Saturday, July 14, 2007

My Dog Has Placenta Eyes.


Charles: "What's wrong?"

"Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (grabs counter, blinks, rubs eyes, looks again) "Aaaaaaahhhh!!" Honey! Please come in here! NOW.

Charles (from The Big Chair in the living room, which, let's be honest, is so very comfortable that you really don't want to leave it unless the house is not only on fire, but the fire extinguishers are all empty and the volunteer fire dept is on another call): "What's wrong?"

"YOUR dog has placentas for eyes."

Which, really is the only response when you gaze into your dog's lovely deep brown eyes and find thick, red, tissue completely covering what was until recently her corneas. Both her corneas.

Of course, this was a Monday evening, about 8pm. Charles had stumbled home after presenting, for over 2 hours, his school's wonderful results in the national Doubling School Performance conference (note how sneakily I slipped in the husband brag), and I stumbled home after a particularly busy Monday where no one seemed to have just a cold or just a splinter or just Dengue Fever.

I looked at him. He looked at the dog's eyes and jumped. He goggled at me. I goggled at him.

Molly looked at us and blinked frequently and uncomfortably.

"When the hell did that happen?"

"I dunno. I was just getting a bite to eat and looked into her eyes for the first time today. I know they weren't like that yesterday."

"We should call the vet."

"They'll just tell us to bring her in."

"We should call."

(both look at the phone and then look at each other)

"You call. I'm tired."

"YOU call. I'M tired."

"She's your dog and you pay more attention to her eyes. I thought they looked fine yesterday evening when you wondered if they seemed a trice swollen."

10 minutes later, we're in the car.

2 hours later and over $100 poorer, we're told that she has pannus, an autoimmune disorder of the eye, "particularly common in German Shepherds" and that she's "the youngest I've ever seen" at a year-and-a-half. The last bit doesn't mean that much, though, as the vet seemed genuinely uncomfortable and inexperienced around Molly, who, aside from shedding her entire undercoat all over the floor of the emergency clinic from stress, was very sweet. But, we believe the diagnosis as she did bring in pictures of the condition, and, even though a people doctor rather than an animal doctor, I could agree that Molly, indeed, had eyes that looked exactly like the scary pictures in the doggy eye book.

We went home with a 5 ml bottle of steroid drops that we are supposed to put in each eye 4 times a day.

Do you know how much 5 mls are in American? 1 teaspoon. For $30. Guess this is one time where pet drugs aren't cheaper than people drugs.

Do you know how hard it is to put drops in a wiggly, triangle-headed, 75 lb, submissive-peeing dog 4 times a day?

Very, very hard.

Do you know how many drops you dribble down the dog's face and onto the floor?

Me neither. I really don't want to think about it at $30 a teaspoon. Let's just say that less goes into her eyes than goes to places other than her eyes. More probably goes into MY eyes than her eyes.

So, I've taken to stealth.

I wait until she's sleeping, dive on top of her, pry her lids open and get at least one drop in at least one eye. Which, if I were a professional baseball player, would garner me a multi-million dollar contract. Such is the power of statistics.


Fortunately, she no longer looks as if she was abducted by aliens and had placentas inserted where her corneas should be. Now she just looks like she's got cataracts.

And is it curable?

Oh, hell no.

Treatable, yes. With drops 4 times a day, or possibly surgery. Or not, if it progresses to blindness. (But then we'd not have to do the drops, so, hey, a sliver of silver to every jet black cloud.)

She can, however, sport these.

And it doesn't seem to have impacted her frisbee playing, so I'm guessing her vision is at least partly intact.

So, score one more for the Piffle team. We really know how to pick the pooches, don't we? Sweet, smart, and afflicted.



Blogger Cagey said...

OH. Diana.

I am SO sorry. A baby is a baby, regardless of the amount of fur. Poor, sweet Molly. Keep us posted.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- Hey! How are you and the noo beebee Anjali? (Not to mention Arun and X, of course.) Yes, you are so right. They are our babies, just babies we can leave for hours at a time to run errands or what not and don't complain when we serve them the same thing for meals, over and over. And don't need college. And won't borrow the car (they'll just barf in it). Hm. Guess it's a good thing our progeny are so lovely and cute or we'd all just have pets.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deepest sympathy for your current eppisode in The Animal Kingdom. Your fortune with German Shepherds is truly lamentable. All 3 have been wonderful friends to visiting grandparnets.

Much love from your Da, the Ole RF-er

1:56 PM  
Blogger Lioness said...

Oh bloody, bloody hell. It is very common in GS though that helps you none, of course, but the good thing abt it is, they know what to do and there are things that can be done, all of which you've found out already. Worst case scenario - blindness - dogs do adjust marvellously. Still shitty, I know, but it's all I got. Bloody hell, I'm so sorry.

Would you like me to give you a few tips regarding positive reinforcement and clicks/whistles to make the drop process easier, since this will be a permanent, regular feature? If not forget I mentioned it.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Lioness said...

[Oh I'll give them to you anyway, hope you're home.]

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

And I thought it was difficult to put eyedrops into an unwilling CHILD'S eyes! Can't even imagine doing it to a dog. Leave it to a doctor to compare the disturbing looking impairment to a placenta! Thanks for the visual! hee hee hee...

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Kate W. said...

See, you could have sent me the picture and I could have diagnosed it for free. That just plain sucks. I remember when 4 of the Cincinnati police dogs were diagnosed with the same thing!It's the only time I have seen "placenta" eyes first hand. Poor sweet Molly! Please give her a kiss on the lips for me.

10:19 PM  
Blogger listie said...

Oh, poor Molly (and Piffle parents)! That's awful. And worse that it's a chronic condition. Good luck with the stealth administration of eye drops. It's hard enough wrestling with a child who needs eye drops, I can't even imagine doing it with a German Shepard.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Oh that sucks for everyone. We had to put eye drops in our dogs eyes before because he decided to scratch it on the christmas tree but that is another story altogether. The point is the drops didn't go over so well so the vet gave us a creamish thing we just put on the tip of our finger and then swiped. After awhile my pooch became used to it.

Good luck!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Well, that is a drag...Does it hurt her? I think pilling a cat is pretty hard but I'ver tried eye drops. My friend has a diabetic cat she gives insulin to every day which I can't imagine doing, and another friend who is diabetic herself and has a diabetic dog..a huge Newfoundlander!

Hope you get it under control.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dad- Thanks.

Johnny- I can't begin to say how helpful it was to talk to you about all this. Will find a whistle or 'clickah' and work on it.

Colleen- Sadly, placenta is exactly what it looked like, all red and beefy. Bleh. Don't know what I'd have called it if I were, say, a teacher. Possibly something from the lunchroom? Ew.

Kate- Oh, how terribly sad for them. I'll give her that kiss.

Listie- It really wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the peeing. Oh, the peeing. So very tired of the peeing.

Lauren- Thanks for the ointment. In humans, you can use ointment twice a day whereas the drops have to go in many times a day. I'll ask our vet if there is a steroid ointment. Kiss, kiss!

Ruth- It doesn't seem to bother her a bit, now that the thick red is gone. She can catch a frisbee. I'm sure her vision is blurrier than it should be, but she seems good. I'd hate to give her shots. At least I can't stab myself with the dropper. We see the vet on Thursday, so here's hoping. We love our vet.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

It sounds awful. Poor Molly!!!

Good luck with the drops. I'm going to guess that she'll adapt relatively quickly to the eyedrop routine. Anyway, I hope so.

Hang in there.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

That sucks! Seriously everytime I go to the vet they either needed surgery or something that would cost about 1K! lol I am personally done with pets, I mean after my fur babies pass away I am never replacing them. Thats it done...finito... no petso in las casa :)

11:13 PM  
Blogger Voyager said...

Poor Molly! I know you would sell the lawn tractor, the SUV and the bird house to pay for her eye drops. Or put your kids out to work in the mines. Well, maybe not the mines.
Seriously, give her a big hug. One of my dogs needs daily eardrops, which she runs in dread from. But never holds against us. That's why we love the fur shedding, stinky mutts.

1:14 AM  
Blogger Babs said...

I know how hard the eyedrop thing is; we could hardly get landlord to sit still for hers after her eye operation (deathly fear of eyedrops or something).

Poor Moll, I hope they find a way to sort it somehow.

The googles are kind of fetching though, no?? A leather jacket and you could enter her in a Bono look-a-like contest?? Put the winnings towards drops??

Well it was just an idea.

I hope she's feeling beter :)

5:54 AM  
Blogger Babs said...

I meant goggles, of course. Which is why people who have not slept yet, at near on 6 AM, should refrain from making silly comments :P

(Oh, and make that feeling 'better', too. Christ, I'm rife with typos}

5:58 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Rozanne- I'm sure she'll adapt, eventually.

Mojavi- Ouch! Our first dog, Maia, had hypothyroidism, which meant pills twice a day, but she was pretty easy with them.

Voyager- Yes, the lawn tractor and the SUV but not the new yellow mower :).

Babs- I rather liked the goggles (which I did google). They are out of the large size, though, so I didn't impulse buy them. A Bono impersonator. Hmmmmm. (Does it make you feel better that I caught neither typo?)

10:06 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Poor dawg!

Glad I found you.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Rise- I'm glad you found me so that I could find you!

4:46 PM  
Blogger Stepping Over the Junk said...

Yikes! Ah, what we will do for our pets....glad the pup is going to be okay?

6:11 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

I like to snoop where Rise goes because she finds such great writers, and then I don't have to do the legwork. She really hit the jackpot this time! Poor Molly. hope se'll feel better soon. at least your floors will see clearly now.....

9:23 AM  
Blogger Sanjay said...

I am so sorry my sympathies to all of you. But the piffle household is one of love and she is in good hands. :)

10:59 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Stepping- Yes, she should live a long and blurry life.

Molly- Hello! (You make me blush) I am deciding that having a visit from you, Molly, on a post about my Molly is a terribly good omen. You and Rise are sisters, yes? How fortunate that at least the floors won't need corrective lenses.

Sanjay- Thanks, pal. She is a trial but we love her terribly.

8:55 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Yikes. I'm so sorry for poor Molly dog and for you the administrator of eye drops. I will pray for a non-eyedrop cure for Molly.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Placentas for eyes? That's the stuff of sci-fi writing, my friend.

I do so love your stories.

11:52 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Poor sweet Molly. Poor bad Diana for making me laugh at Molly's affliction and the idea of you as the stealth dropper and making me stare at fascination at the doggles and wishing that there were coggles because Eddy would look so cool. Not that he goes outside, but not the point. He could. Some day.

And then there came the angst over trying to decide if I should get me some Johnny Knoxville or Agent Smith from the Matrix sunglasses. Fortunately I realized that I can't see w/out my real glasses and it wouldn't make any sense to be stumbling all over the place. I might look kick-ass but clutzy would ruin the image.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Stace- The good news? Her eyes are much better. The bad news? Continue the drops. Fortunately, we get to start tapering them to 3 drops a day and every week or so cut it back by a drop a day as long as she's stable. Eventually, we may even get to an every-other-day schedule. She's also doing much better with accepting them. But no cure.

Jocelyn- You can't make this stuff up.

Dana- I need me a ninja costume, yes I do. How about if you got the Agent Smith sunglasses and just didn't move out of you chair?

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

I know I'm late on this, but our Eli has pannus, too. Her eyes do very well on just one set of drops per day, but when I tried to go to every-other-day, she had a flare-up. So, she's permanently on one drop per day. She was diagnosed about three years ago, when she was 8 years old, so it does seem that Molly is quite young.

With the drops, Eli's eyes are perfectly normal and her vision isn't at all affected. So, just keep up the drops and there shouldn't be a problem. I have a nightly routine where Eli has her drops, then gets her glucosamine tablet and her chewable Rimadyl, so she knows there are treats coming when the eye meds come out.

Once Molly's condition is stable, you can probably switch to Optimmune ointment instead of the cyclosporine drops, it's just that the drops are more powerful, so they're good when you're trying to fight the condition into remission. Our vet has us keep the tube of Optimmune in the fridge, because the ointment comes out of the tube more slowly and there's less waste. You only need a quarter-inch strip of ointment per eye, and when it's warm, it's easy to have half the tube come shooting out!

Good luck... I'm sure everything will be fine :)

3:03 PM  

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