Saturday, 28 April 2012

A medical update

Yesterday’s endoscopy revealed that Edward’s stomach had improved very slightly from the acid burns. Perhaps the anti-acid medication has helped a little. However, as he still keeps vomiting, the vet started to suspect that the acid burn may not be from ingested acid as we thought at first, but from his stomach acid. A dog's stomach has large amounts of extremely strong acid, with a pH level between 1 and 2. (pH7=neutral)

Acid from the stomach should not be able to enter the oesophagus because the oesophageal sphincter (the muscular ring at the lower end of the oesophagus) is normally closed except for when food is passing. In Edward’s case however, the sphincter was actually wide open all the time, causing the acid to flow freely from the stomach into the oesophagus. This is apparently an extremely rare condition, and MAY be caused by an anti-immune syndrome. The vet performed a test and took samples which have been sent off to Germany, where they have facilities to confirm this diagnosis. We will not get the result for another week. What will happen if it is confirmed, we still don’t know.

In the meantime we hope Edward will continue to fight for his life. His condition is very bad now. He has lost almost a quarter of his body weight and he was a skinny dog to begin with. He is weak and exhausted. Still, despite his pain and discomfort, he seems to find some joy in spending time with us, not to mention his chickens.

Yesterday we managed to persuade him to eat a tiny amount of food - hamburger meat, a few pieces of chicken and some cheese. Maybe a few teaspoons full all in all. The good news is that he managed to keep it down. We held him in a vertical position for about an hour afterwards, so as to help gravity keeping both the acid and the food in the stomach long enough to at least start digesting.

Edward’s Dad built a makeshift ramp for him to lie on in the bedroom, tilted just enough to make the juices run downwards. He actually went to sleep there and we all got some rest until 5 o’clock this morning, when the drooling and heaving started again. Mum took him outside for a long walk. Not far, just around the neighbourhood. We walked slowly around and around for two hours, enjoying the sunrise and the beginning of a beautiful sunny day. We let the chickens out and watched the sheep eat their breakfast in the forest behind the house.

Now Edward is resting again, before we’ll go back to the clinic for his daily IV drip.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Edward will have his chance

Just a few words from me on this early morning.

 I just can’t believe how much attention Edward’s illness has attracted. I just saw somebody refer to it as a social media soap opera. It really makes you reflect on the power of Facebook.

 I want to thank all of you again for all your kindness. So many have written me lovely personal messages. However, there have also been plenty of concerned people urging me to be sensible and let Edward be released from his trials. I have answered some, but I can’t keep up.

So just let me say that nothing could be further from the truth than that I ignore his agony and keep him alive for my own sake. I have discussed this with my husband and we have decided that we will let him go when we must. Yesterday I actually called the vet to have it done but he advised against it, saying that we should try further treatment because there is still a chance of recovery.

Still, I didn’t sleep one minute tonight. I was next to Edward watching over him, ready to do whatever needed doing. Now, he will spend the day at the clinic while I will try and get some sleep.

There are two vets treating Edward and his breeder/vet has also been involved all along, so we have both second and third opinions and we choose to trust them. They are the ones with the education and experience, so the moment they say it is time to give up will be the moment when we say goodbye.

Not before.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Very serious

Dear all of you that follow Edward on Facebook. We have had some very bad news today, I’m afraid.

Edward had an endoscopic examination today that revealed the cause of his illness. Somehow he must have ingested some sort of acid and it has eaten away on his oesophagus and stomach. There is, unfortunately, nothing that can be done. He is still alive and the vet thinks we should give him a few days to see if it can possibly heal on its own. However, his chances are not good and he is in pain and discomfort, so we are facing a very hard decision.

Since painkillers will irritate and upset the stomach even more, he can’t have that. He is on IV-drip to fight dehydration and I try to give him anti-acid medicine but he can’t keep it down.

My husband is away but has fortunately managed to change his flight, so he will be here with us tomorrow afternoon. I am glad that Eddie will get to see his oh-so-beloved Dad again.

I am completely overwhelmed by all the kind and concerned messages you have sent him on Facebook. We are not believers ourselves but I am deeply, deeply touched that some of you remember him in your prayers.

As you can imagine, all we do now is cry bitter tears. I keep close to Edward all the time and do what little I can to make him as comfortable as possible. I will try and keep you posted if there is any news but I hope you will understand if I can’t manage.

Thank you again for all your kind thoughts.

Monday, 23 April 2012


This weekend has not been a pleasant one. Although Edward has really been his usual happy self, he has drooled something terrible over the past few days and dry heaved violently from time to time. Such things have happened before, but it has always stopped after a while. Now, however, it only got worse, and of course it had to happen on a Sunday evening when everything is closed.
Our regular vet does not have an X-ray machine, so she couldn’t help us. We called the vets on duty, but they were all so busy with lambing that no one had time for us. Besides, they thought we could wait until Monday morning, as Edward did not show signs of being sick apart from the drooling. We had examined his stomach which felt soft and normal, so we knew that we weren’t dealing with bloat - thankfully. He was also able to eat and poop as normal.
So, this morning we headed off to the clinic, where Edward was examined. He was given a sedative injection, which really didn't knock him out completely before we had come home again. We waited for it to take effect in the waiting room where there were several other dogs. Edward was very interested in a blond, pretty bitch, but as any drunk will tell you, it's really not easy to charm the ladies when you are not able to stand on your feet properly.
The vet first checked that Edward didn’t have something stuck in his throat. We were quite worried that he had swallowed something that was stuck somewhere in his stomach, so that he would need an operation. But fortunately, the X-ray showed that there was nothing hiding in the depths of his intestines.
The vet thought that it would have to be gastritis and gave Edward an injection of antibiotics. We also got a prescription for tablets.
It is good to have a soft pillow to rest your head on when you're sick.
Back home again, he spent a few hours in bed, but when he heard us out in the chicken run, his fear of missing out on something fun made him so strong that he managed to get on his feet and stumble to the door where he whined to let us know he wanted to join us. Usually, he is not allowed into the chicken coop, because he plays so rough but since he was so feeble we took the chance. It didn’t take long for him to recover enough to want to chase thechickens.

Drooling something terrible.
The rest of the day, he has mostly dozed in the shade. He is drooling profusely, so it's clear that something is wrong. He also whines a bit so he obviously doesn’t feel well. This is not pleasant at all. Tomorrow I’ll stay home from work to see how he is doing, because I don’t want him to be alone when he is like this.
We’ll cross our fingers that this will soon be over and that he will soon get well again.