Ed is my 13 year old bichon frise. I adopted Ed from the shelter when he was 5 years old, a very chubby and very dirty curly-qued pup. Despite his small stature, Ed has consistently been the bravest and most adventurous member of our family. He frequently broke out of the yard and went dumpster diving, always returning home an hour or so later with some treasures from the trash in tow. Once, he escaped and was picked up by the police and thrown in dog jail, where I had to bail him out the next day. Compared to my other dog, Eliot, and the bulldog La and I adopted together, Cletus, Ed has more courage and bravado combined.
Three years ago, Ed started struggling and after many tests and trips to the vet, he was diagnosed with diabetes. More months of trying to regulate his blood sugar followed, during which he went blind from diabetic cateracts. They finally realized he had co-occuring Cushing’s disease which was making his blood sugar difficult to regulate. Finally, after almost a year, we got his disorders under control.
Despite all of this, Ed has persevered as an incredible being and companion. Despite his inability to see, he has learned to navigate our old house, our new one, and my parent’s house. He finds great joy in laying in the sun, in licking the bulldog’s wrinkly face, in eating his morning and evening meals. He trots around, sometimes ending up underfoot or running into a corner he forgot about, but his zeal for life has continued.
For the last week or so, we have noticed a few things about Ed: he has, on a few occasions, ended up in the yard walking in circles, for an hour or more; he has been barking to be let in at unusual spaces (where before he has never mistook a wall for a door); he has been sleeping late in the morning and not waking us up to be fed or let out; standing has become more challenging. Yesterday, he was in even worse condition – hardly moving, sleeping very heavily. While I was at church last night, he had a seizure. So, La and I decided to take him to an emergency vet.
$165 later, all we know is that he likely had a hypoglycemic seizure, triggered by very low blood sugar. If you aren’t well versed in diabetes, low blood sugar could be the result of two things: not eating his normal amount of food or his body having an increased response to his insulin injection. Since Ed ate normally, we have to assume something is going on to make him more sensitive to the insulin. We have no idea what could be causing this, and its possible that even after many tests, we wouldn’t know.
We also discovered that Ed has likely developed glaucoma in one eye, has a heart murmur and possibly hypertension, and may have additional issues as well. The glaucoma is concerning since it is painful and the treatment indicated is frequently surgery, which Ed cannot have because of his diabetes.
For now, we have chosen to watch him and care for him the best we can. We are feeding him frequently to avoid low blood sugar and he is taking a low dose pain medication for his eye. We are trying to decide what to do next. Running a litany of tests feels not only financially impossible, but also not necessarily the most humane or compassionate thing to do for Ed. Making the decision to put him down feels equally impossible for my heart. So, right now, I am trying to love him at the impasse, until we can figure things out.
I would so appreciate your prayers, woo, positive juju, or whatever else you can spare.