By: Revanche

Words that strike fear into a dog-mom’s heart

September 26, 2012

“If money is no object…”

It’s actually not the money part that terrifies me. Rather, when you hear that, you know that what comes next is going to be a serious treatment or procedure that is going to cause your baby additional pain and no little anxiety and fear.

Doggle had a mini-vacation with friends he absolutely adores and they utterly adore him, therefore spoil the stuffing out of him. And we appreciate that to no end.

Unfortunately, he came home with a hurt back, a reprisal of last year’s limping pain, only worse because this time he’s actually vocalizing pain when he sits down too hard, he’s hunched up most of the time and can’t really bear weight on his rear legs.  This from the stoic dog that doesn’t emit a peep when he runs into things, gets stepped on, has had children swinging on him, accidentally smacked his head into cabinets, whacks his head on the kitchen table with a THUD every other day.  He’s in real pain.  Seeing him shuffle or scuttle, afraid to walk normally, slipping and falling when he least expects it, hearing him trip and fall when he turns too hard is just killing me.

We took him to the vet for an exam.  The results were alarming. He had a physical and the interpretation of the x-rays from last year was much more strongly worded.  As usual, Doggle didn’t react to the physical exam, but the vet felt the physical confirmed what he felt he saw in the x-rays: a serious disc/vertebral issue.  This was definitely not what we were told last year and put this way, I would have proceeded to the suggested more aggressive follow-up route last year, the one the other vet said wouldn’t be necessary if he responded to pain meds, because “a serious back problem” says he is a high risk for recurrence, instead of just a one-time oddity that is life as usual with a relatively senior dog.

While we opted to take a more conservative approach last year and that resolved well enough, the last thing I wanted was for this to recur, and to run the risk of causing serious neurological or neuropathic problems!

I didn’t bring home this dog to start losing him less than two years later!

This is my puppy. He’s my heart now. I can’t bear the thought of … well.

So we’re drugging him for two weeks to alleviate the pain and discomfort. He’s loving that. (No, he’s not. He’s already accidentally chomped my finger while trying to spit them out while I tried to shove the pills back in his maw. We were a bit of a mess.  Normally I’m great at pilling him so that he doesn’t taste the nasty ones but I let myself get all distracted and wrung out over the what-ifs & screwed it up spectacularly.  So I have a sore ring finger/nail to show for it.)

Meanwhile, I’m asking for a second opinion, and another recommendation for a good place to go in case this is the right thing to do. And checking the treat stash to see which other ones I can feed him while he dissociates his favorite ones with disgusting meds. We (I) may need to mix up some special Mom’s baby food and rice dinners for a few days too while he gets used to being on medication. He’s having enough trouble standing physically speaking, I don’t know if he’s going to be able to mentally muster the motivation to eat.

I really really don’t want him to hurt anymore, I really don’t want this to happen again and I hate that it did this time. This is breaking my heart.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In the end, the money part scares me a bit too. I live in the Bay Area now and not only do I not have any kind of friend, professional or any other kind of animal health care discount that might have slightly defrayed costs in the slightest, pricing is between 25-50% higher than it is down south.  – heart attack –

An office visit alone goes from $30 to $50.  I go into the vet office and come out $160 poorer, 90 minutes later.  Going to a specialist?  I’m not joking when I anticipate the office visit alone starting at $100 and treatments starting in the thousands.

Back in my youth, teens and early twenties, I could only afford as much vet care as we needed for my dog pack by working really hard and being creative. (Not that I didn’t just repurpose my own pain meds for Doggle today. This is totally legitimate. He was getting prescribed the same meds I can no longer use and they are exactly the same thing.)

But now, if we’re going the specialist route, we’re paying for it straight up, and this will sting.  *deep breath*  Wish us luck?

**  11:30 pm: That was fast. The second opinion consultation has already come back. Get us to a specialist now before the damage is irretrievable. Ok.

24 Responses to “Words that strike fear into a dog-mom’s heart”

  1. Poor doggie (and poor you guys too)! Good luck!

  2. Katie C. says:

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you and Doggle! I hope his pain is alleviated by the meds at least. Our family german shepherd has been having arthritis and other issues caused by being an older active dog, and it literally broke my heart when I came home and had to beg for him to even come to me. That’s how much pain he was in. So much that he couldn’t will himself to get up and come to me when he normally meets me at the car door with a tail wagging so ferociously it’s dangerous. So I know the smallest fraction of what you’re going through right now, and my heart is breaking for you. Here’s hoping whatever treatment is recommended by your second visit works. <3

  3. My mom’s dog is going through these types of issues, in addition to some allergy problems, and his pain and allergy meds are running her about $150/month. And we live in a much lower cost area than you do:) GJ for re-purposing your pain meds and saving money and their environmental (if not monetary) disposal costs. Hope Doggle is better soon.

  4. Mimi says:


    I’m a fellow pet owner and a reader of your blog that also lives in the Bay Area. My cat sitter gave us PSI discount cards that are supposed to work for pet medication, etc. I’d be happy to give you one, if it helps. I have extras. Please email me if you’d like them. Good luck!

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks so much for the offer Mimi. We’re in a holding pattern at the moment for further prescriptions so I will email you if we’re going to be much more in need. And thanks for reading!

  5. Kris says:

    Yikes! It’s awful having a sick pet, really does break your heart! 🙁 Praying for you all!

  6. Kim says:

    Sorry to hear about your pooch. For the pills, have you tried Pill Pockets? My dog has to take lots of antihistamines during ragweed season, and I found the only thing that makes her eat them is putting them in Pill Pockets. It is the same company as makes Greenies…

    Good luck 🙂

    • Revanche says:

      No pill pockets, we haven’t tried with this fella but my dogs are notorious for scenting pills inside things and shaking them out. I just hand pill him so that he can’t taste it at all and give him lots of treats to wash it down.

      Thanks 🙂

  7. I’m so sorry that you guys are going through this 🙁

    I hate it when Pod or the chinchillas are in any pain at all, so I would be a wreck if Pod was having major pains. But Doggle is lucky to have such good parents 🙂 I know you are taking good care of him!

    Sending good thoughts your way!

  8. Karen says:

    Oh, poor Doggle! I hope he gets to pain free soon! *hugs*

  9. Janelle says:

    oh my god. 🙁 Poor Doggle! My heart goes out to you… after having a bike accident with Buddy myself I know how scary it is to think that your beloved dog is hurting. *hugs* I’m so sorry 🙁 Good luck!!! <3 Janelle & Buddy

  10. Ms. S says:

    Poor doggle. 🙁 It just breaks my heart to see an animal suffer. I hope the specialist has some good news and relief for him.

  11. Oh dear. Poor puppy!! ;____;

  12. Linda says:

    A dog is family, and like family, you are saddened when they are ill. My heart goes out to you. Big wishes for pup to get better.

  13. […] The money was never an issue for me. I knew it wasn’t going to be debt so I was basically ready with cash in hand. We had already paid for the initial exam and associated costs: ~ $150. […]

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