The Right Perspective

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quick Bella Update

Well, I think we should rename our dog to "Bella the Wonder-Dog". She is truly an amazingly strong dog. We had more bloodwork done on Monday to recheck her values after she had been off iv fluids and home for a few days. We got the results yesterday and they looked great. Her creatinine levels were normal (which is nothing short of miraculous) and she is not anemic of dehydrated. To look at her, you would never know she almost died a week ago. Our prayers were definitely answered.

She has finished up one medicine that was used to protect her stomach from ulcers, she has a couple more days to go on the other stomach med and then she will be on a kidney medicine indefinitely, more as a maintenance med than anything else. We can handle this. It is a little ironic, however, that the dog who willingly ate 95 ibuprofen tablets will not take her one pill, twice a day, even hidden in treats. Silly dog...but we love her!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sunglasses Anyone?

Anyone need a super-cool pair of paper sunglasses, shown here on the unwilling model below?
I didn't think so.

The Toughest Dog I Know

Well, Bella came home today! The difference from Monday evening to today is phenomenal. We thought she might not make it, but now we are very hopeful. Her creatinine levels continued to fall from 3.8 yesterday to 2.5 today (1.6 is normal) and her BUN levels (I think they measure dehydration) had fallen from 60 yesterday to 23 today (25 is normal). Things definitely seem to be headed in the right direction.

Of course, keep in mind that today is the first day off her iv fluids too, so we have to keep a sharp (read: paranoid) eye on her over the next several days to make sure that she is still producing plenty of urine. So far, she is a champ at that. She is having trouble holding it, in fact. That will certainly be an unpleasant challenge, but hopefully it will be temporary. We just don't know yet.

We left the vet's office with two medications for her stomach (she has been bleeding some) and we still need to pick up one other medication for her kidneys which had to be ordered. We have special prescription diet food and more tests to be done on Monday to recheck kidney functions. All in all, she's home and we're happy and very paranoid.

Bella has definitely earned the title of "Toughest Dog I Know". She could have given up and we could have given up on her. The numbers certainly were not at all in her favor, especially the longer we went, but we all kept fighting and praying and loving her, and with the help and care of the vet and her staff, we still have our Bella girl.

And now, the pictures. The first one was taken on my cell phone on Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after she ate the Ibuprofen. She was laying on the floor of the emergency clinic because she couldn't stand for more than a minute or two. She couldn't even hold her head up or keep her tongue in her mouth. She was basically heavily intoxicated and nearly dead.

The picture below is from tonight. She is calmer than usual and pretty worn out. She definitely doesn't have the same energy level she used to, but we are seeing sparks of that old dog every so often. She even sparred with Puma the cat this evening.

Bella seems very hungry. She doesn't really like her new diet, but she's going to have to learn. She's been searching for other food all night, which worries me, since that's how she got into this predicament in the first place!

Here are the shaved spots on her two front legs from where the iv catheter was placed. Her paws are no longer swollen at all, but it's going to take a while for all the hair to grow back. This, oddly enough, is what concerned Emily the most, I suppose because she could actually see the damage.

Loving on my Bella girl...she's enjoying lots of attention, a new bed, many kisses and even a few gentle belly rubs (she still wants them, apparently!)

Bella, saying...."Enough with the camera, mom!"

Welcome home, sweet girl!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update on Bella

Tonight's update will have to be quick because it's late and I'm tired.

We visited Bella twice today, once just Em and me and then again with Andrew. I was struck by how much more energetic she seemed today and she was full of kisses. She just seemed better. The swelling in her paw has gone down dramatically as well.

We also got some very encouraging news. Her creatinine (sp?) levels had gone down from a high of 4.2 to 3.8 this morning. The normal is around 1.6 I think. There's still a lot with which to be concerned, but this is the first drop we've seen. Her dehydration levels (I'm sure I'm not using the correct terms here) had dropped from around 100 down to 60 today, with 25 being in the normal range. She is still peeing and pooping, with some blood in her stool, indicating bleeding in her tummy. The vet is going to almost double her stomach protectant dose, start her on a new medicine which will create good bacteria to eat the bad bacteria produced by the kidneys. Hopefully it will all help. She is eating a little, but she doesn't really like her special diet. They have to bribe her with better food. (That's my girl!)

Bella is still on iv fluids, but the vet might try to use a smaller amount and see how she does tomorrow. There is the possibility that she will be able to come home tomorrow evening, but I just want to be sure that she is stable enough to be safe.

I pray that she is turning the corner towards recovery now. Last night was a really low point and a hard night for me. Today has been much better...may the good days continue.

Oh and on a sidenote...I went to the eye doctor today. I do indeed have a couple of infected glands on my eyelid, plus a definite allergic reaction, mostly in the same eye, to something. What, I don't know. So now I have new prescription eye drops to use 4 times a day, I'm stuck in my glasses for the next week until I return to the eye doc and I have some REALLY stylish paper sunglasses to sport since I had my pupils dilated.

Yes, I was a freak show today! I took a picture of myself with the nice sunglasses on my cell phone, but I couldn't see it to know how good/bad it was. I'll have to check before I can post that one!

Good night and keep praying.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hope and Fear

Today we went to see Bella again. The vet has been great about communicating with us and encouraging us to come in and spend a little time with Bella. They think it helps her, and so do I. We got to actually spend about 10 minutes in a private room with her today, which was nicer. Her poor paws are so swollen from the iv catheters, but that's minor damage compared to what is still raging inside.

After bloodwork today, her red blood count is in the normal range, but her kidney values are still rising. It's possible that we are reaching the peak, but it's also possible that this is a worsening of her condition. Her temperature is low and her gums are pale (don't know if that's good or bad). She was still giving plenty of kisses and wagging her tail and she obviously wanted to come home with Emily and me. She is still on fluids and stilling urinating a lot, but the question now is, if we take her off the forced fluids, will her kidneys still work at all. The vet wanted to keep her again overnight and then run more bloodwork tomorrow morning. She said that the half-life of ibuprofen was about 5 days, which is basically where we are right now. This may be the worst or it may be the beginning of something more. We just don't know at this point and my heart is heavy. I'm not ready to give up on her and I don't think she's ready to give up either. She's fighting so very hard. I can't believe she's made it through this far.

So, if you are the praying type....pray hard for her kidneys to heal. The vet said that she will likely have permanent kidney problems, but we'll deal with that later. Besides, miracles still happen...I just pray that Bella is one of them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Still Waiting and Hoping

Well, what to write? It's been a very, very long and worry-filled weekend. Lot's of ups and downs with Bella, lot's of running from one vet to another and filling out paperwork and transferring meds and lifting Bella in and out of the van. Add to the melee that Emily is really struggling with the idea that if she doesn't poop on the potty every single time she goes, she will be sick. She walks around with her hand covering her mouth (just in case) and is literally obsessed with the idea that she might be sick. She's also now worried that her food or drink might be "yucky" (because I told her that her hours -old chocolate milk would be yucky to drink) so she is becoming afraid to eat.

And just to add insult to injury, my right eyelid started swelling up this afternoon for no apparent reason. It isn't too bad, just annoying on top of everything else. Just what I need. Now I need to wear my glasses (which drive me nuts for long periods of time) and they don't like to stay up well.

Now for a Bella update....I picked her up at the weekend emergency clinic at 7:20 this morning. She definitely looked better. Her tongue is back where it belongs, which is to say, she was licking me a little bit. She seemed more steady on her feet, though one paw is very swollen, probably from the iv catheter. After getting her settled back at our vet, they ran bloodwork and said that her liver numbers were getting close to normal, which in and of itself is an absolute miracle. Her kidney numbers are still high/rising?. We thought before the bloodwork that she might be home tonight, but after seeing the kidney results, the vet decided to keep her another night and continue to give her more fluids. Hopefully they will do more bloodwork tomorrow morning and she will be given the all-clear to come home. We did get a chance to visit with her this afternoon for a few minutes. Andrew couldn't go because of work, but I took Em to kind of prepare her for how Bella might look. I think it did Bella some good because her tail started wagging pretty hard and she gave Em and me lots more kisses this morning. I guess she really does love the kid too, even though she's "my" dog.

So, we wait a little more.

Friday, July 18, 2008

UPDATE: My VERY Expensive Value Ibuprofen

So, I bought a value-pack of 200 mg. ibuprofen, where if I bought one 100-count bottle, I got a second one absolutely free. I probably paid around $3.00 for 200 pills. I pretty good deal, right?


A couple of days ago, I had a bad headache, much like a migraine. I had taken Excedrin first thing in the morning, but by noon, relief had not come, so I opened one of the bottles of ibuprofen and took two. No problem.

Fast forward to today...Em and I were celebrating her latest feat....she has finally done #2 on the potty!!!! So as a reward, I made today about her. She wanted to go to Burger King for lunch (and mostly to play in the play area). Then we visited a couple other stores.

Since it was 91 degrees and humid, I left Bella inside, knowing that she is usually fine on her own for a couple hours. We got home a few hours later and she had torn into a new package of diapers (that are now destroyed). They were old in that they were the wrong size, but I was planning on keeping them in case we ever get brave enough to try for a sibling for Em. Then I noticed a couple of bright orange stains on the carpet of animal origin....and then I found the two value bottles of ibuprofen in the middle of the living room.

Despite picking them up off the floor before we left and their childproof caps, one bottle (the one I'd already used) was ripped open and full of tooth marks...and only 3 pills remaining. By my calculation, that means that Bella must have eaten 95 pills or 19,000 mg of ibuprofen, thus explaining the orange stains.

So, one hour, one vet trip and nearly a whole bottle of cleaning solution later, my value-pack of ibuprofen has now cost me an estimated $750 (assuming that all goes well, which is still not certain). Bella will be staying at the animal hospital until at least Monday, maybe longer. She will be catheterized, iv'ed, charcoaled, tested, etc...and hopefully not much worse for the wear.

Calgon....take me away!!!!!!!!!!
Well, it's now 5:45 pm on Saturday and I spent the morning grocery shopping and transporting Bella to a different emergency clinic. She does not look good. When I dropped her off yesterday, she seemed fine other than the vomiting. Today is patently obvious that she is very, very sick. Her liver and kidneys are definitely being affected right now, leading us to believe that she must have just eaten the pills shortly before I got home yesterday. Maybe we got to her in time, but either way, she is extremely ill and the vet says it's just too soon to tell. She can barely walk more than a few feet at a time, her breathing is very labored, her tongue just hangs out of her mouth and she is peeing on herself all the time (this is a good thing though). Please pray if you think of it. Losing her would be terrible for all of us, but it would devestate Emily, not to mention probably terrify her.
Oh and did I mention that the earlier bill for the first vet was just the "intro to veterinary emergency medical costs"? You (and I) don't even want to know!