Friday, November 30, 2007

How many "G's" in Gurty?

Look at her with her iv and that feeding tube through her nose :o(.

A long time ago I said I would post why Gurty was missing fur on her legs, but I never did -- until now.

We got Gurty from a rural shelter and she had not yet had any shots. Don't ever get a dog without shots.

We brought her home, fell crazy in love with her and about day three or four, she puked. Later that day she was holding her tail low -- after what happend with Izzy (died from a tummy puncture from eating sticks or something) , I wasn't waiting around to see what was up. It was the weekend (naturally) so we had to go the ER vet where they tested her for parvo and it came back +.

We had no idea what parvo was -- the Doc explained it was a puppy killer, but most will live if they are supported through it so we checked her into the doggy hospital.

The first day or two wasn't bad, but then it got ugly. What happens is they puke and shit to the point of sloughing off intestinal lining. Dehydration will kill and/or the ravage leaves them super vulnerable to secondary infection -- most will die without some kind of intervention.

Okay, here's the part which pissed me off. The ER hospital costs way more than just a vet, why we didn't think to move her...after Izzy, we were just like, "fix it" and weren't really thinking of $, rather, "Oh, please, I can't tell my children the puppy is dead". We hadn't just lost Izzy last year, but Santa had brought a guinea pig which promptly died a horrible death over a few weeks worth of rapid declining (lessons: vitamin C leaches out of fortified food over time and exotic animals need to be seen by exotic animal vets -- regular vets may miss OBVIOUS signs of scurvy and send you home after giving a $70 dollar hydration shot that will do nothing to stop your helpless pet from hemorrhaging to death ).

Back to the Bel-Air parvo center. When an animal has a highly contagous and deadly virus, they house them in isolation -- sort of. They have an isolation room where they put ALL of the highly contagious patients -- which is a great idea if you think having one deadly virus is not enough for one pet. Not only that, but each day I visited Gurty, a different staff member would give me different precautionary procedures to follow -- some were like, ' Hey, she's in there, have at it.' While others were, "Here are the rubber gloves, and step on this bleach pad before and after entering the room and leave all protective gowns and such in this pail here." And some were in-between.

Infectious disease! Cross contamination! Get your shit and staff together, care facility.

For the most part, Gurty was the only one in isolation, there was a sick pet or two briefly passing through whith the stand out exception being a coughing cat who was there for part of day. After 4 days of shivering and minimal movement, Gurty was finally on the mend and walking around again. Things were looking good and she got her iv drug line out and they started giving her shots instead. One such shot taking place while the cat was there and funny enough, shortly thereafter, Gurty starts to carry her leg (the same one the shot went into). A couple days later, Gurty is realeased, bad limb and all.

They say "it's most likely a secondary infection -- it happens with the Parvo, see your vet if it doesn't clear up".

It was a secondary infection of a nasty bacteria, about the worst kind you would want to see come back from pathology -- the very same kind that will give your cat a nasty cough! Hmmmm.

The bacteria was so bad, that the drugs powerful enough to kill it had the potential to destroy Gurty's kidneys along with it. Plus, she couldn't even take the pill form b/c that would kill a puppy for sure, she had to have daily injections -- not only daily injection, but surgery as well, you know, to scrape out the infection (in her joint) and hope that, along with the kindney killer drug, it would save her life.

So she lived and will forever have a leg that bugs her when it's cold, etc.

I have never found another person on this planet who has spent more on getting a dog through parvo. I'm glad we were emotional and didn't have time to be rational about the money, or I don't think we could have justified it and I am so glad we have her. And once we had spent a certain amount it was like deal or no deal -- let it ride -- it became about protecting our investment. Again, hindsight, I think they could have gotten her through the parvo with much less treatment (two transfusions), but who knows? But I think I read 90 plus percent make it through with several hundred dollars of iv fluids??? Hundreds is better than thousands (with an s).

As much joy as she brings to our life, I would spend it again, but there is a part of me that thinks about Dar Fur and how can I spend that kind of money on a dog when shit like that is going down. The reality is, we wouldn't have put our family in debt like we did in order to give a donation. This was a, do what you have to do as it is dealt to you, kind of situation. As peace of mind would have it, my spiritual beliefs allow me to think that Gurty was sent to us and a way was provided for us to handle it (as well as a donation to Dar Fur, but it wasn't in the thousands).

And that's the story of Gurt. Thank God she is an awsome dog, could you imagine if she turned out to be super obnoxious. We had a stupid dog once -- we still loved him, but not very much.



Blogger kay said...

ah i hate those kind of decisions. you love your pet but you think well they are just an animal and there are people all over the world starving and dying. but i tell you i did the same thing with my cat. we spent well over $2,000 on him and he still died. but i would do it again to have those last few days with him. you can't beat yourself up about it. just love her and keep your great attitude about the gift that she is.

she is a cutie!

11:13 AM  
Blogger Cecily R said...

Once again, your label made the whole post for me...(I secretly pretend you write them just for me)

A friend of mine spent thousands on her cat and another one who spent hundreds on her kids' pet duck. We have a lizard so we don't get the snuggly feelings about him. I don't know what I'll when we have a dog that becomes part of the family and gets sick.

I agree with Kay. You can't feel too bad about it if you love her. It's a worthy enough cause to spend money on!

Oh, and I did my post as I got comments so I only really did a few at a time. It was much easier that way. See, I'm not really that cool at all. :)

11:29 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

We did the same thing for my cat, Lucky. When my dd was born she refused to eat. While we were occupied with dd she was starving. We finally noticed after she lost 10 pounds (that should tell you what kind of rough it was).
I fed Lucky through a tube for weeks while taking care of a colicky kid.
Lucky was a family member, money didn't even factor into it.
Though when it was all said and done we called her our $1500 cat for quite sometime ;D

12:42 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Kay, that's what happened with Izzy -- the vet was pretty much telling us she would most likely die on the table, but we had to try -- she was pet family.

cecily -- they are for you, just for you.

melissa -- we told people the scars were from where the bionics went in.

2:27 PM  
Blogger kim said...

oh, and cecily, most of our pets have ever only cost the regular care costs, so don't fret too much about getting one.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Melek said...

i can't even imagine how much money i've spent on zeke to keep him alive... aside from food and treats, there's the allergy shots for a YEAR on top of the $800 evaluation for it. then the anaphalactic shock he went into while i was out of town and had to be rushed to the hospital. the cancerous mole removal. the cancerous cyst removal... the leg stitches. getting neutered. i could go on and on.... but, it's so so so worth it.

it's like if someone said "well, your HUMAN baby might die if we dont [insert expensive procedure here]. do you want us to do it, or is that too expensive?"... i think that's a no brainer.

im glad you did it. her pics make me smile :) i just want to squeeze and cuddle her!

8:59 PM  
Blogger kim said...

mel -- they sure have a way of worming into your heart, don't they.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Smitty76 said...

Oh my gosh this post caused my eyes to well up! Your poor sweet little baby!!!! I love my fur-babies to pieces and I totally understand...I would spend the money necessary as well. Pets ARE a part of our families. I made it through many a rough times (depression, the illness and death of my father) with the extra special lovin' of my kitties and pups. I appreciate them!
Great post!!

5:33 PM  

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