Tag Archives: bt

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Life With an Elder BT

I haven’t talked much about BT lately, which is a travesty.  Last time I left off with her story, we were having her damaged eye removed.  That surgery went well despite her age and significant heart murmur, so we were pleased and thought the entire situation would be behind us.

Then several weeks later, Eliot attacked her again with no warning.  Her other (aka only) eye was damaged very slightly.  It healed perfectly, we thanked our lucky stars and now Eliot and BT are separate 100% of the time.  Crate rotating is fun, but hey – it’s the best way to guarantee my old girl’s safety.

So that’s the back story, but how is she really doing?  Well, she’s like living with a senile old grandmother who you love but also maybe kinda wish would go to heaven.  That’s awful… but no, really… heaven is a nice place!

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These are doggles… she hates them but the CUTE

Earlier this spring, BT started having seizures all of a sudden.  She’s on phenobarbital now, which stopped the seizures but it also makes her crazy for dinner.  Anywhere from 5pm – 9pm is when she’s just starving for dinner (we call it ‘deener’ in our house, which is how I will refer to it now).  When BT wants her deener, she will stare out into no where (since she’s 100% blind) and whimper.  For hours.  Sometimes I will go ahead and feed her, but our vet warned us that she will ‘blow up like a Thanksgiving turkey’ (exact quote) if we feed her as much as she wants, so I have to keep her weight down.

Also, if it’s near deener time and she hasn’t had deener, she will propel herself off the ground and into your plate in .01 seconds if you have food and aren’t careful.  It’s like watching a Mars Rover crawl over strange terrain in the search of alien life… only the alien life is your chips and all of a sudden you just hear snorting and gray old paws clambering for you.

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My husband = her favorite dog bed

Whether it’s the phenobarb or the seizures or old age, her personality has changed a lot.  She is still our sweet old girl, but she is very much an instant satisfaction kind of creature.  PET ME NOW.  PLAY NOW.  NAP NOW.  FOOD NOW.  Everything needs to be right this instant and if you don’t meet your imaginary need that she won’t tell you… she’ll stare off to the distance and whimper.

The best part about elder BT is her relationship with our puppy, Pascale.  Her and Pascale are best friends, and play so well together.  Mostly this involves Pascale playing an advanced game of “you are blind and I will nip your butt and then laugh when you attack the air” but it’s pretty hilarious.  The old girl also still loves her toys to death, which is nice to see.

I feel like her quality of life is really good all things considered.  Sometimes I get this deep pang of regret over the entire eye loss situation, but what’s done is done.  Even though she drives me crazy, I hope she doesn’t go to dog heaven quite yet.

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Selfie Sunday – Goodbye to the Eye

Selfie Sunday could almost be totally re-named to BT Sunday… but it’s time for another BT update.  I was hoping to have really good news regarding her eye, but I really don’t.  It started going downhill Friday afternoon.  Tim took her to the vet Saturday morning, and we’ve scheduled a removal this coming Tuesday.

I’ve kept pictures out of these posts for various reasons, but I know there are several people who may be reading this that are curious about the injury or in the animal healthcare field somehow… so I’ll link to them.  I’ll warn you – if you’re squeamish about eyes or weird injuries don’t click.  You’ve been warned :)

When she first came home from the emergency vet on Thursday, Jan 23rd the eye looked like this and it was unclear whether the muscles that hold in the eye were damaged. Twenty four hours later we had drastic improvement and by a few days it was still not normal looking but officially on the road to recovery (see here).

By the middle of last week, the eye placement looked so good and the swelling was pretty much gone. We were just waiting for the redness to go away, but thought we were in the clear.

Then Friday morning Tim noticed the eye was creating a lot of tears/goop. By Friday afternoon that goop was yellow and it was pretty clear there was additional infection going on, so we made a vet appointment. This is what the eye looked like Friday afternoon.

Her left eye pre-injury with old scar tissue
Her left eye pre-injury with old scar tissue

At the vet the next day, we were told that the problem is the scratch on her cornea healing. See, BT has always had a “bum eye” with a lot of scar tissue on her left eye. This is from some untreated puncture wound that happened before we adopted her. Since there was so much scar tissue on the eye already, when the eye tried to make new scar tissue the blood vessels couldn’t properly get there to heal it. This resorted in the eye continually trying to make layers of scar tissue on top of each other, which left pockets available to collect dirt and germs that lead to easy infection.

The only way to fix this would be to do surgery that essentially cut a grid on her eye, sewed the 3rd eyelid shut, wait a week and see how well it did or didn’t heal. Or removal. Since the multiple surgeries to fix the eye would essentially be for cosmetic purposes only… we obviously went for removal.

I’m a little sad, but it’s the best decision for my dog. Eliot is behaving much better, but I’ve pretty much had to detach myself from how the injury happened. I’m thinking more along the lines of “my dog’s eye is injured and I need to fix it” instead of “Eliot bit BT’s eye and now it’s getting removed.” It is what it is.

Next week I’ll have a much happier update for you on this subject, because by then she will be our beloved cyclops dog and I’ll get to share the super cool computer project Tim has been developing to help her.