When our dog, whom I affectionately call darn dog Chloe, hurt her back almost two weeks ago, we thought a treatment of Prednisone and pain killers would have her feeling better in no time. It did when something similar happened a year ago. And everything seemed to be going fine. Several days after taking the steroids, she seemed a lot better. She was moving better, she was eating and drinking. She even jumped up on the bed one night when we weren’t watching. Then the weekend hit.
By late Saturday night, she was worse, and by Sunday night, she was in so much pain that she winced when she tried to walk. Husband and I had to take turns sleeping on the floor with her because she wouldn’t lie still and winced every time she moved. Finally, about 4 a.m., I got her to calm down and go to sleep by stroking her fur constantly.
We got her into the vet Monday, and she said we could try another round of steroids, but if it were her dog, she take her to a veterinary surgeon. Steroids might not knock out whatever was going on and then we’d have to see a surgeon anyway. We couldn’t bear the thought of Chloe continuing to suffer so much, so we got an appointment with the surgeon Tuesday morning.
After examining Chloe, Dr. Runk was fairly certain it was a bulging disc in her lower back that was causing the pain. An X-ray, however, didn’t really show anything, so they did an MRI. Dr. Runk told us to leave while that was happening because, one, there were three or four patients in front of our pooch, and two, if it was the bulging disc, she would perform the surgery immediately, while Chloe was still under anesthesia.
So, husband went home and I went back to work. And we waited. About 4 p.m., Dr. Runk called husband to say she was just getting ready to start the MRI. At about 5, she called husband again to say she saw two spots on Chloe’s spine, but didn’t want to do surgery because she wasn’t exactly sure what at least one of them was. She wanted a consult from a radiologist first.
Randy relayed this to me in text messages while I was at work. What he didn’t tell me until I got home was that Dr. Runk said the spot could be a tumor. And if that was the case, we should prepare ourselves for some serious decisions. As we ate supper, I did everything I could not to burst into tears. How could we go from a happy, seemingly healthy dog one day to this just a few days later?
I was relieved daughter had to work because I’m not sure how I would have faced her. I knew there would come a day when Chloe would no longer be with us, but I didn’t think it would be this soon. And I had no idea what I would say to daughter about that. At that point, she really didn’t need to worry. At least not until we knew what was really happening.
So, it was an emotional night for me (I’m in tears now just writing about it). I don’t know how I got so attached to this dog. Growing up as a farm girl, we had plenty of dogs, but they had their place. They stayed in the barn, not the house. And several of them died, as farm dogs tend to do. But I don’t remember being that attached to them. I always said I wouldn’t have an indoor dog. In fact, when daughter finally talked husband into a pet and word got out that we had gotten a dog, one relative even said she was surprised. She knew my previous feelings about indoor dogs and couldn’t believe it.
Somewhere along the line, Chloe became part of the family. And that night, waiting to hear what the diagnosis was, it was hard to imagine that our family might soon not include her anymore.
I had a lump in my throat when Dr. Runk called the next morning, wanting to know, yet not wanting to know. I was so relieved when she said the radiologist didn’t see a problem with the second spot. The first spot, near where the spine connects with the butt, was indeed a bulging disc, but Dr. Runk was pretty confident she could take care of it with surgery.
So, Chloe had surgery Wednesday afternoon and it went well. This morning, Dr. Runk called to say Chloe was doing great and could come home today. She seemed happy to see us and be home, even if she is severely restricted as to her activities. She has to be confined in either a small room or crate at all times, exceptfor when she has to go outside. On a leash when she does go out. For as long as 4 weeks.
We take her back to Dr. Runk to get her staples out (13 of them) in two weeks. There’s no guarantee that she’ll recover fully, but the outlook is good. She already walks better than she did when we took her to the vet.