Dog Days, Part 2
When I introduced River in this blog a few months ago, I announced in a tongue and cheek way that he came from a Texas kill shelter with “a suitcase full of yet to be revealed ailments,” lamenting a case of very treatable but not inexpensive cancer and a mystery back problem that required X-rays, NSAIDs, a narcotic pain killer and half a dozen acupuncture appointments. Before we could even contemplate pet insurance, his list of pre-existings had Greg and I asking each time, “What else can go wrong?”
In answer, River’s baggage opened a bit wider in July to reveal the need for not one but two knee surgeries, the source of the back pain and likely the result of his member-of-the-pack lifestyle down south. At first, Greg and I were struck dumb with our luck, but dutifully proceeded for what was best for the 18 month husky-mix with the startling amber eyes: He had knee surgery #1 three weeks ago. I cried at the thought of River, not yet with us for a year, in the hospital overnight, in pain and perhaps confused. But except for some initial discomfort, he was fine. A few days after surgery, River was putting weight on the knee and a week later, pulling on his lead. The real test, we realized, would be keeping him quiet for another six weeks, when the plan was to have his other knee done and so bring us all to Christmas morning with a more agile and healthy canine.
On Labor Day, the suitcase spilled more of its ugly contents, revealing additional past neglect, when River was rushed to CSU Vet Hospital for emergency surgery on what turned out to be a previously undetected necrotic hematoma (a battle wound from his junk yard days) that ruptured, spilling blood and bacteria into his abdomen and over-loading his kidneys. Prognosis: Uncertain, but expensive.
|w/ dialysis bandage and feeding tube|
So when the hospital called on Friday to say River needed dialysis, a procedure that doubled our bill, you know what we said. We’ve now spent more than we did on both our cars combined.