I'm sitting here kind of unsettled because I had to leave Spike at the vet's office today for additional testing.
A few days ago, we were on our usual morning outing to Marymoor and Spike was rummaging around in the bushes. He decided to hop the fence and take off, so TJ had to wander through the trees looking for him. After about 10 min, he came back to TJ.
Later that day, he didn't start whining for his food that afternoon. But he ate. Since my parents were here and they were getting lots of extra treats we thought it wasn't a big deal. But then the next day he sort of kept to himself, stayed on the couch and slept most of the day, away from where the rest of us were. He also refused to eat in the evening, which for our always-hungry beagle is *very* unusual.
Yesterday, he didn't eat all day though we were happy to see him drinking water and accepting treats and some lunchmeat. (Apparently even sick dogs like meat!) But he was still kind of lethargic and stayed mostly on the couch or in his box.
So this morning I got him an appointment at the vet. We had a different doctor today, a nice guy, who did a thorough exam of Spike, much to Spike's displeasure. He said Spike's got some inflammation in his digestive system and said we could be conservative and just keep an eye on him, or run a blood test and some XRays to see if there's something going on in there.
And just to digress for a minute - I think it's interesting that for animal health care, the cost is always part of the discussion, right up front. The vet mentioned a couple of times how expensive the Xrays and blood tests were, and gave me an estimate and had me sign it. You never hear people doctors saying "let's just wait and see how it goes, you might not want to spend the money on these tests" or even giving you any indication of the cost.
It bothers me a little that cost comes into the treatment decision for animals. Especially given that animals can't actually *tell* you how they're feeling so it seems especially prudent to use whatever diagnostics are available to find out what the problem is.
I know there are a lot of people who wouldn't easily be able to afford the $500 I will spend today on Spike's care. But it seems to me that maybe folks who don't have the means should think twice about having a pet. Or look into purchasing pet insurance for such things. I just don't think it's reasonable to delay treatment or put a pet more at risk because you don't have the cash to pay for it.
And I guess that means I am one of those bleeding heart, animal rights people. Our guys are full members of our family, and that means I'd eat a lot of ramen noodles in order to make sure we can get them the care they need. I would never give up a pet because I didn't have time for him anymore, or choose a place to live that doesn't allow pets, or whatever other inane reasons people come up with for abdicating responsibility.
Ok, rant over, back to Spikeman. So of course, I chose the option to do the tests, and he's at the vet now, getting poked, prodded and Xrayed. (And getting his nails clipped while they're at it, because what's another $20 at this point?) Poor little guy. He already hates the vet and today isn't going to make that any better. The other interesting thing is that he only weighs 23.3 pounds, which is the least he's ever weighed. Too bad the rest of us don't have that problem.
I hope we figure out what's going on. As far as I know he didn't eat anything unusual, though he did get a lot of treats this week. But who knows what he got himself into on his little adventure on Sunday. Anyway, think happy thoughts for our little Spikeman!