An Unexpected & Sad Twist Makes The Future of My Dog Gut Wrenching
Back in January, I introduced you to Bogart. He's my supercharged Cairn Terrier. There's an update to my story that is making a tough decision even tougher.
First, Meet Bogart.
A lot of people ask how we came up with the name. A member of my family wanted to name our new addition Humphry. We couldn't get on board with it. I was scratching my head and said "where did Humphry come from?" My family member said, "you know, like Humphry Bogart." As soon as we heard "Bogart," it took us seconds to agree that's the winner.
Bo is a mush. He's one of the most affectionate dogs I've ever come into contact with. He's always at your feet. He wants to be as close to his pack as possible.
A couple of months ago we started noticing that Bogart was drinking a lot. I mean, a lot. He would finish all of the water in his bowl rapidly and cry for more. He was so thirsty that he was drinking from tiny puddles and from our pool cover in the backyard.
We immediately made an appointment for him to go see Dr. Shapley at Brick Town Veterinary Hospital. After a blood test, we were told that Bogart had diabetes. I was shocked. We never give him table food and never overdid it with treats. He was a normal weight, too. The doc told us that sometimes it just happens.
We started timing Bo's meals and giving him insulin shots twice daily. As the weeks progressed, we had to increase the insulin doses and the diabetes symptoms got a little better.
Two weeks ago I took Bogart for a walk and as we made our way down the street I could tell something wasn't right. Bogart is hyper. That's the nature of a terrier. Usually, he's practically pulling me along for the walk. This time he was hesitant. Eventually, he just stopped and started shaking.
I got on my knees to see what was going on and I noticed that the dog had no idea where he was. I looked at his eyes and they appeared different. It became clear very quickly that my dog was blind. In a matter of five minutes, Bogart had completely lost his sight.
I picked him up and carried him home. To the dog's credit, he immediately started hesitantly making his way around bumping into things, but determined.
We took Bogart back to the Vet and it was confirmed that he was indeed blind. Like humans, vision loss is a possibility with diabetes. We just didn't think it would happen so suddenly. My family and I were crushed.
Bo was Bo, though. That's the thing about dogs, they are extremely adaptive animals. Whether they lose a leg or their sight, they recognize it and move on. There are no emotions. We humans put emotions on them. Don't you wish we were all able to adapt as easily as dogs? I envy that trait.
A friend told us to take Bogart to Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls. We met with the amazing Dr. Ringle who gave us some good news. There's a surgery that could give our dog his sight back.
Diabetes caused Bogart to rapidly develop cataracts in both eyes which led to his vision loss. Phacoemulsification is a procedure that uses an ultrasonic device to break up and remove the cloudy lens from the dog's eye. It's actually the same procedure that is used for humans and is 90% successful.
This doggy procedure comes with a hefty price tag. It will end up costing between five and six thousand dollars.
This is where the tough decision comes in. If Bogart were older and nearing the end of his life, I probably wouldn't consider it. But, he's only seven and could have another seven years left.
Like most unexpected life events, this is one I didn't plan for, and I'm going to have to get creative financially if I go ahead with it.
UPDATE: Since January, Bogart's blood sugar hasn't been able to be regulated. The insulin dose went up, but the blood sugar didn't go down. That's when another test was run and luckily we got another piece to the puzzle. Bogart has Cushing's Disease.
This condition is usually caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland. Humans and dogs can have this. It makes blood sugar regulation nearly impossible until Cushing's is treated with medicine.
So now in addition to the insulin for diabetes, there's the pricy medicine for Cushing's and more and more blood work.
Is eye surgery out of the question? No. My vet told me that once the Cushing's is under control, Bo's blood sugar should regulate and he would still be a candidate for the surgery to give him his vision back.
However, it's been five months since he went blind and he's doing really well. You wouldn't notice a difference. He finds his way around the house really well, he's going on walks, and playing like nothing is wrong. With our pool open, we just have to be extra careful to keep an eye on him.
Is this an unnecessary procedure to put him through? Ultimately, we would be doing this for us. The dog is just fine.
I love my dog and would move mountains for him, but I'm torn. Have you been through this with your dog? Do you have any advice? What would you do? I'd appreciate any feedback. Email me at Matt.Ryan@townsquaremedia.com.
I'll keep you up to speed on our journey. Thanks for reading!