Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Rollercoaster is Stopped

The news, it is not good.

In medicine, when things stump you, you are often left wondering if what you are dealing with is an uncommon presentation of a common malady or the common presentation of something uncommon.

It seems that Emma had both.

Last night, the on-duty vet called. Her leptospirosis titers, which our wonderful family vet had thought to send last Friday and have the results forwarded to the emergency clinic, "just in case", came back strongly positive. Good news, we thought. Treatable.

Yes, all very well and good, but how does that explain the bladder not emptying and the nose all congested and drippy?

Shut up, voice in the back of my head. Just shut up.

This morning, I called at about 6:30, to see how her night had been, so I could hear it from our favorite vet of the bunch, Dr G. "Well," she states, "I think I know what is wrong with her."

"You mean something in addition to the lepto?" I ask.


It seems that there is this extremely rare disease, cause unknown, that is hitting dogs, mostly in the Midwest. She's never seen a case, only heard of it in a conference a year ago. Last night, something jogged her memory and she dug out a paper.

Canine Dysautonomia. She has all the symptoms. The dog's nose in the picture could be hers. They check her pupils, which do not contract to a light being shone into them. They gulp and give her a medicine (atropine) which should raise her pulse by at least 40 beats per minute. It only raises by 5, after an hour. This explains all her puzzling symptoms: the peeing, the nose, the not eating, the too-slowly moving gut seen at surgery, the long and short of it.

The nerves that drive all the involuntary functions of her body are failing.

Prognosis: Almost all dogs are dead in a couple of weeks. She's had it a week already.

We've all been willing her to get better, but when you step back and look with clear eyes, she just isn't and isn't going to.

Dr G wanted to get her to a neurologist at the University. She was hoping she was wrong. We know she is not wrong. And if she is, and there is something else shorting out her whole autonomic nervous system, it ain't getting better, either. Then, you must factor in the whole lepto thing. If she didn't have that, we'd been able to take her home. The problem is that lepto is spread through urine contact with mucus membranes and skin, with inhalation another route of transmission, although less likely. We have kids. Selfishly, we have us, too. Lepto is a horribly painful disease. Some die. As her bladder won't empty by itself, one of us will have to push on her belly and squeeze the urine out. Even with gloves, I'm hesitant.

We made the only decision we felt we could. Charles went in and said "good-bye." I stayed home with the kids as we didn't think we should bring them. She was looking worse, again. Sunken. We know it was the right decision but are completely torn up about it.

I am taking some time away to grieve. Thank you all for your support over the past week. It has meant more than we can say.

It's a beautiful, sunny day. She'd have loved it.

I'm going to stop here.

God, we miss her.



Blogger The Lioness said...

Oh my God, nooo! NO! I am so sorry, so terribly sorry. I was translating a stupid anatomy treaty but now I'll just crawl into bed w a book and cry for Emma. I already am crying for Emma and you. I am so sorry, sweetie, so very sorry. But you did the right thing by her, the ultimate way you could love her. She's not suffering anymore. Poor poor Emma. I am so, so sorry.

A big tight hug. Loads of big tight hugs. You know where I am if you need me.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Bad news sucks. I am so terribly sorry. Lots of hugs and a shoulder if you need it...

11:16 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I'm so sorry, it's always hard to make that decision for a beloved pet.

4:08 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Diana, I am so sorry. I wish there was more that I could do other than tell you that I will be thinking of you.

You take all the time you need, we'll still be here when you get back, with open (well, figureatively speaking) arms.

Hugs & kisses to you and yours.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the big strong patriarch of the family and BSP's do not cry. Who spilled wet stuff on my keyboard. We were very happy not to be with you for Thanksgiving given the winter weather. Now we are so sorry that we stayed home when you need a hug. Two wonderful pet in 3 years just ain't fair.

Love and Prayers, Dad

1:31 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Oh, Diana, I am *so* sorry. Sounds like she had a textbook case of that disease. (Distrubing that its suddenly becoming less rare in the Midwest. It makes one wonder what's going on.)

Anyway, you absolutely did the right thing to have her put down. No point in having her go on suffering.

The poor, poor puppy.

Now you need to be very nice to yourself this long weekend. May I suggest a good wine and some nice cheese and maybe renting a silly movie? Or maybe even going out to a movie (it's good to get out of the house). Have you seen the new Harry Potter yet?

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Kate W. said...

Oh Diana- sorry just doesn't cut it. What a kick in the stomach. Lots of thoughts and prayers sent your way tonight. Many hugs too.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. What a horrible end to this ordeal. My deepest, deepest sympathies.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Oh, I am so sorry, Diana. :-(

2:50 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Take the time you need and I know everyone will be here when you need us.


3:16 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Hi Diana- so sorry. I logged on hoping for the happy puppy recovery story. Very sad. I happen to believe in heaven for pets, so hopefully, she is bounding along on a sunny day somewhere. Hugs to you, Charles and kiddos.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

The poor thing. I'm so sorry, Diana. No one should have to go through that.

And I want to know who spilled something on my keyboard, too.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

UGH!! Losing a pet is like losing a member of the sorry for your loss. You did all you could do, and hopefully knowing that and knowing that you put an end to her pain, will give you comfort.

10:53 PM  
Blogger listmaker said...

Oh, Diana, I'm so sorry. It's horrible to lose a pet, but the circumstances under which it happened make it so much worse. Cyber hugs to you.

5:30 PM  

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