Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lousy V-Day Surprise

I woke up this morning to the telephone ringing. It was my wife calling from the vet's office.

Our younger dog Gracie hasn't been well lately. A couple months ago, she started chewing at her front legs. Probably an allergy. A month ago, she was hopping around on three feet. Although I feared the same $3000 torn ACL that Rosco has had twice, the vet suspected it was only a sprain. Then Ginger died. Gracie stopped eating her regular food (she would still eat people food), and we wondered whether she was depressed. Her gimpy leg seemed to get better. Then one of her front legs swelled with an infection from her biting. The vet gave her a steroid shot. Last week she suddenly fell down a couple of times. The vet was mystified, and of course she acted fine at his office (it reminded me of times when my car has done weird things for me but not for my mechanic). As the days passed, she became more lethargic and even less interested in eating. Last night my wife cooked ground beef and rice for her, and she still wouldn't eat. This morning after Gracie went out to pee, my wife had to carry her up the stairs.

Gracie has seen the vet at least five times in 2012. Her blood work was fine on January 10, but today they did her blood work again and discovered something terrible. Gracie's red blood cell count (hematocrit) was four. Four! It's supposed to be around 37. She's one tough girl -- the vets were shocked that she could even walk today in such a weakened state. Yet it gets worse... Her white blood cell and platelet counts are also very low. This four-year-old dog who seemed perfectly healthy two months ago is now at death's door.

We took her to the emergency vet, which has a number of specialists. They told us she needed a blood transfusion ASAP, and they wanted to take a bone marrow sample and do an ultrasound (our vet had already done x-rays). Otherwise we had to put her to sleep.

But she's only four and it's only been a month since we put Ginger to sleep. What could we do? They'll give her the transfusion (a six-hour process) and keep her overnight. Now we just have to wait. I hope we get some test results tomorrow.

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