Frequent readers and friends might know that before I left for BlogPaws, I was dealing with a lot of stuff that had me feeling very emotional. I alluded in that post to an appointment we postponed because I just had too much to try to deal with while trying to get ready for my trip.
I also wrote back in the fall how we had taken Luke to the vet and because he is reactive and fearful of strangers (even though technically these are not complete strangers), the vet was unable to perform an exam or get the blood needed for his heartworm test. When spring arrived this year, I knew it was time that we needed to get that done so we could get him back on his preventative for the summer.
This past Tuesday was our second attempt at getting that done. The first attempt before my trip failed. The plan that time was for my hubby to take him alone, hoping that my nervousness was part of the problem. The hope was to sedate him so they could do what they needed to, but ultimately, they couldn’t even give him the initial shot to start that process.
Therefore, we were on to Plan B which involved giving him two medications an hour before his visit – a tranquilizer and a sedative. I was worried about three things involving this:
- He could have an allergic or other reaction to one of the medications.
- It wouldn’t work (that turned out to be the one I was justified in!), and
- Putting him through this would break his trust in us. I was a little less worried about this, since this was our 3rd time around, and he never held the first two times against us. He always forgot all about it by the time he got home.
Let me say that we did not take the decision to go this route lightly. We considered all our options. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t take the use of medications, especially for behavioral issues, lightly. I am planning another post with more detail on this subject as well.
The meds were given an hour before the appointment and by the time we arrived, we saw very little change in him! This was not a good sign. When we took him in, he immediately started growling at another dog or people in the waiting room and I put his muzzle right on him.
When our vet tech Christina tried to approach him in the exam room, he did his usual thrashing and growling. Our hearts sank. However, Christina saw a little less resistance in him and though she tried to still do the blood draw, he was just moving too much. She did think, however, that he was just compliant enough that she could give him a shot in his back leg that would put him further out.
Finally, she was able to do that and in a few minutes, he finally gave into it all and dozed off. The blood was drawn and his nails were clipped (that was desperately needed, because he won’t let me do it at home), and then another shot was administered to wake him back up.
This may all sound matter of fact, but trust me there was a lot of drama and anxiety that went on before all this was accomplished, and I’m not just talking about Luke’s anxiety! It’s hard to describe just how difficult it is to see your dog like this. You feel like a jerk for putting them through it, yet you know it has to be done. But through it all, Christina was understanding and patient, took her time and did not give up on him, and answered all my questions and concerns along the way. Her compassion was the only thing that made it all bearable.
Therefore, I have a lot to be thankful for today, first of all for our wonderful vet’s office where they always go above and beyond for us. (Christina is the senior vet tech, and she purposely scheduled herself to do this and not one of the less experienced girls). Sure, we could have tried this again with higher doses of the meds, but she understood how hard that would be on all of us. She was determined to try everything before giving up.
In addition, of course, I am thankful that this is finally over and done, and that the blood tests came back negative. Luke is back on preventative so that heartworm is not a worry.
When we got Luke home from the vet, he was pretty out of it. He slept for the whole evening, with me constantly checking on him. So the one thing I am the most, most thankful for today is that by Wednesday morning he was mostly his old self, and by the time I got home from work he was completely himself, no worse for wear. I’m sure he has put this all behind him much more easily than I ever will.
Thank you to Brian’s Home for hosting the Thankful Thursday blog hop. Please visit other blogs through the links below.