Give your “dying” dog a chance!

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The first post in 2016 is dedicated to my dog – BB who has sprung an amazing recovery despite being gravely ill for 3 months.

We all thought he wouldn’t be able to make it. I even kept a diary to record his good and bad days. When the number of bad days exceeds the good ones for a prolonged period, I was supposed to help him in his journey to heaven. I almost did! Read on to find out why you shouldn’t give up on your “dying” dog too soon.

Dying Dog
Happy dog, fully alert and watching TV together with me

Do not give up on your “dying” dog too soon! 

I’ll just like to say this….Please do not give up on your loyal best friend without even trying. He may be old, but that doesn’t mean it’s immediate time for him to go when he falls sick. Everyone I’d spoken with, including vets were not optimistic once they knew about his age (14-year old by the way). “He’s already so old. I don’t think he can make it.”

Even articles you read on the internet would give you a checklist to help you confirm that your dog is dying, and to encourage you to put him to sleep.

Yes, I agree that that when the time comes, we should alleviate our pets from their suffering. But give your dog a chance. Give him some time. See if he would recover. Had I given up on BB before his time, he wouldn’t now be sitting beside me and wagging his tail at me. He wouldn’t be begging for food when I had my lunch an hour ago. BB wouldn’t jump onto my lap yesterday when I was combing his fur.

Your dog has loved you with all his life. He has learnt to be independent from a young age – goes to toilet on his own when he was just a few months old, and eats from his plate when he was just a baby (puppy). He wouldn’t want to trouble you as much as he could help it…but when the time comes for him to seek a little help, I think he certainly deserves the additional effort.

 


How my “dying” dog surprised us with his amazing recovery

My 14-year old pekingese was critically ill in Aug 2015. He didn’t want to eat or drink. BB also peed and pooped uncontrollably. My elderly dog was so weak he couldn’t even walk properly. You can read more about his situation and medical treatment in this post (Time to let my dog go?).

After a month of intensive treatment and hourly syringe feeding, his condition improved slightly. Unfortunately, BB’s condition took a deep dive during a review visit to the vet a month later. The vet told me that BB had struggled too much when they were trying to draw his blood. His struggles at the vet might have worsened his spinal problem as he came back in a really bad state.

My dog not only lost his appetite once again, he also lost coordination of his hind legs. He would topple over when walking, or fall onto his own poo during excretion.  Worse of all, he started yelping in pain and whining periodically, with or without being touched. That was when I called and scheduled him for euthanasia.

Thankfully, that euthanasia session didn’t go through successfully. You can read more about his ordeal here (I almost killed my dog.)

 


More illness to follow 

After the unsuccessful “put-him-to-sleep” session, BB was on a new set of medication. He started receiving weekly arthritis injection (Cartrophen) and also resumed steroid treatment. I believe it was the steroid pills that gave him a speedy recovery. He started to regain his appetite and could eat (selective food) on his own, how amazing! He wasn’t in much pain or discomfort.

When my dog was ill, he refused 99% of the food I offered him. This included all human food such as cheese, chicken, sausages or anything delicious that you can think of. Guess what he was willing to eat during those times?

EGG. Scramble egg, hard boil egg, anything egg-related…

Ha Ha. I think he took after me although we are not genetically-linked.

However, by then, another health issue came up. There were traces of blood in his urine. BB was on two weeks of antibiotics (Clavamox) for Urinal Tract Infection (UTI). Unfortunately, he did not respond to it. On the contrary, his condition worsened.

He was then perpetually at his pee pad 24/7, trying to urinate. It is a pain seeing him struggling to get his pee out when only droplets would come out.  This poor doggie who was already struggling to stand and walk due to spinal and arthritis problem was pacing around his pee pad non-stop and couldn’t have a proper rest. The side effects of the antibiotics also reduced his already poor appetite, causing him to vomit at times. Syringe feeding was so difficult because he didn’t want to eat.

After a second urine test, the doctor then prescribed another type of antibiotics (Baytril), for another two weeks. That was a lot of medicine for the 3.6kg doggie to handle (Yes…he’d lost a lot of weight).  It would have been good if he responded well to the new antibiotics.  But he didn’t. One month of antibiotics didn’t stop him from his urinal pain and swollen penis. The vet suspected prostate cancer or kidney stones. Subsequent treatments would involve expensive scans and surgeries which weren’t recommended for dogs of his age.

I read up intensively on medical research and found out that some form of UTI could be treated with steroid. Yes….steroid again. Ha Ha. It was a difficult decision getting him back on steroid because ironically, steroid was known to cause UTI (and that could have been the reason for the initial flare-up).

Once again, steroid did the trick. This notorious drug which is known for its potential severe side effects once again cured BB. I call this the magical pill. Of course, I was aware of its side effects and had given him a quarter of the recommended dosage on alternate days for a week. The less, the better.

 


My Elderly Dog spent a Beautiful Christmas with me! 

By December 2015, my dog was doing so well he could eat solid food on his own. He also eats a wider selection of food, including dry food mixed with chicken, pork liver, egg, carrots etc. I think he eats more than before he was sick. It’s such a nice feeling seeing your sick dog wanting and begging for food.  Feeding him is a breeze as compared to the arduous past 3 months when food was delivered by way of a syringe, “forcefully”.

Dying dog
Enjoying his daily sunbathing session in the kitchen (Dec 2015)

Occasionally, I would give him steroid (1/4 recommended dosage) when I felt that he needed it. That started off with twice a week dose, then once a week and now nothing. Yes, nothing! 

 


14-Year-Old Dog in his Golden Years: Spending Time Together 

BB has been enjoying his twice-weekly short walk with me. He enjoys sunbathing and would go hyper after a bath (he loves it). When he was welcoming me home, he would lift up his front paw begging for a handshake.

People still think he looks like a puppy, although you can tell he’s limping and hunching a little due to arthritis and spinal problem. To make things more comfortable for him, I’ve lowered the step-down to kitchen by placing some planks (making it two steps down instead of one). During the walk, I would carry him to his favorite destination and back, reducing unnecessary exertion.

The weekly arthritis injection (for first month) has been reduced to monthly injection. I’m monitoring his progress to see if he can do with bi-monthly injection.

I am so blessed to have him back with me. I will treasure the extra time I have with him. I love my dog! I love BB. 

Must-read

 

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