There is a line of a current popular song, that states; “Only know you love her when you let her go”, It is featured in the BEST commercial that is going to be on the Super Bowl, when a young pup falls in love with one of the Budweiser Clydesdales. Love know no species, and does not die!
I bring that song up, because there is a corallary with it in my life. You see, my family herd is usually so healthy, I take it for granted. Then this week, my dog Lucie came down with several symptoms of being sick- maybe even with a life changing illness. Her symptoms started last week, with a spot about the size of a quarter on her left shoulder, where her hair had left and the black skin peeled away to pink underneath, and a weepy eye. Then, a few days later, the eye had a gray spot in it, and the shoulder spot was twice as large. Yesterday, when I had the vet out, the shoulder spot was the size of 1.5 credit cards, and had a weeping sore on the bottom of it. Plus, the eye still contained a grey spot.
In my youth, I was the medical care plan for the farm’s cats and dogs, and did much of the veterinary care for the livestock. We ordered antibiotics and I would forage thru the vet books sleuthing to find out what the current animal I was treating was ill with. It could be pretty trial and error on the farm, but I got adept at it and learned what my first, second and third choices would be for each illness.
Then I have spent twenty-five years selling human pharmaceuticals, most importantly, antibiotics the entire time. While some animal diseases are not transferable to humans, a bacterium is a bacterium, whether it is in a cow, dog, or human. There are some isocracies of antibiotics, like penicillin can kill parrots, and while Sulfa is side effect in humans it is the first go to drug in cattle. So a working knowledge of antibiotics is ideal, as is knowing the spectrum, and how the resistance is to the antibiotic in the area you live in. What makes me nervous with Lucie’s wound is that her and I can into Tucson Medical Center each week. Hospitals have totally different bacteria, so different, they have another name: Nosocomial infections. Nosocomial Infections are those that occur ONLY in the hospital, and tend to be hardier to kill and have more resistance to antibiotics. To further the issue, Lucie is the “hugging dog” and she lies on every patient, lapping up love and attention, but also making a ton of skin contact. I hope that this sore she has is not from the hospital.
My Vet saw Lucie, and told me BOTH of her eyes aren’t dilating. Now Lucie is such a sensitive dog, you can look at her a little to hard and she will start falling apart. I ask her how her eyes are, and both of them close halfway and she squints. I KNOW this dog cannot hold up to scrutiny. So, I try to look at her when she is not noticing.
The Vet told me to get an eye consult on Lucie on Monday, then left me with two antibiotics and some eye drops. She called me the next day, right after I had looked up “eyes not dilating” on a Vet website and found that 40% of dogs with that problem could be blind in a year, even with treatment. The Vet was worried- she had me stop by her office and get cortisone; both pills and eye ointment, to see if we can contain the swelling of the eye.
When we had a sick cow on the farm, and it wasn’t getting any better despite all the fretting and doctoring and drugging we were doing, my Dad would give Cortisone. He said that cortisone actually masked what was going on with the animal, but it would always make them feel better. THAT would make us feel better. It was really hard standing by, doing all you could, and seeing the life seep out of a living being. At least with cortisone, they enjoyed themselves for a while. These were the thoughts going thru my mind
So this weekend, I am reminded of how fleeting health can be, and how much it is taken for granted when we are in our healthy state. Reminded that putting protection & clearing around my pet family everyday is something that I need to be vigilant about. That I need to be vigilant about health protectors, like vaccinations, grooming and teeth cleanings.
It is already apparent to me that my fur kids may not live as long as I will. I want to give them every advantage possible to stay with me as long as possible, and in the state of perfect health that is their birthright. Also, that I need to make sure that I do not project my emotions, illnesses and fear onto them, and be very aware of what is coming my way so that I know when a pet takes a hit for me (our pets can and often do step in front of an illness that is meant for their human). That topic, I will cover in another blog.
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