Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gio Update - Thursday

Gio is back home where he belongs!!

I can't even say "thank you" enough to all of the people that have left messages, e-mailed, or just crossed their fingers and thought of Gio over the past week. It's been hell, and could have easily ended up much worse than it did. But after 7 nights in the ICU at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Gio is finally back home again!

First order of business, bath time. I love the dog more than anything in the world, but there was no way he was getting his grimy butt on the couch without a bath first. A week's worth if crusted on pee and vomit, plus that pungent "hospital smell", just had to go. So a quick hop in the tub fixed that issue, then time for a cuddle on the couch.

While neither Gio nor Romeo are overly lovey with each other, I could tell they were happy to see each other again. Romeo followed Gio around with his nose shoved in Gio's fluff, and Gio allowed Romeo to cuddle with him on the couch. That is how these guys express their brotherly love for each other.

Gio is sporting a very fashionable "hospi-do". Shaved right up his flanks, both front legs, a patch on his hind leg, and a patch on his throat (which you thankfully can't see). To add to his whole pathetic get-up, he has lost a LOT of weight. He wasn't chubby to begin with, so now he just looks emaciated. But nearly a week with no food will do that to a dog. And he won't be gaining it back all too quickly with the crazy diet they have him on for the next couple of months. He is getting 6 eeny weeny meals of Waltham's Low Fat a day for the next month or two, then the vet agreed to let me switch him onto something else for normal maintanance. As much as I hate commercial dog foods, "vet foods" in particular, I do agree that we need to take things super slow and extremely carefully. I won't be tossing him back on his regular raw diet any time soon, as the richness and fat content is just too much for his healing pancreas. So it will be Waltham's for a month or so, and then onto some other home-prepared diet. I am tossing around a couple of options, a cooked diet formulated by Dr. Dodds or a raw pancreatic diet from Dr. Billinghurst. I've got time to weigh the options, though.

In addition to the crazy diet, Gio was sent home with his own personal pharmacy. He's been taken off of potassium bromide completely, but because of that his phenobarbital has been more than doubled to make up for it. He is also getting Tramadol (a pain killer) 3 times a day and an antacid/gut motility drug 2 times a day. So with 6 small meals a day and three different medications that need to be given at different times of the day, I need a personal planner just to keep it all straight!

While the drugs will hopefully keep Gio painfree and not puking while his pancreas heals, they are also making him look like a druggie! He perpetually has a look on his face that is a cross between "deer in the headlights" and "oooh look, shiny!" He has brief moments where he appears nearly lucid, but then right back to the zoned out hippie state. Luckily, the Tramadol and antinausea drugs only need to be given for another week, and his phenobarbital should stabilize another week or two after that.

The vet says he needs to take it easy for the next week or so, but after that I can decide if he is able to go back to training. I explained that his "work" is what he loves and wakes up for in the morning. She said that he should be able to be back on therapy dog duty in a week or so, and then work up to obedience and rally-o again gradually after that.

Thank you again to everyone that has supported us over the past week and everyone that has tossed a little positive thought for Gio into the air. Thanks to my boss for being so understanding and for finding extra work for me to do that I can do from home tomorrow without losing any more pay. And a huge heartfelt thanks to Dr. Gaunt, Dr. Snead, senior vet student Hussein Keshwani, and all the wonderful staff at the WVCM for taking care of my boy and allowing me to bring him home again where he belongs!

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