Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It Must be the Water?

So the last couple of days I haven't seen Rocket drink any water. As far as I could tell the only liquid he was getting was what he was getting whenever I used a 3 ml syringe to give him honey, broth or water. He hasn't really eaten anything since Saturday.

This afternoon while he was sleeping in the driveway Uncle Butch and Mrs Butch came over in their golf cart to see him. After mentioning the water problem, UB decided he was going to set up his water dish near him. So he put out a couple of blocks to raise the level to Rocket height and I got his water dish. Immediately Rocket stood up, walked over and did what I've seen him do the last couple days, smell the water, look around, smell the water, stick out his tongue and taste it and then walk away toward the trailer.

Rocket loves being at Uncle Butch's
We figured he was going to his usual spot to eat grass or lay down where he could be alone as he has always been a loner. I followed him around the trailer expecting to see him go back around the other side but, no Rocket. Mrs Butch got up and we start looking around, then I see his butt disappearing down the power line trail. I keep following, Mrs Butch following further behind and then I hear UB start up the cart to follow.

I see Rocket climb down into his favorite swamp pool/mud hole, lay in it and drink a little swamp water. Then he climbs out, stands in the trail a moment then starts up the hill toward UB's house. The 3 of us follow along strung out in a line, every so often Rocket pauses, looks back to make sure we're still there, and keeps going. We end up at Uncle Butch's house, Rocket walks up the ramp and we let him in where he proceeds to the dog dishes in their kitchen and drinks a lot of water. Then he walks away, let's Yogi have a drink, then drinks some more.

Then he lays on their kitchen floor and decides to take a nap.

I guess he likes their water better.

So I brought his bed over so he can spend the night. I'll take his pill over at 11. I hope he sleeps well.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy 13th Birthday Rocket!!

My little man is still with us and made it to his 13th birthday. I got him to walk home from Uncle Butch's yesterday and he spent the day in various spots in the yard or inside the garage. For a while I sat in my lounge chair reading with him. He actually tried to get into his old mud hole/pool on the walk home but it was empty of water since we've had little rain. I don't see a dog  that does something like that is ready to give up.
Today I took him and Luna for a ride to the vet, not so they could be seen by him but so I could pick up the metronidazole I had left there the day of the surgery. Earlier I managed to force a couple tablespoons of ground dog food down his throat and he swallowed it. He hadn't eaten in 2 days so I had to do something to give these pills a chance to work. He had his pills at 10 am then at 2 and 6 I fed him a little more.

He seemed to enjoy the ride, he always did like a nice car ride even if we didn't actually go anywhere in particular. When we got home he wanted to snooze in the back seat so I let him, eventually he got back out and we hung out together, him snoozing or sniffing the air while I read a book in between the rain showers.

I also took a few photos and I think he still is looking pretty good. So Happy Birthday RocketMan. I sure wish you could be around for more. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Roller Coaster Continues

Rocket is still with us this evening. It's not been easy. For the most part he doesn't want to eat. I've run through all kinds of foods; cheese, raw chicken necks, hearts and gizzards. All kinds of canned dog food, brown rice, hot dogs, venison sausage, canned mackerel, scrambled egg, cooked chicken, boiled and raw hamburger, ramen and oatmeal. Most of this he isn't interested in, he's completely given up on goodies of any kind. A few days ago he chowed down on 13 chicken hearts after a little canned food. Next day it was 7 hearts and 2 gizzards. Then a chicken neck and a few gizzard pieces. Yesterday all I could get into him was one chicken/pork hot dog. Today I had to force feed most of a chicken neck. I became very despondent today as he eats less and less. I know the outcome is inevitable but he's still alert, still seems interested in watching things around him.

Last night he decided it was time to walk to Uncle Butch's so I followed him and when he got there he performed his biscuit dance for everyone, though, unfortunately, he didn't actually want to eat and biscuits. (I suspect he wouldn't have eaten some if he thought they still tasted good.) I brought his bed over and he spent the night, not on his bed, but in Uncle Butch's room in front of the door. He spent all day there too and apparently, will be spending tonight there as well. I visited several times today and will be walking over at 11 to give him his antibiotics. A little good news is that he did eat a little food tonight, some brand name deli sliced roast beef and turkey. Perhaps a couple ounces. Not enough but better than nothing. it's been almost a week since the surgery. One week of the month the vet gave him. I don't think he has a month, but we're all trying to make his remaining time happy enough.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rocket is Dying

There is nothing anyone can do. He has liver cancer and now I feel like a heel for putting him through surgery that accomplished nothing but a diagnosis for me. The doctor doubted there was a blockage, the symptoms weren't right, but because that stupid rawhide donut disappeared from the basement shelf at Rocket's height and right afterward he started refusing food, I like an idiot, latched onto that one hope that he might be fixable. Even though he's almost 13 and it was more and more unlikely.

Now he's in pain on top of the lack of desire to eat and I probably robbed him of his last few good days. I just gave him his antibiotic to prevent infection at the incision and those upset his stomach. After I'm sure he's keeping them down I'll give him his pain pill. Sometime after that he'll get his appetite stimulant. Same drug given to human breast cancer patients.

He spent the night outside. First he collapsed in the patch of black-eyed Susans in the front yard when he went outside to pee. He refused to get back up. Hal said he's been sleeping outside, let him. I placed beds and water bowls outside. Hal checked on him a couple of times, I had to go to bed and try to sleep. Rocket ended up back in front of the garage, where he spent many of the last few days. He drank some water while I sat with him this morning. Luna is now laying near him in a hole she dug in the sand. I'll leave him alone for now, he's always been a loner, never enjoyed anyone hovering around him. He likes to know where you are, but wants his space. Even now. I'll give it to him, it's about all I can do for now. If he doesn't feel better in a couple days, show any sign of enjoyment of life, well.... most of my pet loving friends tell me I'll know when to do the right thing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rocket is Ill

I mentioned in my previous post Rocket wasn't feeling well. He's been losing weight. He's not eating. He slept a lot more than usual. When my neighbors and I really noticed in July he seemed thinner and now and then was turning down his favorite treats. Also, he never really stopped shedding since spring and his fur had become dull. He used to gobble food easily grasping with his front teeth. Now he seemed to be licking the food. So I thought perhaps he had a tooth problem. I took him in to see our vet near the end of July. Not a tooth problem and everything else looked fine although in 3 months he had lost 8 pounds. He's been on an arthritis NSAID for almost 2 years, I took him off of it and within a couple of days his fur stopped falling out in chunks and he became more alert and went for a few short walks.

See how good he looks in this photo taken a few days after going off that pill.

His blood tests came back normal except for one thing, his pancreas enzymes were off the charts. One was doubled and the other was 9 times higher than normal. The vet then had him checked for pancreatitis but that test came back negative. So that left pancreatic cancer but at the time my vet thought against it as other symptoms weren't there.

So we left it there and we would retest his blood in a month. In the meantime I fed him all sorts of canned foods and found some treats he enjoyed, even boiling up burger and rice for him. I also tried to find lower fat foods which are supposed to be better for pancreas problems. A week ago, 2 weeks after his vet visit he seemed to be going downhill again. The canned foods no longer interested him nor did the burger. I took him back to the vet 2 days ago. In just under 3 weeks he'd lost another 6 pounds. He was given a Lower GI test with barium as he'd been straining with every bowel movement. Nothing obvious appeared. So I took him home again and he was put on 2 drugs. One is metronidazole, it's mostly used as an anti-inflammatory and has been known to help digestion problems. The other is an anitbiotic, cephalexin. I'm not sure why he's on that other than to counter a possible unknown infection. But that one is harder on the stomach and after last night's pills he threw them up. Today he kept them down longer before he threw up. Today thus far he's refused chicken, beef and venison burger.

I called the vet again and really the only option seems to be exploratory surgery. I really hate to put Rocket through this but there's a remote possibility the doctor will find something he can fix, although he's really expecting to find a tumor somewhere. If it's on the pancreas it's probably cancer and there won't be anything we can do. Of course, if it's cancer anywhere else that will be it as well. I'm not putting my dog through weeks of chemo or radiation. The only question is then whether I allow him to wake back up after the surgery tomorrow morning. I guess it depends. As of last night he still ate chicken although he threw it up with the pills 90 minutes later. Today he won't eat anything.

Here is a photo taken today. I hope I can take another tomorrow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's August!

I have been negligent in my blogging. But I have been busy. Many things have been going on but I won't go into detail yet, just highlight a few things and come back later to elaborate.

Rocket's been ill, he seems better now but we still aren't sure what's going on for sure. Cancer has been ruled out for now.

Hal is tearing up the front deck to replace the rotted joists and add new deck boards. The original builders did not seem to use pressure treated lumber.

I have picked many cucumbers and zucchini and grean beans. Pickles are forthcoming.

Working on making beaded jewelry on and off.

Reading large books. First one was Drood by Dan Simmons, current one is Raptor by Gary Jennings. Half way through that one now.

Had a couple guineas and a chicken disappear. The guineas while nesting, the chicken in broad daylight, no idea how.

Lost 6 pounds, probably gained back 3.

Been to the beach (Lake Huron) twice with my neighbors, took Luna the second time. She had a blast.

Only kayaked the Au Sable once so far. Lovely day.

Eleven ducklings hatched in June. Moved them to a separate pen from mom, hoping she'll lay some more eggs and do it again.

Waiting for the bread machine to beep so I can spread out the pizza dough for dinner tonight.

I think that's good for now.