Saturday, December 08, 2012

And you better pick yourself up from the ground, before they bring the curtain down

Back in December 2010 Piglet went lame in his left hind leg, but after several weeks of rest and painkillers (Rimadyl and tramadol) he recovered and by spring was almost as good as new; by summer you'd never have known anything had been wrong. Then last October it happened again, only this time it was his right hind leg that was the problem. We tried the rest-and-painkiller treatment and six weeks later he was mobile once more.

So when at the beginning of November it happened yet again (right hind again) we immediately started the routine treatment. This time it didn't go quite so well; his left leg's not as strong as it was and is finding it difficult to support him, so I took him to see a McTimoney chiropracter, who tweaked and twiddled and said she thought it was possibly a slipped disc. He enjoyed the outing (he loves the car) and was noticeably more cheerful for the rest of the day, if not moving any better. However a week later - four weeks after it started - there was further deterioration to the extent where struggling to get to his feet had him screaming in pain, which had never happened before. (Harry was the drama queen, Piglet the stoic who never grumbled.) It's the most indescribably awful, gut-wrenching sound - clearly something's badly amiss.

The vet came (impossible to get him into the car now, it'd be far too painful) and examined him, gently moving his leg this way and that, flexing and extending all the joints, and other than shouting at her as he always does (she takes his friends away when she visits - he can see the shadow of the Grim Reaper hanging over her) he wasn't bothered at all, but he did wince when his lower spine was felt. We got him to his feet and she too was horrified to hear the screams this produced, and agreed this is serious pain. If it can't be controlled then this is terminal because it's inhumane to allow it to carry on. She gave me some syringes of yet another medication (Vetergesic) which is used as a sedative as well as analgesic, and can be absorbed through the mouth rather than injected - I've never given an injection and don't want to experiment on my own dog. After a bad day  hopefully we'd all get some sleep.

Yesterday was bad; I tearfully became convinced that we were reaching the end, and we semi-decided to call the vet over after today's surgery, I gave him the additional meds at about 9.30 last night. I don't know whether it dulled the pain at all, but he had a bad trip with it, and was panting and shaking and drooling and howling, staring around, seeing ghosts and goblins and not recognising me at all, until he finally started to relax at 1am.

I dreaded coming downstairs this morning to more screaming, so when I looked in on him and he wagged his tail at me and got up with only a small cry and asked to go outside, my tears were of joy. He's had a good day today, no screams and using his leg a little, so there's still a little hope that he won't yet have to lose his life over something so stupid, because otherwise he's so well. It's very difficult to get out of the mindset that medication has to be given to a strict timetable, and within determined limits to avoid longterm damage. When you realise the alternative is death, the risk of 'longterm damage' is non-existent. So if he needs extra pills he'll get extra pills.

Tomorrow is another day, but tonight we're happy.