Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Art of Taking Bailey's Temperature

In the wee hours of the morning, Andrew and I grabbed Bailey, her leash, and headed to the pet hospital.

She started acting a bit off earlier this week, though it took me a while to really notice a pattern. My parents watched Bailey for the weekend, and my mom told me that Bailey woke her up around midnight Monday morning to go pee.

On Tuesday, I picked her up and brought her home. Around midnight, she started crying, but I was so tired, I fell right back asleep. At two, I woke up again and noticed her cries sounded desperate. I told her, "OK," and I got up and went to the bathroom to find my pants and shoes. She jumped out of bed and was ready to rock. Evidently, I took too long, because she squatted and peed as I was putting on my shoes. I felt so, so bad for her and didn't say anything to her because I knew it wasn't her fault. I took her out anyway, and she peed again for a long, long time.

Again, I didn't think too much of it. I chalked that one up to being my fault because I didn't wake up when she cried to me at midnight. Still, I felt some worry. She's never, ever had an accident in the house since she was house broken as a puppy.

I monitored her closely Wednesday and Thursday, and I took her out every few hours. She did just fine and made it through those nights. On Friday (yesterday), I took her out at noon and then went to work. Andrew came home at 4:45pm and found a little pee puddle by the door. He took her out right away and she peed again.

I didn't get home from work until 11pm. After I got in, Andrew told me about her accident. I knew something, something had to be wrong. But it was late on a Friday night, and my vet wouldn't be open until Monday. I wondered, "Is it OK to wait until Monday?" Then I thought of Homie, and I thought about how his symptoms hadn't been that severe, and how he died suddenly, anyway.

So I called my vet's number, knowing that, after hours, it connects to the pet hospital. I explained to the tech her pee problems, and I asked if I needed to worry about bladder infection or kidney infection or what. She said it could be something minor, it could be an infection, or it could be old age (simply that Bailey can't hold it any more). She told me I could certainly bring Bailey in; it was up to me if I wanted to wait until Monday.

I woke Andrew up, and we took her to the pet hospital at County Line & Holly. They were so sweet to her. At some point, the vet tech took Bailey to the back to "take her temperature." I could hear the bells of her collar jingling as she led her away down the hall. That's when Andrew leaned over and said, "You know how they take her temperature, right?"

I laughed a bit at the expense of Bailey, thinking of my little Sweety prancing down the hallway completely unaware of what awaited her... the anal thermometer. Poor girl.

The vet came in and talked to us. I asked a million questions. Essentially, he thought the most likely cause of Bailey's problem was a urinary tract infection (I guess they're common in older females). He said it's less likely to be something like a kidney infection because she'd be in a lot of pain, especially when she peed (which she wasn't). He said he also didn't think it was diabetes because I would have noticed a drastic increase in her drinking (which I hadn't), and he said she would have been peeing a lot more in quantity, not just frequency.

I swallowed my fear and asked him if it could be her cancer (Bailey has breast cancer). He told me that cancer can present itself in basically any way it wants to, so it could be, but it's not as likely. He told me that if everything else is excluded, only then would we worry about that, and then we would do ultrasounds and scans and such to see her organs.

He tried to do a somethingcentesis... a procedure where he'd stick a needle in her bladder and extract some urine to test. But Bailey's bladder was empty, and he couldn't. He recommended that we put her on antibiotics to see if it helps. If it doesn't or she gets worse, I should bring her to my vet on Monday for more testing and comprehensive blood work. If it does solve the problem, we can chalk it up to an infection and call it good.

I feel better knowing that the most likely problems are the ones with the lower health risk. She can fight off a urinary infection, if that's the problem, and she's on antibiotics before it is a big problem. The next most likely problem is her old age. If that's it, hell, we can buy doggy diapers for night time and when we're going to be out of the house for more than 4 hours.

I'm relieved to know it's not likely something life threatening. I'll tell you what, though; it sure made me very appreciative to wake up and find my little furry bundle snuggled up between Andrew and me this morning. I sure love that girl.

Do any of you feel like your dog/cat/pet is a part of your family? I'm sorry for everyone who's had to lose their buddy. It's not easy watching someone you're supposed to take care of get sick, is it?

(Attached are two photos: one of Homer chilling on the deck with us a week or two before he died unexpectedly, and one of Bailey on Easter nibbling on her Easter egg).

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