Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Doggy Is Probably Dying

It's funny how things seem so clear to you in hindsight. A lot of little things that didn't really seem to amount to much by themselves have all added up together to create one of the saddest things our little family will (hopefully) ever experience. We got the news yesterday, our dog, Lilly, is probably going to die. Soon.

Lilly started being extra smelly a few weeks ago. This happens once in awhile, especially in the winter when they don't get regular baths, and we don't think much of it because we are so used  to it. We just wait it out with extra febreeze and candles and on the first semi-warm day she (or her brother, Mert, if he is the culprit) gets her much needed bath. Finally it was nice outside on Friday AND we had the time to give her a bath. Lilly HATES baths! She cries and shakes and is miserable the whole time. I have no idea why but it really traumatizes her, so we only bathe her when she is stinky. During her bath, Chris noticed that she had a big lump inside of her between her butt and her girl parts. We were immediately concerned and decided we would take her to the doctor in the near future to get it checked "just in case".

Our eight year old son has always been a bit melodramatic when it comes to our pets dying. And he is a worrier by nature. He has a hard time going to sleep at night, and he sometimes thinks a little too much in the wee hours while he waits to nod off. I cannot tell you how many times he has woken me up in the middle of the night crying his eyes out because he woke up and started thinking about what if's. You probably know that's never a good game to play. He usually thinks about what if ____ died? About half of the time it was the dogs. Lately it has been, "what if Hailey dies?" but that is a whole other blog post. Anyway, it takes him forever to calm him down and explain to him that the dogs are fine, they are most likely not going to die anytime soon, we will all die someday, hopefully you will see them again in heaven, etc... It all gets a bit repetitive but it seems to work. This time that wasn't going to do it.

We knew it was probably something bad like cancer and so did he. Without us saying anything more than that we had to take her to the doctor sometime soon, he had deduced that she was in trouble. Our friend Delilah came over literally, 5 minutes later, and Alex was in his room crying at the top of his lungs and wailing things like, "SHE'S GONNA DIE! OH MY POOR DOGGIE! LILLLLYYYY I'M GONNA MISS HERRRR!" When he is upset, her prefers to be alone in his room so he can be mad or sad or whatever, in private. I don't think he realizes that we have a tiny house and can hear every word he is screaming. I don't have the heart to tell him, lol. Anyway, Delilah was understandably confused. We explained about her lump and why he was upset and then we went and calmed Alex down.

A few hours later, we were playing board games and Delilah mentioned in passing that Lilly was pretty stinky and that we should give the poor thing a bath. That was when we knew there was a serious problem. We explained that Lilly had just been bathed, (somehow that got left out of the lump story in the first place), and that she should not be stinky. We speculated that maybe one or both of her anal ducts was clogged or infected. Chris mentioned that he had squeezed them during the bath and that he didn't think so. I hoped so because I knew the alternative meant it had something to do with the lump. Our son understood as well.

I have to explain here, that the stink was not just normal doggy odor. It smelled like poop. Rotten poop, It was really bad. And she licked it a lot- which made it smell twice as bad. This is one of those hindsight moments. We had noticed that she was licking her butt a lot, and we noticed that it made the smell worse. But we never saw it as a reason to be concerned. She has always chewed on her foot. So I know I just assumed that she had moved on to the butt temporarily. After her bath I assumed that her anal gland was impacted and it was itchy or something. Or that maybe she was expressing it by licking. Now we know that is not the case. I remember describing it while we were all joking about how to get the dog to go lay somewhere else because the smell was so bad, that it smelled like something crawled into her butt and died. Chris then suggested that maybe she had a miscarriage and it was stuck or something. Seriously it smelled that bad, We decided that Monday morning he would take her to the dr no matter what.

It was a long weekend of stinky doggy. Lots of canned air freshener, which I loathe because of all the chemicals, and candles. Poor dog. Delilah ended up staying over and on Saturday night she said the smell seriously almost made her throw up. It was almost unbearable. And my dog follows me everywhere. Even to the bathroom. So Delilah spent a lot of time as far away from me as possible there towards the end. I will fast forward to Monday.

Chris called me on the way home from the doctor and told me that she needs surgery. When he got home he handed me the papers and I asked a billion questions. Turns out the lump is probably something called pyometra. You can read more about that here if you would like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyometra. They couldn't be sure because they really needed to do some tests, blood work, maybe an xray or an ultrasound but they couldn't because we can't afford it. We literally have NO disposable income, and we barely pay the bills now. We took her in to the doctor with a coupon we had received for a free dr visit and exam hoping to only have to pay for a small dose of antibiotics or something simple. There was no way we could afford any of the tests they needed to do, which alone would have cost over $500, according to the printout.

In a short but very incomplete summary, pyometra is an infection of the uterus. They think she smell is coming from the infection. If that is what it is, she HAS to have her uterus removed and have all of the pus and stuff drained ASAP or else she will die. The thing is, we cannot even afford the tests to find out if that is for sure what her problem is, there is no way we can afford an almost $1,000.00 surgery or the post op care. Chris basically told them that he would try to find a way to get the money and that he would come back if he could. They gave him a prescription of antibiotics and pain killers for her and said to call the next day. Our only hope is that they guessed wrong, and that it isn't pyometra at all. Hopefully it is just a really bad infection that can be easily cured by the antibiotic. Chris is still trying to figure out how we will cover the $80 we had to pay for the medicine.

The dr says that she is not even well enough to have the surgery right away. She is severely dehydrated and they need to put her on an i.v. to get her fluids up. They aren't sure if it is because she hasn't been drinking or if it is from the blood loss. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that she is hemorrhaging. They are hoping its just water. In the meantime, our dog is bleeding everywhere.And stinky. And except for when the medicine they just gave us is working, she is in a lot of pain. Her eyes are sunken, she looks miserable, and unlike her usual hyperactive self, she doesn't wag her tail or walk around much anymore, and she seems to have pain sitting down. She has to very slowly, very gingerly, lay down. It's so hard to watch. At the very least, the medicine seems to be helping her feel better. And a few hours after we gave it to her, she actually drank and ate!

 The dr said that if she is going to get better without surgery (if they guessed wrong, miracle happens, whatever), then it will happen in the next two days. She says that if there is no way we can afford the surgery no matter what and she is still unwell in the next 48 hours, then we need to have her put down because she is suffering and it is only going to get worse. Especially if it is pyometra. Eventually her uterus will rupture. I know I can't put her through that just to keep her around for a few more days. If she isn't better we have to decide if we want to be there while she dies or if we want to just drop her off. Both options are horrifying to me. I cannot imagine either one. I don't know what to do.

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