Ironically, we live in farmland area. There are LOTS of farms around here. You'd think there would be ONE vet who isn't all about making tons of money. I once complained to the vet tech about the high costs at their practice. The vet overheard and was miffed. He said, "People don't realize that I have to have the same education as a regular human vet - why shouldn't I recoup some of those costs once I become a vet??" OMG.

    So, maybe I will call one of our local farmers and ask them who they go to.

  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Uhhh, hmmm. Yup. I've run into that attitude too. And yes, they do. But I'd look around his office, how fancy is it decorated, how new is the furnishings, how extensive and elaborate is the equipment?

    My vet has probably the same furnishings he started with and they're nothing fancy. (think really old time vet office here complete with wooden bench in the waiting room) He doesn't have fancy equipment.......he has an xray machine, a scale, basic surgery exam room with a metal table. If you pet needs something more than he can do, he refers you to the more costly ones who are basically decked out like a local hospital.

    in my opinion a vet doesn't have to have the most modern office with the finest modern furnishings and every bell and whistle known to man to be an excellent vet. And these guys think it's great for those who want to go all out like that, but they don' lets them keep costs down.