Sorry to have been MIA with posts lately. I’ve started and added to this post so many times over the last month but every time I end up stopping. It’s just been too difficult to relive the whole thing especially with Fiona’s health problems. I finally just had to force myself to sit and type and let the emotions run over. It’s a good thing this isn’t on paper or it would be soggy from tears.
Sadly, the Wiener Palace has lost another member of its court. Our sweet beautiful Blitzen crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Monday August 11. Blitzen was originally adopted from Wags Strays to keep Officer Chase company. Little did we know that Officer Chase was a lady’s man but didn’t want a male buddy. Poor Blitzen was always blamed by Chase if anything happened to him. It didn’t matter if one of us accidentally tripped over him or if one of the other dogs ran into him, everything was Blitzen’s fault. Even though they didn’t end up being buddies, he found a BFF in a little female we adopted the next year, Cocoa Puff. They truly loved each other and would snuggle up together and even took baths together.
Blitzen had many heart problems, most likely due to lack of medical care. He was found wandering on a horse farm and was still intact with a mouth full of nasty teeth. Not too long after we adopted him, I felt like something was wrong with him. After several tests, we found out that he had heart problems. He did really well on minimal meds until a few years ago. Then he was really sick one New Year’s Eve morning and we rushed him to the emergency vet. They said that he was in congestive heart failure and he started on several different heart meds. He was still doing really well until a few weeks before he died. He was at the vet all day with two of his siblings and was being checked out for his coughing. Just about an hour after he got home, he had a seizure. We again rushed to the emergency vet and amazingly enough it was the same vet that had diagnosed his CHF years ago. He was so surprised to see him still alive and doing well. Blitzen seemed off after that but was pretty much back to normal until that early Monday morning. I woke up to his very noisy breathing. I took him out and got him a drink of water which usually helped but not this time. I told hubby I was taking him to the emergency vet because I was afraid he would have another seizure because breathing seemed to be such an effort for him.
The vet was a different one so while he was not familiar with Blitzen’s history, we had enough paperwork to give him an idea of his heart problems. He determined that his congestive heart failure was worsening but they were able to get him calmed down and resting. Unfortunately, he took a turn for the worse later that morning. The emergency vet is only open until 8 AM so I went to pick him up and take him to his regular vet but his poor old heart gave out on the way down there. Both vets believe that his chordae tendineae ruptured. I think his heart was just so big and so full of love and joy for everyone that he met, that it just couldn’t contain itself any more.
Blitzen is the only dog that I’ve ever seen that truly was emotional. When he was sad, he would cry real tears and when he was happy, he would smile. He was the sweetest, most loving dog ever and I miss him terribly. The only consolation is knowing he’s back with his BFF Cocoa Puff who died almost exactly four years before him. Blitzen is gone but he left behind a legacy that I didn’t realize until I contacted the rescue that we adopted him from to let them know that he had passed. We adopted him late one year and about six months later, they called and asked if we could foster a Dachshund for them that was at the shelter and going to be euthanized. We agreed and have fostered for them now for over seven years and countless dogs. If we hadn’t adopted Blitzen, those dogs may not have been saved. And that’s the legacy that my sweet smiling boy has left behind. I see him when I look at our current foster dog P-nut and know that he saved her life. Run free my little Prince. I love you so much and will see you at the Rainbow Bridge with Cocoa Puff.
Well we had some excitement at the Wiener Palace last night. You can now add seizures to the other tons of illnesses that we have/are dealing with. Blitzen was at the vet all day getting some more testing done since he was recently diagnosed with kidney problems. He was there with Officer Chase(getting rehab) and psycho Sweet Tart who was getting her yearly. About two hours after getting home, Blitzen had a seizure. I called my vet and although we didn’t anticipate it being anything life threatening, I knew I would feel better if someone else looked at him so off to the emergency vet. I think that was the quickest and cheapest we’ve ever been out of there. I didn’t get much sleep as he was very restless all night so I worked from home today and here’s what the wiener herd did. Guess I could have gone to work after all. As always, thanks for opting to adopt.
Our “baby” at the Wiener Palace turns eight today. For some dogs, that might seem old but she is the youngest of our herd. She ended up here in a roundabout way. We were adopting Cocoa Puff from a rescue in Evansville and they were contacted by Sweet Tart’s owner who wanted to surrender her. Since she was in Indianapolis like we were, they convinced her to surrender Sweetie to the rescue in Indy. Her owner had purchased her from a puppy mill and has her shipped to her to use for breeding. When she got her, the owner decided that she didn’t have a good personality so she didn’t want to breed her. She said that she wouldn’t come out of her crate and screamed when the other dogs got near.
She contacted the original owner who shipped her a replacement dog but didn’t want Sweetie back(at that time). The owner’s plan was to breed Dachshunds to pay her way through vet tech school. I’m going to go with that being an epic fail of a plan! Jerry picked her up on a very cool snowy January afternoon as I was returning from a business trip. She was surrendered in a crate with nothing else-no food, collar or even bedding. On the ride home, she pooped in the crate and we had to get a towel from a friend’s house to keep her from rolling around in the nasty crate. When we got home, I had to tip the crate to get her out. Inside that crate was the nastiest, skinniest little dog. She had sores all the way up her spine and tail, was urine scalded on her hind end and had very little hair. It’s hard to tell from these pictures but she looked awful. When I took her to the vet the next morning, some ladies were whispering about how awful she looked and how could I let my dog look like that. I couldn’t take it and ended up telling them off. She was a pathetic, sickly mess. She had giardia, all sorts of internal parasites and a staph skin infection. The poor thing was sickly for so long and my husband grew attached to her. After a few months, she got hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and was really one sick puppy. We had to do fluids on her at home and try to keep her strong so she didn’t have to be hospitalized. I think it was during this time that my husband decided he couldn’t let her go. Here she is laying under the heating pad to maintain her temperature. In the meantime, I had contacted the vet clinic that had vaccinated her before she came into rescue. The original owner had bought her for breeding and was told that she was a free whelper but she had a scar on her abdomen. I was trying to find out if she had been spayed or not. When they found out who I was calling about, they were no longer willing to talk to me. I emailed the breeder asking her about Sweetie but she flew into a rage and demanded that she be returned to her. She went so far as to threaten the original owner and demand Sweet Tart and the replacement dog(who had tiny puppies)be returned. The owner returned the replacement dog but Sweetie went into the witness Puptection program. There was no way that I was going to return a dog to someone who allowed it to be so sick and then to ship it out of state in that condition. Luckily the breeder gave up on Sweetie when she got the other dogs back. For hubby’s birthday that year, he got a bouncing 8 pound chocolate baby dog. She’s a good dog but even though she was only in the mill under two years, she’s not right in the head. Everything’s scary to her. She has bloody diarrhea if she gets too stressed out. She is apparently a carrier of Giardia and it becomes active again every so often. She finally lets people pet her at our Dachshund Meetup groups but last time all she would do is sit in the corner. I finally realized it was because we changed her routine and she had ridden with a different dog in her crate on the way there. Happy Birthday Sweet Tart or cuckoo bean nut job as she’s affectionately known. I can’t believe our baby is all grown up. As always, thanks for opting to adopt and save dogs the trauma that Sweetie went through.
Well our journey to figure out what’s wrong with our Princess Fiona has ended and we have a diagnosis finally. We were back at Purdue last week for an MRI and spinal tap. I really liked the attending vet this time. She was excellent! I like to ask a ton of questions and offer up ideas that I’ve read about and she was very patient and encouraged the dialog. She was very worried about putting Fiona under anesthesia for the MRI but there weren’t any other tests that we could really do. This day was even longer than last time as we were there almost 11 hours. Lucky for me, I followed my own tips for visiting a teaching hospital so I was much more prepared this time. I was also very lucky to have one of our Facebook friends come up and visit. Her work was cancelled so she was able to stay with me for several hours and made the time pass much quicker.
The vet called us in while they were still imaging her brain as they already had an answer. My sweet, beloved, precious, angel baby Fiona has a terminal brain tumor. I was able to see the images from the MRI which were very interesting although I’m sure it would be way cooler if it wasn’t your dog’s brain. The tumor is pressing in and causing her to have hydrocephalus from the spinal fluid. Her brain ventricles are enlarged with the fluid and the tumor is restricting the flow out of the ventricles. Really the only option with this would be radiation and it only slows the tumor, never cures anything. With radiation treatments, she would have to go under anesthesia every time and with her very low heart rate and low blood pressure, she is not a good candidate for anesthesia. So the only choices were to not wake her up from the MRI or treat her symptoms. As she has never appeared to be in pain, still eats, walks around, snuggles and does all her regular activities just more slowly, letting her go was not an option for us at that time. So we are treating her with steroids to decrease the inflammation and hopefully the symptoms from that and another med to decrease the production of the spinal fluid.
This has honestly been the worse thing I’ve been through with our dogs. I’m thankful that we finally have a diagnosis and that it’s not just my imagination but I certainly never imagined that it would be a brain tumor. Most likely, she has a type of tumor that is sometimes associated with Cushing’s(although she doesn’t have it). It’s a tumor sitting on the pituitary which controls many bodily functions. This type of tumor is not usually cancer but still there really is nothing that can be done for it. I have been in touch with our regular vet who also practices holistic medicine so we might be adding some supplements. I think the irony in all this is that if she had eyes, it probably would have been diagnosed much quicker although the treatment would have been the same. I always expected her to pop up with mammary cancer since she was not spayed until she was maybe five or six.
As long as she is not in pain and can still find joy and bring joy to others, she will remain here with us. Once we see her quality of life deteriorate, it will be time to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge. I honestly have no idea what I will do without her and her love in my life. She came to us when I was so sad after losing my dad and my Dachshund Cocoa Puff. We always swore that those two helped her get to us to help us through our grief. I can’t imagine why she’s being taken away at such a young age when she brings so much joy and love to everyone she meets. It all seems so unfair but nobody ever said life was fair. I’m sure we’ll find the strength to go on and continue helping the seniors and special needs but it won’t be the same without my little fluffy Fiona there by my side. I know this post is pretty rambling but I wanted to put it all out there so her friends would know exactly what is going on and my brain isn’t exactly thinking straight. Thanks for all the good thoughts, prayers and donations for our girl and thanks for opting to adopt.
If you follow us, I’m sure you are aware that our Princess Fiona is sick with some sort of a mystery illness. We’ve gone to our regular vet, a specialty vet and even a teaching hospital. We are headed back to the teaching hospital this Thursday for an MRI with spinal tap. I certainly learned a lot from our previous visit so I thought I’d share with all of you. In all the years, I’ve owned animals, I’ve never been to a teaching hospital. I had read their FAQs but I still feel like I wasn’t adequately prepared for the experience. Here are my tips to make your trip(and my next one)much smoother.
- If you and your vet are even “thinking” your pet might need to go to a teaching hospital, do it. Don’t waste your time and money on having other tests done at your vet or even a specialty hospital. I was concerned about the stress on her if we went to Purdue so I took her to the specialty hospital and had a total cardiac work up done by a vet that is in the process of being certified in cardiology. Purdue wouldn’t accept the cardiac ultrasound since she wasn’t certified and they said that everyone apparently measures just a little differently. So basically the $900 that I spent at the specialty hospital was a waste as they only used the chest X-rays. They were also able to use blood work from my regular vet but wanted to repeat the abdominal ultrasound that she had done, again because she wasn’t certified. I declined that as we really needed to spend money as wisely as possible. I’m still kicking myself over this although I thought I was doing the right thing at that time.
- If you are there to get a diagnosis, it’s most likely an all day process. Their FAQs said to expect that but I guess I didn’t really think it would take that long. Our appointment was at 9 AM and they took her to the back and away from me about 10 AM. Although I talked to the vets and saw them, I didn’t see Fiona again until after 4 PM. I know she was very stressed as she had tried to bite them and she’s not a biter.
- To put your pet at ease, take their favorite blanket to keep them company. I meant to take her pink bag she rides in but forgot it and didn’t want to turn around. I think if she’d had it, she wouldn’t have been nearly as stressed.
- Take snacks and drinks for yourself. Depending on how long it will take, you can probably leave the hospital. They told me it would take several hours so I decided I would go look for the lakes that I had seen listed on a sign. I drove for quite some time and never found them. I ended up stopping at a cute shop and sat there reading my book but didn’t realize that I didn’t have cell reception so I missed a call from the hospital. This time I’ll pack a cooler and just got outside and enjoy the weather within cell phone range.
- Make sure you electronic devices are fully charged. If you’re going to be there most of the day, you want to be able to use your phone or read from your Kindle. Sometimes your battery gets drained quickly in those conditions so make sure you have at least a car charger with you.
- Take a pad of paper and pen with you. If you have questions ahead of time, take the list with you. If you didn’t have any before, chances are that you’ll think of them while you’re there so write them down. The vets have been great to deal with but it’s much quicker to get an answer while you’re there than to have to call back. Don’t forget questions about their care at home, test results and follow up visits.
- Leave yourself plenty of time to get there and check in. I had directions that seemed pretty simple but I still got lost. If you can take someone with you to navigate, even better. Plus it’s great to have someone to talk to and they can help you with your list of questions/concerns for the vet.
- Make sure you know what the payment policy is and get an estimate before you go. This is not your hometown vet so you won’t be allowed to run a tab. They were really great about informing about other testing that they wanted to do and what the cost would be. Take some extra money for yourself especially if you forget snacks. Don’t hesitate to tell them what your spending limit is so you can make the most of the money that you have. They can help prioritize and get the most bang for your buck. If you think you will need more money, you can apply for Care Credit ahead of time so you’ll have an idea what your limit is with them. Some teaching hospitals will let you apply while you’re there but it’s better to know ahead of time what your financial limitations are. The really cool thing about Care Credit is that you can use it for your own medical bills.
- Most of all , remember to breathe and ask questions. The veterinarians are there for you and your pet so make the most of their knowledge and skills. They want to find out what’s wrong with your pet and make them better but they can’t do it without your input. I actually printed up a time line of her illness and gave it to them so they could glance at that to start with. It helped me remember dates and tests as well. Make sure you know your financial limits and discuss it with your family ahead of time so that your emotions don’t take over. It helps to know exactly what you will and won’t do for your pet before being asked to make that decision.
Hopefully these tips will help you if your pet needs care beyond what your regular vet can offer. I’m hopeful that our next visit with go more smoothly and that we’ll finally have some answers for our sweet girl. Thanks for reading and as always, thanks for opting to adopt.
Our little Princess Fiona has been sick for some time now but we can’t figure out what’s wrong with her. She’s been to our vet numerous times and all her tests have come back normal or negative. We took her to a specialty hospital a few weeks ago and they did a full cardiac work up that didn’t show much either. Last week I took her to Purdue for a neurological consult but they think it’s cardiac in origin so more testing. Please send prayers, good thoughts, healing energy, what ever you can to help heal our little sweetie pie. At the urging of friends, we started a fundraiser for her care so she can continue to help people with her job as a therapy dog. You can read more about her health problems and the fundraiser by clicking here. Our friends at Dachshund Delights are also doing a fundraiser. If you buy anything with their “Princess Fiona” pattern, they will donate 15% back to Fiona’s vet care. You can view the pattern and order by clicking here. Thanks for keeping our sweet baby girl in mind as we continue our quest to heal her broken heart. The Wiener Palace has already lost our Queen this year and we don’t want to lose the Princess too. If you have any suggestions or have dealt with something similar, please let us know. This is really a big mystery and we need to figure it out and get her fixed up as soon as possible. Thanks!