--canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome--
It's not easy for the term above to come rattling off the lips, but Bill and I are not too concerned.
We're very happy, and we can both say the phrase with much more ease than when we heard it for the first time yesterday.
We're beyond thrilled because, for a day or so this past weekend, Kiwi's episode of, what our vet calls, "canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome" had us thinking we would be saying a permanent good bye to our "queen of the Lovestead Border Collie Nation."
To say tears were flowing at our house Saturday morning would be an understatement.
Bill had to meet a client in Elk, Wash. that morning, so he said his good byes to "the best puppy of all the puppies." The latter has long been his daily message to Kiwi.
Our plan was to take her to a veterinary clinic in hopes of finding any hope. Both of us feared, however, that we would not be bringing her home.
This dire situation with our 13-year-old beloved and beautiful dog started with no warning on Friday morning.
Kiwi would not accept her glaucosamine chondroitan pills. Most disturbing: she would have no part of her doggie biscuit.
Just the day before I had commented to Bill that Kiwi is a real "operator" throughout the day and pretty much any time I come through the garage into the house.
She knows the biscuits are on top of the freezer in the garage, and she knows that if she situates herself there, I'll weaken and give her a handout several times daily.
So, that rejection of her Friday morning biscuit was the first sign I saw that something was amiss.
Bill also told me he had watched her earlier struggling to get up, eventually dragging herself across the floor before finally getting up and appearing very weak when she went outside.
Kiwi would not eat, but she did drink a lot.
My first thought was dehydration caused from not getting up to go to the water dish. Kiwi has a bad hip, so we figured something had happened the day before to aggravate the hip situation.
Friday was dismal, to say the least. We were sure our old dog was facing her last days.
So, we watched her closely and kept her comfortable throughout the day, occasionally taking her outside and noticing the weakness in her rear end, often leading to falls. She also seemed very disoriented.
Once Kiwi could get up and start moving in her outside travels, she wanted to play games with Liam and Foster, but it was noticeable that her actual participation had become very passive.
She kept drinking water off and on throughout the day but would not eat one bite of food until evening when I offered her some cheetos.
Kiwi ate every cheeto.
That gave me some hope. Later, I gave her some bites of cheese, which she happily ate.
On late Friday evening and Saturday morning trips outside, it was more than painful for Bill and me to watch Kiwi struggle.
That's when we decided to take her to a clinic for observation, knowing full well the dire possibilities.
After Bill left for Elk, I started putting in calls to the local clinics, leaving messages on the answering machines. I found out later that one was not open but the one I thought was closed on Saturday was, indeed, open.
Waiting for responses turned out to be a blessing.
As the morning wore on, I started noticing some improvement in Kiwi. When I took her outside, she didn't fall as often, and I could hardly keep up with her as she walked on leash.
Bill and I also noticed during this ordeal that Kiwi wanted either one of us close at all times. That trend continued as did her refusal to eat her usual Atta Boy dog food, her biscuits and her pills.
Kiwi preferred cheese and Cheetos, along with a little chicken noodle soup.
About midday Saturday, I saw a message on my cell phone from Dr. Caldwell at Center Valley Vets. In my earlier message, I had described Kiwi's symptoms.
So, when I returned her call, the doctor said she would leave me some meds to help Kiwi through the weekend and that we were to bring her to an appointment on Monday morning.
As the weekend wore on, Kiwi's improvement was increasingly dramatic. Bill and I finally started feeling confident that her Monday appointment would be more for geriatric purposes than something worse.
And, that's pretty much the way it turned out. At our house these days, Dr. Caldwell and Dr. Kellner are our heroes.
The minute Kiwi walked into the exam room, Dr. Kellner observed Kiwi with her head cocked and almost immediately rattled off that term up above.
"Big words," I said, "could you repeat that?" She did and then went on to explain the syndrome, which now we are happy to know was "an episode" with Kiwi.
Kiwi received a thorough examination, a nail and duclaw trim as well as a manipulation with Dr. Kellner's "thumper." We'll hear results on the blood panel today.
When we brought Kiwi home yesterday afternoon, and she went outside with her friends, we figured we'd seen a miracle.
She resumed playing as if nothing had ever happened, even growled fiercely at Liam and put him in his place.
It's obvious that a few residuals of this episode still remain with our old gal, but we are SO thrilled and so relieved that the "best puppy of all the puppies" will probably play a lot more ball with Liam and Foster and give us continued joy before we have to say a last good bye.
I share this story because, until this weekend's experience, we had no idea of this mysterious syndrome.
To us lay folks, the combined symptoms are so dramatic and disturbing that they almost immediately suggest that the beloved elderly pet's end could be coming soon.
So, if you have senior pups or kitties, it's worth reading the information in the link I posted above.
Thanks again to Dr. Caldwell and Dr. Kellner for their caring and expertise in helping Bill and me and Kiwi through a very difficult time.
Even though she's still dealing with some minor effects of her syndrome, Kiwi figures it's been a good thing cuz she's enjoying royal treatment like never before.
And, we pretty much figure the "Queen of the Lovestead Border Collie Nation" deserves it.
Happy Tuesday and, though every day should be one, today is World Kindness Day. May we all find ways to extend kindness to others, including our pets.
Finally: I want to share one more link: a wonderful multi-media presentation of yesterday's Veterans' Day Assembly at Sandpoint High School.
Great job, Cedar Post staff!