It has gone badly.
As I write this, Grace is resting peacefully on the bed. By the time you read this, Grace will most likely be gone from this earth. She has continued to worsen. Her gums looked very pale to me. I took her to the E.R. Saturday morning. Concern turned to hope, but then back to concern, and then to sorrow.
They did numerous blood tests and found nothing wrong. The vet was about to release us to go home, but then they discovered that Grace’s blood was not clotting. After they drew her blood for tests, the legs started swelling and filling with blood. They wrapped them in compressive bandages.
Oh, the vet had a plan… Hospitalization, transfusion, take her to a facility over 50 miles from here so they could do a bunch of ultrasounds, and maybe, just maybe they could discover the cause of this. The cost of this was simply going to be too much. I don’t have anywhere near that kind of money, and that was only to treat her for the next 48 hours in order to discover what actually went wrong.
Even if we went forward and did that, all the possibilities give a very poor prognosis… All but one. If Grace had somehow ingested rat poison, then they could possibly treat that, but given the somewhat longer time frame for the symptoms, it does not seem the most likely culprit.
After I rejected the recommended course of action, they recommended that she be “humanely euthanized” then and there.
Just like that? My baby girl?
I wanted at least one last night with my dog.
They sent me home with lots of instructions along with prednisone and vitamin K as a kind of “Hail Mary” just in case it was rat poisoning. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will be going back with Grace. If her condition has deteriorated, she will have to be humanely euthanized.
I don’t want to lose my dog.
Not my little girl. Not my baby.
She was only eight for Christ’s sake! Oh God, why is this happening?
I’m so sorry to vent this here, but I don’t know what else to write.
Update: Sunday Afternoon
Grace is still with us. I decided against returning to the E.R. vet hospital this morning. Her condition seems somewhat stable at the moment. Perhaps the prednisone is bolstering her. Since there was already a Tuesday appointment scheduled with a specialist in veterinary internal medicine, the new plan is now the old plan. I’m going to get her to that consultation for a second opinion.
Although Grace is still very ill, she is alert and seems relatively pain free thanks to the gabapentin and tramadol. She is able to rest comfortably, and she even ate a couple of cheeseburgers for breakfast.
Grace’s gums still look pail to me, but a bloodshot patch in the upper sclera on her left eye appears to have improved. She seems to be panting less. Her left leg is slightly swollen from internal bleeding caused by Saturday’s blood draw, but the external bleeding has stopped and the bandages are off. At Grace’s request, I took her for a short walk down the ally and around the block. She was walking at a pretty good pace too, and even took a poop along the way.
While that all sounds good and well, it’s not objective proof that Grace is actually recovering. All the same, I do not feel that 12 to 18 hours is a sufficient amount of time to see if the “Hail Mary” was working. I’m going to give it a couple more days. Her appointment is still scheduled for Tuesday at 2:15pm, and if nothing goes horribly wrong between now and then, there is still some hope. Perhaps the internist can determine a more favorable second opinion, but if not, this will give me time to let go and say goodbye.
Update: Tuesday Night
So on Monday, Grace seemed to be doing remarkably better. The prednisone and vitamin K seemed like it was working. Her appetite was much better, but I was concerned because she had not been pooping as much as I felt she should. My dad came up to see her. She was still not as active and playful as she used to be, but there was definitely a sense of happiness and vigor I had not seen in some time. She ate pizza with us, and rested comfortably. That night I was sure she was going to pull through.
Tuesday morning, I awoke to the sound of Grace scratching at the back door. I jumped out of bed to go let her out, and right smack dab in the middle of the kitchen rug was a huge pile of dog shit! I never thought I would be happy to see that my dog had shit on the rug. Not only that, but she also went down in the basement and took another shit there as well. I took these as good signs. I let Grace go outside and got out the Bissell.
It was too good to be true. After Grace came back into the house, she was panting on the heavy side again. I administered her meds, but something told me her “rally” was short lived. I took a shower and we went to the veterinary appointment.
They took my dog, stuck me in a room, and made me sign a paper that said they could shave her belly. It was nearly two hours later that the doctor came in and told me the bad news. She did say that this was a puzzling case. While Grace’s blood was still not clotting as it should, and her blood count was dropping, she could not find the cause in any of the blood tests or scans. Her ultrasound did not show anything remarkable except for something fluttering in Grace’s heart that she could not make out. It was possible that this was a tumor in Grace’s heart, but only a veterinary cardiologist could determine this. In any event, Grace’s prognosis cratered on the spot.
Hemangiosarcoma. It was that or some other form of DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation). The internist ruled out the idea that Grace could have been poisoned and that the Vitamin K was basically doing nothing. Of course without the cardiologist weighing in, this was not an official diagnosis. The test for hemangiosarcoma requires a biopsy from a tumor, and you can’t just stick a needle into a beating heart for a sample.
They sent us home with some more gabapentin, and prednisone. In spite of telling me that the Vitamin K was likely not helping, she also supplied a huge bottle of the chewable pills. There’s also an appointment with the cardiologist for October 9, but Grace is looking more depressed and uncomfortable, and I’m beginning to doubt that she’ll be around long enough to keep that appointment.
I’m currently looking into vets that make house calls. I just learned that those things exist. I think it will be much easier if when the time comes, that she be allowed to start her journey into the next life from the only home she’s ever known.
Update: Thursday evening
Earlier today I made the call to the mobile vet. He seemed very nice over the phone, and was available to euthanize Grace on Saturday should I choose. I explained to him that I wanted one last weekend with my dog and was he available on Monday? Turns out that Monday was his wedding anniversary, and he was going out of town for a couple days. Wednesday was the earliest after. Though not how I planned it, I thought that would be fine.
Of course I came home to find Grace laying upright on the bed with her paws crossed like a proper lady. She looked concerned but not distressed, and she was not panting; not in the least. I kissed her face and gave her a slight hug. She had eaten all of her dinner, drank all her water, and peed out a small lake on the vinyl floor in the living room. After I mopped up the latest water feature, she came out and layed down on the living room floor, like a “lazy old hound dog”, not an animal at death’s door.
Grace’s original vet called to check up on her. As I talked on the phone, Grace indicated that she needed to go out. As I spoke with the doctor, Gace made her way to the end of the yard and took a massive dump. That seemed like a good sign, and I joyfully relayed the information to the vet. The doctor was concerned about the color, but it was not black. For a moment there, I thought we really had this. I really thought Grace was going to make it through the weekend. Heck, I might even have to postpone the mobile vet!
But looks can be very deceiving, and Grace was not getting better. When she came inside, her nose was bleeding from the inside. Grace is starting to spontaneously hemorrhage. This is a very bad sign.
There is nothing left that can be done.
I think… I think I need to call that mobile vet back tomorrow and schedule him for Saturday.
Under the current circumstances, I don’t really feel much like telling jokes. It’s been a rough week… And I need a little time to reflect.
New plan: This week we will be featuring “Unfiltered Glenn Jokes”. I’m not fixing any spelling, tenses, or formatting. I’m not checking to see if they’re even that funny, or if we’ve used them before. Just copy/pasting from Glenn’s last email. Thanks Glenn.