So let me give you a quick introduction and a few stories about these other important ones in my life. Do you remember a few days ago I posted THIS story about how a broken nail became a $645 vet bill in the end? What I didn't tell you is that I took my beagle to the vet the next day because I knew he REALLY needed his teeth cleaned too, and I had company in town that could watch the kids while I dropped him off and picked him up. So in 36 hours, I had managed to spend about $1100 at the vet. They should love me there, but we'll have to wait and see what they think after they deal with Abbey again. ;D
In February 2008, after we moved to TN, Abbey started having digestion issues. We brought her to the vet here, and we were less than impressed. They tried antibiotics, they tested for parasites, and even told us maybe she needed doggy anti-depressants. We knew they were missing something. After numerous visits and no diagnosis, we realized we'd have to wait for some other symptom or sign, after all who are we to tell the medical professional they are wrong. Pat deployed that April, and Abbey was still not well. In July before I went to visit my family, I had Abbey at the vet on post. (They only do vaccines and not medical issues there.) I saw that she had lost a lot of weight. Around this same time I noticed that her chest hair was falling out all over my bed much worse than regular shedding. I resolved that I was going to get this solved for my poor girl. During this time, her temperament had gone down hill a bit too. Abbey already HATED vets at this point, so taking her to the vet again was going to be a challenge. Thankfully when I took her in, I saw a new vet that really listened. She said it sounded like Abbey may have Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), and she could do a blood test. Unfortunately Abbey would have to fast before that test, so we'd have to go back another day. I brought her back yet again, and in a day or so we had results that Abbey clearly has EPI. EPI is where she lacks a pancreatic enzyme to digest food. So for half a year, Abbey was STARVING even though I was feeding her. She had lost almost 15 lbs and as I said her hair was falling out. The treatment is easy, although expensive. With every meal she has needs an enzyme powder added to it. The powder runs about $110 for a months supply.
You would think that would be enough for one dog at such a young age, right? Nope. Shortly after the EPI was diagnosed, Abbey began wetting my bed. It got pretty frequent too. This problem was frustrating, but I knew if we brought her to the vet we'd probably be told she needed a pill for the rest of her life. Finally I couldn't take changing the bed anymore, and we brought her in. They diagnosed her with an incontinence issue. It was difficult to get it under control, but thankfully we finally have done it. She needs one pill a week for the rest of her life.
So you would think the medical issues would be enough difficulty with this dog wouldn't you? Not quite. There is one thing that I HATE about Abbey, and it isn't the medical bills. Abbey has a dominance issue with our pug, Sammy. Yes, the big dog and little dog are in disagreement about who is top dog. This order conflict causes Abbey to start what I call vicious attacks on Sammy. While they say that you should let dogs work out the pecking order themselves, I cannot stand by and let Sammy get hurt. I do not think Abbey intends to hurt Sammy, but that is what happens. So now, it's like a circus in my house because I keep Sammy and Abbey separate at all times (except bed time). We use baby gates a lot in my house. And I'll be honest, if Abbey didn't have her medical issues, I probably would have tried to find her a better home where she was the only dog or only with dogs her own size. However, given the medical bills, I know no one would take her.
We love Abbey. She is a part of our family. I feel like Abbey is a lesson for me on responsibility and hardship. It's not what I pictured having three dogs would be like, but no one promised it would be all wagging tails. All the dogs bring such happiness to our lives, and if I can give them a good home and happy life then that is what matters. So that is the long and short of my three dogs. Maybe that explains why having 3 dogs can keep me on my toes a lot!