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Understand Your Dog

By: Mathew Chewing

Jay was only 23 months old which is very young and was a huge shock to my girlfriend and I. The cause of her death was from a kidney disease, which led to a blood clot in her lung. It started when we took her to our special place where we use to throw a stick for here to swim out and retrieve, which she absolutely adored! This was her life in a nut shell. Although, on this particular occasion, after a few throws of a stick, Jay started to cough badly. At the time, all I could think of was that Jay had swallowed some water whilst swimming out to retrieve the stick. So we took her home thinking she would be ok. This cough wasn't getting any better so we thought, if we don't see any signs of her getting better we will take he to the vet as soon as possible. Well, It didn't get any better so the next day we took her to the vet and the vet told us that it 'might' be an obstruction in her throat from the stick that we were throwing, so he gave us some anti-biotic tablets to stop the swelling and stop any infection that may come from it and also to settle down the cough. This did settle the cough down somewhat of great measure for approximately 4-5 days.

At this stage everything was going ok but still I could see Jay wasn't feeling 100% and was looking really down and depressed - we didn't know why she was so depressed but thought it might of been because she hadn't gone out for a walk for a few days due to the coughing, so we took her for a walk around the block. On the walk Jay indicated to us that she wanted to go home. This was a little strange for us because she loved walks and loved going for her ritual sniff routine but on this occasion Jay wanted to go home. So we took her home and played around with her in the back-yard and giving her the attention she so often received from us, we decided to take her to the vet the following day. When we took her to the vet, the vet was telling us that she looks ok, her temperature is fine and her blood pressure is looking normal, therefore, I can't give you anything, which resulted the vet in informing us of plenty of rest, no strenuous walking and lots of water

So we went home thinking and hoping everything was going to be fine. At this stage we started to notice that Jay was going to the toilet more frequently than usual and was even going inside at night, which wasn't normal as she was toilet trained. This led to us noticing the amount water she was drinking - her daily intake of water had rapidly increased from 2-3 bowls to almost 6-7 bowls of water per day. Another interesting but yet stressful observation was that Jay still had a pretty severe cough still and it wasn't entirely healed, after talking to the vet over the phone several times, again, was informed that they couldn't do anything about it and was told that it should pass over time.

A few days passed. Then, one Thursday morning at about 6am, we woke up-to a spooky cry from Jay and us being the parents we are, raced outside of our bedroom to find her laying there with her tongue out of her mouth, her shivering vigorously and a wet patch underneath her where she had wet herself. I swiftly bent down to pat her and tell her everything was ok and moved her so she was in a more comfortable position but she didn't come round, so I picked her up and was on my out to the car. This is when she came back round to us, waging her tale as if she thought she was going for a walk. We got her out to the car and took he straight up to the after hours vet. When we got there it wasn't the best experience as we didn't get the service we were after, especially the costs that were involved I thought there might have been a little more urgency in the matter but we only got the feeling we were just another number, so to speak. We were told that it looks like something in the kidney at this stage with the information we provided. There were to be blood tests and would receive a call back by 10am.

As you could imagine, minutes felt like weeks for my girlfriend and I but we were trying to stay positive. We then called them at 10am on the dot and there was no results back and I still remember them being very negative towards us and felt we were not a priority for them. We then called back at every hour until 1pm when we found she was being moved to the vet as they could not do anything at the hospital, not even the blood tests, which I thought was extremely irresponsible and not professional at all but we had to go along with it. It took them close to 1-2 hours to transport her to the vet and when she arrived, the vet said that results from any blood tests will take approximately 1 week and was informed to take her to a different veterinary hospital where she would be able to get blood tests done straight away would be a better option. So, off to the vet hospital we went, obviously worried sick about her.

We took her straight there and was informed by one of the vets there that it was a serious case and we will have to get blood tests done ASAP. We left Jay there and went home. At 9pm I took the call from the vet and got the results over the phone. The result was far from good. Jay had developed a disease in her kidney and was loosing a lot of protein when she was urinating and was also informed that a normal protein count for dogs is 26-32 and a dangerous protein count is 16. Jay's protein count was 14 and was loosing protein fast. The cough was still there and wasn't sounding any better, so they kept her in over night to undergo more tests in her heart and lungs. As you could imagine, this was a sad time for us as she was our first dog and she was so close to us.

The next day we were allowed to visit her and receive the results from all the other tests. Poor Jay wasn't looking her normal self when we got there and definitely wasn't looking any better than the day before. We got the results back and it seems that somehow a blood clot had formed in her lung in which we were told by the vet surgeon that wasn't manageable and that we weren't going to get the same dog back that we had 2 months ago. They also informed us that we could get a plasma transfusion which is basically flushing out her red and white blood cells to increase the levels of antibodies, which is really only a temporary solution but we gave them the go ahead anyway because the recommended it.

The Following day we rang up the hospital to see how it all went and they said her blood pressure had dropped a little but there was no signs of her getting back to normal, so we were allowed to take her home. This was at least a better option for Jay as we felt she was very stressed in the hospital, being away from us and also hearing the stressful howls from other ill and injured dogs. So we took her home and were advised of a special diet.

I could feel from her she wasn't getting any better and we were also preparing ourselves for the worst but still keeping positive. Two days later, I had come home from work for some lunch and to check up on her. Jay was in a way, telling me this was the last time that we had together and I could feel that if she was to pass, then she would pass at home without anyone with her. So, I went back to work only for 1 hour and had a strange feeling inside of me and went directly home, finding her on her favourite couch asleep, resting in peace. I was in total shock but at the same time was happy that she was at peace.

Jay was a wonderful canine and loved only to be by our side all the time. She was deeply loved and spoilt to say the least and will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace Jay 28th Jan 05 - 13th Dec 06

I wrote this story to remind people of just how delicate and fragile life is. Also, because I feel if we were told to get a blood test in the initial stages of the symptoms, we might of been able to manage the kidney disease before it got to the lungs, I maybe wrong but all of you dog owners out there, always trust your instinct and get that blood test, even if the vet thinks your dog is ok, please for your own piece of mind, get blood tests - they give the result.

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Author Bio
I was inspired to create a website relating to dogs when my 2yr old puppy passed away last Dec in 06. Now, I have a new puppy named Zac and want to keep up the website. If you want to jump onto happydog, please feel free to there are forums so you can get involved and start joining in on the hot topics.

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