Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: SE Wisconsin
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The most recent trip to the vet revealed that Barkley had lost another 4 pounds or 5 pounds putting him down to 67. They administered hydration fluid subcutaneously, took blood and prescribed an atypical antidepressant called mirtazapine, which is known for stimulating appetite. The vet promised to call with the results from the lab tests as soon as they came in.
At home that evening we experienced quite a roller coaster of events and emotions. In the early evening, it seemed that the new medication was having a positive effect. Barkley looked better and had more energy. Instead of lying flat on the floor he was laying with his head erect and seeming quite alert and attentive. He cooperated with my force-feeding, which consisted of placing ping-pong ball size bundles of food that I made and then placed in the back of his throat. Although he wouldn't eat anything on his own I found something that he really enjoyed. It was ice cubes. One cube at a time, he went nuts chewing and licking It was a beautiful sight to behold. I imagined myself going to sleep, for the first time in weeks, with the comforting knowledge that my dog was getting better. Then he lay down and began shaking. At first, I thought he might be having a stroke or a seizure, but he remained alert and responsive throughout. And then as quickly as this episode had come it was gone and he was once more the subdued dog with the weight of the world on his shoulders. In the morning there seem to be signs for hope again. He appeared to be a little more interested in food. At least he wasn't recoiling on the presentation of things that he would normally love to eat. He even licked at some liquid I poured from a can of sardines, but he couldn't bring himself to actually eat anything. After his morning force-feeding I left the kitchen for a minute and returned to find him standing at the back door waiting to go out. It was a pleasant surprise. I had figured that he was done getting up on his own. Then even more good news. While walking out in the yard with the help of the sling I had under his hindquarters, he had a bowel movement. Something that he hadn't done for a couple of days.
In the mid-morning, the vet called (Tuesday, April 23) with the grim news. Barkley's numbers were all trending in the wrong direction. He called it multiple major organ failure. He named half a dozen different chemistries that he said were all bad which would include the liver and kidneys and he said he believes the pancreas. He said that if Barkley were to continue to receive the care it would have to be on an in-patient basis at a facility with more resources than this clinic could bring to bear. I asked him what could be done if his care was elevated to that level. He replied by saying that he didn't recommend it, saying that the odds were not good and that Barkley would suffer and he would suffer without me, being poked and pricked by strangers. And then the awful alternative was presented, euthanasia at my vet's clinic.
This is such a shock for me. Just as recently as February he was galloping around chasing after my neighbor's kids with the adults looking on saying "How old is that dog? Eleven-and-a-half! No way"