Saturday, March 6, 2021

Marlene


Hi Everyone,

Hope you're all doing well. I'm writing a post today about Marlene. She's our husky mix who we rescued from a bad situation back in October of 2015. We don't know how old she is, a rough estimate is 14 or 15.

I always like to share when our animals are sick, and what we do to remedy them. I think that it helps others out there who might be dealing with the same thing. I've learned a lot from reading other people's pet stories!

Last Wednesday, she suddenly couldn't walk. She kept falling over. Lately she'd become incontinent and started to lose her appetite. Now she was refusing to eat anything and wouldn't even drink her water.

We brought her to the vet on Thursday. They ran some blood tests and discovered she has kidney disease and liver damage. They also diagnosed her with Vestibular Disease - a canine/feline version of vertigo. She was prescribed anti-nausea pills and we decided that getting her eating again would be the first hurdle. They had to give her fluids to rehydrate her and we got some kidney-formula wet food to help support her kidneys a little better. The liver damage is likely caused by the fact that the kidneys aren't working properly and excreting toxins. The liver is having a hard time processing those toxins - especially since Marlene is refusing to eat.

She was also diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy (a disease affecting the spinal cord, resulting in weakness/paralysis of the hind legs); and dementia - but we already knew this by her behaviour because my late pug Winston also suffered from that - and I saw the same symptoms in Marlene.

Vestibular Disease is characterized by eye darting, head tilting, falling over to the side where she tilts her head, wobbliness, dizziness, nausea and incontinence. The symptoms are frighteningly similar to those of a stroke. In the video above you can see her eyes darting. The poor girl was living in a spinning world for 4 days. I had vertigo in my teenage years and it was unbearable. Vestibular Disease can be caused by several things: brain damage or brain disease, inner ear infection, head trauma, toxins or just old age. There is no prescription to cure it unless there is an infection which would be treated with antibiotics. It is supposed to go away after 24-48 hours. If it doesn't go away in that time frame, the diagnosis is not good because it has to do with brain disease. Marlene has no infections.

It's been a 24/7 duty to take care of her, which is hard, but I love her so much so of course I will take care of her the best I can. Her dementia seemed to be getting worse too, as she didn't appear to recognize us or the other pets. She seemed lost. ­čśč We were losing hope when it became the fourth day where she didn't eat anything. I called the vet and they suggested blending the food with water and "force feeding" her. I had a large syringe in my medicine cabinet so as Alex was holding her mouth open, I was feeding her. Just like a baby, she wore a bib and tried to spit it all out, but finally she was eating.

This morning, her eyes stopped darting and she's able to walk on her own, but she still tilts her head and wobbles, so we need to walk on the left side of her. She is showing some signs of knowing us again, she came over to me to lie down next to me by my desk.


The biggest challenge at this point is to get her eating on her own. We tried everything imaginable...beef, liver, chicken, pork...potatoes, cheese, carrots, toast, rice, cat food, baby food, McDonalds French fries and even Capt' Crunch cereal! We even tried to give her lollypops, that used to be her favourite treat! She turns her nose at everything. But she is drinking water on her own - a good sign!

If by Monday she is refusing to eat on her own, Alex and I will have some big decisions to make. Would you please keep her in your thoughts my friends? I won't be participating in my usual blog hops/blog parties until things settle a little around here. I hope you all understand! I will still host the Thursday Art Date, but may not be posting too much there, though I think that I need to continue to do some art because it will bring me some joy and get my mind off my troubles!

41 comments:

Tom said...

...sad news, good luck to you.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Rain,

I am so sorry to hear about Marlene's illness. I am sending hugs, healing wishes and prayers for you and Marlene.

bobbie said...

My heart goes out to you and your fur baby ~ you are doing all the right things. Hugs if I may to you and your family; chin or ear scritches to Marlene.

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Dear Rain, I am so saddened to read about Marlene, you are doing the best you can for her, keep telling yourselves that.. sadly age has an affect on every living thing. I recognise what you say about those signs from Marlene mine and hubbies first dog Jade had kidney disease causing incontinence. Cattarahs and also dementia for two years we could not move any furniture for fear of her bumping into things. When her appetite was low we would hand feed her, she'd have as much as she wanted.
We had nearly 18 glorious years together before her time came. Rescued as a pup she was our friend till the end and one never to be forgotten as she welcomed our three children into the world one by one like they were her very own.
Stay strong and spend every precious moment with her because even if you think she does not recognise you, she does and needs you right by her side.
Thinking of you all Hugs Tracey xx

Valerie-Jael said...

Sorry to hear about your Marlene, this is a hard time for you! All the best for you all. Hugs, Valerie

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i don't even know what to say except...old age sucks. i really hope things pick up for marlene. she certainly knows what you are doing for her.

NanaDiana said...

I am so sorry. It is hard to know when to let go, isn't it? We want to keep them because of our deep and abiding love for them but they sometimes get to the point where the love we have can't save them. Savor every single second with her while you can. You have been wonderful rescue parents to her and what a happy, good life she has had. God bless you as you make the hard decisions ahead of you. Love to you and prayers- Diana

Elephant's Child said...

Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring to you all.
It is soooo hard. Our Jazz has some medical issues at the moment too. His thyroid is over active. He eats everything he can find and asks for more. He has developed a heart murmur and his kidneys and his liver are under siege. Early days here but we are worried. Just as you are.

Laurie said...

I’m sorry to hear this Rain, it’s a difficult time, and boy have we been there, too many times. I’m sending all the healing thoughts and positive energy I can to her. We had a beautiful springer spaniel pass on from this very same thing. My thoughts are with you over the next while, I know it’s hard work to save an older dog who’s instinct is to just die. Love is strong medicine as well.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Poor old Marlene! I'm glad she has such dedicated nurses in you and Alex. Sending best wishes to her and you that there will be an improvement in her condition.

Leftycrafter said...

Everyone has said what I was thinking. You guys are such a great fur parents. Give her all the love you can for whatever time she has left. Savor it. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

sandy said...

I'll pray ...in a way that I believe is the most helpful....To see the truth about her , that she is strong, healthy, acting young and enjoying romping around. That no disease can remain in a creature God created when the "truth" is what we ask to see.

Martha said...

I am so sorry Rain. I sure hope she will continue to improve. It's so heartbreaking when our sweet babies start to fail. You will be in my thoughts.

Betty said...

Hello Rain I just want to send my heartfelt blessings to your beautiful Marlene for healing and peace and to let you know I will pray for her and think about her a lot. She is in the best place and no matter how ill or confused she may become, I am sure she will know how much she is loved and sense the caring going on around her. It is so sad and hard to make decisions about our pets. I had to make decisions about Amber Cat and still go over it and over it at night. I hope you will feel confident and strong in whatever you decide is best for Marlene and of course am praying for her recovery. Take care, Betty x

Cloudia said...

Lucky she is receiving such wonderful Care at your hands.

Elkes Lebensgl├╝ck said...

This decision is so difficult in the heart, dear Rain, for you
Poor Marlene, I think of you!
HUg Elke

Lowcarb team member said...

I am so sorry to read about Marlene's illness.
Saying a prayer and sending healing wishes.

All the best Jan

DVArtist said...

Rain, my dear friend. As you know I am a retired Vet Tech and know of all of these symptoms. Yes, you and Alex have a big decision to make. I know you two are giving her the very best care and that she knows that. I am sending prayers that the goddess shows you the way. Big hugs to you both.

Christine said...

So very sorry about Marlene, you are in our thoughts. This is such a painful stressful time for you.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'm saddened by the news of Marlene. I certainly hope things improve for her and she starts eating on her own. Bless you for taking her in and giving her a much better life for the past six years. I will keep you and her in my thoughts, dear.

Leanna said...

It's scary when you see the eyes darting like that. Lucy has it too. When it first happened it scared the crap out of David and me. I looked up the symptoms and became a little alarmed. She has only had three episodes so far and it has happened at about two to three weeks intervals. We are watching her closely. If the episodes continue and become closer together then we will take her to the vet. But so far so good for her. I dread the day that she become worse than your beloved Marlene. But for the time being, I will hold both old girls in my prayers that they don't suffer.

Irma said...

I'm so sorry to have to read about Marlene's disease.
I certainly hope things improve for her and that she is going to eat alone.
I wish you a lot of strength.
Greetings Irma

Rosalea said...

Thinking of you Rain, and hoping for the best. It is so hard. I've been there. Take care of yourself.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I'm sorry to read about your sweet Marlene. I hope she will heal from her problems with all of the love and special care you and your husband are giving her. I will be thinking of Marlene often and hoping for the best.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Sad news, Rain. Know that we are all thinking of you.

Belinda said...

i will definitely be keeping Marlene in good thoughts and hope you have an easy decision to make tomorrow.

Jenn Jilks said...

You poor thing. End-of-life is such a difficult things. At least you have options. Hubby, with cancer, is really glad we have MAiD, here in Canada. We've spoken of this many times. It's about quality of life.
Take care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you. I know you'll do what is best for your rescue pup. She's blessed having you around to advocate for her.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Of course Rain. Prayers Up.

Jeanie said...

Of course she is in my heart and prayers. What a sweet, beautiful girl. I'm glad the food seemed to help and if you have to keep at the syringe, I say do it. And water is a good sign.

I know how hard this is. I think many of us have walked in your shoes at one time or another. And letting go is the hardest decision we can make. My vet told me to let go was the best gift we could give our Gypsy or any animal if it is in pain or misery, but it is also the hardest. I hope you don't have to make that decision right away but know that you and Marlene will be in my heart no matter what. Big hugs.

Leigh said...

Oh, that poor sweet baby. She is so, so lucky to have you all for humans. I know whatever you decide will be for the best.

Becki said...

I am so sorry that Marlene is suffering. Being a sometimes vertigo sufferer and seeing her eyes, I just wanted to cry imagining what she is experiencing and having no way to understand it. She is very fortunate to have such loving people to care for her.

Magic Love Crow said...

Rain, I am so very sorry!! So sorry! Marlene knows you love her!! I hate what she is going through! I will continue sending healing prayers! Give her a hug from me! Lots of love!

baili said...

this was highly sensitive sharing dear Rain

i don't have appropriate words to share my sadness with you as i know well how important she is for you ,you are doing your best to keep her healthy and alive my friend and that is all we can do for ourselves and for those who we love so much so do it and leave rest upon the God ,she will be in my thoughts and prayers for sure!
hugs and blessings to you and all you love!

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Sending love and prayers and best outcome for her and your family

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I know how you are feeling, Rain, as our 16 year old cat, who we love so much, is going thru almost the exact same thing. A few expensive visits to to vet told us to love her and enjoy her for whatever time she has left, but not let it gets past the point of her being in constant pain. It is so hard to lose these wonderful creatures who give us such joy and comfort.

Phil Slade said...

Very sad news Rain. She's had a a good life with you and Alex. Best wishes.

www.self-sufficientsam.blogspot.com said...

I am so sorry to hear this and I know you will make the right decision when the time comes. Animals are very stoic and won't indicate they are in pain unless they are truly suffering. I know it is hard to say goodbye but we all have to at some point. My heart goes out to you and Alex and Marlene and her companions.

Mary said...

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Bless sweet Marlene - you have given her a wonderful life full of so much love.
Be strong.
Mary X

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Rain, pets are surely family members as any current or former pet owner knows, ourselves included and when they hurt, so does their owner. Rain, you and Marlene will be in our thoughts as you are dealing with this sadness and perhaps inevitable decision. It’s never an easy one, and letting go is such a hard thing to do when there is still so much love. Rest assured that Marlene knows too that your decision will be made with her best interest in mind and to end her discomfort. Take as much time as you need, Rain, your fellow bloggers understand and will always be here for you and Alex.

Laurie said...

Oh rain I’m so glad Marlene is now feeling better, you don’t need to print this comment, I just wanted you to know I’ve been thinking of her so often, our dog was sick similar to her, he was older than Marlene, I’m just really glad. I know how hard it is when our animals are sick,, I’m just happy for you guys!

Stefanie said...

Poor Marlene. My heart aches for her.