Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Rehabilitation of Buggy

I saw a dog a few months ago for "eye problems." He had keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye - he was not producing enough tears to lubricate his corneas. As a result, his eyes were mucusy, cloudy, red, and painful.

He was pretty nice when I first examined him, but the owner said, "Be careful! He bites!" Then she did this weird thing where she averted her eyes from him, cowered away, and literally tried to hide in the corner. Moments later the small dog flipped out, snapping and growling - fortunately no match for the restraint skills of my technician.

This dog had been diagnosed YEARS before with KCS, but the owner couldn't - or wouldn't - medicate him. I talked to her about how she needed to be in charge of the dog. Giving in to this behavior was like allowing a toddler to get whatever they wanted for throwing a tantrum. I said it was like when your kid needs something medical like a shot, you do it even if they don't want it because it's important for their health. "I'm not good with medical stuff, even with my daughter," she said.

She ended up boarding the dog with my friend Leah, so he could get medicated consistently and also so they can sell their house. This little guy was 9 years old, and I figured he'd had years of thinking he was the boss. I wasn't sure how it would go, but I knew he needed eye drops everyday.

Leah brought him in for a recheck a week later. "He's great for his medications now. He doesn't even need a muzzle." I rechecked his eyes and he did have improved tear production in one eye. The other eye had zero tear production and unfortunately the eyeball had permanent damage. His attitude was much better, and he only got snippy once.

On his next recheck, Leah said he'd been peeing all over the house. We did a urinalysis, then ended up diagnosing diabetes. I called the owner and told her the news. She was certain she'd never be able to give the dog the insulin shots. At least Leah could get him started on therapy.

The next time I saw him for a glucose curve, he was a prince. His eyes were shiny and no longer painful from getting consistent medication. He had good energy level and obviously was happy. He was compliant for the exam and for 7 blood draws.

Although his original owners are still paying for care, its pretty obvious who his new owner is -- Leah. I am so proud of her for rehabilitating this dog, physically and mentally. I am impressed with how much he has improved life for him, just by being his leader and giving him the loving care he needs. She her version w/photo here. Cesar Milan would be proud.


Emily said...

Leah is so sweet! I'm glad Buggy found a better life with her.

Laura said...

When I read your version of the story, particularly the description of the manner in which the owner cowered in the corner, I assumed that the dog was a huge, powerful breed. What a surprise when I saw his picture! Your friend Leah is a blessing for him.

peevish said...

Leah is a heroine! That Buggy should be called Lucky.