Coffee heat rising

Hallowe’en Doggy Update

Welp, Cassie the Corgi is not yet among the Undead. She had a pretty good time last night greeting young trick-or-treaters, though she fell asleep before the flood of kiddies subsided. This was OK: Ruby took over the job of loving up each and every kid and their parents, aunts, uncles, and friends.

Is she better? Quite a lot. She rarely coughs now, and when she does it’s very mild, a single huff or two. She’s a little livelier. She’s come out of the bathroom nest and usually parks herself near the human. The urinary incontinence is gone, the tragic look is gone. She’s gained back the weight she lost. She’s sleeping through the night, and she’s taken up barking again.

Is she well? Nope, not by a long shot. Though she’s back to her normal 21 pounds or so, she does look misshapen and strange. This can be a symptom of Cushing’s disease, which could be brought on either by the alleged tumor in her adrenal gland or simply by the prednisone she was given. If it were a side effect of the prednisone, though, you’d expect it to start clearing up by now. I wish I’d known the potential side effects were as extreme as they are; I would never have given it to her. And I do wish the vet had clued me that her cough might have been managed with over-the-counter human cough medicine. She probably has recovered from the fluconazole side effects, at least to the degree that she’s going to. And she seems to have thrown off the side effects of the doxycycline, although she’s releases a Great Flood every time she goes outside to pee. On the other hand, she drinks a lot more water than normal. She’s still weak and indolent — doesn’t want to get up and walk around the house, and most certainly can’t be taken on a doggy-walk.

Do I think she’s long for this world? Probably not. The median life span for a dog her size is 12.2 years. She’s right there. In fact, she may be older than that. Under the best of circumstances, no matter how much longer she lives, she’ll be living as an “old” dog.

I can’t afford a lot of expensive treatment for a dog. When I got Cassie, I had a job…and yes, I could afford vet bills, within reason. No longer! At this point, I certainly can’t afford the bills that already, pointlessly, indeed harmfully have run up in excess of a thousand dollars. So…no, she’s not getting surgery for the supposed tumor on her adrenal gland. I don’t have another thousand dollars (plus, plus, plus, plus….) to throw into keeping a dog alive indefinitely at the end of its normal allotted lifespan. Not that I don’t love my dog and I don’t want her to live forever. But that I think it’s as cruel to keep a sick and aged dog alive, just as it is cruel to keep a hopelessly sick and aged human alive.

And honi soit qui mal y pense.

Every time I think about this, I get angrier at the first vet, who foisted the prednisone on her, delivered a dire diagnosis based on a guess (without considering whether the symptoms in question could have been side effects of the prednisone), and then put her on a drug that damn near killed her.

This guy used to be one of the finest vets in the Valley. Then one day when I called his office, I got put on hold and serenaded with one of those endless blab-a-thon advertising tapes typical of chain veterinaries. You know: first the list of scary-sounding things that can happen to your pet and then the pitch for all the services the veterinary offers and then the hustle for this, that, and the other unnecessary extra treatment and service and then the “did you know?” insulting Q&A time-waster, yakity yakity yakity yakity…. These are typical of the veterinary chain operations, so I surmised that he must have bought into one of those.

And yeah: he’s not so young anymore. He needs to save up for retirement (no, believe it or not veterinarians do not earn all that much). So it makes sense that he’d up the amplitude and sell out to a chain that might pay him a guaranteed salary or percentage. Personally, I really dislike those chain clinics and avoid doing business with them. But this was my favorite dog doc, and it would take a lot to dislodge me from him.

But in the past I’ve not had him hustle me for unnecessary treatments, emit incorrect diagnoses whose purpose seem to be to put the animal on expensive and inappropriate medications, or try to persuade me of things that are overtly, obviously incorrect.


Whether Cassie will ever fully recover is doubtful. I think she’ll die of old age before that happens. Or of Cushing’s disease, assuming the diagnosis of an adrenal tumor is correct. But at least for the moment she doesn’t seem to be unduly uncomfortable.