Saturday, September 8, 2012

Richie and Strict Cage Rest

 Well, it's been a trying time for me this past week, as Richie has been unwell, and I've been bringing him from vet to vet trying to get to the root of the problem. Unforunately for me, I'm the kind of patient that NEEDS to know what exactly is causing the sypmtoms, and believes in 'killing the mother-source' so that one can be well again.

The first doc was a very optimistic lady, who (despite Richie still looking very sick) told me that it's nothing serious and that I should take him home and let him rest. Of course, she administered some medication as well. 

The problem is that because my dad brought Richie to the doc's on my behalf, as I was so busy with work, I felt that I couldn't get any first-hand info on his sickness and that just wasn't helping at all.

After two days, and a dog that just kept looking at me with those poor eyes, I couldn't take it anymore and brought him to another vet. This time, I made sure that I was there and of course, sought advice from a friend that was in the vet industry.

The doctors were very helpful and though they told me I could bring Richie home, something inside me suggested that it was better I left him in the hospital instead. He had a temperature, and my home did not have a quiet enough environment for him to rest. 

The docs suggested that he could possibly have this condition called Inter-Veterbral Disc Disease (IVDD), similar to a slip disc in humans. Of course, unlike treating a human, where it is much easier to pinpoint symptoms (because the patients can actually TELL you where their pain is coming from), with a dog/animal, there is alot of guessing and trial-and-error. A vet's work is not easy and I truly salute all those in pet care/medical.

However, after spending a night in the hospital, Richie's fever didn't go down and was persistently high. This was when they got the senior vet to come in and have a look. They suggested a list of possible sicknesses and told me about it. Sometimes, it isn't easy for vets because they have to consider how to pet-owner takes the news. I believe most people want to hear the optimistic. I don't. Like I told my vet friend. I'd rather hear the worst case scenario so I know what to expect, just in case.

The worst-case scenario was a 'brain inflammation' which really left me thinking. (Because Richie doesn't have a brain...) But in true and honest words, I was scared. My happy, hyperactive dog could be paralysed for life.

I prayed that his fever would go away. Like many people, only remembering God in times of need. 

Later in the afternoon, I called back again and the nicest nurse in the world told me that his fever had dropped to 39.4. Thank God. He was still running a bit of a temperature, but at least it dropped. 

He looked SO MUCH better when I went in to visit him. At least, his nose was wet again. Now, a wet/dry nose doesn't neccessarily mean a sick/healthy dog. It depends on the dog. But after having Richie for about 7 years, I've noticed that he is the typical wet nose = healthy, dry nose = not well kinda dog.

The doc came by to have a chat with me about Richie, and said she'd keep him in for another day or so to ensure that the fever is certainly and definitely dropping. She even suggested that I could take Richie out for a poop, at which I replied "I'd rather not. I don't want to raise his hopes, and then put him back in the cage again".

Years ago, I wouldn't want to put Richie in hospital because I would feel that he'd miss me and get depressed being locked up with tons of other sick dogs. I'm sure he misses me now too, but a great thing about Richie that I've noticed, is that he behaves extremely well in a foreign environment, and is generally a happy dog. Yesterday when I visited, he didn't see me enter the room, and I watched him for a bit as he just sat in there, watching the vets do their work with curious eyes. (His neighbour dog was barking non-stop and there was a lot going on, but Richie remained calm and composed. What a darling.) Even the doc commended him  on his good behavior. 

*I'm a proud mom.*

I guess, as time goes by, you learn that dogs, like kids, also grow up to be sensible individuals. (Not that I know anything about motherhood, but that's just what I figured kids are like...)

Anyways, back to his condition. If this bout of fever is gone for sure, then I should be able to bring him home soon. However, he will need STRICT cage rest. Which means no running, no jumping, no going nuts. This sounds tough. Richie?

But I'm determined to do my best and make sure that he gets well. Already I've done some research to find out what would help make his cage rest more comfortable. I've also sourced for a good sized cage to purchase for his 2-week 'retreat'.

I was a bit unsure if I should even get a cage in the first place for various reasons.
1. I don't think he'll like being caged up.
2. I don't usually keep him in a cage, so what's the point of buying the cage purposely for this.
3. I fear putting him in the cage will end up making him feel worse.

However, after looking through a few articles, I believe as much as he doesn't like it, it's something that must be done. Otherwise, it won't do him any good.

So that's what it's going to be. And in case your dog is also suffering from a similar condition and needs strict cage rest, you can refer to my next post for some advice on how to make it a little more comfortable for him/her.

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