January 17-18, 2016
White Dog and the others had already taken up positions surrounding Ferguson in the short two minutes it took me to get into the house. There were no questions just an Army of determined faces, eyes flashing their resolve that the fight was NOT over yet. From the center Ferguson sighed a glad-to-be-home sigh.
Sunday morning things looked better. Our boy was acting a bit perkier as a result of the new antbiotic fighting his high white blood cell count. We were cautiously happy. After a hearty, for him, breakfast, Fergus napped comfortably.
Mid-morning, Steve carried him out to me. His voice was shaking. "I don't think Ferguson can see." Our boy was not tracking and his eyes were unfocused. Strangely, he was otherwise, unchanged from the morning.
But it was a downward slide and by early evening, Ferguson was limp and panting. His tongue lolled. We did emergency triage to help the immediate situation and brought his breathing and heart rate back to "normal." Then we headed to the ER.
Like many moments in medicine, an exact explanation was not forthcoming. His temperature was low. But his heart rate was fine (by then), and he was not dehydrated. There was no clear reason for the blindness but it seemed to point to the fact that he had suffered a small stroke. When we told them we had O2 capabilities at home, the vet in attendence allowed us to take him home with orders to give him oxygen, monitor his vitals, keep him hydrated, and to bring him back immediately if something happened. Otherwise we were to call Dr. Julia first thing.
Lisa took detailed notes and our vet called us midday to bring him in. She did a thorough exam. He is anemic and his body temperature is still low. He still could not walk. His tumor has not increased in size nor does it seem to have attacked the optic nerve.
She was glad he was still eating and drinking (with help) and was thrilled that his digestive system was functioning. But she was puzzled.
"It might have been a stroke," she agreed with the ER vet. "and if that is the case we should see some improvement over the next three to five days. That is what happens when dogs have strokes, recovery is surprising. I don't think the cancer has moved to the brain; that usually presents as seizures and he is not having those. I am going to take him off of everything except his antibiotic and a light prednisone dose. No more gabapenten. Let's scale back the turmeric just in case he is having a reaction to the combination or has reached a tolerance level...he has such a touchy line."
Steve repeated back her instructions as he typed them into his phone. "Keep track of his temperature and watching his breathing," she added. "Call me tomorrow midday with a report."
Then she paused and just in the way she avoided my eyes I knew what was coming next. "if there is no improvement in the next few days, it might be time."