Saturday, March 2, 2024

A dog’s journey: my road to recovery

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I know I usually only write one column at the end of the year, but I’ve had a terrible time and just need to share.
Ditch interrupts normal programming to ask a favour of From the Ridge readers.
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Ditch here.

I know I usually only write one column at the end of the year, but I’ve had a terrible time and just need to share.

It all started back in early February.

Steve, the boss and my mate, noticed I was a bit off. I’m usually full of beans but wasn’t feeling myself.

So, he rested me for the week.

No easy matter for him as I’m the only dog around here but it’s amazing what a determined cocky with lanes and a rattle can do when he has too.

Anyway, one day he needed my help to take some sheep down to the farm 5km down the road.

I didn’t feel great, but was keen to give him a hand and spent most of the time on the back of the ute anyway.

We got them there but when we were taking them up the farm to a paddock, I just didn’t have any more to give and had to lie down.

He came back to have a look at me and then I was sick right in front of him.

He chained me up to the fence but honestly, he didn’t have to because I wasn’t going anywhere and took the mob away himself.

Then he came back with the ute and said he thought he’d better get me to the vet quick as.

Nicolette from Vet Services came out to have a look at me and took me away for a whole bunch of tests.

Later she rang Steve and said that my red cell blood count should be 40 but was just 10 and it was remarkable that I should still be wandering around wagging my tail. She said it was an emergency and asked if he had another big dog that they could use as a blood donor to save my life, but he didn’t even have a little one.

So, she got her policewoman friend to bring her big dog in and that dog donated a whole lot of blood that they put into me and made me feel much better than I had for some time.

Steve took wine around to the police station, but the security guards wouldn’t let him in with it, so he left it at the door hoping the nice policewoman ended up with it. He wondered if he should have left some dog tucker for her dog as well.

Then he went around to see Nicolete.

She reckoned I might have something called Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia. He had to get his farm notebook out and write it down.

She went on to tell him that it is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks and removes its own red blood cells, thus leading to severe anaemia, an unhealthy yellow colouring of the tissues called jaundice, as well as an assortment of life-threatening complications. Mortality approaches 70%, so an aggressive approach was necessary. Blood transfusions and immune-suppressive drugs are needed, she said.

He said it sounded expensive and she said it was.

He looked at me for a bit and said, “Oh well I found him dumped in the water table as a tiny pup, so he doesn’t owe me anything and besides, I haven’t got another dog and I’m sort of fond of him so do what you have too.”

I stayed at the vets for several days and when he came and picked me up they gave him a whole lot of pills and plenty of instructions.

For the first week or so he was hiding eight different pills in little meat treats. One of them was radioactive with strict instructions for him not to touch it, but he didn’t have any qualms about me scoffing it down.

Two other ones had come from the local chemist he noted.

He soon found out that the best way to disguise several pills was with a small squeezed-out portion of the sausage meat that Jane had in the fridge for making meatloaf and I’ve been having that every day for three months now. It’s delicious.

I didn’t do any work for another six weeks and to be honest, I wasn’t up to it.

I did notice the boss was getting fit and lean though.

My blood count has slowly come back up to normal and now Nicolete has him only giving me a pill a day and I have to say I’m feeling a lot better although apparently I’m not out of the woods yet.

It’s a rare condition, but the vets see a couple a year and others probably die that they don’t see.

So, if your dog or cat is suddenly lethargic with pale or yellow gums, get them into the vet quickly just in case it’s this disease.

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