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My Old Buddy is Very Sick

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Hi, all,

 

A lot of you remember my old boy Buddy from when he was younger and much more difficult. He came up sick Monday night - just a bit lethargic - and then yesterday it got progressively worse. I took him to the vet this morning. He is so sick he can hardly stand up or move; he can barely turn himself over in bed. He stopped eating yesterday, and vomited up the food he had eaten Monday.

 

My vet did x-rays (no abnormalities), and bloodwork that showed his platelet count was very low. Apparently, there are three possibilities: infectious disease (tick-borne), autoimmune dysfunction, or cancer. I'm not going to spend thousands on tests for these things or treatment for cancer; the vet sent me home with prednisone in case it's autoimmune and doxycycline in case it's an infection.

 

I'm really torn right now - Buddy is really, really miserable. Just lies on the bed like the shell of a dog. I've resigned myself to letting him go if he gets to the point where he's in pain, but having just come from the vet (to the tune of $900), I feel like they were neutrally optimistic about his improving. They have another blood test scheduled for him in a week to check on his progress.

 

Has anyone ever faced this illness before? Have any stories of dogs this ill who came back and thrived? I'm worried that I'm letting the dog suffer because the vet gave me false hope - that I should have asked to have him put down, if he's going to feel this way. Truthfully, I'm worried that I'm going to come home from work tomorrow and find my dog dead in my house. That's how bad he looks.

 

Would love some advice or words of wisdom or maybe just sympathy.

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No words of wisdom, I'm afraid, but a great deal of sympathy. It is so very hard to see one you love feeling so badly, and not to know what to do to help him. I think if it were my dog I would give it a few days to see if he might rally. How old is he? I wish you and your dog all the best.

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Oh. I've been through that myself.

 

I would give him some time if he is not in pain or immediate distress. It's amazing what they can come back from sometimes.

 

Such a hard situation to deal with. And so painful.

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I am thinking of you and wishing Buddy all the best, if it is a tick born disease then it does make them miserable and they can come bouncing back. As Tommy said if he is not in pain give it some time.

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I am so sorry to hear about Buddy! This is the worst part of loving dogs. Without seeing him, I second giving it a bit more time we to see if he rallies. I know you will monitor him closely.

 

Wish I had more to suggest, other than I know the anguish you are facing. Still, these old dogs can surprise us with their resiliency. Sending healing mojo that Buddy feels better quickly.

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I know your pain. I have one diagnosed with aggressive cancer. I am using pain as my guidance. I would give yours more time, mine has her ups and downs. Wish I had better advice, just know that I will be thinking about your tough journey.

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I feel so badly that you're going through this. It's sometimes so hard to know what to do.

 

I think I'd probably wait a few days, too, to see how he responds to the meds you've started.

 

And if it were me, I'd ask him to tell you if and when it's time to help him on his way. Many years ago my first heart dog had terminal bone cancer. I was so worried that I wouldn't know when it was time to help him and that I'd either do it too soon or worse, wait too long because I either wouldn't know or wouldn't want to let go. So I asked him to let me know, having no idea how he would manage to do it but trusting that he would. And he did. Very clearly and very definitely.

 

My heart goes out to you. Best wishes . . .

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Oh no :( Yes, I have had something like this happen and yes, my dog did rebound with meds. He had GI lymphoma so it wasn't a long rebound but he went from miserable/not eating/horrid diarrhea to acting almost "normal" and pretty darn happy after the meds kicked in and he had several good weeks after that. I asked myself many of the same questions in the beginning. In my case, I am glad I opted for basic treatment and gave the meds a few days to work. Hoping the meds help your sweet Buddy!

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Poor Buddy, Poor you.

 

I agree with the others, if possible give the meds time to see if they will work.

 

I too have had a similar experience to GentleLake's tale and would also recommend that you ask Buddy to tell you when he has had enough.

 

My thoughts are with you both.

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I am so sorry to hear about Buddy! No words of advice from me that are any different that what is above. I am sure you will do the best for Buddy.

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I've had it go both ways. And I agree with what everyone is saying. If he doesn't seem to be in too much pain, give it a bit of time. And ask him to let you know when it is time. Most animals will let you know, they know that you love them.

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I have no advice for you, only sympathy.

 

Many years ago my senior heart dog went from what I thought was amazingly fit for his age to barely able to walk in a matter of a couple days. We went through a few days of testing, and when I took him home from the vet's office after the last round of testing he was so weak he had to be carried to the car. Unlike others, I try not to wait until my dogs ask me to let them go; I prefer not to let them get to the point where they want to die, but that's just me. So, anyway, by the time I got half way home from the vet's office I was beating myself up for having been too much of a coward to have had him put down when he clearly had no chance of any recovery. But the office was closed by then, the 24 hr vet office was an hour away, and so I convinced myself that I would keep him as comfortable as I could and do the right thing first thing the next morning. By next morning, he had rallied enough that I convinced myself we could have a few more hours together. A few more hours became a few more days, and by that point he was wobbly and weary, but interested enough in life to follow me out to the barn to do morning chores. He spied one of my semi-feral barn cats, made an unsteady attempt to chase it, and bless his feline soul the cat feigned terror and ran away. My old friend proudly strutted back to the house as we went back inside for breakfast, and then he curled up in his favorite spot for a nap. When I checked on him a few hours later he was gone, his last moments spent peacefully dreaming that he was still the mighty beast capable of striking terror into the hearts of barn cats.

 

I have no delusions that it was any special wisdom or intuition on my part that allowed my dog's saga to end as well as any loved dog's saga can. It was just stupid dumb luck. But sometimes we get lucky, and wish all the best for you.

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I'm so horribly sorry that you're going through this.

 

If you'd like, I recently started a thread in the Health section about our dog who was given the same 3 possible diagnosis. He is much younger, but we faced the exact same dilemma. We couldn't/wouldn't spend so much on a diagnosis that we couldn't treat.

 

But, we believe we have found the answer. He has an autoimmune disease. We were sent home with Prednisone and Clavamox (we already tried Doxy) and the next day we had a completely different dog. This was only a few days after the same dog couldn't get out of bed. He would lay on his bed in front of the heater for 24 hours a day if we had let him. There was no life in his eyes. But that prednisone worked like a miracle.

 

So my only advice would be to wait just a little longer to see if it kicks in. I can't say you will have the success that we had, but we were very, very close to putting our dog to sleep and would have been making the biggest mistake of our lives.

 

Let Buddy tell you when/if it's time. I'm so sorry.

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So sorry you are both suffering so.

the drugs your are trying will quickly help or not. Give him a chance to see.

 

my mick had 2 TBDs that went chronic before we could get a proper diag. He at one point couldn't walk. This was under the age of 2. He got over them and took a long time to get better but he's 13 and still chasing the squirrels and he thinks he's my best barn chore dog out there. I let him do as he pleases.

 

Hugs to both of you and hang on for a bit longer. He might surprise you.

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Best wishes to you and Buddy. I lost my heart dog Floss suddenly. She was acting lethargic so took her in thinking it was lymes but that night things went very bad and we ended up at the emergency vet where they told me it was cancer around her heart and I had to let her go.

Hopefully the medication will be the fix Buddy needs

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I'm so very sorry you're dealing with this. I just wanted to post because I had a dog with Addisons, an autoimmune disease, and wanted to give you some encouragement. She was perfectly normal for 5-6 years, we had no idea anything was wrong with her. Then one day, she got very sick, just as you described. She wouldn't eat, was so weak she couldn't walk, throwing up... it was awful. We didn't think she would make it through the night. Our vet made pretty much the same call and put her on prednisone. It was a long time ago, so I don't remember exactly how long it was before she improved, but it can't have been that long. Anyway, with her daily prednisone she was back to her normal self and lived another six happy, healthy years. So I guess I am just echoing others here, if he's not in any pain I would wait it out to see if the meds help.

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Thinking of you and Buddy, and wishing for peace for you both.

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Hang in there Buddy..!! Pred is the wonder drug. It brought my guy back when all hope was lost. Give him some more time.

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I'm so sorry to hear about Buddy. I hope one or the other of the meds helps. Best wishes from us; we'll be thinking of you and checking back.

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I'm very sorry to hear that Buddy is so sick. Sending you and Buddy good mojo that the medications start working to make him feel better.

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Awww, man, no answers here - just hoping that one or the other drug did the trick and that he's had a miraculous turnaround!

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Thanks so much to all of you for your replies!!

 

Update:

 

I took another day off work today (tomorrow? it's the middle of the night!) because I couldn't just leave Buddy home alone this sick. About 7 p.m., he drank a lot of water and asked to go out in the yard - then refused to let me pick him up and carry him in, but walked up the stairs by himself. Then he ate some dog food. Fell asleep on the couch next to me, and clearly went into dreaming sleep (paws twitching, quiet barks), much more normal than his previous sleep. He just went out again, came in by himself, and ate a cookie when he got inside.

 

So, I'm crossing my fingers extra hard that the prednisone or the doxy has worked its magic. One more day will tell.

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