Monday, May 18, 2009

He's Our Baby and Our "Bud!"

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog you know that we have a cairn terrier who is our "baby." He's the "king" of the house and a demanding "king" to boot.

But, he's our "Bud" and our baby and when he's hurting we are hurting and the last two months for Bud haven't been the best.

You see, two years ago he was diagnosed with diabetes, which our veterinarian told us was a manageable disease for dogs and was no longer a death sentence. So, we learned all we could about diabetes in dogs and give him two shots a day of insulin. The vet showed us how to administer the shots so he doesn't get hurt and it seems to be working. Of course, he gets a few treats afterwards for being such a good boy.

Well, with the diabetes comes a problem with his teeth so we have to get his teeth cleaned every year and decided to have this done in April of this year. Since they have to anesthetize him for the teeth cleaning the vet does a more thorough exam of his whole body. During this exam she thought she felt a mass near his spleen and took an x-ray of his belly which revealed an egg size mass next to or in his spleen.

Now, "Bud" is 12 years old and overweight and like some older dogs has masses all over his body. Some of "Bud's" masses are fat and some are benign cysts. However, this one was different. The vet told us that he would need to have his spleen removed as the mass could rupture at any time and referred us to another vet whose specialty was surgery in dogs.

So, we went to see the specialist and she, too, told us the spleen would have to be removed but it wasn't an organ that dogs really need and that he'd be fine without it. He'd be able to bounce back from the surgery with no problems. As time was of the essence we scheduled the surgery for the next day. She did however caution us that she wouldn't know until she had performed the surgery whether the mass was malignant and whether there were any other issues of that nature with surrounding organs.

The surgical vet called and told us that the mass was inside his spleen and she had to remove it. She also told us that he had another egg sized mass inside his abdomen that she also had to remove. She'd sent both masses to be analyzed and would have the results back in a few days. She said the surgery went fine and that his liver seemed normal and that there didn't seem to be any problem there.

"Bud" made it through the surgery with flying colors and we brought him home the next day for recovery. The vet sent us home with pain medicine that he'd need for a few days and told us that due to the 4" incision along the middle of his belly he couldn't jump up or down or go on walks for 10 to 14 days. We had to get the pain medicine in liquid form as since birth our "Bud" has had periods where he's nauseous and won't eat or drink water until he's better. I wanted the liquid pain medicine as I didn't want to encounter one of those days when he wouldn't eat or drink and not be able to give him pain medicine.

We got a call from the surgical vet in a few days with the results on the two masses and they were both benign which was wonderful news for us. Needless to say "Bud" quickly recovered and had his staples removed after 14 days and got a wonderful report from the surgical vet. "Bud" was back to normal.

For all intent purposes "Bud" was back to normal - or so we thought. Unfortunately last Sunday morning (Mother's Day) at about 10:00 o'clock and totally of of the blue he had a full blown seizure. We rushed him to the vets office and by the time we got there he was no longer seizing. The vet examined him and said that looking at him you'd never know that he'd just had a seizure. He didn't have a temperature and his blood sugar was normal. He said he might never have another one and to watch him during the next 24 hours. He might have another one, which was okay, as long as they weren't in clusters and weren't longer than 2 minutes or so.

At 12:00 midnight he had another full blown seizure. When he had a third full blown seizure at 3:00 o'clock in the morning we rushed him to the Tufts Veterinary hospital. They admitted him and told us that he would be moved from intensive care to neurology in the morning. They wanted to monitor him and had an I/V set-up so that if he did have more seizures they could give him the anti-seizure medicine intravenously. The Emergency Room Vet thought it was possible that the seizures were created by tumors in his brain.

"Bud" had another seizure at 6:00 o'clock in the morning and they administered the anti-seizure medicine. He was transferred to neurology in the morning and was evaluated by the vet neurologist specialist. They did a series of tests and an MRI and determined that he didn't have any brain tumors and that he, in fact, had a stroke caused by high blood pressure exacerbated by his diabetes. Of course, the stroke could have been caused by a blood clot from the surgery, but the neurologist thought the most likely cause was the high blood pressure exacerbated by the diabetes.

We, of course, were concerned about what this meant for "Bud" and his quality of life. The neurologist vet told us that, unlike humans, dogs are very resilient and can recover from strokes without any problems. The stroke was not in an area of the brain to be concerned with and didn't cause any permanent damage. In a few days, "Bud" would be fine and in a few weeks - back to normal.

He told us that "Bud" needed to be on anti-seizure medicine (3 times a day) for a year or more and, maybe, for the rest of his life. He also needed to be on blood pressure medicine until his blood sugar levels were lowered resulting in his blood pressure being normal. If we could control his diabetes better than he could go off the blood pressure medicine. So, we brought "Bud" home with a bunch of prescriptions and information on handling all of this.

The first couple of days "Bud" was very unsteady on his feet and would just suddenly collapse so we had to monitor him very closely. We were told not to let him jump up or down off the sofa's, go near stairs, or near water as if he had another seizure he could seriously hurt himself.

The good news is that he hasn't had another seizure in a week and seems almost back to normal. In fact, he hasn't had his walks in a few weeks and is starting to get very demanding about them. We know he wants to go on his walks, but that will have to wait just a little longer. King or no king.

Looking at him you'd never know that he had such an ordeal during the last two months. Our "baby" is almost back to normal.

That's the good news. What I didn't tell you was that 1 week after our "Bud" had surgery my husband had a minor surgery. So, I had my hands full - so to speak - for the last two months with both my "kings" in recovery. And, BOTH, very demanding.

Happily, both are on the road to recovery. My husband's surgery will take a few more weeks to heal, but "Bud" is almost back to normal.

Given that he thinks he's a "king" he's not going to wait for my husband to fully recover before he starts DEMANDING that he take him for a walk. Surgery or no surgery I need a walk - NOW!

Yes, your highness!