Last Wednesday, my mom’s dog, Jason, suddenly started having trouble breathing. My mom took him to the vet, who claimed not to hear anything wrong with either heart or lounges. He gave my mom some antibiotics for the dog and sent her home.
Jason only got worse. I, as a horse owner, wondered about the treatment, wondered why he has not got any diuretic medication or, if he had been a horse, any corticosteroid… But well, what do I know about dogs… And if the vet thought it was a good idea to treat him for infection, even with no signs of infection, then who are we to argue?
Friday, my mom called him again and begged him to see the dog once more, because she felt that Jason was drowning in his own lounges. The vet refused to see the dog, and told her to keep feeding it antibiotics, and bring it in on Monday if it didn’t work.
Here is where I started muttering under my breath that if antibiotics has not worked in two days, it’s not going to work… But the vet told my mom that it usually took a lot longer for dogs to respond to antibiotics, than it took a human, because the dog was much sicker, before you realized it was sick…
I must admit, when my mom explained that to me, as her vet had told her, I nearly called him up just to bash his head in over the phone… what kind of a thing is that to say to an elderly woman, and how on earth is he justifying that to himself?
MY vets always say, that if the antibiotics I get when my horse is sick, does not work within the first 24 hours, I have to be able to spot improvement and if there is a fever, it must be going down, that fast, otherwise we are not using the right antibiotics. It cannot be any different for a dog. I understand that humans can complain more than animals can, and can ask for medical treatment faster, but fact is, not all of us do, and horses certainly don’t. The medication still has to work. End of story.
So, Saturday, my mom called another vet, who gave her some other antibiotics without even seeing the dog. (It’s very expensive on a Saturday, so I guess he was happy not to have to go to work, and my mom was happy not paying the extra salary.)
Saturday night, the dog started passing out, his eyes closed and me, my mom, and my wonderful friend, the Evil Icequeen, (and her car,) took the dog to the hospital ASAP.
I don’t think we expected to bring him home.
The vet, a very nice guy I know, from my time way back when Apollon and Poseidon was young, looked at the dog and he hardly touched it before he said well, that doesn’t sound good. (Incidentally the same guy who stitched up Apollon when he first got tangled in the electric fence and I got into a fight with my own vet, for telling me to calm down, “It was just a horse.” I adore that guy. He saved my life, and Apollon’s that night.)
By then, Jason was coughing up foam. Clearly he was gathering fluid in his lounges. The vet said that because of his labored breathing, he could not hear the heart, but he wanted to try and treat it and see if he could make it through the weekend, in order to give the new antibiotics a chance to work.
So, the dog was treated with diuretic medication and corticosteroid…. I was biting my lip, trying not to scream, why on earth didn’t the first vet do that???
We brought him home, and he got better, just a bit. He stopped coughing up foam.
Sunday evening he got worse again. For me, that is way too fast for the corticosteroid to stop working. But my mom called the vet and got some more of that she could pick up, hopefully getting him through the night, hopefully being able to bring him to the hospital once they opened Monday and have x-rays and blood samples and…
I was looking at the dog thinking, he won’t survive that, but my mom was so miserable I dared not say it. She had spent the last five days looking at that dog, suffering right along with him.
Jason was euthanized this morning, due to acute heart failure.
I am left feeling horribly sorry for my mom and terribly angry with the first vet that just dismissed my mom- twice. He could have spared the dog for five terrible days of slowly suffocating and my mom for five days of tears. He could have, quite possibly medicated the dog correctly, and might even have saved him. After five days though, it was far too late.
So, everybody, say goodbye to a trusted and much loved companion, I am afraid I only have this lousy picture of him and I dare not ask my mom for a better one at the moment.
Jason was 8 years old.
The house is quiet now. No paws padding about. No barking as soon as I slip downstairs to make breakfast. Nothing. Just… silence…