Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rest In Peace, Max

I haven't updated because I couldn't - it was too painful. Max put up a good fight, however we chose to put him to sleep on Monday, March 1st. He had not been able to stand or walk since the Friday before. He started throwing up on that Friday (February 26) and wouldn't eat, either. When we took him into the veterinary hospital on Monday, Dr. James said that his primary diagnosis, anemia, wouldn't be causing those symptoms - it would be something secondary. To treat it, we would need to start the diagnostic process again. And there were no guarantees.

Rob and I had discussed this on Sunday night and decided that we had to be responsible pet owners and do what was best for Max. We got to spend time with him after we made the decision and Dr. James and her technician were very respectful. When we were ready, I was allowed to hold him while they gave him the medication to make him sleep. It was very quick and painless. And I felt a sense of peace that he was no longer in pain. We weren't sure that he was in pain, but he definitely seemed uncomfortable. And his quality of life was definitely poor.

We had Max creamated and have already had his remains returned to us. We have a beautiful metal urn with engraving ordered and plan to have a small memorial service with the kids after it arrives. Max definitely provided us with many years of happiness. I know he's in heaven being chased around and around and around, like he used to love us to do when he was younger.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Max - day 2 at home

We had a rough day yesterday. Rob called the vet because he was worried about Max's lack of activity yesterday. When we had his PCV checked, it was down to 17. PCV is pack cell volume - it should be between 35 and 50. On Sunday, Max's was at 12. After his blood transfusion, it went up to 22, but on Monday was at 18. We didn't know if the medication just hadn't had enough time to start working, or wasn't going to work.

Last night we saw some good news - Max pooped! That hasn't happened for many days, so was exciting! :-) This morning when I took him out to the vet, he went to the bathroom (#1) and it was yellow! He also seemed a little more awake. His PCV today was back to 19. That is VERY GOOD news! We're going to keep him home for the next 4 days and see how he does. We have an appointment on Monday to have his PCV checked again.

At this point, he's not stable enough for surgery and the chances that he'd survive that are small. We don't want to put him through anything like that. Hopefully his PCV numbers will continue to rise and we'll just keep up with the medication regimine that we've started.

We still need to work on getting him to eat, so I got some different, high calorie, sweet tasting (so I'm told), dog food. Max will eat a little bit if we make small balls of the food and feed it to him. Usually he eats the two balls that contain his medicine and then one or two more, so he's definitely needing to eat.

Please keep up the prayers and good thoughts!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Max - day 1 at home

We were able to bring Max home last night! He is on an antibiotic for the next 28 days - 3 tablets twice a day. He's also on prednisone for probably the next 6 months - 3 tables twice a day. He walked from the vet's office to the van and then from the van to the house. As soon as he got into the house, he laid down and didn't move. Rob brought him his pillow and he was still there when I left the house this morning!

He takes his medicine OK - I make a "meatball" of 3 pills at a time with some bland canned prescription food. However, he hasn't been outside to go to the bathroom yet. I showed Rob how to look at Max's gums every few hours - it's the best indicator if he's losing blood. Rob's home today on Max duty. Tomorrow we take him back to the vet for more blood work - hopefully his body has started producing red blood cells again and he'll be closer to being "out of the woods".

Monday, February 22, 2010


Our Max had to be hospitalized yesterday. After hours and hours of tests, he was diagnosed with immune mediated hemolitic anemia, which basically means that his body is destroying his red blood cells. He had a blood transfusion last night with lots of IV fluids. He's also on an oral steriod and antibiotic to hopefully combat the origin of the anemia. As the veterinarian told me this morning, "He's not out of the woods yet." But she's very optimistic because he's been responding so well to treatment. He's even displayed some of his "Max behaviors", such as barking one for no apparent reason, and laying down to eat and drink. (Although this worried the vet techs - they thought he was trying to drown himself in his water dish!)

It's looking good that we might be able to bring Max home with us tonight. He'll need additional tests and monitoring, but it will be nice to have him home - for both him and us!

Please pray for Max and for us. Benjamin is too little to fully understand what is happening, but he does as for Max - "Where's Max?" I heard many times last night. Sam is very sad and upset about the entire situation and I'm afraid that he thinks that Max is dying. I am reassuring him about the care that Max is receiving, but can't bring myself to tell him that everything will be OK - just in case it's not. Emily already has a full worry load as a teenager in high school, so this just makes it worse.

I'll keep posting updates here, so check back.