Saturday, March 13, 2010
Old Friends / New Friends
Today we had to say goodbye to a friend.
Java, a sweet, gentle Chocolate Lab became old and tired. Life was no longer fun, but was becoming difficult and painful. Running and playing with his friend Lilly was too hard, so his Mom and Dad took him to the vet, held him close and whispered familiar words to him as he crossed the bridge. Tonight their house will seem much too quiet, even with the rest of his pack and the puppies. Lilly, especially will miss her big friend. The photo above broke my heart this morning when I first saw it. Drop by and leave them some words to let them know we all understand how they're feeling.
When one friend leaves, another enters your life. Look who came running up our front steps to see me today. I don't know her name, so I call her Twerp. She doesn't mind. She belongs to our next door neighbors and they told us when they first brought her home a few months ago that she was a Pitt Bull. Maybe, a few generations ago a Pitt Bull lent her some genes, but not recently. She weighs about twelve pounds.
She's a little doll, but there's a problem. We know she's neglected and we suspect she may be abused. I doubt she's ever had any veterinary care. Are you seeing the problem? What do we do about her?
The neighbors let her run so one of three fates await her. She'll be hit by a car, she'll be stolen or she'll get sick. I think she's adorable, but I don't want her hanging around our house and yard. I don't want her bringing fleas or worms into our yard. Samba has a compromised immune system and I don't want her exposed to any sick animals. The neighbors are the unapproachable type who seem to settle their domestic disputes with violence. What would you do?
Speaking of Samba, last week she had her monthly checkup and we had bloodwork done. Her checkup was good. Although she's convinced that I'm starving her and she's taken to stealing food whenever possible, she's maintaining a good weight. Her coat is patchy and her tail is hairless, but she has about 90% use of her jaw and about a third of the muscle remains.
This morning I sat down with Dr B and we went over Samba's lab report. As we expected it was out of kilter from the disease and from the steroids she's been taking. He gave me a lesson in neutrophils, eosinophils and lymphocytes. One thing that stood out was that her thyroid was low. This is actually good news as it can explain a lot of the other things that showed up. We have changed her prednisone dosage to 25 mg on odd days and 10 mg on even days. We'll leave her at that for two months as long as there are no signs of recurrence. Our goal is 15 mg every other day, but it will be several more months before we get there. We have started her on thyroid medication and among other things we're hoping it helps her coat grow in.
So far she's doing well and that's all I can ask. It's a gloomy, rainy day here and my mood is melancholy. Saying goodbye is never easy and when you have a sick dog at home, it becomes even harder.