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Old 07-21-2010, 08:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Buddy the Pit Bull Part 4

Sunday, July 11, 2010
Buddy the Pit Bull Part IV


Sunday, May 30
I had never heard of feeding gunpowder to a dog. If you want to find out about it, you can google Pit Bulls and gunpowder. I should warn you, if you search for this, you will likely find a lot more information about Pit Bulls and dog fighting than you want to know. Pit Bulls are fed gunpowder to make them mean. They don't get mean. They get sick. Using my best guess, I figure Buddy was fed gunpowder sometime in March. We weren't sure if this could be part of his inability to walk or not. Add the possibility that he had been hit with a tire iron and fed Ex Lax and we had a few more things to tell the vet when we saw him for Buddy's follow-up appointment on Thursday.

California is one of the states which has a felony charge for feeding a dog gunpowder. If we had first hand knowledge of when, where and who had fed gunpowder to Buddy, we could and would have gone to the authorities. Unfortunately, all we had was hearsay which couldn't be used as evidence to get anyone arrested. Personally, arresting and fining someone for Buddy's abuse wasn't exactly what I had in mind as punishment for whoever had mistreated him. We continued to wonder if Buddy had been hit with something, but once again, we had no real proof of this abuse either.

Although we started Buddy on a new antibiotic for his inflamed prostate on Saturday, he continued to bleed Sunday and Monday. On Monday, the vet called to check on him and inquire about the bleeding. The Colonel then made another trip to the vet to pick up another antibiotic. Let's see, he's still taking the Doxycycline every 12 hours. The Saturday the bleeding started the vet added Ciproflaxin every 12 hours and Zubrin once a day for pain. On Monday, he started taking Clindamycin every 12 hours. This poor dog was taking eleven pills a day. I worried that he was taking so many antibiotics, we might kill whatever good stuff was inside of him keeping him alive.

Buddy has never shown he was in any kind of pain. If we thought he was hurting, we would have probably had him put down if nothing else could have been done. He's one tough dog. His tolerance for pain must be off the charts. He tries to walk and falls, over and over again. He has a raw chest and "elbows" from crawling. He's bleeding clots from his penis. Yet, his general demeanor was always the same and he always had a great appetite. He really did seem like a happy dog that crawled instead of walked. The Colonel noticed that after we gave him the first Zubrin for pain, for the first time Buddy started to softly snore when he was sleeping. This could note he was in pain. We just didn't see it and the pain medication actually helped him to be more comfortable and rest better.

With the hope of keeping blood from getting everywhere, we covered our floor with quilts and rugs, everywhere Buddy crawled or slept. The bleeding slowly eased off and by Tuesday afternoon we saw very little blood. After a few days on the antibiotics, there was a noticeable change in Buddy. Outside, he started rolling over on his back, scratching in the grass. He became much more alert and started noticing movement around him, particularly cats, in our neighborhood. A neighbor came over with her camera and took some pictures of Buddy. I threw a leash down in the yard and Buddy crawled to it and picked it up in his mouth. He would throw his head back and toss the leash above his head, almost as if he were trying to get it around his neck. I found a pink and white stuffed dog that rattled and threw it in the yard. Buddy crawled to it, picked it up in his mouth and crawled around the yard showing his new toy to everyone.

In the house, Buddy found one of Mollie's stuffed squeaky toys. The first time it squeaked, I think it startled him. Although he tried as hard as he could, he had real trouble getting Mollie's toys to squeak, or maybe I should say, he surely could not squeak them like she could. Mollie, the Mini-Schnauzer, gets the most out of her squeaky toys. She can lay down and make a toy squeak incessantly for five or ten minutes at a time. Her "squeaking" her toys would get Buddy going, he would find a toy and try and try to make it squeak. Every now and then he would succeed. More than once his teeth simply pierced the squeaker in the toy and, alas, that toy would no longer make a sound. A neighbor gave Buddy and Mollie each their own squeaky tennis ball. Within a couple of days, only one of the balls would squeak. The other ball had a small tooth mark in it preventing it from squeaking anymore. Many times, Buddy didn't care if his toy squeaked or not, he seemed happy to have it in his mouth, crawling around the floor showing it to anyone who would give him attention. Mollie and Buddy started playing a little together too. The two of them would get into a tug o'war with a toy. For the most part, I suppose, Buddy let Mollie win. Occasionally, Buddy would hold out and win the contest.

On Thursday, we took Buddy for his follow-up appointment with the vet who had originally seen him. We told the vet about the possibility of injury, the gunpowder and the Ex-Lax. Our vet said he had never heard of feeding dogs gunpowder to make them mean. He said he would have to "look that one up." Buddy had a complete physical exam in the exam room with both of us present. When the vet tested Buddy's reflexes, absolutely nothing happened. Not just in one leg, but in all four legs. It was sad to watch. The vet kept trying. He would reposition Buddy and try again. Buddy had no reflex response in three legs and very little reflex response in the fourth. The vet checked Buddy's reflexes in his head and neck. He turned the lights off to check his eyes. Buddy's head, neck and eyes seemed normal. The vet said he suspected a neurological issue with his spine. It might be a spinal cord injury, a tumor, a compressed disc or an infection. Something was affecting the nerves in all four of his legs. The vet didn't really push to take x-rays or pictures of Buddy's spine. What the vet wanted us to do was to continue to give Buddy supportive care for the three-week period when neurological issues will improve as much as they can.

We were down to one last dose of pain medication for Buddy and we really did believe it helped him to be more comfortable, relax and rest. The Colonel asked the vet if we could get the Zubrin refilled. The vet was a little hesitant, stating Buddy didn't appear to be in any pain. The Colonel said it appeared Buddy was more comfortable after taking the Zubrin. The vet was still hesitant again stating it didn't seem Buddy was in any pain. We asked the vet if he was bleeding from where Buddy had been bleeding, would he be in pain? Buddy has never shown he was in pain or uncomfortable. The vet refilled Buddy's pain medication.

It's hard to describe the anguish we would go through every time Buddy had to go to the vet. Every trip to the vet, for whatever reason, was a real cause for concern. Would today be the day the vet would want an enormous amount of money for a test, a surgery or a treatment? What would it cost to find out what was wrong with him? Why couldn't he walk? Even without more expenses now, if Buddy could walk again, we would still have to pay for all of his vaccinations and to have him neutered. Ultimately, him walking was our goal. He was stronger and healthier, and maybe he took a couple of steps occasionally, but he couldn't walk. We believed he had to walk to have any kind of quality of life. We always knew we were his foster home. We knew keeping him forever was not an option. We were not equipped or able to handle a dog of Buddy's size. It was hard not to fall in love with the big, crawling, goofy guy. When we took Buddy out of his horrible situation, we made a commitment to him that we intended to keep. We were almost two weeks in to the three weeks of supportive care the vet talked about for neurological issues. We were taking things one day at a time.
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