Jesse gets a visit from the vet

On Monday 21st May 2012 I went to my friend Kerry’s house to help with her dog Jesse, who is almost 14, and has a tumour in his mouth. He became extremely distressed when he went to the local vet clinic.

Jesse is in the autumn of his years…

Jesse in the autumn sun in his backyard in North Fitzroy

I suggested that Kerry call Dr Aish Ryan from Vets At Home. She saw Jesse in his home environment, which reduced Jesse’s stress levels enormously compared to going into a vet clinic.

In Jesse’s photo gallery you can see that:

  • Aish sits on the floor of her client’s home, to help the dog to relax.
  • Aish came prepared with her bag of liver treats. At first Jesse was reluctant to approach her. Notice his lowered head, which indicates a level of anxiety.
  • After a while Jesse approached Aish for a treat.
  • Aish yawns (which is a calming signal) to encourage Jesse to open his mouth.
  • Aish enlists Kerry’s help to coax Jesse to allow himself to be handled. In time he was OK about approaching Aish, but he freaked out when she brought out her stethoscope.
  • Jesse retreats under the table, his usual place of refuge when he’s stressed, and Kerry’s daughter Wendy coaxes him out.

Jesse is on antibiotics to control infection is his mouth. He is eating well, is bright and responsive and interested in life. Kerry has his vet’s and his training consultant’s permission to spoil him rotten for his remaining days. I’ll keep you posted.

Update

English: An electronic stethoscope.

Just over a week ago, Jesse had two episodes of bleeding from his mouth. By the time I got there, the bleeding had stopped of its own accord, and Jesse seemed OK. My GP, Dr Philip Boltin,  gave me an old stethoscope (isn’t it great to have dog-friendly people who can help?) and before Aish arrived to check Jesse, I did some gradual desensitisation with the stethoscope. This mainly involved relaxing on the couch with him, gradually bringing the stethoscope out of my bag, and bringing it closer, as I gave him treats. By the time Aish arrived, she was able to sit next to him and examine him. It’s so much more relaxed being able to examine a dog on “his own couch”.

Final report

This evening Jesse was peacefully euthanised at home. His tumour had grown rapidly and he was having more difficulty eating. He was slobbering constantly and I noticed that there was blood in his drool. Jesse still showed some of his old spirit, jumping up and grabbing my sleeve (normal naughty behaviour for him). Sally had a cuddle with him on the “human” couch, making sure she had a towel on her lap.

He got up and greeted Aish when she arrived. Then I encouraged him to settle down on his doggy couch. Aish gave him a sedative, and after a while he started to nod his head, then he would suddenly lift it up again. This happened a few times, before he nodded off. Wendy and I were sitting on the couch stroking him gently. Then Aish came and shaved his front leg, which he barely seemed to notice. She then started to put the needle in, and he woke up and jerked his leg away, and folded it neatly under his chest. That’s the Jesse we all knew and loved. After giving him some time, Aish decided to give him a second sedative, this time injected into his muscle. This stings, and he yelped indignantly. However, it got into his system and he relaxed. I noticed his breathing change. Then it was time. Aish inserted the needle gently and Jesse went down the long green road with the big double doors at the end. After listening to his heart, Aish pronounced that he was gone. He showed some spirit, so he was still the Jesse we knew, and he had the privilege of going peacefully before his terminal illness reached the distressing stage.

Euthanasia means “good death”. We should all be so lucky.

Thank you Dr Aish Ryan for your patience and sensitivity.

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