September 23rd 2007 8:40 pm
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This morning Bandit heard my DH get up early, & got up on his own to follow him to the kitchen. He wanted to walk, but only made it half way to his "goal" (a neighbor's driveway) before he was too short of breath & paused, panting. I stood waiting with him, patted his back & told him it was fine to stop because that gave me time to see what a beautiful sunrise it was. A neighbor paused in her walk to ask if he was OK. I wondered where her dog was because I never see her walk alone. She always walks a smaller, shaggy brown dog with a stiff leg that I thought must be elderly as well. When I told her about Bandit she wished us well, then told me she & her husband had to put their dog to sleep on Friday! She was nearly 15, & had liver disease. They had had her since she was about 12 weeks old.
Listening to her my tears began to fall. The only time I had talked with this lady before was when my dogs had slipped away from me as I was getting them from their pen to the house, and they had rushed at her while she was walking her smaller dog. She is a petite, elderly asian lady who always carried a cane with her just for this type of thing, as some of our neighbors DON"T restrain their dogs. Of all things, I never let ours run loose, & I raced to the road to see this little lady raise her cane to ward off my 2 80+ pound dogs who are barking at her dog in the roadway. She gave my Bandit a little whack with the cane & he seemed truly offended, really amazed that she wasn't praising him for chasing off HER dog! I got my boys in the house quickly all the while apologizing to her for her scare (she didn't know my boy was only putting on a show) but of course, this isn't a good way to get to know someone. Now I feel so bad for her & her husband as they are in a sad place now just as we are.
Our situation has made me appreciate the goodness in dog lovers at times like this. Yesterday afternoon I called a local pharmacy, with optimism that Bandit will make it thru this first week & need the Sporanox refilled. The Mail-order pharmacy in Canada said shipping would take possibly 10-14 days so tho they have a much better price of "only" $105 for 30 capsules we can't get it in time. The pharmacist I am aquainted with was off yesterday, "John" was there & apparently the owner. I had never talked to John before, & was embarrassed to ask for help but I did. He told me his cost for 30 capsules was $193.68. When I asked him what he would need to charge me, he said $193.68! He even asked for Bandits name & said he was leaving a note for his staff so that they would know he had agreed to this !
After breakfast we drove to Farm & Fleet & took both our boys along. Bandit seemed very happy to have a ride. It was still nice & cool with a breeze & we were only in the store a short while, to get an e-collar to fashion an oxygen hood. When we came out, Bandit was curled up in the driver's seat, looking very pleased with himself. I was laughing at him and saying, "No, you DON'T get to drive!" & a man at the next space over laughed & said "He must be a little spoiled". I said "He is sick, & knows he's getting away with things, but this is going too far!"
They had no e-collars, but Stan found a very simple loose fitting velcro muzzle with mesh under the chin & just a small flap that fastens over the top. It's label said it wouldn't interfere with breathing, eating or drinking (how would it stop biting?). As we only needed a strap to hold the oxygen tubing under his chin we thought it was worth a try. At home I was so pleased when he let me strap it on; it held the tubing perfectly in place just beyond his nose. When he gently put his head down between his paws as if to go to sleep I was thrilled at how clever we were...until he immediately hooked each side with a claw & slipped it off in an instant. So, back to trying to slide the tube near his nose then repeat, repeat, repeat the rest of the day.
With Bandit's stubborn streak he made it clear today that he would not settle for being told to "rest" . He has been drinking water & peed & even pooped OK. After refusing the same lunch meat he accepted yesterday, he did let us feed him some Oscar Meyer Deli Select Honey Ham...this is better than Dad usually gets to eat! I bought liversausage which we NEVER buy, just because long ago we had a dog that loved it...no way. I bought half & half to give him instead of water to boost his calories, but he just turns his head to the side..his sign language for "you haven't got it right yet". He seems to get thinner right before my eyes. With his rapid respirations, he is burning energy like a hummingbird.
September 22nd 2007 6:49 pm
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Today, my husband was up at 5am for work, & Bandit got up with only a little coaxing. He peed before we were too far from the house, but wouldn't go back in until we had walked down the street at least 100 yards & back. He refused to eat though, & I couldn't put his Sporanox in food so I had to open his mouth & push it down despite his resisting. He was very annoyed with me but he has never under any circumstances tried to snap or growl at me. I am so sorry to put him though this, but he has been so good for his age that I feel he deserves a chance to get better. He has always been a great communicator, & finds a way to get his humans to understand what he wants. When he wants to let go, I believe he will let us know that as well.
Well, 8:30 am another walk, & altho I want him to rest with the oxygen tube close to his nose, he again wanted to walk the 100 yards to the neighbors drive & back. This made his already rapid respirations more of a panting. When he stopped at the edge of the deck & refused to go up the 2 small steps, I was sure he was done in & ready to call my son to help me carry him in. I sat by him for a while, & commented on the really beautiful morning it was, & asked if he wanted to stay out a while . He wagged his tail, & gave a little coondog WOOOO call, & I saw he'd noticed Lady, a yellow lab, was out in her yard enjoying the sunshine . He then "spoke" with his eyes, looking from me, to the leash in my hand, then across the street, & gave a little tug to tell me he wasn't done strolling around. So we walked again, around the entire block, & when we got home he let me coax him into drinking some milk & eating about an oz of steak.
Another couple of short walks, but short of breath & no appetite in between. About 2:30 his vet called to check on him. I really appreciated this! She was pleased he showed an interest in walking, & wasn't suprised he had no appetite as the antifungal causes nausea & anorexia. I talked about an E-collar as I'd seen online at a vet site that an oxygen hood can be fashioned with this for big dogs . She said even a small ice cream bucket can work & can have the oxygen tubing taped inside with a shower cap to go over the end. But she felt, as I do, that he will become so upset with this that the benefit may not be worth the aggitation & discomfort it would cause him. By the time he is too weak to fight it, I fear he will be too sick to benefit. I then asked how severe the pneumonia appeared on the chest x-rays & still have that heartsinking numb feeling remembering her admitting that the pneumonia is very extensive. She said Bandit's Blastomycosis titre came back negative, but both she & her partner have seen false negatives, in cases where the test was drawn before enough antibodies were present, or possibly the dog 's immune system didn't respond well enough to make antibodies, explaining why they became so sick. She was very kind & still factual, & repeated that this first week is very critical, as she had told me before we started treatment that 25% of dogs don't survive the first week. What really hurts is that I didn't realize he was so sick & get him in to be checked sooner. He has been so healthy all his life. My husband would laugh & say Bandit is the best dog we've had "he's never been sick". I have had to be very blunt with him & our son... Bandit is seriously ill & if he doesn't respond to the medication & turn the corner soon, even this tough independent hound will not pull through. Well, it's 8:45 pm now & the last I looked at him he was sleeping with the O2 by his nose & his breathing was no worse. I hope the rest gives his body some strength to help him last until the meds can work.