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Ethel the dog…

So our tenacious and tough dachshund Ethel is sick, and it’s more serious than we expected. She’s been under the weather for a few weeks, and the tests our vet ran kept coming back negative. Yesterday I would have told you that the most frustrating thing was having a dog that is obviously ill and yet have no clue what’s wrong. Her balance is entirely off, she wobbles around, trips, and sometimes falls over. She has a slight temperature, she isn’t jumping and frolicking around the apartment, and she looks miserable. She looks so much smaller…proof positive that a big attitude makes a big impression.DSC02301

Well this morning we got a referral to the UW Veterinary Hospital to see a dog neurologist. Yes, they have those. It’s a teaching hospital, and after an hour prodding, poking, and walking her around the hallways our doctor gave us the news. Something’s definitely wrong. Inflammation in her neck, around her spinal column. Maybe doggie meningitis (not the same as the human version, but I’ll come back to that). Maybe a herniated disk. Both have treatment options, and big implications for our travel plans and Ethel’s future health.

Meningitis requires a spinal tap for diagnosis, but they can’t do that without an MRI because spinal taps on dogs with herniated disks is a no-go. The herniated disk requires an MRI for diagnosis, meaning that to figure out which of these two things is wrong, we have to have $2,200 worth of diagnostic procedures. Meningitis is treated with steroids (30 days of us coddling her before she’s on the mend) and the herniated disk is treated with surgery (routine, though if it’s this one the bill goes up). She’ll be back to normal in 2 weeks if it’s the disc problem.

So…here’s the uncomfortable part. The $2,200 diagnostics are literally 2-months’ income (no joke) for a grad student. The savings I have will go into this, of course, but make up a small fraction of what we need. I’m applying for funding assistance from the vet hospital itself, but it will also only help with the [possible] surgery, not diagnostics.

My hope is that the people I love, and who love me…the people who’ve met Ethel, who’ve had Ethel lick their face a little too much…the people who love dogs and have heard me prattle on about this attitude packed little beast…will help if they can. I’ve set up an account with “ChipIn”, one of those online fundraising tools, which uses PayPal and doesn’t take a cut off the top. If you can help, wonderful. Know that it is appreciated. If you can pass it on to another person who understands dogs and dog people, that too is appreciated.

Donations can be made here


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This site is a work-in-progress, much like myself.


December 2012
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