To date (August 9, 2011) it has been 499  days since Delilah’s last incident.

Delilah’s health issue has been an ongoing struggle.  I have tried to document it as accurately and thoroughly as I possibly can.  Since we have dealt with this for over three years now, the story is quite long.  I have broken it down by dates to make the reading a bit easier.

July 4, 2008:

This was the first time we became aware that Delilah might have a serious health issue; she had been with us for 14 months by that time.

We were at my sister Laura’s house in New Hampshire having spent a relaxing afternoon throwing toys into the pool, while the dogs played fetch.

We had just retired to my sister’s room to watch TV and Delilah went to jump up on the couch to snuggle with me, when she yelped and took off.  I immediately began searching for her; I found her in the bedroom we were staying in, sitting in a corner, eyes fixed and dilated, shaking like a leaf and panting excessively.  I called her to me, but she did not respond.  Chet and I finally coaxed her outside and checked her physically to make sure she hadn’t been bitten by something up there in the wilds of New Hampshire.  We couldn’t find anything.

We went in the house and Delilah went for the door; she wanted to leave.  I was beside myself; so I called my sister’s vet who advised us to give her a Benadryl and see how she was doing in the morning.

My response was, “Listen, you don’t know me but if I wake up in the morning and my dog is dead, I will never get over it.”

My sister said, “Oh God, here she goes.”

The vet said, “How fast can you get here?”

I grabbed Delilah’s medical records and Chet, Laura, Delilah and I piled into the car.  Delilah who normally lies down while riding in the car kept her head out the window the entire 35 minute ride.  When we arrived at the clinic around 10 pm; the vet gave her a physical exam and diagnosed her with bad hips.  She gave her some Rimadyl and said to keep an eye on her.

It was an anxious night; Delilah was on the floor refusing to come and sleep in the bed and it seemed like I heard every move she made.  She got up a couple of times which was unusual for her, but we did manage to make it through the night.  The next day she was still heading for the door, totally heartbreaking for me, because I was afraid that she thought she was going to die and was trying to find a place to get on with the business at hand.  By Saturday night, she was coming outside with the other dogs, but I kept her on leash because I was afraid she would run off.

All things considered, we decided to leave on Sunday even though we both had Monday off; we wanted to get her home and comfortable again.

She slept for most of the three plus hour ride and seemed very happy once we got home.  However she refused to sleep on the bed and still wasn’t her normal happy-go-lucky self; I decided to call our vet.

Thankfully we got an appointment right away.  After examining Delilah, Dr. Soutter said she thought Delilah had a problem with her back.  She came to that conclusion by the way Delilah was standing, with her back slightly drooping, so her stature was curved instead of standing tall, as well as the fact that any manipulations she made with Delilah’s legs didn’t illicit any complaints from Delilah.  We went home with instructions to keep her quiet for a few days and continue with the Rimadyl.

After a couple of days she began sleeping on the bed again, but it was a good week before she was back to her happy, exuberant self.

January 16, 2009

Things returned to normal and life resumed as it always had at Stone Manor…until January 16, 2009.  I had picked the dogs up from daycare and we were just settling in, Sampson was on the couch and Delilah had gone into her crate, they were both napping; when all of a sudden Delilah yipped and shot out of her crate.

She started running around the house, but it almost looked like she was chasing her tail.  You know the way dogs turn when they are trying to catch their tails?  She finally came and leaned against my legs, with her body tucked into itself.  She was shaking like a leaf, her eyes were fixed and dilated, and she was panting.  I called the vet, who had an appointment in 20 minutes.  I brought Sampson to my mom and told her I needed her to keep him while I took Delilah to the vet; I called Chet and said, “I’m bringing her to the vet, meet me there.”

Chet tried to calm me down but I was beside myself; I clipped a leash on Delilah, who went willingly out the door and off to the vet we went.  I drove as fast as I dared and barely made it within the twenty-minute time frame; our vet didn’t have any appointments so we saw Dr. Babushka a.k.a. Dr. ‘B’.   After examining Delilah Dr. B. could find nothing physically wrong with her.  We went home again not knowing what was wrong with our baby.

Delilah’s recovery was similar to the first time, initially she kept by the door, but eventually made her way inside the house; she would not lay down the first few nights, instead she paced….all night long.  When she did lie down, she laid against something.  With each passing day she seemed to get progressively better.

A few evenings later the phone rang and it was Dr. B; she wanted to know how Delilah was feeling and so we began chatting and brainstorming about what could possibly be wrong with Delilah and how we could help her.

I found Dr. B to be very open and caring but was hesitant to bring up what I was thinking.

“So where do we go now?” I asked. “Do you think maybe…”

“An animal communicator” it was as if she had read my mind.

“Do you know of any?” was my response.

“I know Dr. Soutter uses one, I will get call you with the information and we will go from there.”

I was leery about telling anyone, because let’s face it everyone already thinks I’m a little touched about my dogs, but I found most people I mentioned it to were fairly interested.

True to her word, Dr. B called with the name and number of an animal communicator, I was nervous but I went to her website and followed the instructions for our session.  The way this gal works is over the phone, which made me slightly skeptic, but hey it’s my baby girl and I want her to be better, I will try anything!

The fee you pay for the communicator includes a 15 minute consultation with your vet,  reviewing the information the communicator has gathered from your session.

The animal communicator said she sensed something in Delilah’s brain; the pain started in the left side of her head and traveled down into her jaw.  When this happened it was so frightening for Delilah that Delilah felt like she might not be able to come back to us.  She  thought that Delilah might have metal in her brain.  WTF?  I’m trying to figure out how a dog gets metal in their brain!

I wasn’t impressed.

When I talk to Dr. B, she explained it like Delilah has lead, copper or mercury poisoning; she recommended some drops to add to her food to help cleanse the metal from her body.  She also recommended antioxidants.

Delilah got better; she went 6 months without an incident, then a year without incident.

I decided to cut back on her antioxidants ($57 per month) if I cut her back to three per day, it will save a little money.

Then 14 months after the last incident, it happens again.

March 29, 2010:

My mom called me at work, “Something is wrong with Delilah.”

By the time I got home, Delilah was lying under a table, only her tail was sticking out and the tablecloth moved back and forth with her breathing. I called her to me and after a minute or two of coaxing she finally came; she was cowering, curling into herself, shaking like a leaf; tail tucked between her legs, eyes wide and dilated.

I called the Vet and began coaxing her upstairs, she did come but took a break by the front door, looking at me and looking at the door. She wanted to leave.

I finally got her all the way upstairs and sat on the floor and I held her, she was shaking and panting, I just kept stroking her, telling her she was OK.

We all sat down on the floor; Sampson lay beside me, not knowing what exactly was going.   He is my little Lassie, he knew something was wrong with Delilah and went down stairs, banging into my mother’s door until she opened it.  Delilah sat, but she would not lie down.  She was shaking and quivering,  Sampson was looking at me, wondering what in the world was going on. I just sat there,  holding her and stroking her to let her know she was loved and she was not in this alone.  We will get through it together!

I can’t say how long we sat like that for, but we heard Chet’s jeep pull into the yard and I began to cry; I held onto her praying to God to heal her, I prayed over her; prayed for her healing.

Chet came in and we all sat there on the floor, waiting for the Vet to call.

Dr. “B” called, and we decided to bring her in. The four of us piled into the car and we left.  We rolled the windows down like we always do, but she didn’t lie down. She rode the whole 20 minutes to the Vet’s with her head out the window.  When we got there, she seemed to be better and after Dr. “B” looked at her, and listened to what we described, she came to the conclusion that it was a seizure. Take her home; treat her as normally as possible. If they become more frequent or more severe we will have to put her on medication.

Delilah ate her dinner like she normally would, she went outside to go potty; but when she came in she didn’t lie down. She basically stood for the majority of the evening.

Bedtime came and we all went into the bedroom; Delilah wouldn’t jump on the bed, so I moved one of the dog beds to the foot of the bed, I did the normal bedtime routine but Delilah didn’t. I finally got down on the floor with her, honestly I would have slept on the floor if I could have gotten her to lie down, but she wouldn’t. Finally I gave up and went to sleep trying to be a normal as possible.

It was a horrible night, I barely slept and poor Delilah stood almost the entire night! Finally sometime in the early hours of the morning, she laid down in the bathroom.

Chet stayed home with her the next morning while I went to work. As soon as I got in, I placed a call to the Vet to see if there was something I could give her that would help her relax enough to get some rest. While I was waiting for a return phone call; I started researching seizures in dogs. What I found made me sick; most of the medications have horrible side effects.  I remember thinking, “No wonder people put their dogs down when they are diagnosed with seizures.”  I was heartsick and devastated thinking about my baby.

Finally I found a natural supplement that was supposed to help and quickly put together an e-mail to my dear friend Jo-Anne, who has a plethora of knowledge about Dr’s (both human and canine) that practice natural remedies.

Jo-Anne quickly got on the phone with me and told me about her Holistic Vet who coincidentally was going to be at her place the next morning.  She called Dr. Landau to see if he could fit Delilah in while he was in the area but his schedule was tight.

What happened next still moves me to tears; Jo-Anne gave up one of her dog’s appointment so Delilah could be seen; she also paid the traveling fee. I told her we would split the fee, but she said no, he was coming to her any way and it was more important that Delilah get taken care of. I cannot begin to tell you how overwhelmed and grateful I am to Jo-Anne for her knowledge and her generosity. Words will never be enough.

When I got home; Sampson and Delilah greeted me at the door. Her tail was still tucked between her legs and she was very clingy; I managed to get a Benadryl into her and she finally lay down on the floor with me and went to sleep.
The next morning I took Sampson to daycare, while Delilah and I stayed home waiting for Dr. Landau.

I asked my sister Sheena to stop over so she could be the official photographer for any pictures we might want.

To have your dog treated in your own home is a wonderful experience.  Delilah was as relaxed as she could be, Dr. Landau  sat on the floor and examined her, while he questioned me about her incident.

After I had completely filled him in with all the details he said, “It sounds like a dog in pain to me, not a dog with seizures.”

Do you think it is wrong to be relieved your dog is in pain?  For me it was  a relief she didn’t have seizures and I had hope that whatever was hurting her could be healed.

Dr. Landau took Delilah’s pulse, then he asked me a question.

“If someone was hurt, do you think their pulse would be fast and shallow or slow and deep?”

Well I’m  no Dr. but I know when I get hurt, my heart beats faster and I breath quicker.  I would assume this is to get blood and air to the afflicted area quicker, so I chose fast and shallow.

Delilah’s pulse was slow and deep; which meant her body wasn’t reacting in the “normal” way to help aid her body in healing.

Dr. Landau gave Delilah a chiropractic adjustment, he treated her muscles with a laser and he gave her some acupuncture.

He also left me two Chinese Herbs Xi Chao Hu Tang (go ahead, roll your tongue around that one, Zow Shy Who Tang) and some Body Sore.  She got these medicines twice per day.

You could see the change in Delilah almost immediately, she was very relaxed and very comfortable. (You can also see how much heavier she was then compared to now.)

Dr. Landau wanted to see her in two weeks, he recommended the raw diet to help her lose weight and he requested she have an x-ray of her back and hips to see if anything was noticeably amiss.

To schedule her for x-rays meant she would have to stay at the vets for a day, it also meant she would be anesthetized while they positioned her correctly in order to get the best picture.  I am a nervous Nellie and didn’t want her manipulated when she wasn’t herself.  So I put the x-rays off for a couple of months.

Meanwhile we started both dogs on the raw diet the very next weekend.  Since the raw diet is much more expensive than regular kibble; they had raw food at night and a grain free (Taste of the Wild) kibble for breakfast.

When Delilah had her check-up with Dr. Landau, he said she was doing much better; her pulse had quickened and she seemed to have no lasting effects from her incident.  Dr. Landau gave her another laser treatment and advised keeping the Body Sore in the house for anytime she had any issues and was in need of some pain relief.

Dr. Landau felt Delilah’s issue was a pinched nerve (or something similar) that bothered her every once in a while and thought if she lost some weight the problem would go away.  So just keep doing what we were doing.

Finally in June she had her x-rays and nothing jumped out at the Dr.  So we knew it wasn’t a fracture, a bulging disc or slipped disc.

Dr. Landau’s thought of the pinched nerve was what we went with.

UPDATE:

As of today it has been 499 days since the last incident.

In January I began a regimen of exercising the dogs in some manner every day.

In April they went full-time on the raw diet.

Delilah has lost almost 30 pounds and Sampson has lost 25.

Last month, I cut Delilah’s antioxidants down to three per day.  In six months I hope to drop her down to two per day.

She is a happy, healthy and active and well-adjusted dog.

She brings joy and laughter to my world EVERY SINGLE day.