Monday, February 27, 2012
The Best Laid Plans
I certainly meant to be blogging before now, and all about India. But on our return from our trip ten days ago, we both had one of the longest periods of jet lag we've ever experienced. Just when we were over that, our dog developed a health problem that has had us really worried. So this post is about our dog, Cezar.
My husband and I have always had pets, but Cezar stands out as our most loveable and amazing one. Maybe because we've had him longer (he's fourteen years old.) Maybe because we could give him more attention, given that my husband has had his home business for several years, and I took early retirement from teaching a few years ago. Maybe it's because training classes made Cezar easier to communicate with. Whatever the reason, this dog is special.
Cezar wandered into school where I was substitute teaching for a friend thirteen and a half years ago. He would have been sent to the pound if I hadn't taken him home instead. He looked like a baby pup, but actually the vet determined he was about six months old then. He's really a "little old man" of a dog, now. Fourteen is old for a dog.
So when he started falling while walking last Friday evening, we thought of some unhappy scenarios. Saturday morning it was even worse. Every time Cezar tried to walk, he stumbled and fell. He listed to one side, with his head titlted at an odd angle. We got him into the vet right away after going online and reading about strokes and brain tumors in dogs. The vet was a bit more reassuring. A third reason for Cezar's behavior could be a middle ear infection. Just the same, a blood sample was taken. (We'll learn the lab results today.) Meanwhile he was given an ear wash and a prescription of antibiotics that should take effect in a very few days if his problem is, in fact, an ear infection.
Before we gave him his first pill, however, his symptoms got worse Saturday evening. He didn't appear to see anything he looked at; he couldn't track my finger when I moved it from side to side. Was he blind? (Another stroke symptom). The vet's office was closed, so we took him to the emergency vet recommended by the answering service. After a thorough exam (poor Cezar's second one that day, complete with pokes, squeezes, and a rectal thermometer), the emergency vet told us the same three possible reasons for his symptoms; an ear infection still was a strong possibility. Cezar's unseeing stare could be due to disrupted balance and an effort to bring a whirling world into focus. Cezar is not blind, thank goodness.
After administering a "sub-cutaneous" water injection to keep Cezar hydrated (since he hadn't been drinking any water or eating anything), she sent us home with anti-nausea pills to ease his disorientation.
Yesterday and today brought encouraging signs. He's able to walk without falling, although his head still tilts; and we help him on stairs, since he has a stumbling gait. But he's eating a little wet food, and he's been drinking a little water both days. His eyes follow us when we move around. He lets us know when he needs to go out. When outside, he takes an active interest in reading the lawn newspaper with his nose.
Today we'll learn the results of the blood tests. But we think he's going to be okay. True, he's fourteen, so we should be prepared for the fact that something more serious will eventually come down the road. And maybe this incident is helping to prepare us. But we're very hopeful that time isn't here yet.
How about you? Do you have pets? Have you had old pets? Have some pets been more special than others? Do you have any thoughts to share about ailing pets?