The Summer of A*#-Whoopins Part 3: Crippling News

by Lisa Donovan

So, anyone else tired of my continuous drama this summer?  I am.  But, what the hell, let the royal emotional a** kicking continue! 


Jackson on Easter, 2002

Our sweet dog, Jackson stopped being able to walk about four days ago.  He went from walking (albeit, like an old man, but walking nonetheless) down the street with us to only being able to take two to five steps and then collapsing.  Hoping that it was just arthritis kicking in, we took him immediately to the vet to get it checked out.  Apparently he has a neurological disorder that is going to keep him paralyzed for good.  They are not sure if it is cancer or if a disc is blocking the spinal cord - they could not tell anything after X-rays or blood work.  So, we decided yesterday that we would bring him home and care for him as best as we could - as if we have an elderly family member who needs our help (which is, afterall, the case).  The vet doesn’t recommend that we take on the task of trying to care for a dying elderly dog, especially since we have two very active kids to focus on.  But, how can we not?  Jackson has been with us for twelve years - his entire life.  Granted I have only been around for five of those twelve years - he was my husband’s bachelor-days dog - but he has been my dog too and our kids’ dog their entire life.  Since I have no idea how to care for invalid animals, I am having to do my research.  We have decided that we will keep him home until we think that he is in any pain or becoming any sicker (he is having difficulty expressing his urine - not a good sign).  While we have him home though I want to make sure we are doing things right for him. 

Home care for a pet that can’t walk or eliminate is a task certain pet owners have chosen to tackle with the help of Pampers, pet wheel chairs, egg crate mattresses and ramps. Families will even acquire portable oxygen tanks for pets with compromised respiration. Some people react with fear of medical procedures and needles. Others have great interest in learning how to administer to their pets for convenience and needed financial savings. The most important ingredient to look for in oneself, in the staff and in the pet owner is willingness. Hold a staff meeting and ask the question if being a compassionate veterinary care giving facility is truly O.K. with the nursing staff. Put one special staff member as the appointed support person for a certain pet and its owner. Ask the client to direct phone calls and concerns to their designated staff member or support team. Staff can handle most of the home care problems and the doctor can see the pet on regular rechecks to answer major questions such as changes in prescription medications. 

Though most of the information I am finding is advocating hospice care for dying pets, not an option for us, it is still riddled with good tips on how to cope and, physically, how to help your pet get on with their daily functions and how to make them more comfortable. 

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This entry was posted on Saturday, July 8th, 2006 at 2:12 pm and is filed under Pets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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