Nearly two weeks ago Tilly refused her breakfast and alarm bells began to ring because of what happened when my last dog, Sweep stopped eating.
We got an appointment the same day to see the vet. Becky checked her over and couldn’t find anything amiss. We came away with some tablets to settle her stomach as she’d been sick a few days before and Becky thought it might be a virus.
When we went out for a walk, Tilly kept asking for Shapes which is something I take out on walks with me. I’d tried her with chicken and rice, eggs and that expensive dog food that comes in posh little cartons, but all she wanted was Shapes, Markies – and the occasional hot dog sausage.
I normally feed her on Burns dry food, but I got some of their moist food as it is good quality too, but no, she didn’t want that either.
Clearly she wasn’t eating properly and she threw up a load of water she’d just drunk. So back we went and this time we saw Jo. She took some blood and when she shaved her, she noticed her skin was yellow. I knew that meant liver problems and jaundice is not good news.
Later she rang to say that Tilly’s liver enzymes were the highest she’d ever seen. We needed to take her for a scan and that would be at one of their other branches, a 40 minute drive away. But first they had to check her blood was clotting as they might want to take a needle biopsy. Back we went for more blood tests.
I asked if I should give her special food. I had the Hills special diet, but Tilly didn’t want to know. At this stage anything you can get into her is good, Jo said.
The blood clotting result came back fine, so her scan was booked for yesterday.
While all this was going on, Tilly was being sick a lot more and her wee was bright orange and by Sunday she wouldn’t eat anything at all. The only way I could get water into her was with a little dropper in the side of her mouth. At least she didn’t spit it out.
Sunday night she was restless. She threw up twice and we ended up sleeping downstairs with her from 3am Monday as she seemed to want to be there rather than on the bed.
Yesterday we took her in for the scan. They didn’t plan to sedate her because of her liver problems, but she got too stressed and they had to give her sedation. We should have picked her up yesterday afternoon, but she was too woozy from the sedation so we had to leave her in overnight and they put her on a drip to boost her up a bit.
When we took Sweep in, our last vet kept him in overnight and he died. Later the vet told us he’d been almost certain that would happen. That weighed heavily on my mind. What if the same thing happened to Tilly? But I’d changed to these vets a few years ago because I trusted them and I had to do just that.
She follows me everywhere. I can’t move from one room to another without my little shadow. She’s next to me now, curled up in her chair. I ached for her every moment she was away.
This morning we waited for the phone call. I was sure it would be bad news.
My husband answered the phone at 8.20. The nurse said she could come home. He said we’d be over right away. She seemed pleased. “That’s good,” she said. “She’s barking quite a lot. I think she’s ready to leave.”
Indy was very pleased to see her. He sniffed her all over and he’s been with her ever since. He’s here too, on the floor draped over the bottom of my chair. He’s been giving up the chair for Tilly since she got sick.
We are in a lull at the moment. Waiting for the results of the biopsy and other blood tests. The scan didn’t show anything untoward on her liver, but that could simply mean that the whole thing is compromised. Jo has yet to examine the scans. She may be able to see something. We just don’t know.
Since she’s been home she’s had about a third of a hot dog sausage and a drink and she’s been sleeping.
I haven’t been able to do anything for the past few days. The internet, which is such a distraction when I’m trying to write, has been no distraction at all – unless you count all the hours I’ve spent looking up various liver problems in dogs. I know that some conditions are manageable with the right medication. I know that some conditions are fatal.
She’s been mostly asleep since we got home which is hardly surprising after the sedation and the fact she was probably awake early barking! She doesn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort at all and I know if I put my dog walking stuff on, she’ll come to life and be keen to go out.
Her fur is as thick and beautiful as it ever was. The only obvious signs of her illness are the fact she won’t eat and that she throws up occasionally.
I haven’t even been able to write any of this down until now. My diary has just a few sad scribbles in it.
I am just hoping they can do something to make her better.