Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Will universal healthcare cover pets?

Our vet appointment yesterday was...interesting.

Did you know there is such a thing as doggy dementia? Well, there is. It's called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome or CDS and includes such symptoms as aimless wandering (check), getting stuck in corners or behind furniture (uh huh), staring into space or at walls (yep), and sleeping less during the night (bingo). So, yeah. That's weird.

Also, did you know that pet medicine is just as expensive as human medicine? Maybe even more expensive. We're fortunate enough not to need medication very often so this is all kind of new to me. Still, I'm guessing $120 a month is a lot of money no matter how many legs you have. $120 a month? I mean, that's ridiculous right? Or at least I thought it was until I called a few pharmacies to price out our other option. $120 a month for a nutraceutical to improve brain aging is a steal compared to the $293 it takes to fill a human prescription for depression and dementia (it's supposed to work on dogs, too).

I can't help but think about that pet insurance we declined to get after our other dog was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia and had to be put to sleep. Even then, after seeing first hand how much it can cost if your dog gets sick, it seemed like way too much money to spend on our pets. Although, I'm guessing it was a lot less than $120 a month.

My poor dog! I can't believe she has dementia. It makes me want to cry a little bit. I'm feeling really sorry for her which I have to admit is a nice change of pace. I've been so annoyed with her for so long that reconnecting with my pet-maternal instincts feels really good. It would have been nice if I could have been loving and compassionate all along but I'd by lying if I said I was. She was gnawing away at my last nerve and there was nothing I could do to hide it.

So even though we weren't able to fill either of the prescriptions that are supposed to help her, I still feel like we are in a better place today than we were before. We started her on some arthritis medication which we're hoping will make her more comfortable and are shopping around for a less ridiculous way to treat the CDS.

In the meantime, I know my attitude change is comforting for her. She is getting yelled at less and petted more. Even Liam is being more loving toward her. Although if it was up to her, I think she'd prefer him yelling to giving her Eskimo kisses any day. She can't really hear so the yelling didn't exactly bother her. The neck hugs and face-to-face contact, on the other hand, are totally freaking her out. She's already snapped at him twice and it's only been one day.

As for the sleepless nights, we're working on that as well. Last night we gave her a whole anti-anxiety pill which worked great...until 2 am. Then she was back to her old tricks, pacing the room, trying to get under the bathroom sink and standing on top of the pile of stuff I have stashed in the corner of our room.

I was about to throw in the towel and just accept that life as we knew it was over, but Bill came up with an idea that seemed to work great (even in the middle of the night, he's my ideas guy). He plugged in a nightlight so she wouldn't be disoriented in the dark and blockaded her dog bed so she couldn't wander the room aimlessly without climbing over a chair first. It actually kept her on her bed and we all slept soundly the rest of the night.

Tonight, we are trying the nightlight and the barricade without the medication. I am crossing my fingers that it works because there's a 6 am Zumba class I want to go to and will not even think about getting up that early if I don't get a good night's sleep. Plus, who wants to give their dog drugs if they don't have to?

Doggy swaddle!

It worked! She only woke up and escaped from her nest once and after Bill put her back, she slept great the rest of the night. I just got back from the YMCA and she's still sleeping like the sweet angel pup she is. Woo hoo!


sunT said...

awwww sweet poor thing!! she was probably so tired too.. just didnt know what to do with herself! looks like the swaddle saves the day again!

erin said...

Poor Chloe! I'll give her some extra love when we see her. No eskimo kisses, though. I want to keep my nose attached to my face. :)

LClaire said...

That is just the saddest thing! Who knew that dogs could have dementia!?! I'm glad she's better with her snug spot though :)

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