My Sick Dog

While my post yesterday came from the heart, it wasn’t really what is at the forefront of my mind right now. 

This is Jack…. Aren’t those ears crazy?!! Image

He first came to my attention when he was only 6 weeks old.  I had been experiencing problems leaving the security of my home and got to thinking a dog might give me the kick up the butt that I so much needed.

 He was one of about 7 puppies.  What caught my attention was, not only is he smaller and cheekier than the other puppies, those ears looked enormous against his little body.  Feeling uncertain that a Jack Russell is suitable for a person experiencing Agoraphobia, I decided against it.

Of course, what’s meant for us, will never go by.  Approximately 6 weeks later, the breeder got in touch.  Nobody had wanted the BIG-eared puppy.  All his siblings had found new owners but the runt of the litter was now going ‘free to a good home’.

Life changed overnight.  Even on the damp cold days, Jack’s high energy insists on his 2-3 hour walks, sometimes even with his coat on. Image

He is so overly friendly with everyone and adores children.  Everybody knows and loves wee Jack

Yes, it has helped my depression and Agoraphobia and maybe I would not be sitting here today with such a willingness to change, had Jack not come to stay.

I told the story in a previous post “when our pets are ill”, about how we were out walking one day when suddenly he stopped dead in his tracks and refused to walk again for about 6 weeks.  All he wanted to do was sleep.Image

Since then, with a low fat diet and medication, he has been picking up.  We’re back to walking 1.5 hrs in the morning, but he goes down in the afternoon, particularly after food.

I took him to the vet yesterday morning.  They are certain that Jack has liver disease.  The only way of knowing exactly what kind, and the prognosis, is by doing a biopsy.

Here is my dilemma… It is significant surgery. His entire abdomen will be open to locate the liver and do a biopsy.  The vet thinks he is fit enough to recover quickly.  However, I cannot help but doubt such invasive surgery is right for a little dog that might only live another few months.  The Vets counter-argument suggests this might be something that is treatable for the near future.  However, he will not know unless we do the biopsy.

Part of me would rather know what the future holds, but another part worries in case it makes – what could be – his final months a misery.  On the other hand, a treatment option might transpire.

It feels like a gamble.  I’m inclined to seek a second opinion before giving it much more consideration, but I will appreciate hearing what other people think.

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17 thoughts on “My Sick Dog

  1. dharmagoddess

    Awwww! What a sweet little boy he is! And what a tough decision you are facing friend. Your idea of a second opinion is a good one. Fingers crossed and hoping for a miracle for that cutie pie and, of course, for you as his dog parent!

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  2. ThroughTheLookingGlass

    Awww he is adorable, we have a rescue JRT called Paddy he just turned 3. Dogs are rather strong little characters, before Paddy we had a Corgi, he went through major surgery 3 times in his 11 years and always recovered and bounced back… I hope your little Jack will do the same.

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  3. Aife

    I would most assuredly seek a second opinion. He is family and as his parent you need to listen to your gut. It surely won’t hurt to have another vet check him over and advise you. It will help to ease your mind in knowing you are taking the course of treatment. I will be keeping Jack in my thoughts and sending lots of good vibes his way.

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  4. Lauren

    First of all, I am so sorry that you and Jack are going through this. He’s absolutely adorable! I read that you have decided to seek a second opinion, and I am so glad. When my dog Bailey started having seizures out of the blue, a vet (not our normal one because we had to take him to emergency) told us he had Cushings Disease. The vet took x-rays and saw a mass on Bailey’s liver, so we took him for liver tests. We started him on medication that was really harsh on his stomach but the seizures continued. So I took him back to the vet he had seen as a pup, who doubted it was Cushings and actually said it was a brain tumor. I’m so grateful I took him for that second opinion, because the treatment he was on wouldn’t have worked and as you said, would have made his quality of life worse. We put him on anti-seizure meds, but a few months after he had the first seizure I had to put him down. It was the hardest decision I have EVER made, because Bailey had saved my life so many times when I was suicidal, and now I couldn’t save him. But I did save him a lot of suffering. Getting a second opinion is a great idea, and I hope you get answers that can aid in your decision. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know, and you and Jack are in my thoughts!!! I feel so bad for both of you. : (

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Lauren… thank you for such a lovely comment. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Things are just starting to sink in today. It does help to hear of someone else’s experience. I’m sure there must be another way of managing this. The uncertainty – that a biopsy would quash – will be the biggest challenge for the time being. It’s so difficult not knowing if he’ll be around long enough to enjoy our new home in Dec/Jan or if this will be his last summer. Somehow I need to reign myself to the uncertainty and hope for the best.

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      1. Lauren

        And the sad truth is, you just don’t know. : ( they had told me that Bailey would probably live six months to a year longer, and roughly three months later I lost him. (typical him though, the last photo I was able to take of him, at the last minute he lifted his leg and started to pee, so that’s my last image, lol.) I don’t know what the right answer is, only you will know that, but like the others have said here listen to your instincts. you know Jack better than anyone, and sometimes that counts for more than science. I know that feeling when it starts to sink in and it’s beyond words. whatever you decide to do (and I know you don’t need me to tell you this), make this time count, and be gentle with yourself because it’s painful. I know they say, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” but even though it’s been 5 1/2 years, I still cry for Bailey — but I do also smile. The memories can really help get you through, especially when you remember the love. big hugs to you and Jack!!!

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  5. Bourbon

    I really find decisions like that so difficult. I’m so glad I have a vet that I trust because his advice I can trust to be good and genuine so don’t often feel the need to seek out second opinions. But if you need that then great you’re going for it. If there is a treatment option for him, what would it give him? Would he have a good quality of life and so on? If so I’d be tempted to do the biopsy just for that chance. I hope he is all comfy and cuddled up as I write this… poor little guy xx

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  6. releasing lunacy

    Such a handsome little fellow! I’m glad to read in the comments that you’ve decided to get a second opinion. It will help put your mind at ease hopefully. No matter what you ultimately decide, Jack knows you love him and you’re doing your best for him. Try to just focus on today and give Jack lots of hugs and kisses. Please keep us posted. I’m saying prayers for Jack! Take care, rl

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you Rl. Jack has already seen 3 vets from the same practice. They each have the same diagnosis but entirely different ideas of treatment.
      Currently, he is not exactly ill and usually only goes down with lethargy after food in the afternoon. Apparently, the liver has problems processing. I changed him to a low fat diet and now he is back walking in the mornings, but is quiet for the rest of the day.

      We’ve been through a lot lately, including with Missy-cat. These vet trips do stress them out and can make their recovery/treatment more problematic.
      I made the decision today not to even take him to the vet on Monday. There is little point asking a second opinion if I’m not keen on giving any treatment. I’ve also taken him off pills that were making him sick every day. Until he takes a turn for the worst, I am just leaving everything as it is. This could go on for months because he is otherwise a fit healthy dog and I imagine he will be fighting it himself. According to the vet, when he takes a turn for the worst, it will be sudden and rapid. Time to let nature take its course….

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      1. releasing lunacy

        I’m in a similar situation with my dog. She has lumps on her leg and belly. They could be cancerous. Maybe they’re not. I can’t afford bunches of tests and treatments. So, for now, she seems happy and not in pain. She’s a little less energetic than she used to be… but she’s also getting a bit older. Just remember you’re doing what you feel is best and that’s all our furry babies expect of us. Praying Jack enjoys many more wonderful days!

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  7. Mados

    I fully understand your dilemma. Since the post is written about 18 days ago, did you take a decision and how did it go?

    Lovely to hear about your dog. My old dog totally turned my life around, getting her was also a surprise story. I currently have 2 dogs (as you might know from my blog). They are great dynamos for extra everyday quality of life for both my husband and I.

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