On Saturday night, Chris and I were out to dinner when I got a call from a former student. She found an “old, sick dog” and didn’t know what to do. She took him to the ER vet to be scanned for a microchip, (of course, he didn’t have one) and sent me this photo.
When we got there, the techs were discussing euthanasia. Apparently, when he came in, he had a significant head tilt, was barely able to stand, and seemed confused. By the time we got there (about half an hour later), he was alert and sitting upright. We couldn’t see any neurological signs at that point. The head tilt disappeared.
Chris and I couldn’t bring ourselves to euthanize a dog who was alert and barking. Between other emergencies, the tech and the vet discussed a variety of treatment options for the little dog. As the night went on, his symptoms changed a bit, and thus, the treatment options fluctuated.
The main problems seemed to be his high blood pressure and the fact that his penis was hanging out and not going back in. Sounds silly, but that can be a serious problem. The vet suspected that he was having a stroke when he was found. The issue with his penis was likely due to some nerve damage.
Ultimately, we agreed on bloodwork, heartworm and fecal tests, blood pressure check, and a suture to keep his penis in place. He also needed a Capstar for the dozens of disgusting fleas covering his tiny body.
The vet still suspected a stroke to be his primary issue, and although the bloodwork doesn’t look to bad for a dog his age, he also has some kidney trouble. We are hoping that, when the suture comes out in two weeks, his penis will stay in place and not require further treatment. We wound up going home with blood pressure medication and instructions to give him Tums to keep his phosphate levels down. We will see our regular vet in about 10 days to discuss continuing care.
Before they left, my student and her sister helped us to name the little guy. They said “he needs an important name,” which was such a thoughtful thing to say. They decided that he seems like an Aristotle, so that’s what we picked. We’re calling him Ari for short.
Ari is approximately 12 years old, although his exact age is hard to determine due to the fact that he has no teeth. He has almost no cartilage in his back, so we’ll also be discussing medication for his arthritis pain at his next appointment. His skin is irritated and missing some hair as a result of the flea infestation. His eyes look ok, and he seems to be able to see and hear. He weighs 3.74 pounds.
Ari is sweet and quiet, and he spends most of his time sleeping. He likes to be held. He has only eaten some peanut butter since we got him (don’t worry; he’s drinking plenty and may simply need a little time to rest and recover before he feels like eating). He turned down three kinds of dog food, but he perked up when he saw my pizza last night. He ate some chicken from my student who initially rescued him, so it appears that he likes people food. I’m cooking some rice and vegetables for him now, so keep your fingers crossed that he likes them!
If you’d like to help with Ari’s medical bills, we would be so grateful. We still have a GoFundMe set up for Pax. You can donate for Ari using that link or via our PayPal account. It’s under firstname.lastname@example.org. Any amount is helpful and appreciated. His bill for Saturday night came to $651, and we will have to go to another appointment in about 10 days.
The vet estimates that Ari could have a year or two left in his life. We would be overjoyed to find that special person who would be willing to love and care for him for the rest of his life. He’s a good, sweet boy who did not deserve to wind up lost and afraid while having a major medical crisis.