Thursday, June 04, 2009

Asher is very ill

The last 24 hours or so have sucked. One of my Great Danes, Asher (the younger male), has been showing signs of illness, and he's lately turned for the worse. He became very lethargic, stopped eating, and was dehydrated. A visit to our vet resulted in a trip to the local emergency vet care clinic and ICU, because blood tests showed his kidneys were having difficulty and he was severely dehydrated, and also had lost about 10 pounds in the last 3 weeks.

The ICU people have him on IVs, but he didn't really respond overnight like they initially thought if it was the neurological disorder my vet originally thought it could be. That left three options - infection, toxin, or cancer. Toxin was unlikely given that the other dogs are fine and are in the same area as him. So, they just did an ultrasound to check out his abodmen. Luckily, no signs of cancer, and the kidneys appear outwardly healthly.

That means it is probably an infection. Unfortunately, finding out which one is not easy. They already have him on hardcore antibiotics, but kidneys take time to recover, and the most likely infection takes about 10 days for confirmation (my vet already sent out the test because that was her alternate diagnosis in the event that it wasn't a neurological disorder that it initially appeared to be). In the meantime, the ICU is trying to get his kidneys propped up. He's eating and drinking again, so that's good. But it will be 24 to 36 hours before we know if the antibiotics and IV fluids help his kidneys. If we can get past that, they can give him targeted treatments once they know exactly what infection it is, but it won't matter unless his kidneys start working again.

So, I'm better than I was an hour ago, when cancer was a real possibility. Now, though, we're just waiting. We'll probably be visiting him later today. This seems a lot for a dog, but this dog we've raised since just a puppy, and he's only 2 and a half years old. He's such a good dog too, gentle, kind. I'm just kind of numb right now.

In addition to all that, paying for this care is expensive. So far, we've not reached the point where we have to say "that's all we can do, he's a dog, and we can't spend all our limited resources on him". But I dread having to make that decision... I mean, it would have oddly been easy if they had found he had cancer. Asher would have had little hope for meaningful recovery, and it would have been a mercy to stop there. But now, we don't even know what kind of infection it is - and I'm not willing to to say "stop" when treating him for 36 hours could easily fix him as good as new, despite the significant expense.

This, of course, is just adding to the stress my wife has over not having a job right now. She's holding together remarkably well, though. I'm trying as best I can to be a source of strength for her. Sometimes, I worry I'll give in to the worry, but I don't have that luxury when she needs me.

Please keep us and Asher in your prayers. He's such a good dog, no, the best dog, he deserves a long and happy life.


Unknown said...

hope he gets ok

Jason Andrews said...

:( sorry to hear that. I was a wreck when my dog went in to have 13 teeth out. Usually a sign of kidney problems in dogs is build up on the teeth which doesn't clear away as was a problem with a childhood dog of mine. She had kidney problems and was put onto medication for 3 years before she passed away at 12.

Hope everything turns out good in the end!

heyyou9974(Bnet) said...

I'm sorry to hear that Tom.

I know what your going through, I lost two of my cats a couple of years ago. I remember taking my cat to the vet to be put down, I remember she was in the back seat with me, very weak. Then bearing her in our yard, I used to go out and visit her and I put a valentines card with her, she died a few days within valentines day.

Even though they are only animals, they are apart of our families.
Best wishes to you , your family and Asher. I hope he makes a full recovery and dosen't break the bank too much.


Jason Andrews said...

Hows he doing?

ObiWanStevobi said...

Damn, just read this today, I assume everything turned out OK? You didn't mention anything about this on LIVE.