Updated: Jul 12, 2021
My baby puppy, Trevor, was just about the cutest little guy there ever was. His front paws are huge! He is always happy! His tail is wagging like a propeller most of the time. He had two perfect years of life before he got sick.
Shortly after his second birthday, we woke up one morning and his eyes, his big beautiful soulful brown eyes, were all red. The inner eyelid was up covering them, making him look like a zombie dog. It was terrifying!
We went to see our #veterinarian. She looked him over and said it was most likely just allergies. Try giving him a benadryl and see what happens. By the way, what’s going on with his skin? It looks like some of his hair is falling out? We had previously tested him for some mites and it came back negative. We did another skin biopsy while we were there. Results came back for vitiligo. Ok. Didn’t know dogs could get that. Does it come with pop music talent?
A few days later, it was clear that benadryl was not the solution. Poor little guy was holding his eyes closed. Back to the veterinarian. This is when I learned about veterinary specialists. We got to see the veterinary ophthalmologist. In fact, we got to see him every two weeks for the next 6 months. His birthday was February. By September, he was blind.
Trevor has an autoimmune condition called “uveodermatologic syndrome.” It is a condition that primarily affects Akitas. His body attacks pigment, which is why his hair was falling out and why his eyes hurt. After his eyes were removed, we then had to figure out his skin issues. This is where I developed a relationship with our veterinarian. She is amazing. She worked so hard to figure out the best solution for Trevor. We tried steroids for a while, but they were terrible. He gained so much weight and he was so unhappy. She consulted with the veterinary dermatologist (yes…there are veterinary dermatologists) and we learned about cyclosporine. He has been on this drug for almost three years and he is doing great.
But my boy wasn’t satisfied. Having developed a liking for his veterinarian, Trevor knew he’d need to find more ways to go see her. One day we were at the park practicing our left and right (he is blind, so he listens to me to tell him where to go. when he feels like it), i noticed he was limping. Off to the vet. Radiographs. His knee has a torn ligament. This is where Trevor meets the veterinary orthopedic surgeon. Trevor has a plate and screws in his little knee now. but he can walk.
Recovering from TPLO surgery, they emphasize that the dog should NOT use stairs. Well…I couldn’t have my boy be lonely, so I slept with him on an air mattress in the living room during his recovery. Well…I woke up one night, having sunk to the floor on the air mattress, to the sound of Trevor whining from upstairs in my bed. While I was sleeping, this little #basshole had climbed the stairs, walked to my bed, climbed the dog stairs to get into the bed, and was wondering where I was.
Not long ago, I was going about my business and noticed Trevor’s tail hanging straight down. Now, this guy has been through a lot for a dog. Three surgeries, painful glaucoma, torn ligaments, blindness. Through all of that, I have never seen him not wagging his tail. When your dog has been sick like Trevor has, you start to develop a paranoia about his health. So when I saw his tail hanging limp, I knew something was wrong. Take a minute and google “limber tail.” Its a condition that affects working dogs or dogs who go swimming for too long in cold water and overuse their tails. This is the condition my blind little basset hound got that day. When the veterinarian asked what he had done the day before, all I could say was “i don’t know…he took a nap? he’s blind!” I’m convinced he googles dog diseases when I’m not looking and tries to play “stump the vet.”
Meanwhile, I have two other dogs and a cat. Dixie, my senior girl, is starting to fail. Calvin has had a couple of eye flair-ups that triggered me from Trevor’s experience. Between all that, we go to the vet 2-3 times a month. There aren’t words strong enough to express my gratitude for my amazing veterinarian and the team of people she works with to care for my pets. She answers all of my dumb questions, my text messages and emails. She fits us in when stuff comes up. She tells me I’m not crazy, even though I totally am.
Do some research on the veterinary field. I think you’ll find what I did. These people go to medical school and get paid 1/2 what a human doctor makes. And the technicians/assistants are essentially minimum wage nurses. People are constantly rude to them. They have the nerve to tell these people they should treat pets for free because they love animals. Veterinarians are much more likely to die by suicide than other professions. The statistics are terrifying. But they have never once failed to treat me and my pets with patience, kindness, and compassion. Even before I became a near-constant presence at the clinic, they always took excellent care of us.
They hold my dogs’ lives in their hands. And I will defend them forever.