Our Sophie is sick again

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Edited to make it clear that Sophie is our 9 year old cairn terrier.

    And this time around it's her liver. You may (or may not) recall that in Feb 2009 Sophie's immune system was attacking itself and her bone marrow was not producing any red blood cells. Her hematcrit was WAY below where it should have been. In fact, her vet was surprised she could still stand let alone take a walk everyday around our block. After months of tests, much money spent on lots of drug regimens, she came through and has been doing well.

    A couple of weeks ago, she went for her annual check up and because of last year's health issue, they ran some extra blood work - turns out her liver enzymes are elevated like they were last year. So, vet gave her some liver support medications and now a couple of weeks later, nothing has changed. Sophie looks and behaves healthy. I mean, she is definitely more tired, but she did have lymes, which we're still treating her for.

    Anyway, vet wants to perform a liver biopsy. I don't know how the heck much that costs, but I can tell you that I expended nearly $2400 last year. It wiped out my paltry savings and some even had to go on a credit card. I do not have the resources for anything over a couple of HUNDRED and even that is a stretch right now. I know the vet means well, and we love Sophie and don't want her to die, but he said that if we don't get a definitive diagnosis for Sophie, by the time she actually looks and behaves like a sick dog, it could be too late.

    Anyone ever have a liver biopsy done on their dog? And if so, do you recall the costs? I know she will have to be knocked out and stay over for two days and one night. And the procedure will be preceeded by an ultrasound and performed by the ultrasound guy. Pretty sure the ultrasound itself is near $250, plus anesthesia, etc.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  2. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Can your vet work with you to take payments? Can you ask your local humane society to go in with you on a charity fund raiser for Sophie?

    I've never had this experience with any of my animals before myself but I'm desperately trying to come up with ideas for you. I can't imagine how painful this must feel to have a beloved pet sick and not sure if you can afford to do anything let alone have to watch that beloved pet get more sick as time passes. I work with a non-profit no kill shelter in town and I can forward you some fundraising ideas they use if you want it.
  3. tawnya

    tawnya New Member

    Sorry, Jo.

    I know how it feels to have a sick pet and an empty pocketbook.

    I almost got divorced over one of our dogs.

    Hugs to you and Sophie.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Check with your Cairn Terrier rescue groups. Many of them help fund vet care for that breed. It might be tighter now with the economy and more dogs coming into care, but it doesn't hurt to check.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Wish I had some wise words. Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and Sophie.
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Don't have an answer to your question, but just want to send supportive cyber hugs your way.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Ugh. I know how you feel about the hefty vet bills. I'm still reeling from Harley's little "procedure" at the end of May.

    Wish I had some advice. My husband would have preferred I'd chosen the $12 shot... my kids, however, are grateful I picked the more expensive option, and because of that, we are likely to have Harley with us for many more years since he's only 5. Had he been a much older cat, not sure I would have made the same decision. But either way, it's very hard on our hearts and our wallets...

  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks everyone. H and I discussed the issue about not only how far we will go but also how the costs fit into our finances.

    The procedure the vet is talking about is not completely risk free-she can bleed out post biopsy, which would then mean life saving surgery would be necessary or she dies and we did the biopsy for nothing.

    Philosophically, neither of us believe in going crazy medically using exploratory surgery or risky procedures with risks and unknowns. Therefore, we have decided on a passive approach.

    Sophie turned nine this year, which is only a little bit over middle aged for Cairn terriers. We can ask the vet to keep her on liver support supplements and check her enzymes every few months. And we will take it from there. It could be that her enzymes are elevated due to other circumstances, such as the fact that she's been on two antibiotics for the past couple of months, one for lymes and another for an infected anal duct (sorry). Also, due to her illness last year and how it affected her liver, there may be permanent damage, Know what I mean??

    So that's how things stand for now. I have to tell my vet tomorrow and although he says he doesn't judge, well, he is a bit snooty and will likely think it's all about the money. But for us, it's also about the reality that while we love Sophie dearly, she is a dog who has had a very nice life, still zips around like a pup and is outwardly very healthy. We tend to think our vet wishes he headed the Mayo Clinic for dogs or something! Thanks again for the thoughts.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010