Saturday, October 04, 2008

If You Don't Have a Dog, You May Not Understand

Watching one's dog suffer in pain is a dreadful experience. Five years ago, our Jack Russell Gio jumped off a sofa and broke a ligament in the knee of one of his back legs. On Friday he did the same thing to the other one. You always know Gio is in pain as he puts on an incredibly sheepish look and sits in a corner looking plaintive.

We took him to the vet, hoping that he hadn't broken anything, but the vet thinks he has. He's given him some painkillers but we have to take him back on Monday and he may well have to be operated on. He's nearly eleven years old and an anaesthetic at his age can be very dangerous. I'm already an emotional wreck just thinking about the worst case scenario. I don't expect the non dog lovers among you to understand, but I would do literally anything to ensure he gets better.

50 comments:

Valleys Mam said...

awwww Iain , I am sure he will be fine,he is fit apart from his leg, my last dog was 20 when he died,of old age. He had an op at 16 . Our new dog is now 2 and I would br just as edgy if it was her

patently said...

We have a dog, and understand completely.

She is half Jack Russell, and damaged the same ligament once. Daft bitch* saw a rabbit and nothing would stop her. Not even a 10 foot drop..


*I use the term advisedly...

Farmer said...

Iain

My Dad is a farmer and had a sheep dog that got bitten on the foot by an adder. He did not even know until she would not get up out of her bed the next morning to go and round the sheep up.

She lost all her hair and nearly died but he paid for her to have her leg amputated - she still rounds sheep up but on three legs. Not worth the money really but he still did it.

Another dog we had was the only Springer Spaniel in England that was a dual champion show dog (Crufts etc.) and champion field gundog (retrieving pheasants etc.). Its the only time I ever saw my Dad cry when she died.

I hope your dog pulls through - looks like he/she might be a good ratter!

Graham Kirby said...

Iain,

I recently had to put down my 14 year old pointer who had cancer. It was one of the most traumatic decisions I have ever had to make. The weeks leading up to the decision were awful and I hope your old chap will have a swift recovery. They're pretty resilient, are dogs. (Tramp, as he was called also ran into a moving car. He was fine but caused £500 worth of damage.)

But the sadness and pain is part of the love. Non dog owners can underestimate the emotional impact they can make on us.

(Not a Tory nor West Ham supporter but my respect for you goes up as a dog owner/lover).

John said...

Well that sucks. I totally understand though, animals are very much part of the family.

Hope your dog's ok :(

Sir Rakph Perkins said...

Iain - my own Jack Russell lasted until she was 21 so yours is hardly old. Mine had scrapes, vet visits too but was incredibly active until her last few months when she deterioated.

I understand.

JuliaM said...

"I don't expect the non dog lovers among you to understand, but I would do literally anything to ensure he gets better."

I've got a preference for cats rather than dogs, but yes, I understand that perfectly.

Here's hoping he's ok, but if an operation is required, even at 11 (not that old for a small breed), I think you'll find he'll be fine. Vetinary medicine is overtaking human medicine in some areas, and even with animals, 'state of mind' in the patient counts for a lot!

Old Holborn said...

If you own a hairy chainsaw ( as I call Jack Russells) then you own a Bentley.

The go on and on.

I, however, own a Springer Spaniel, who are complete bastards. Her pedrigree name is "Bella, get down, get OFF the F***ing SOFA!"

She eats anything that flys.

Maggie Thatcher Fan said...

Iain, I have every sympathy, I know how traumatic it can be. My dog swallowed a jagged piece of rubber that stuck in his bowel seriously damaging it. He very nearly died(It was touch and go for a while) and it was only due to the fantastic skill of our vet (what a star she is) that he gradually pulled round (minus about 10cm of bowel) The bill was tall, but was irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

11 years for a dog is not old Ian. I will be, or rather my 13 year old dog (friend) will be taking our regular 12 miles Sunday walk on the morrow.

Tip: Avoid the vets like a plague unless neccessary (regular injections are a scam)and be wary of bloodlines, mongrels in the system can pay dividends.

I hope you do not have to face the worst case scenario on Monday, if you do then at least you know your dog will not.

Auntie Flo' said...

Poor Iain and John, you've had a lot on your plate recently with John's mum's illness and sad death and now Gio ill too. I do hope he's ok on Monday.

I have had dogs and now have two 14 year old cats, both of whom are dearly loved members of our family, so I understand exactly how you feel.

One of my cats is in reasonable health, thank goodness, yet the other is clearly not a young thing any longer.

I dread the thought of losing them, we would be heartbroken if anything happened to either of them.

Good luck to you, John and Gio on Monday.

neil h said...

Sorry to hear that Iain. It's a horrible experience watching a pet in pain, knowing that you can't explain what is happening to them.

Marquee Mark said...

I know exactly where you are. Last time I remember howling like a kid was after having to have my terrier put down. But terriers are tough little sods and there's a very good chance he'll pull through this, for years and years of mischief!

SpaceWeed said...

I Understand completelywhat your going thru.a couple of years ago my dog got sick i dont know from what and i took him to the vet.he said he only need vitamins and gave her to injections but unfortunatly he was wrong and ...worst case scenario happened...

Mike Assi

Mike Assi, Oceanside, California 92056 - SSN, Credit Records, Arrest Records, Court Records, Criminal Records ..

Mark said...

Sorry to hear about that Iain.

We have a lovely 2 1/2 year old Cocker Spaniel called Chess and I know if anything happened to him we would be devastated.

I remember how panicky I felt on the day he went in to be neutered. I do not have any children (yet) so I suppose that was an inkling of how I will feel if I ever do.

I hope Gio is OK.

Anonymous said...

I understand.

cherami said...

If he has broken a leg, it may be best to have it amputated. Sounds horribly brutal, but I have known a lot of three legged cats and dogs and it is astonishing how they cope.

Hope all goes well - we thought we had lost a duck (we did lose several hens, but a duck is different) to the local yob hunt dogs (France, no like England) and our rage and sadness shook us both.

Good luck to the little chap.

Liz said...

It's cats, not dogs, in our household; but I absolutely recognise the way you're feeling. Your animals are part of your family. I hope he recovers quickly - and it speaks volumes of you that you're so readily able to express how much you love him.

julieG said...

Don't worry,for a small dog he isn't really that old yet,and if his health is good otherwise he will be fine. We lost our beloved Border Terrier earlier this year - aged seventeen and a half, and she had 3 anaesthetics after the age of 12, and recovered quickly from each. So know how you feel, and always got very anxious myself. Best wishes.

Paul Burgin said...

No, but I am a cat lover and on that basis I can understand. The state I was in when, seven years ago, I heard that my beloved Dora had been run over, surprised one or two friends of mine.
Thoughts and prayers are with Gio

Karen Barclay said...

Iain - I am sure your doggie will be fine. My husband is an anaethetist and he tells me that the risks are very, very tiny. I know it is hard not to worry (we have two dogs ourselves) but really anaesthetics are very safe these days and the vets are hugely skilled.

Anonymous said...

We have a three legged Border Collie and a Springer so we know exactly how you feel. Fingers crossed but I'm sure everything will be OK.
Watching Casualty, are you mad?
Freedom to Prosper
PS When is John Prescott coming back?

Mike Law said...

As the owner of a Staffie and a Rhodesian Ridgeback, you have my sympathies and I wish Gio well.

Rich B said...

We are dog owners and understand completely. Hope the little chap gets better soon.

anonaLon said...

Iain,

Question for you: Who do you love more - your partner or Gio?

tankus said...

put it down , get another one that works !

Pete Wass said...

The potential loss of any family member is hard, and that is what this is.

I hope a full recovery is made.

Roger360 said...

Iain

I haven't had a dog, but several cats instead. I reckon I'm as tough as they come, but every time one died, or in one case had to be put down, it broke my heart. That's what pets do to you. Good luck to you all - hope it works out.

Torymory said...

I am sure that Gio will be fine - pets get better treatment than humans in hospital these days. I hope Gio is insured though...

I know how you feel however - my other half and I were very distressed when our little kitten died. When his "adopted sister" had an eye infection I was worried sick - especially as Tabitha was the world's worst patient (would n't take her antibiotics etc).

Greggles said...

I have a dog, a beautiful 12 year old hungarian vizsla. I know it won't be more than a few years till I have to face the terrible day, and the thought of it is horrible. Absolutely horrible.

From one dog owner to another, I understand.

Anonymous said...

As said previously, 11 is by no means old for a dog thse days, and I would have no worries about the anaesthetic if Gio was mine.

Wouldn't like to comment about his leg until the X-rays come back but if you're unsure, take the X-rays and get a second opinion. Like GPs, vet's determination to keep up to date vary enormously.

After his op, Metacam is the most often prescribed medication for dodgy joints and works well for the majority.

From what you've revealed, the statistics are on the side of Gio.

Oh, and the oldest JR I've looked after was 22.5 - and he was safely returned to his owners.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Do let us know how Gio gets on. Thinking of him. Mongrels are best, more intelligent, tougher, less prone to diseases. Avoid dog breeders like the plague. Good luck Gio!

Bill said...

Best wishes to Gio and yourself - We do understand.

From a cat person

Torymory said...

I think you need to add a question to your readers' survey..

(1) are you

(a) A cat person
(b) A dog person
(c) Neither
(d) Both
(e) Other... (bunny, snake, newts etc)

Would be interesting.

ramtops said...

I don't have a dog. I do have cats, one of whom - aged only five - is currently fighting for life in the veterinary hospital.

The sorry tale is here.

You have my sympathy.

Anonymous said...

My Springer can be a right little sod when he's got a mind to be (like all Springers really) but I'd miss him to bits if something nasty happened.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that your Dog will be fine. We only recently lost Tessa, our 16 year old Labrador to an untreatable stroke (She was diabetic for the last 6 1/2 years so could not take the steroids normally used). A Dog becomes part of your life in a way that is difficult to describe, like any other close family member (OK not human) you will do just about anything for them. Hope the Dog will be OK.
With regards,

Michael G7AZW

Anonymous said...

"but I would do literally anything to ensure he gets better"

I understand that completely Iain. I've been there and done that more than once, and I know it's agonising.
I sincerely hope everything goes well for your much loved little pet.

dick the prick said...

Good luck there buddy - legs are pretty basic things - yeah the anaesthetic's an issue but 11 years should be fine. All surgery has risks - all of it does. A leg's neither here nor there - quick repair job and out within 20 mins. Fair play for being worried but the stats are good.

When you get the bill however will be a different emotion completely!! Although that should be £500 or less. No, it's not a bad one really. Chin up.

Bad Bunny said...

Aw, I hope it all works out OK for Gio. Pets are such a big part of the family, and it's all the harder when they're hurt or ill because they can't tell you how they're feeling.

Hope all goes well.

Steve Horgan said...

Please accept my good wishes for your JR's quick recovery. I have 3 terriers myself and I do understand. Dogs are family.

Andy said...

My dog's got no nose..

Anonymous said...

Our much loved Border terrier has exactly the same injury, done jumping into the car in August. we, along with the vet decided against intervention as she is nearly 11 years old and with very gentle exercise (she has to be kept on a lead which she really hates) and pain killers (which she also hates and is expert at spitting out) she is much much better. Apparently period of rehab post operation would have been much the same. Do hope he's not feeling too sorry for himself.

Wyrdtimes said...

Patterdale owner here.

Wishing Gio well! - but remember old men have known many dogs.

Helen said...

Even a cat owner understands that. Particularly one, who was acquainted with Gio in his youth. Here's hoping, Iain.

Anonymous said...

Jack Russells are wonderful dogs, highly intelligent, wonderfully loyal and truly affectionate. I hope that all goes well for Gio tomorrow. Whatever the outcome, he will have had a wonderful life with more years, I trust, still to come.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain
Have been in exactly the same situation, with a Jack Russell/Border Terrier cross. Unfortunately, before we could make a decision about an op, our little fellow was diagnosed with cancer and we had to have him out down within 3 weeks. It was awful, my girlfriend broke her heart and I was as bad, but it's the price we pay - the price being that we have to make the decision to bring their life to as easy and painless a close as possible, one day - and in the meantime, we have to make lots and lots of decisions about their health and quality of life. You're not at the final stage, but you have to make the same call - if an op is what he needs, then go for it, trust a good vet and be comforted by the knowledge that you're doing the best thing. if all goes well, that's great. And if something goes wrong (which it probably won't), then that's awful, but you'll know that you've done it in a good cause - his wellbeing. I have it on good authority (second-hand but recent) that Gio is in lively form, generally. so, time to be a 'parent' and be brave. Best of luck.

Buddies said...

I hope all goes well - as someone who sells pet insurance I can understand the anguish you are going through. Pet owners need a great deal of sympathy during these worrying times.

Anonymous said...

I know just how you feel, but keep the faith! Our cat was poisoned (deliberately we think) and after charging us a small fortune for tests the vet gave us the choice of having her put down there and then or taking her home to die. We chose the latter. I then spent 3 weeks force feeding her mush through a baby medicine syringe, and glucose in water. Two years later she's still with us and as fit if not fitter than ever. I'm sure he'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes Iain

Been there - hope all goes well