Hi everyone, fogive me but this post may get a bit rambly and emotional, I'm really looking for advice on what to do with my little Mini Dach, Frank.
In Febuary this year Frank suddently became very poorly overnight, I returned from work one day to find spots of vomit all over the flat and lots of diarreah, he is normally a clean dog save the odd little sneaky pee here and there and he looked very listless so I rushed him to the vet my mum had taken him too before and used for her dogs.
Firstly, the vet was a nasty piece of work towards me, he was professional but cold towards the dog, however he checked him over and his first response was to order a blood test for Addisons disease as his heart rate was very low.
He sent me home with a predisenone tablet and an order to come back for a stimulation test for addisons the next day, however during the course of the evening Frank became worse and seemed to go into shock. I drove him to the 24 hour emergency vets in the nearest city where he was admitted for IV fluids and general blood works, all of which came back normal other than a slightly elevated white cell count which the vet said may be down to infection.
She reccomended that his electrolyte levels didn't indicate addidsons and she would advise against the test and would suggest antibiotics instead, she gave this information to the first vet but he proceeded with the addisons test anyway and was quite abusive when I suggested otherwise.
However, the Addisons test came back negative and because he was so rude and I didn't like how he treated me or my dog I transferred the care of Frank to another vet.
This is where I'm kicing myself, Frank seemed outwardly fine after his fluids and tests, although his bowel movements didn't really return to normal we spent the next few weeks with no sickness and although his poos were runny they didn't seem terrible and he was active and playful, so we kept him on a home cooked diet and played around with a few different allergy foods to see if he improved.
However one day I spotted blood in his poo, and over the next two days it became increasingly watery and red, so we went to the new vets who were great and acted fast, we had more blood works done to see if anything had changed and a raft of other tests including urine test for kidney function, fecal examination,tests for parasites obscure and none obscure along with a course of pancure and metranizadole to be sure, pancreatic function tests, camblbacter, e coli, c coli, malabsorbtion profiles, xrays, and finally needle aspiration of the lymphnodes. Again nothing abnormal other than the slightly elevated white cell count and some malabsorbtion of protien consistent with a lower intestenal wall problem, xrays showed his lower intestine to be swollen but all other organs looked to be the right size and free of any obvious problems, however the slightly elevated white cell count was also still present.
The vet has tried so many different medicine combinations I've lost count, vitamin shots, antibiotic shots, gut protector syrums (two kinds) canikur paste, HA allergy exclusion foods, admission overnight for fluids and iv antibiotics when he's been particuarly bad, courses of pred and noroclav, buscopan, anti spasmoids and on my side I've been trying allergy foods, barf diet, poached chicken, rice, sweet potato however 6 months later the best we've ever got is a temporary improvement with his longest unaffected time being a few weeks before he was back at the vets again.
At one stage he was responding well to courses of noroclav with pred tablets on a low dosage, however that isn't working any more either and he still has the runs albeit not usually bloody.
Throughout this 6 months the longest we've gone without a trip to the vets is a month.
I can live with the cleaning up when he messes in the house, the ruination of carpets and the full time commitment that caring for him is, my boyfriend and I run our lives around the little man and I've spent thousands on this (insurance weaseled their way out of cover on the basis he was once seen by the vet as a puppy when he had the runs)
However in recent weeks I've noticed he's declining, whereas before he was always bright and ready to play or cuddle, he likes to be left alone now, he sleeps nearly 24 hours a day other than when we carry him downstairs for toilet breaks and I have rushed him into the vets twice in the last two weeks for emergency pain management as he was obviously in difficulty.
He hides under beds and tables where as before it was a battle to get sofa space from him or keep him off the bed at night, and he winces when we pick him up, he's always panting and even when asleep he breathes shallowly although the vet says this is definitely pain related as his heart and lungs sound fine.
He's trying so hard to remain the loyal loving dog he's always been, he still follows me everywhere, even if it's to the bathroom he sleeps by the shower whilst I'm in it. He still gets up to greet me although he dosent have much interest in playing or going for walks.
Now we've been to the vet and he has noticed he has one pupil bigger than the other, there is no sign of trauma, and no sign of scratches, he has not been anywhere to be injured and so it's likely to either be infection in which case it should respond to eye drops, or a sign of a neurological problem.
I'm gutted, I've fought so hard for this little man but he's obviously in pain even though I can see he's doing a very good job of still trying to say hello.
I simply cant afford the money the vet needs for specialist refferals and MRI scans, I've even debated selling my car to raise it but I don't think the second hand value would cover it and I need a reliable vehicle for work.
The vet has also said that given the risks involved with biopsies etc he wouldn't push for it.
He has been brilliant but I get the feeling he's as baffled as we are. And now Frank seems to be depressed and uncomfortable and winces when I pick him up for a cuddle.
It's truly heartbraking. I never imagined when I brought home a squirmy little puppy only 3 and a half years ago that we would be dealing with the big question so soon, but the vet is fearful this pupil problem and the increasing pain/decrease in response to medicines may point to something underlying, but it's catch 22, he's guessing and we can't afford to get Frank opened up and surgically explored.
The vet has been gently preparing me for the possibility that putting to sleep may be a kinder option given his discomfort, I rolled a ball accross the floor for him for two minutes today and after that he flopped down panting and has hidden under the bed since. I'm choked writing this, If I put him to sleep I'm always going to be wondering if I did the right thing at such a young age. Or if I did enough for him? But on the other hand watching him struggle to go for little walks and listening to him groaning when we pick him up is literally breaking my heart.
I don't know what to do.
Please if anyone can help or offer advice I'd be so greatful?