It’s been a difficult few months with Pippa, however this week I thought I was going to lose her.
Before Christmas her arthritis was bad, so with vets approval I increased her Previcox to max dose, knowing that this was the final step I could do with it. After a few weeks she had stomach trouble, probably an ulcer. She was vomiting blood/bile and not keeping food down. She was treated with antibiotics, antiseptin and anti-emetics which stopped the vomiting, but she had to stop her Previcox so her arthritis flared up really badly as expected. She was put on Tramadol which didn't really help. After a while I was able to re-start a low dose of previcox, and 2 weeks after that go up to a medium dose. So far so good vomiting-wise, however, her legs had not improved. Last week (Wednesday) I went back to the vet because Pippa was very lame, I mean almost not using her leg at all. I had to carry her out to the car and from the car in to the vets surgery (although she still managed to drag me out again after!!). The vet basically said that all I could do was to hit the arthritis with everything and use other meds to protect her stomach, and this really was last chance. He geve her Losec and antepsin for her stomach, and previcox and tramadol for the arthritis. Max doses of all. I should add that Pippa has never tolerated Rimadyl or Metacam, both make her sick very quickly so counter-productive to try those. He wasn't overly hopeful and I know (from one comment) that he would have PTS there and then If I'd agreed, but I wasn't ready for that.
Thursday was dreadful. Pippa couldn't put her foot (RF is her worst leg) to the floor at all and her other legs couldn't compensate. By the late afternoon I was carrying her outside to relieve herself, she couldn't walk at all and could barely get up off the floor. I rang the vet and decided (call me selfish if you will) that I would have one last evening with her, and would ring back in the morning to arrange a vet to come to the house.
Friday morning, Pippa got up, took herself outside and then came back in demanding breakfast. Still lame, very lame, but getting herself up and about. So I called the vet and said there was slight improvement, so I would see how the day went. I couldn't bring myself to PTS when I'd seen improvement, what if the improvement continued?? I also checked out the vets availability over the weekend if I needed them. (Really didn't want to end up using an unknown vet from the emergency cover practice.)
The weekend was much the same, still lame. Sunday night after much soul searching and heart breaking I came to my decision.
So, I called the vet Monday morning and arranged for him to come out in the afternoon, as he had an MRI scan booked in for the morning.
All day I was watching Pippa whilst keeping myself busy, and she was lame and hobbling.
At 4pm the vet came.
My fraud of a mongrel ran to the door, jumped all over the vet and almost forgot to limp at all! (Almost, not quite).
Vet stayed a while, we had a long chat and basically he thought that although yes, she is struggling with her legs, she looks like she's coping on the current meds and if I wanted to, I could see how the next few weeks go but he didn't think that she was hideous and in tonnes of pain. He would still have done it if I wanted to because he also said that part of the decision was related to how I am coping, but that wasn't an option. I could never PTS my dog for my own benefit.
Since then, Pippa has been sick a few times, which could mean that her stomach isn't coping with the anti-inflammatory and pain killing drugs that her legs need. The next few days will tell. She is not distressed by being sick, nor is she lethargic or looking unwell. Her main concern when she is sick is whether or not she can eat it again before I get to her. This means that I can give it another day or so to see what happens next.
At least I can be sure now that I have done everything possible to ensure Pippa is OK for as long as poss.
Oh by the way, obviously all that wasn't enough because Tarka started pee-ing blood 2 days before Christmas, (Thank goodness for snow - that's the only way I knew!!) She was treated for Cystitis (lots of bacteria in her wee) and after the antibiotics were finished her urine sample was fine. However after Christmas she had blood in the wee again (thank goodness for snow again!) and this time she had her bladder scanned. They found a lump and operated to remove it. For a few days I honestly thought I was going to lose both my dogs, but thankfully Tarka's lump was a benign polyp. She will have to be monitored regularly because the blood in her urine was the only sign I saw and polyps can reoccur, I saw no other symptoms at all so without snow I have no other way of knowing if there's blood or not except to do urine tests, probably every month for the rest of her life.
Thank goodness for pet insurance!!!!