Friday, September 25, 2015

Spoiler Alert: The Dog Lives.

But possibly not for much longer. The usually fatal intestinal condition will probably not be the end of him. It'll be those effing teeth.

Murphy had most of his teeth removed years ago. In May, 2012 to be precise. At the time, the vet told me that there were some teeth she wouldn't dare touch, because the roots were so far down against the bone she was afraid of breaking his jaw. We'd have to go to a specialist veterinary surgeon and spend over $2500 (no, I didn't twitch and type an extra zero) IF it could be done, and there was no guarantee that his condition was operable. Or...not.

I opted for not. I drive a ten year old car, I don't take vacations, I do not have that kind of discretionary income, period. I simply can't freaking afford $2500 on the dog's teeth. And Murphy has soldiered on with those unremovable teeth for years, and has lived longer than anyone ever predicted. Until now. Now, it's ugly in there. It's why he's not eating much. He's in pain.

But he's otherwise surprisingly okay, and the vet proposed maybe trying a cleaning on those teeth in a few weeks, because sometimes they're just "held in place by tartar" and a good cleaning will shift them. She isn't the same doctor who did the extractions and she didn't see those x-rays, so she's just floating that idea. Her colleague was very "Oh, hell no!" about extracting those teeth due to the roots, and I just don't think a cleaning is likely to shift them.

The tech (I loved her) was far more pragmatic. She didn't discourage trying a cleaning in any way, but also said, "I mean, he's FIFTEEN AND A HALF!" She empathized - she has an old dog with cancer. They asked her if she wanted to run further tests to see what kind, what stage, etc., and she said, "Why?" She's keeping the dog comfortable and taking good care of her. Beyond a certain age, it's the best course of action.

And in a dental cleaning there is risky anesthesia involved, and it'll be a few hundred bucks with no guarantee that it would have any long term effect. And how much is "long term" at this point?

But Murphy of course perked up in the vet's office. We left with pain meds and an antibiotic (which would be needed before a cleaning anyway) and free samples of new foods to entice him. He's a little over 3 pounds now, which is beyond emaciated for him. His healthy adult weight was 6.5-7 lbs. My plan is to give him pain meds and food, see if he'll eat at all, if he does, we'll continue that as long as it lasts. Because of course I got him into the car and he stood up and looked out the window (I assume the light was different, as his eyes are completely blue from cataracts) and he walked around in the vet's office more than he has in the last MONTH at home. Neither the vet nor the tech looked at him and suggested, "Maybe it's time..." and apparently other than the rotten teeth, he's not so bad. His heart is sound, no systemic infection yet, etc. If he really, really revives, maybe I'll think about doing that cleaning. Their cleanings are scheduled two or three months out normally, so he'd have to get in on a cancellation. Let's see if he can put on a half a pound first, before we talk anesthesia and cleaning. I saw the x-rays, and even a layperson could see that those were some really honking big teeth with really, really deep roots in that tiny jaw. I am highly skeptical that they would fall out with a cleaning. But we'll try the meds and the foods for a while, and see what happens. If he improves and has QUALITY weeks or months, that's fine. If not, we've reached the end of the road.


Anonymous said...

Anaesthesia is a very scary word in relation to Murphy's age and size. You really are living between a rock and a hard place, aren't you?
The pain meds are a good idea - and if he puts a bit of weight back on it would help, but it will still be very scary territory.

Hugs for you, and telepathic hugs for Murphy, the Gladiator,

Gae, in Callala Bay

Catherine said...

It's not going to happen. Even with the pain meds he's barely eating. I had hoped that if the pain was dulled his enthusiasm for food would return, but he eats a few bites, decides he's had enough, and goes back to bed. I'm calling the vet tomorrow (they are open 7 days) and making an appointment for Monday. This cannot continue.