Except FOOD - I'm still interested in FOOD!
Some of these issues might be related - the change in behaviour may be explained by her loss of hearing, for example. The hearing may be related to the eye and nose problems, though no infection, foreign object or growth is visible in those areas.
But when a series of unexplained problems arise in such a short period of time, it is important to look outside the box for other explanations. Our Sadie is simply not herself.
A blood test late last week showed some possible liver problems, as did her urine test. While her heart sounds fine (except for a bit of sinus arrythmia, which she has had ever since she came to me), it is quite soft and her respirations muffled. (The vet did make me laugh when he accused Sadie of purposely holding her breath while he tried to listen to her chest - funny man!)
Yesterday we repeated the urine test and found her UTI from two weeks ago is back. Today she went in for bile acid tests (blood tests done after fasting, and then again two hours after eating a somewhat high fat meal, to test for liver function), and for chest/abdomen xrays to determine what might be going on to cause the collapse and the lethargy - possibly fluid around the heart, called pericardial effusion. We should have the results in a couple of days.
So why am I writing all this?
I am often frustrated when people complain to me, as one did today, about the cost of adopting a rescue dog (which, by the way, is a bargain compared to the prices asked by breeders, brokers, and owners selling their dogs online. And that rescue dog, if from a reputable rescue, will already be spayed/neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, and often has had medical problems like dental issues or ear infections taken care of. The fee they ask doesn't BEGIN to cover those costs! )
While I don't wish to suggest that having a companion pet should only be an option for the well-to-do, the reality is this: If you can't afford to pay the price that most responsible rescues and shelters ask, you can't afford a dog. Just as it is irresponsible to add a human child to the family without thinking of the financial implications, so too a canine addition.
A good quality food (not a dogfood from the grocery store shelf, but something which contains real nutrition for a healthy canine), occasional purchases of grooming supplies or visits to the groomer, leashes and collars, licences, supplements when needed, treats, toys, beds, etc. - these basic necessities represent a significant addition to a family's budget.
These costs are small potatoes compared to the cost of veterinary care. Professional health care is part of what we take on when we take on a dog, and I know of no province in Canada whose health care plan covers canine dependents. Of course there are pet insurance plans available, provided your dog qualifies; then you must add those monthly payments to the budget as well. And many people are willing to take their chances, thinking the sum of the monthly payments for the lifetime of the dog would far outweigh vet costs - which, in many cases, is correct. After all, the companies wouldn't be in business if they weren't making money!
But when a dog does need vet care, a need which often increases as the dog ages, the budget can really take a hit. I think people are often shocked at what a few tests or a vial of pills for their canine companion cost, and even more shocked if their furry friend must stay overnight or needs surgery. Caleb's bills, when he was diagnosed with cancer, ran into the thousands in just two short months (without putting him through chemotherapy). Princess Belle's two night stay, hooked up to an IV just before she came home to die, was over $800.
Sadie's vet bills for the last ten days? $645.74 and climbing.
True value of that health care? Priceless.
Ya better believe it!
(Photo by Red Dog Photography, 2008)