Monday, February 13, 2012

Pro tip: Elderly Dog Owners Should Only Wear Waterproof Mascara

Oh, my. Buster is putting A. and I through an emotional wringer. 

He stopped eating again. Friday's visit to the vet involved phrases such as "last resort," exploratory surgery," and "get emotionally prepared."

A. and I were to discuss whether we wanted to have the vet perform exploratory surgery on Buster, and what to do depending on what she found. Do we wake him up, or say goodbye?

I was a fucking mess on Friday. So was A.

Buster continued to get weaker and weaker. The dark, dark color of his diarrhea scared both A. and I into immediately thinking he was dying. I mean, it was one of those instances where you just know what you are seeing is wrong. (Although, he has had no accidents inside; he still asks to "go outside to go potty.")

So we took him to another vet on Saturday (because they were open. And maybe because I wanted another opinion.). I asked the new vet to do a complete exam, blood work and an ultrasound on his belly.

Again, his blood work came back perfect. The only thing she found on the ultrasound was his spleen looks slightly enlarged, but she could not find any masses, pockets, or fluid in his belly. His coat is shiny and soft. His eyes are bright. His tongue is pink and his gums are healthy. She did not see any reason to rush into immediate surgery, and thought he was healthy enough to try and give a cocktail of meds some time to make him comfortable.

Good? Bad? What is wrong with my baby?

The second vet has him on steroids, a morphine derivative, antacid and nausea pills for the next few days. The concoction seems to be helping him feel better. Buster eats his treats and spits out the pills, so I have been prying open his jaw and shoving them down his throat. He loves me. 

The meds seem to be helping keep him more comfortable. He is eating treats like nobody's business, but still has no interest in food in his bowl. He trots over when he hears the word "treat" and enthusiastically gobbles them up, then looks up in anticipation for more. 

Yesterday, he trotted around outside with us for well over a half an hour, wagging his tail and looking much perkier. But he is still not near his normal, happy self.

Then, last night, he started panting heavily and kept asking to go outside every hour. He would try to poop, but couldn't. Is he constipated from too many treats? Is there some sort of fucking tumor pushing on his belly and innards making him feel like he has to poop, but of course, can't? Do we get biopsies? Are those possible without major surgery? Do we do major surgery? If it is early cancer, do we treat him? Jesus Fucking Christ, I am losing my mind.

And I know that A. is going through hell. He is so tender and caring and loves this dog so much.  He just wants to make him happy and do what is right for him. It is killing him that he can't just make it better for Buster, like he always does.

I am so frustrated and scared and sad. I am scared to be optimistic. I am scared not to be.


  1. Oh, this is SO HARD. It's so hard not to even know what the situation IS so that you can consider options.

  2. Oh, I am so sorry about this.

  3. Oh, I am tearing up for you. I hate this aspect of having elderly pets the most. Any time there's something wrong, you never know if "it's time" or if it's just something minor. And having only a swollen spleen to show for it doesn't really narrow things down for you guys, does it?

    I am wishing the very best news for you guys.

  4. oh, you guys. my heart aches for you. i wish i could fix him for you :(

  5. I'm so sorry for you and your pooch. We're going through this w/ an elderly cat right now. We've been somewhat successfully been treating a disease w/ meds over the last 18 months or so, but now she really seems to be winding down. I just told my husband that I can deal with her death b/c I know she's had such a long and happly life with us. What I can't deal with is not knowing how she actually FEELS up until that time b/c she can't TELL ME if she hurts, or where, or if she's just tired. Or not hungry, or this or that.

  6. Owww. This is the worst, I am so sorry. For Buster and for you.

  7. I know too well emotions and confusion you are feeling. Zoe went through similar problems and I struggled knowing what to do. All you can do is watch Buster and listen to the vet you trust. When it's time, you'll know. Dogs spend their lives making us happy. It's our job to do what we can to return the favor. Enjoy the time you have with him. Sending well wishes and prayers.

  8. I'm sorry. Pets are like babies... you just wish so much sometimes that they could TELL YOU what they're feeling. It's such a helpless feeling to just be guessing at the problem/solution.
    I really hope the situation becomes clear to you guys and your vets soon, and that Buster isn't in pain.

  9. Just checking in on you and Buster and wondering how he's doing. Sending you good thoughts!


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