Monday, August 27, 2012

What A Couple Of Weeks....

So things were looking pretty good two weekends ago. That should have been my clue... The following Monday, I discovered that Duncan had a grand mal in the kitchen shortly before I got home from work (the puddles of saliva and urine and the spazzy behavior were dead give-aways). I cleaned that up and fed the animals. As I was getting my dinner together, I saw Duncan looking for a stray crumb or two under one of the dog beds. When I picked up the bed to let him look underneath, I realized that someone had peed on the bed. I'm not sure when it happened but it didn't seem fresh, so it could have been anytime since Wednesday evening (when I cleaned up the projectile vomit). I finally got to sit down to eat my dinner and discovered a large stain on the couch cushions - someone had peed on it since I went to bed Sunday night (I never have time to sit on the couch in the morning and I didn't even glance at it Monday before work).

Tuesday evening, I discovered that someone had peed on the second dog bed. I'm not completely sure it happened Tuesday, since it was dry and I didn't actually check that bed Monday. For the heck of it, I decided to check the chair in the living room. Yep, someone had peed on the seat cushion. No idea when, but the odor was still pretty strong. At the time, I had three theories: 1) Duncan was seizing and losing bladder control while resting on the bed/couch, 2) someone had recently developed some sort of urinary issue, or 3) someone was being a total brat and just peeing on the furniture for the fun of it. I sent a quick email to Dr. L and his thought was that it could be related to Reyna having been so sick the week before. He said I should bring in a urine sample the next day.

For the first time in 8 years, I got Reyna to pee in a cup Wednesday morning. Poor Duncan was so confused...he knew she'd peed, he just couldn't figure out where - he even spent three solid minutes trying to find it. Dr. L called that afternoon to give me the test results and started with "since its Reyna, it can't be easy." Sigh. Her urine showed a lot of blood but had a very low white cell count, which is not what you'd typically see with a bladder infection. He said there were a few other things that could cause blood in the urine and low white cells (none good), and of course they all cost money I don't have to test for and treat. We decided to try antibiotics for 10 days and retest the urine to see if that fixed things. One of the difficulties of antibiotics is that Reyna truly hates taking capsules. I finally figured out a way to get her to take them without fussing - the powder mixed with not-quite-rancid meat soaked in beef blood. Nasty, but effective.

This morning, after 40 minutes of walking the yard, Reyna peed in a cup for the second time in her life. The results - no real change from last time. There's still a lot of blood in her urine, but this time there were almost no white cells. Dr. L doesn't think we're dealing with a UTI or bladder infection, although he said it could be cystitis due to a resistant bacteria. Dr. L is recommending an ultrasound to determine if there's a stone in her bladder or a mass somewhere in the bladder, kidneys, etc. The cystitis would need a lab culture to determine the type of bacteria and appropriate medication. We could try a random antibiotic and hope we pick the right one, but the choices are really expensive (and would make Reyna sick in the process), so its not really worth doing that for something that we may not even be treating. Dr. L said we can wait for a bit on the testing if necessary, we just have to be aware of the potential problems that could arise in the meantime (they range from nothing to medical emergency). Unfortunately for Reyna, I'm really broke and don't have anywhere near the $350 that's needed for the ultrasound. Paws crossed for Reyna that whatever is going on with her can wait indefinitely.

In the midst of all this, the rest of life continued on.

I'm still trying to figure out a good way to protect the top of Belle's foot. For now, a toddler sock secured with a velcro strip seems to be the best way to keep it safe from all the dragging. The only problem is that if she drags it though the litter box, the sock absorbs the urine. So now I'm on the search for a faster absorbing litter.

No, the sock is not falling off. This is the position of her foot when she's walking and standing.

I'm pretty sure this expression means that she's plotting my demise...

Assuming she can stir herself to acknowledge my presence, of course.

Last Friday was my 36th birthday. As a gift to myself, I worked my tail off and shoved 40 hours into 4 days and took Friday off. The weather was so nice Friday and Saturday - overcast and cooler than its been in months. I don't remember the last time it was so cool on my birthday. Even the pups were loving it - the cool air always makes them frisky.

Kodiak was very interested in the camera, until he realized it was pointing at him.

Duncan's such a handsome fellow.

Reyna said her teeth might be flat, but she can still kick Kodiak's butt.

I got a few really neat shots of Reyna jumping for her ball. These are two of my favorites.

And this is a fairly accurate representation of Duncan's opinion of all the shenanigans.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back To The Vet We Go

Tuesday evening, Reyna was acting a bit lethargic and didn't eat all of her dinner. Wednesday morning, the same. Wednesday evening, I came home to discover that someone had been very, very sick in the living room (who knew dogs could projectile vomit?). Reyna refused all food Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, so off to the vet we went. Her behavior was so off, even the office staff could tell something was wrong. Not surprisingly (because this happens almost every time we walk in there), the vet couldn't find any obvious cause of the troubles. Reyna did eat a little bit Thursday evening, but she's still not eating normally. She started chasing her ball some Friday, playing with the boys yesterday, and has been pretty active today, so I'll take that and be happy. And hooray, no more projectile vomiting!

In cat news, Belle's bad foot is showing some damage. The fur is worn off from the dragging and she's developing sores. I'm still working on the best way to protect it that won't absorb any liquid, since she'll inevitably drag it through the litter box. The poor girl is isolating herself more, as well. I'm afraid we're running smack into the quality of life wall and its going to be decision time soon.

And with that depressing thought, its time for some cuteness.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


This is how Belle walks now. I sent the clip to Dr. L tonight because I'm a bit concerned about how far backwards her ankle bends. I could be wrong, but I don't recall her being double-jointed....

Sunday, August 05, 2012

I Love My Bed

Its hard to believe that it hasn't even been a full three weeks since Belle woke up unable to use her right rear leg. It feels like its been so much longer. I'm sure part of that's due to the fact that I haven't had a good night's sleep since then.

Belle hasn't improved much since that day, but at least she's not getting any worse. The only positive sign we've seen is that she's had good circulation in that foot for the last week or so. There were several days early on when the foot was much cooler than the other, indicating a problem with the blood flow. That's better, but she still has no mobility at all below the knee and only limited mobility at the hip. She also has no feeling below the knee. There seems to be some above the knee, but its not consistent.

We went back to the vet two weeks ago for a follow-up and Dr. L was concerned about an arrhythmia that he heard. Last week, I took her in for an echo to check her heart. She does have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but not so much that we need to worry about treating it right now.

Unfortunately, the vet still has no idea what's caused the leg problem. It could be any number of things, but without very expensive tests or invasive procedures there's no way to tell. Dr. L has not been encouraging about her chances of improvement and its more likely than not that she'll get worse rather than better. She could have months, or she could have years. No way to know. Its basically all about quality of life now.

Belle has a permanent set-up in the spare room with food, water and litter box that she can access easily. She can't get on the loveseat so I have blankets and pillows scattered around the room to give her snoozing options. And since there was absolutely no way I could continue sleeping on a pallet on the floor (oh, my aching bones), I had to figure out a way for her to get on my bed. After poking around on the internet, I saw a ramp that was perfect - except for the $270 price tag. I'm a smart cookie, though, so I figured out how to make a decent version of the same thing. Its not perfect or beautiful, but it does the job and it cost a heck of a lot less than $270. I bought the materials and built it yesterday. Belle is already using it, thank goodness. Last night was the first night since this started that I slept in my own bed - I don't think I've ever felt anything so good.

Between the carpet and the shallow slope, Belle can cruise right up the ramp, even with the bad leg dragging behind.

Belle likes to sit on the platform and keep an eye on the other cats. Its also just the right height for her to look out the bedroom window. Guess its time to put the bird feeder in front of that window.

In other news (because I hadn't gotten around to posting about it yet), four days after I was rear-ended, I was side-swiped. Some idiot couldn't be bothered to sit in traffic like the rest of us, so he decided to drive up the center median of the highway. There was apparently enough of a gap between me and the truck in front of me that the idiot decided that was the best spot to get back on the road. In the process, though, he smacked right into me. And then he took off (traffic had started moving normally again). Thankfully, a trooper was right there and saw the whole thing. He caught the idiot a little farther up the road. The trooper told me the the idiot was being charged with hit-and-run, driving with an expired license, and a few other traffic violations. I got really lucky again - no significant damage to me or the truck. I'm hoping its been long enough that we're no longer in danger of being in a third collision. I can't help thinking that massive good luck in two collisions in such a short time means the third one would be really bad.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Happy 12th birthday, Mikey. I think about you every day and I miss you so much. I love you, sweet boy.