by Kathryn Primm, DVM
Details on how to purchase and how to win a copy of Tennessee Tails at the end of this post.
Good things come in small packages, right? Consider TicTac. She is a Chihuahua, just over four pounds, tiny like the candy for which she’s named and every bit as sweet. She is affectionate and she enchants everyone who gets to meet her. She’s a shoulder dog, with a distinct preference for the right shoulder. (If you put her on your left, she will squirm until she makes it over to the right.) She has a knack for making whoever is holding her feel like the center of the universe, which probably explains how she retains her supremacy.
TicTac’s short biography is a pitiful litany of health problems. In the two short months since her adoption, I have treated her for three serious conditions.
Each breed of dog is at risk for its own list of diseases, and I have teased her owner that she should not have let TicTac read the Chihuahua book because she seems to have begun working her way systematically through the list of her breed’s illnesses. Happily for TicTac, fate landed her with Stacy, a dog’s dream of an owner. She is bubbly and fun, dedicated and loving, tuned in to her dogs and intelligent, with good judgment about when to seek help. I feel lucky that Stacy chose me to provide that help.
TicTac started with seizure disorder, which landed her at UT College of Veterinary Medicine for an MRI. That condition is well managed now with daily medication, and the seizure disorder does not interfere with her quality of life. Like most small breed dogs, TicTac also suffers from periodontal disease. Stacy has made sure that her dental care is comprehensive and consistent, which is the only way to prevent what can be very severe tooth pain and adverse consequences for her general well-being.
When her mom noticed swelling in TicTac’s abdomen, it turned out that this time TicTac had found herself a disease that wasn’t on the Chihuahua checklist. Since she had only recently been rescued, we all assumed that she was just gaining weight on her new regimen of security, nutrition and love. She was behaving normally and did not seem ill, but Stacy wanted to have her seen, to be safe rather than sorry. It turned out to be a very good call!
TicTac’s body weight was increased by more than 10% due to a uterus so engorged with fluid that it might rupture at any moment; with no further warning, her entire abdomen could be flooded with infection. Her situation then would become dire and her chance of survival would decrease dramatically. She needed to be spayed immediately. We asked our afternoon clients to reschedule their appointment. Of course, they all agreed, to help save TicTac’s life. We took her straight into surgery in time to remove the uterus without complications, and TicTac made an uneventful recovery.
It was amazing how normally she had behaved while carrying that enormous diseased organ in her belly. She is a testament to resilience in the animal kingdom, as Stacy is a paragon of sensitivity among owners. A less attentive owner could have missed the changes in her dog, who was not even complaining a little bit. Not every owner is willing to stick with a special needs dog. Not every owner is tuned in enough to notice subtle changes like TicTac’s abdominal swelling.
TicTac and I are both fortunate to know Stacy. I hope and believe that when TicTac snuggles up on her mom’s shoulder (the right, of course), she repays Stacy in triplicate for every moment of worry and all the burdens of treatment, past, present, and–no doubt, since the Chihuahua disease list is long–future.
If you like this story, you will love the chuckles and tears in Tennessee Tails: Pets and Their People! Those who have the pleasure of having animals in our lives can relate to these stories. They allow the reader to be not only the fly on the wall for these meaningful relationships, but also to peer through the window into the heart of a veterinarian.
If you want to laugh, cry and renew your appreciation for how pets are a part of the human experience, you can’t miss Tennessee Tails. 100% of proceeds go to animal rescue, so it is TWICE as good. Reviews on Amazon are all 5 star! Check out the author’s website at www.kathrynprimmdvm.homestead.com for more details.
To enter to win a print copy of Tennessee Tails, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Tails,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 19, 2013. U.S. residents only.
Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles in our Pet Perspective section.