Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Con't Rainey's Success Story

Rainey stayed at the shelter for several weeks receiving strong drugs for her upper respiratory illness. I called to check on her every couple of days and always heard the same thing -- not sure she's going to make it. One day I called and was told she was doing much better. What a relief it was that she was going to be okay. Janie and I had to go to the shelter for vaccinations for our foster puppies and I just had to see Rainey while I was there. When we both walked up to the crate, she leaned towards us for a pet. She had the most soulful eyes and I thought she was beautiful. I wanted to foster her that day, but I wasn't sure my husband would agree so I left the shelter without her. I couldn't get her out of my mind, so a few days later, I asked my husband if we could foster her for 'just for the weekend'. He was in a hurry to get to work and said 'Do whatever you want'. That was all I needed to hear. As soon as he left for work, I jump in my car and headed to the shelter to pick her up.

When I got there, she was bathed and ready to go, so we headed home. I asked the shelter staff about her illness and they said she was doing great. She was eating and no longer needed any medications. When we got home, she immediately threw up, which didn't worry me too much because I thought she was probably just nervous in her new surroundings. However, she continued to be sick over the weekend and would not eat anything. I was very worried and called the shelter for advice. They said to take her to the vet on Monday morning.

The wonderful vet did a series of tests and took x-rays. The vet came back to the exam room, x-ray in hand, and said she had some news for me. Rainey was pregnant with six puppies! Wow, this was really more than I had bargained for, but I just couldn't take her back to the shelter, so I'd have to deal with it. Oh yeah, she also had distemper, which is a highly contagious illness. She would need to be quarantined with no access to other dogs for 90 days and the vet gave her a 50% chance of pulling through. The vet wasn't sure how far along the puppies were because we didn't know when she got pregnant.

I had a hundred questions. How was I going to keep her quarantined for 90 days at my house? The answer was in my bathroom. Can my two dogs contact the disease even though they have been vaccinated? The answer was yes, but it is rare as long as they don't have a compromised immune system. Have I put my 16 year old dog at risk by bring a sick dog into my house? The answer was that my 1 year dog was more at risk than my 16 year old dog, because she has not had a chance to build up her immunity yet. What about my foster puppies who haven't had all their vaccinations and have not built up an immune system? The answer was that they were definitely at risk. What about Rainey's puppies and all the strong drugs she was given? The answer was that it was too early to tell what effect the drugs and her malnutrition might have on the unborn puppies. How am I going to handle the birthing of puppies? I had no answer for that one.

I had to leave Rainey at the vet for the next five days. I picked her up on a Friday and got her settled into my master bathroom. For the next two days, I tried to get her to eat anything -- turkey, chicken, rice, etc. She had no appetite and would not eat or drink anything. I also spend hours researching distemper on the internet. The more I read, the more concerned I became. Only 50% of dogs who have distemper survive and, of the ones who do survive, many of them have long-term neurological issues.

On Saturday night, my husband slept in the bathroom with her because he 'didn't want her to die alone'. She made it through the night, but she was very weak and still not eating or drinking on Sunday. I was extremely worried about her so I called the shelter and they said to take her to the emergency vet. I hated to leave her at alone at a vet again, but I didn't have a choice. I called the vet every two hours and just knew they were going to tell me she passed away, but she hung on. When I went to pick her up on Monday morning, she'd had four puppies -- two were stillborn. Crap!! My vet had said that she had seen six puppies on the x-rays so there were still two that had not been born.

I loaded Rainey and her newborn puppies into the my car and raced to my vet. The vet took x-rays again and could see there were still two puppies to be born. My choices were to take her home and see if she if she would have them naturally or the vet could do an emergency c-section. I opted for the c-section because I was afraid I'd end up at the emergency vet again. The c-section was risky because Rainey was dehydrated and weak, but once again she managed to pull through.

Next Tuesday is the conclusion of Rainey's story.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

Hi Tina - When are you going to post the rest of the story :)