Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Don't ask if you don't want to know...

So we've been to the vet and I have to say, GETTING to the vet is as stressful, if not more, as anticipating what the vet will say. Gracie does NOT like riding in the car. If you even try to pick her up in the front of the house, she goes immediately into her 'defensive stance'...front legs braced straight out with her entire body leaning as far back as possible (plus she is completely dead weight at that point). With her not being so tiny anymore (60+ pounds!), it makes for an interesting show for anyone watching. You also can't leave the car running because she automatically thinks you are going to put her in it and will assume the 'defense stance'. For a dog with neuro damage, she's pretty smart! :o) I finally get her in the car, all the while stressing because I'm now running late due to her antics, and we are on our way. She used to just lay wherever you put her, which was great. Now, however, she thinks she should stand up and rearrange herself. This isn't the best idea when you can't see and compensate for things like turns and braking/accelerating. I had put the seats down so she could be behind me and I could reach around to pet her. Not a good idea. She nearly fell between the seats. Mental note to self...put seats up for ride home; she can get all the petting she needs at home. Safety first! :o)
We get there and I'm trying to wrangle her up the steps to the vet's office (not the best plan for a vet's office, but it's in an old house, what can you do?) and almost fell myself because of her flailing around. I'm sure when I got in the door, people in the there were wondering why I looked so winded. If they only knew.

Anyway, after giving the vet all of the dirt on what's been happening, he says he's not surprised that she's started having seizures. He also said that for every seizure we see, there is one that we haven't seen. That breaks my heart. We had gotten Gracie her shots the weekend before and he said that would be her last set of yearly shots. Apparently, stress can bring on her seizures and the vaccinations are stressful to her system, especially when they are given all at once. From now on, she will get rabies every 3rd year. On the other 2 years, she will get distemper in one and parvo in the other. Bordatella is safe for every year as it goes under the skin and not directly into the bloodstream. Apparently, depending on where you live, the rabies vaccination can be good for 3 years and luckily, we are in a safe area. Plus, he is willing to write us a letter about the reasoning behind this if ever needed. Of course we have considered the pros and cons of not vaccinating her regularly. Without yearly vaccs, we can not take Gracie to dog parks and other dog-frequented places as she will be immune-compromised. Plus, we won't be able to foster any other Weims while she is with us (not a problem now, as 3 dogs is our limit, but would have in the future). Not sure how this will play out but the risk of increasing the frequency and severity of her seizures isn't something we are willing to do. We won't be starting any medication now as her seizures are relatively mild. She doesn't lose control of her bowels or become incontinent (a blessing!) when she seizes and they last under 2 minutes. They are also spaced well. The meds given have side effects and one of the main ones is liver damage. Given her age, barely 2 years, we do not want to start damaging her liver now. So, we wait. He said eventually we will have to start medications but we are hopeful that that will be on down the road. For now, we are to keep her as stress-free as possible. (Really, he obviously doesn't know how good the Walker Weims have it!!!) Gracie would be happy to know that she now only has to get in the car to go see the vet! Unfortunately, she won't be able to attend any more Weim Rescue events since there are so many dogs there (not to mention the stress that puts on her). I'm sad about that because I love to show others just one of the awesome happy endings that organization makes possible!!

So that's that. Which brings me to the title of this post... In my infinite (or dumb) curiosity, I asked him if Gracie will live a normal lifespan for a Weim. He said no. He said with neurological damage, it will start to show itself in different ways as she gets older and basically get worse. At some point, we will have to make a decision regarding her quality of life. NOT what I wanted to hear. But, for now, her quality of life is damn good and we are going to keep it that way for as long as possible! Prayers are always welcome for Miss Gracie. Thank you so much for all your well wishes and comments. She is truly lucky to have all of you behind her! God Bless! :o)


Anonymous said...

Hi - I had been wondering about Grace - thank you for the update - I do animal rescue myself and I know that despite all of the tribulations sweet animals like Grace are so inspiring -- best of luck and do keep us posted on how things are going - and give Grace a head pat from me :) Best regards,
Carolyn Perkins

PS - Don't know if you've seen this video of another Amazing Grace - maybe they can meet one day - another great rescue story . .

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Grace update. You and your family are awesome for what you do to give Grace the life she deserves.

James said...

Hi – Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Weimaraner Community at Our members will love it.
Members include: Weim Owners, Breeders, Rescues and Lovers.
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website...
You can also add Photos, Videos, Rescues and Classifieds if you like. Post as much or as often as you like.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
The Weimaraner Community:
James Kaufman, Editor

Carole's world said...

I saw your vid on youtube. And stalk the amazing Weim Gracie all the way here.
I feel happy for her because of you and the care and love you give her; and I am sure you will receive lots of love from her too.
Because of you, Gracie can have a chance to live and live a quality life. She may not live as long as other Weims; but her life is just as wonderful as others.
God bless you and Gracie!
Gracie lover Carol