Today I am exhausted.  More than usual, and stressed beyond measure.

Two days ago we found out our dog, Mia, has a problem with her liver. What the problem is exactly, we’re as yet unsure.

Over the weekend we were noticing that it looked like Mia had gained some weight.  Which would make a bit of sense, as we’ve had the majority of the yard blocked off all winter so they didn’t tear it up, so she hasn’t been getting as much exercise as usual.

But then Monday evening I took a close look at her stomach.  I noticed it didn’t seem fat as much as swollen and rounded, and it felt wrong – like an over-inflated balloon.  I immediately did some research online, then called my mom to see what she knew about it – and if she knew how to tell if it was definitely a swollen abdomen, or just Mia gaining weight.  She advised me to call the vet immediately, so I did so.

We had to take her to the emergency hospital. They took one look at her and said it’s definitely swollen, and felt it and said it was full of liquid, which could’ve been from a few different things.

After some blood work, x-rays, and removal of a syringe full of fluid, it was concluded that the liver is leaking fluids into her stomach.  It’s not blood, or urine, which is a small plus, but there are still a ton of worries.

For about 3 months she’s been on phenobarbital for seizures.  This drug can cause liver problems; however, since it’s been so short a time, the vet thinks she may have had some sort of problem before this, and the drug may have just exacerbated the issue.  Whatever – we immediately stop giving her that pill.

The emergency vet gave us amoxicillin and another antibiotic for her to take twice a day.  He also recommended an ultrasound.

Tuesday we were able to get in to see our regular vet.  He seemed much more concerned about the situation.  He thinks it could be a tumor, could be malignant or benign. We could get lucky and it’s operable, but we have to prepare for the worst – easier said than done.  There is still a chance it could just be an infection, and the meds she’s on will help.  I’m trying to think positive. It’s hard.

We will take her, tomorrow, for an ultrasound.  I’m anxious to hear the results, but I’m also scared to death.  I know not everyone understands this, but she’s part of the family.  Our pets are more than just pets to me.  I have to do everything in my power to make sure she’s okay, and prevent her from any pain and suffering.

Depending on the results of the u/s – we may give her a diuretic to help her get rid of the excess fluid, but it’s actually a help in reading the u/s, so we’re leaving it for now.

She’s been finicky about eating; which, if you knew my dog, you’d know that’s completely and totally out of character.  She loves food!

This morning she flat out refused to eat.  J and I had a theory that she’s been associating her food with the phenobarb.  So we switched her pill routine, now giving it to her about an hour before she’s fed.  And J went out to Wal-Mart at about 6:30 this morning to get her some different food.  She ate.  Huge relief.  If she eats again tonight without an issue, I think our theory was correct.  She’s a smart dog, she knew that pill was bad for her.  I just wish we knew.

Overall, however, she seems to be doing okay.  Her energy not as high as usual, but it’s still there. She is still occasionally playful, though she definitely wants to stay close to us as much as possible. J said when he got up this morning, she was running around, playing with her bone. She’s drinking her water, more than usual, but that’s normal for this.  She’s hanging in there.

Last night I didn’t sleep at all.  Mia snores a lot, and usually it’s just annoying.  Last night it was a relief. Everytime it stopped, I had a moment of panic when I couldn’t hear her. I’m sure tonight will be no different.

I’m at work today, but I plan to check on her at lunch, and possibly stay there the rest of the afternoon.  Maybe take some work home.  I hate to leave her.

To add to the stress, medical help for animals doesn’t come cheap.  It’s an added weight.  I don’t want something like money to get in the way of doing what we need to do for her.  We’re working on the issue, and I’ll do whatever I have to do to make it work.  We don’t need to eat, right?

Anyway – we could use thoughts, prayers, vibes.  She’s only 6 years old.  It’s not time yet.

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