Friday, April 12, 2013

Man’s best friend

Our little dog, Jethro, is having some health issues.

Dr. Karl says he has an enlarged heart that is pressing on his lungs and his esophagus. The little guy (Jethro, not Dr. Karl) weighs only 17 pounds, but he is a barrel-chested fellow whose bark sounds like a dog four times his size. He will be nine in June.

Dr. Karl put him on Vetmedin, which he takes twice a day and likes because it tastes like bacon, and it seems to be helping. Still, there are times when he gasps and struggles to breathe. He does not seem to be in pain, but those episodes are very scary for us, and probably for him as well.

When they are over, he is always exhausted and subdued. Until he isn’t.

Dr Karl showed us how to monitor his breathing rate. It is much higher than it ought to be and his breathing is often shallow. Mrs. RWP has noticed that Jethro’s tongue and gums and even his tummy are not as pink these days as they used to be, but have a bluish tinge. She thinks he is probably not getting enough oxygen.

We are pampering him to no end. He used to sleep on the foot of our bed, and now he sleeps on our pillows. Yes, you read that right. On our pillows.

Here he is in better times:


  1. Oh, my. I don't know what else to say. I know from recent past experience that the illness of a pet can be heart-wrenching. Of course he should sleep on your pillows! Were he mine, that's where he'd be, anyway.

    Since I believe that God cares for and watches over everything, I will keep Jethro in my prayers.

  2. It's so sad is it not....
    Pamper away and enjoy what time you have left with the little fella x

  3. Sounds like you are nearing a sad decision. In the last year we reached that time with both of our dogs. We left it too long with Baker and learnt a lesson and moved more swiftly with Dash. Pamper him, enjoy him and be strong enough to give him relief when he needs it.
    Thinking of you.

  4. Thanks, Pat in Arkansas, John in Wales, and Helsie in Australia, for your comments. They help.

  5. We nearly lost Bonnie this week too. She was down from 31 lbs to 26 lbs due to her inability to keep food down, and we discussed euthanizing her with the vet, but decided to try minimal treatments, and she seems to have escaped almost certain death yet again. She's blind, mostly death, going on 16, and is a blue heeler. I wish Jethro well.

  6. Snow, I'm so sorry to hear about Bonnie's condition and I thank you for your good wishes for Jethro. Since he seems to be just fine today, we are wondering if his most recent episode was perhaps triggered by a strong storm, complete with lots of thunder (boom-booms) and lightning, that passed through here on Thursday night. I mean, it scared us, and we knew what it was. I can just imagine how it might have affected him.

  7. Our dog made a quick recovery followed by a quick decline. We'll give her one more round of meds, but I'm not optimistic. I had come here hoping for better news about your dog, and I hope I got it. You haven't said anything more, so I'm assuming it was the thunder.

  8. Snowbrush, Jethro is getting along better now. Dr. Karl has added a diuretic along with the heart medicine, and this seems to have helped rid him (Jethro, not Dr. Karl) of excess fluid on his lungs. Thanks for checking in.