Against all odds
While most people tuned into the Olympics last weekend hundreds kept a close eye on the activity of Bray vets facebook page "Pete the vet", a Shih Tzu pup called Leo had been brought in only 9 days after being purchased by the owner.
Below is how the events unfolded.
Saturday 11th August...
..Ms M bought this pedigree Shih Tzu pup from breeder 9 days ago. Collapsed last night, bloody diarrhoea everywhere
..Gums white as a sheet, total flat-out, semi-conscious. Blood tests show severe anaemia on top of everything else.
..Pup is dying & it's Saturday am. Needs intensive care to save it: will cost €€€€ & pup might still die. Owner spent the money on buying pedigree pup & hasn't enough to pay for the potential high costs of this. This situation is common, I'm afraid. How should vets deal with this?
..Pup sold as "vaccinated", but only 8 wks old, so cannot be fully vax & its vaccine certificates tell a story.... no ownwer's name and address - this cert could be for any animal.
..Not signed by a vet, no boxes ticked - this vaccine cert means nothing at all but many members of the public are fooled by this sort of thing - they don't know enough to realise that there's a problem here.
..So what to do? Ideally, transfer puppy to weekend emergency clinic for 24 hour supervision & care, i-v fluids, perhaps blood transfusion, antibiotics & all sorts of other possible interventions. Cost of this? Could be €400 to €600? And even then, the pup could still die.
..If the pup died after €600 had been spent, would many cash-starved owners genuinely follow up on much-promised payment plans?
..But.... we did a deal. Owner paid €200. I will accept that as full cost for total treatment of pup, whether he lives or dies, & I will do my best to make sure he survives.
..Soooo.... euthanasia of the poor pup came up as perhaps the most realistic option here. In many cases in vet clinics across the world, that's exactly what would happen.
..He'll get the best possible treatment that can be organised for him, don't worry. Will keep you all posted.
..Just 3 hrs of i-v colloids & little pup is already much happier. Head held up, bright eyes & even barking a bit :-)
..Sick pup doing just OK this am: bloody diarrhoea overnight & he is duller/flatter than he was. A long way to go....
Sunday 12th August..
..Pup update: sorry but he's not doing well. Gums are white as sheets. Giving him a blood transfusion. Thanks for all best wishes - the odds are against the little guy, but we're doing everything we can. Some of these cases pull through, and others don't: that's the difficult truth that vets need to deal with every day.
..Sick pup is called Leo, by the way...Blood transfusion has done the trick, now has pink gums & is up & about again - came for short walk outside with me. Passed more hosepipe diarrhoea, and it isn't pure blood any more - just dirty brown. It's still too early to say how this is going to go - blood transfusions always give an initial lift - the question is whether the boost is enough to enable his little body fight off the illness. Still not eating at all - no interest. Will continue to update you all......
(and this is a day off! I love working with animals like these - yes, he is getting plenty of hugs and nose to nose chats - but it certainly has an emotional toll. That's why vets are so happy to have emergency clinics to help with after-hours these days. If you had to do this stuff every weekend you'd soon burn out.....)
..Just settling Leo down for the night. He took a tiny lick of yoghurt but he's very quiet again. I'm afraid that it isn't looking good. That's the reason why these cases are so challenging - you do everything for them but despite it all sometimes, it just doesn't work out. And it takes a few days for the battle to be lost. Still, we aren't giving up on him - he IS a little fighter, and he's loving being held and talked to. While there's life, there's hope. We'll see what a good night's sleep does for little Leo. Will get back to you all to let you know before breakfast tomorrow. Thanks for all your support - it has been encouraging and it helps to know that so many folk are thinking of him.
Monday 13th August...
..Middle-of-night update: Leo much stronger, walking around, yipping like a puppy ought to yip. Roll on the morning....
..Great news now: I just offered Leo a saucer of chopped chicken & a little yoghurt- he hungrily scoffed the lot. First time he's had an interest in any food for three days. This is a really positive sign at last. Next question: can he hold it down? And will the diarrhoea be better yet? I'll send another update around lunchtime.
..I'm so happy: Leo has just done his first solid poo! This is the best sign so far - he really is well on the road to a full recovery now.
..Leo is back to his normal cheeky self at last.He'll be going home tomorrow morning :-)
Tuesday 14th August..
Leo went home today - 100% better. He'll be on Ireland AM tomorrow, 8.45am if you want to see him for yourselves. He's been a great example of a survivor against the odds. I'm going to miss him - he has a larger than life personality, even at just 8 weeks of age.....
Wicklownews.net would like to remind anyone buying a pet should consider going to one of the many animal shelters around the country.
In Wicklow we have ASH in Kiltegan and the W.S.P.C.A at Sharpeshill.