Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Monster is Back!!!

Sugar’s neck pain is back. If you think you hear a deep sigh of fear and frustration coming from me, you’re right. She’s felt good since late January and I guess I thought we’d hit on a regimen of drugs that had her pain controlled. We switched her from Rimadyl to meloxicam about a month and a half ago since meloxicam is on the $4 list at Wal-Mart. The hope was that it wouldn’t make a difference and would save me a little money. She takes a boat load of pain drugs – enough to stop a train as her vet says – so any cost break is welcome. Don’t know if that switch has anything to do with her increased pain now, but we are switching back. She seemed fine after the switch until last Thursday when she started showing some signs of discomfort. Unfortunately we have to endure a 5 day wash out period before we can start the Rimadyl so I guess it is going to get worse before it gets better.

We’re not talking about a little of discomfort. She cries a lot and isn’t eating well, if at all and isn’t resting comfortably at night. Last night she paced and cried all night. I know that if we can’t control her pain, I have a difficult decision to make. I’ll make the best one for her, not for me. What makes this hard, is that her pain comes and goes. She has periods of extreme, difficult to control pain, followed by months of feeling really good. Was her pain level lower anyway when we made the switch to meloxicam so we couldn't tell whether it worked as well as the Rimadyl? Would she be hurting this much anyway even if we hadn't made the switch? I guess this will teach me to leave well enough alone. If I had my way, she wouldn't be taking a NSAID at all. I know there is risk associated with this drug class. But for her, the Rimadyl was working and my choice was euthanasia. I don’t want to give up on her too soon; because, well, I love her and when I look in her eyes I don’t think she’s ready to give up.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What a Morning!!

This morning I tried to poison Rosemary! With two senior Greyhounds in the house, one with chronic neck pain, medication time is a big event in our house. They don’t know they’re taking pills, they just think they get lots of peanut butter treats. FYI crunchy peanut butter makes a great pill delivery system – they can’t tell the pills from the peanuts. Anyway, as I already mentioned, Sugar has chronic neck pain. She had disc surgery two years ago and was pain free until last fall. When she began showing signs of neck pain again, we thought she had ruptured another disc and returned to the neurology docs at Auburn. After an MRI, a spinal tap, and countless blood tests and x-rays, no one could find the source of her neck pain. They did help us with a pain management program that seems to be working. In order to be comfortable, she needs a combination of several pain meds. Add to this mix, Speedy has a heart murmur and is low thyroid. Some days I feel like their pusher.

The morning routine is to get up and immediately give Sugar a pepcid and a Tylenol 4 w/ codeine. That takes the edge off the neck pain so she will eat breakfast, and protects her tummy for the meloxicam that follows breakfast. All three pups line up for their morning peanut butter treat. This morning, somehow, I managed to give Rosie Sugar’s treat, including the Tylenol with codeine. Now remember that Sugar at 65 lbs outweighs little 38 lb Rosie. After a self flagellation session, I dosed her with hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting and called the emergency vet – of course these things never happen during business hours. It looks like all will be well. Still don’t know how I managed to confuse a 65 lb white greyhound with a 38 lb red pharaoh hound. Obviously I was still asleep at the time!!

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