Friday, July 11, 2008

But You Want To Know

The advances in veterinary medicine have been both good and bad. It is wonderful to have lifesaving medicine, tests, and procedures that we didn't have years ago. But it also comes with problems. For one, I think it causes a lot of guilt. My recent experience with Travis had me dealing with 2 vets that couldn't understand that my dog is a being with feelings. Thank goodness my regular vet is not like this. A procedure such as X-rays aren't painful, but Travis doesn't know that this will be a painless procedure. All he knows is that he's been stuck with a lot of needles lately, so why should this procedure be any different. Biopsies and aspirations are most likely painful. I was assured it isn't that bad, but my dog does not know how bad it will be going into a procedure. All he knows is that the procedure may hurt and he is going to experience some stress about it. So when we got to the point of eliminating the problems we could afford to fight and possibly heal at his age, I decided that I did not need to proceed with further tests. When I finally said "no more", vets #3 and #4 both said, "but you want to know". Sure, I would like to know, but not at the expense of putting my dog through more pain and stress. I am not typically a guilty feeling person, but for someone who is.... I can see where such statements could really pressure someone into pursuing more tests and more treatments. Its as if not doing more tests makes you a sub par dog owner. I think a better approach would be for a vet to get the owner's perspective before recommending further work. And I do mean "recommend". Vet #4 was already writing down the order for the next round of tests without even asking me. I had to stop her and briefly argue with her about it. Its sad that during such an emotional time, you have to really be able to stand up for yourself.

While your hounds are healthy, you might start planning ahead. Imagine if you saved, $20 a month per pet for unplanned medical expenses. That really starts to add up eventually. Stephen and I have been doing something similar with our dogs. It came in handy when Katie had her spinal stroke. I had almost all of her expenses covered with savings set aside for our dogs' health care. I did not have all of Travis' expenses saved, but what we did have helped take the sting out of it.

Travis remains the same. He's eating, but being asked to consume 6 cups of food per day really takes the fun out of eating. I'm tempted to put him back on raw food just because its what he loves. He mostly sleeps all day. He still follows me around from room to room, but he doesn't have the energy to much of anything else. Normally, sitting home for a day called for driving me insane, but now he just hangs out with no complaint. I'm not sure if he is still losing weight since I don't trust my scale. He certainly isn't gaining any. I occasionally see glimmers of the young, healthy Travis, but mostly he just is not the same dog. Just suspended animation.... no better, no worse.
More pictures of Travis the way he used to be.