Friday, July 22, 2011

An early wake up call...

Things have been moving along nicely with our newest addition - Asha. She still wakes us up in the middle of the night to go out and go potty, but she's a puppy, so we understand. I didn't think it was possible for me to get any less sleep. I was wrong....

Last night at about 1 am, Trevor woke me up and said "Asha is choking". It took a minute for that to process. I jumped out of bed and there was Asha, on the floor next to Trevor. She was convulsing. After a couple seconds, Trevor said "she's having a seizure." She peed herself. We moved her away from the bed and the wall and watched with total helplessness while our little girl seized. I didn't know what exactly was happening, but I thought I was watching Asha die.

I ran downstairs and got my phone so I could call the emergency vet. We had just been there a few days ago with Maggie - she had thrown up a little bit of blood and we had taken her on Monday night. She was fine the second she finished throwing up and they think she had some sort of ulcer in her throat or stomach from heaven only knows what. She's back to normal. I guess that was good, because I had the ER on my recent contacts and they had all our info. They said to wrap her in a blanket and bring her in.

By the time I got back upstairs, Asha was alert and awake and seemed to be wondering why we weren't asleep. She had a lot of drool on her face and was coughing, she was also laboring a bit to breath. Asha walked down the stairs herself, in her usual midnight sleepy way. We put on our shoes and rushed out the door to the vet.

So many thoughts were running through our heads. On the phone they had asked if Asha got into any rat poison, we could not figure out how or where she could have. There is none in the house and she wasn't out in the yard alone. We could not get there fast enough.

Once we arrived, they took Asha back to observe her. They put bells on her collar so they would know if she started to seize again. Right after we got there, she coughed up some blood. That was more cause for concern. They did blood work and xrays. They told us that epilepsy is common in Australian shepherds. Another reason for seizures is liver shunts, so they wanted to test liver function. Now we waited.

At the emergency vet, they want you pay before they do anything. I was worried about this because I could not find my credit card and I didn't have thousands of dollars in my bank account. I found a card I thought would work and they ran it for $400. That was just the first round.

The initial tests showed all her blood markers were normal, no indication of liver issues. She did show fluid in her lungs, probably from a prolonged seizure where she breathed in some saliva. That, they said, should clear up on its own, but antibiotics would help insure it didn't turn into pneumonia. They wanted to keep her over night and monitor her. They were going to do another blood test to see if she had any toxins in her blood, just to be sure she hadn't gotten into anything poison.

I don't know what kind of fog I had been under, but at this point, I realized what was going on and I started to cry. I was overwhelmed with what was happening to our little Asha. Blind and Deaf, now having seizures. I did not want her to be scared or sick or sad. Not for a second. She has lived with us for less than 2 weeks, but she is as much a part of our family as any of the others. We love her with all our hearts and she loves us back.

They gave us another quote of what it could cost and we needed to pay. Another $350. We went back to say goodbye to Asha, she was resting calmly. When she realized we were there, she got so excited. We petted her and loved her and told her we'd be back in the morning and she was to have no more seizures.

We headed home and tried to get some rest. We were instructed to call in the morning and we could pick her up if all was well. They said they would call if she had another seizure. It was hard to sleep because we were worried the phone would ring. Luckily, it didn't.

This morning, Maggie and Buster seemed to know something wasn't right. Where was Asha? Around 8, I called to check on her. The doctor got on the phone, a different doctor from last night. I could hear Asha barking in the background. The dr said that she was alert and "energetic" and doing fine. He said I could come get her, but needed to monitor her. He suggested we go to our regular vet next week and get some different tests for liver function and follow up xrays to be sure her lungs were clearing out appropriately. Then he said "you are good people for adopting her, she is a very sweet dog".

I got dressed and headed over to get our sweet girl. She was SO happy to see me. Every nurse and tech that I saw told me how great she was, how happy she had been all night long and how they sat with her and she was no trouble at all.

We got in the car and headed to work. I stopped to get a couple things at the grocery store and my debit card was declined. That was weird, I had plenty of money. I didn't think much of it. I got to work and got Asha all settled in her spot. She was sound asleep in no time. I checked my bank account and realized that last night, I thought I gave them my credit card, but I gave them my debit card and my bank account was overdrawn. This was a problem.

Neither Trevor or I could get to the bank today. I called the bank and explained what had happened. They couldn't take a check or credit card over the phone for a deposit and I was going to have close to $200 in fees. In the grand scheme of things, this isn't life or death, but it sure was annoying. Then, the woman at the bank told me that she would come on her lunch break and pick up a check from me. That way I would avoid all the fees. Do you believe that? Umpqua Bank sure did right by me today. Not only did they come pick up the check, but they brought doggie treats for Asha.

So things are looking up....But now, we wait. We wait until Asha has another seizure, they don't give medicine until a dog has more than 6 seizures in a year. Right now we are at one and I hope we never see another one. I know the chances of that are slim. This is the first....there will likely be others. We will need to track them and monitor her. And then we'll see what our options are. There isn't much else to do now except wait.

I've been researching epilepsy and seizures in Australian shepherds all morning long and once again am disgusted at what I find. Its a breeding issue, apparently one that the Australian Shepherd breeding community ignores. So, these MFers have not only bred these animals into blind and deafness, but also into epilepsy. I love Ahsa and can't be mad that she exists, she will have an amazing life full of love and joy, but how many others like her will not. Its tragic and wrong and it makes me sick.

But for now, I will put all my energy into my sweet little girl, who right now, is sound asleep on her bed having doggie dreams. Sweet, Sweet Asha. What lies ahead for us?

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