Though I mostly stick to blogging about my two horses, they aren’t the only animals in my life. I have three cats: Uncle Jimmy, Bear, and Woody. I also have two dogs, Buttons and Lucky.
Johnny and I acquired Buttons as a puppy in early 2011, shortly after I started working at the therapeutic riding center. My coworker’s corgi had been impregnated by her miniature dachshund (this coworker wasn’t much for spaying and neutering); Buttons was the only surviving puppy from her litter, and it was very hard to resist such a cute puppy.
Buttons has always been an exuberant dog. She loves to play- fetch and tug-of-war are her favorite games. She enjoys chasing and being chased by Uncle Jimmy. She loves to travel and often accompanies me to horse shows with work, where I’m certain she helps me sell more stuff. Her ridiculous appearance and friendly personality make her a hit with everyone she meets.
On Tuesday evening, Buttons wasn’t as jazzed to eat dinner as she typically is, nor was she very excited to go outside. Johnny and I chalked it up to a probable combination of depression and eating too many cat turds in the yard. Since our fence fell over, we’ve been taking the dogs out on leashes. Buttons isn’t a fan- she doesn’t enjoy the constraints of a leash and much prefers to run around like a wild thing. They’ve been going out on leashes nearly two weeks now, and you can tell she isn’t thrilled. She always seems to find a juicy cat poop or two in the yard while we’re out, despite our best efforts to notice when our dogs are eating something disgusting.
At any rate, we weren’t very worried, as she was otherwise acting normally. Yesterday morning, she was somewhat lethargic and uninterested in food. We were a little concerned, but were still optimistic it might pass (literally or figuratively). When I got home from work yesterday, Buttons didn’t seem to have moved from her dog bed. She didn’t get up to greet me or to eat. I carried her outside, hoping she might perk up. She laid on the deck, listless. Eventually, she got up to meander into the yard to go to the bathroom, then sat down as if she were exhausted.
I took her back inside and started to do the sorts of things you do when a horse is acting ill. I checked her pulse and respiration, both of which were on the high side of normal. I poked and prodded her back and sides. She didn’t react. Finally, I checked her gums, which were extremely pale. At that point, I knew something was very, very wrong.
Our usual vet office was closed, so we loaded up Buttons and took her to a 24-hour emergency vet clinic in Tulsa. After x-rays and testing, the attending vet diagnosed her with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Buttons’ immune system is attacking and destroying her red blood cells. Her packed cell volume was dangerously low, and the vet recommended a blood transfusion. Buttons stayed at the emergency vet overnight, received a transfusion, and began a drug regime to suppress her immune system to prevent it from attacking the new red blood cells.
As of 7 AM this morning, Buttons is better- her PCV is up and the emergency clinic is planning to transfer her to our regular veterinarian today. Buttons will need to take medication to manage this condition, but the emergency vet advised that she ought to be able to live long and otherwise healthy life.
I hope Buttons will be able to come home soon; good thoughts for my ridiculous dorgi are appreciated!