Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh, the chaos!

The last few weeks have been chaotic around here.  Reminds me of the old days when the dogs were constantly into something or up to something!  I'd rather not be reminded quite so often of that!
Two days after Pingo's passing, I left for a family reunion in Saskatchewan.  The reunion was a ton of fun.  I am blessed with a large and loving extended family! 
The day I left Tehya seemed a bit off....lethargic and not her normal bouncy little self.  I asked our dogsitter, the ever brave Todd, to keep an eye on her and call our vet if she didn't perk up.  I thought Tehya was just mourning the passing of her friend and she'd be back to normal in a day or two.  It didn't quite work out that way!
The next morning, Tehya couldn't stand on her own and was nearly unresponsive.  Todd rushed her to the vet where she was immediately put on fluids, steroids and a host of other things!  It turns out that Tehya has Addison's disease, but she didn't show any consistent symptoms until she was in a full blown Addison's crisis.  Her potassium levels were so high that her kidneys had failed and her heart was shutting down.  If it had been an hour longer before she got treatment, this would be a memorial post!  I expect to lose several more dogs in the not so distant future, but I can't comprehend losing the Babydog yet!
Fortunately, Tehya survived the crisis and while Addison's is incurable, it can be managed.  Tehya will take at least two medications for the rest of her life to replace what her adrenal glands no longer produce.  The change has been quite astounding!  She's back to her happy, hyper, playful, sweet self.  She's full of energy!  We're working on finding the level of activity she can tolerate and learning what stresses her out.  Stress could trigger another crisis or require her dosages to be increased if we know it's coming!  She's a pretty well adjusted dog so hopefully she won't get stressed too often. 
A life threatening crisis is really more than enough for any dogsitter to handle!  But my dogs had more in store for Todd.  Like a porcupine that somehow got into the yard...through the game fencing or blown out of a tree or stupidest porcupine in history!  He did not survive to get back out of the yard and 5 of the dogs spent the day at the clinic getting de-quilled!  2 more had quills pulled at home! 
 Hobo, who is pushing 17 years old, had a seizure while he was at the clinic.  He recovered and it seems no long term damage was done, but it added to the chaos!  There's little as stressful as being thousands of kilometres away and completely unable to help your furry kids or your dogsitter!
The chaos did not end when I returned home!  Chum had surgery to remove a mass scheduled last week.  That all went as planned, but he's put on quite a performance about wearing a cone collar and having a drain removed from the incision site.  It really shouldn't take over half an hour, three people and a muzzle to clip one little stitch and pull out a little tube!  But if you're Chum, you assume anytime someone touches your legs, they are planning to hack them off! 
One day after Chum's surgery, the dogs had their first fight in several years!  I had thought we were passed all that crap!  Pacer, as always, got the worst of the battle. I wasn't at home when it happened, but I think it was small battle, mostly Antare and Pacer.  No other dogs were injured.  Pacer's injuries weren't serious, just some facial punctures.  Any blood on a solid white dog looks like the dog has been in a war zone though!  Pacer is healing well. 
Today, the big dog, Heyoka, visited the clinic.  He's had a hitch in his gait for a long time and a couple years ago he had some trouble with a compressed nerve in his back end.  The limp suddenly got worse and his back end was weak again.  Given how things have been going around here, I was expecting a terminal diagnosis!  It's not that bad though!  Heyoka has spinal stenosis, his spinal canal is narrowing and the nerves don't have enough room anymore.  The messages they send aren't getting all the way through to his legs!  He's not in pain.  Heyoka is a miserable, nasty dog when he's hurting and he's acting like his usual goofy self, just with a wonky gait!  We have a treatment plan, a new course of drugs to try; again it's not a curable condition, but hopefully we can manage it for some time yet.  He does have a bit of arthritis in his front leg too.  He's a giant dog and is at least 12 years old, very old for a dog of his size!  Arthritis is to be expected!
I am deeply grateful to our dogsitter for handling everything, for saving Tehya's life; to our neighbour who helped out with getting the quills out of everyone and especially to our vet, the remarkable Dr. Candace...for saving Tehya, helping the others and always having a smile for their neurotic owner!