Happy Thanksgiving! There's no turkey or pies in the oven, no family coming, I have new pups and can't travel but I have so much to be thankful for, it's the best holiday I can remember. Yesterday morning, I thought I'd be burying my Starla.
Starla came to me by pure chance. I was acquiring a couple champion females from another breeder, but she brought along little Starla, as an afterthought. If I wanted her, OK, if not, maybe I knew someone who would. I opened the crate and out ran the most adorable corgi I've ever seen... all 14 lb of her! It was love at first sight! I love all my corgis but there was something special about her, so I quickly loaded up and left, before someone changed their mind!
During those first few weeks Starla had a few problems... an abscessed tooth, a bad tapeworm infestation, underweight, poor coat, but aggressive treatment cleared up the infection and worms. Wellness got her weight back up (to a whopping 18 lb), Maxi-Derm made her dull coat shed and her new coat was thick and luxurious. Every night she slept with me or in her little bed next to mine. She went everywhere I went and was always the center of attention.
2 nights ago, I got up to use the restroom at 4 a.m. and discovered Starla cold and stiff. It was a cold night so I tucked her in with me, but she couldn't seem to get comfortable. Up and down, quarter turns or pushing the covers with her nose. Something was not right! A few hours later when I got up, I gently sat her on the floor and she collapsed. I carried her out into the sunshine and got her walking, but she "pranced", took off running and collided into the horse trailer. I called to her but she seemed not to hear me. Unbelievably, she seemed blind and deaf! I offered her water, which she tried to drink but couldn't swallow. She also seemed dehydrated. I tried to open her mouth to squirt some Pedialite in, but her jaw was locked tight! Could this be....Tetanus? I threw her in the truck and literally flew down the mountain to the vet. As I lifted her out of the truck, she "swam". I was terrified!
Blood tests showed a high white count but x-rays revealed nothing. Her heart rate was low and her blood pressure high, plus her loss of vision indicated she had pressure inside her skull. We also discovered she'd lost her automatic reflexes. The vet was stumped and called a neurologist who said to bring her in immediately. I prayed every minute of that hour drive to San Diego.
The neurologist hooked up an IV, gave her medicine to reduce the pressure in her skull and questioned me thoroughly... no access to medicines, horse wormers or rat poison, nothing new in her diet, etc. They wanted to do an MRI, spinal tap and put her in ICU overnight, but said her prognosis was very poor. She was one sick dog. She either had a brain tumor or lesion, or a brain infection. The $3,600 estimate covered the consult, diagnosis, and a few medicines only. The cost of surgery or treatment would be added to that. As much as I love my corgis, I am a widow on disability, so the course of action they advised was impossible. I asked what the treatment would be, assuming it was the lessor of the evils...an infection... and was told steroids and antibiotics were called for. I could do that at home. I was advised she would probably die, but if she survived, her recovery would be long and expensive and she'd probably never regain her sight or be like she was before. The option of putting her down was offered and several friends urged me to, but I'm not one to give up without a fight. She's so young, not even 2, so otherwise healthy with a long life ahead of her! I decided to gamble that it was an infection, asked for those meds, paid the (large) bill and took my little girl home. I just couldn't imagine her not living, but felt if she didn't make it, at least she'd die on the ranch she loved, warm and loved and surrounded by her corgi family.
Starla was so sick, the sickest dog I'd ever seen! She was stiff, couldn't stand, couldn't see, but at least she could swallow a little now. I gave her the meds and tucked her under the heated blanket with me and a couple of her corgi friends. She laid so still all night I couldn't tell if she was sleeping soundly or getting worse. I just stoked her soft fur and prayed. At 5 a.m. I gave her another dose of steroids and antibiotics and we went back to sleep.
At 7:30 I opened my eyes to discover Starla sitting up, LOOKING at me! I waved my hand, which she followed with her eyes... she could see! I gently sat her on the floor and she didn't collapse. She walked, very unsteady at first, but got stronger throughout the morning. She stopped "prancing". By noon she was eating, drinking, then going up and down the steps. In the afternoon we went to town and she jumped in and out of the truck! I was stunned! She was alert and animated, as usual. How could a corgi be on death's door one day, with a swollen brain, blindness, and given almost no chance of meaningful recovery, and completely normal the next day? It was obviously an infection since it responded to the treatment, but where would she contract a brain infection? The vets have no clue either, but I think we received a Thanksgiving miracle! The one question I keep asking myself is this...what if I'd taken the advice to put her to sleep? This has taught me two important lessons in dealing with my corgis. I know them better than anyone so, despite advice to the contrary, I should trust my gut feeling. Second... despite their training, education and well intentions, Vets don't know everything! Love and prayer can be powerful medicine!
So, from me and Starla, and my corgi family.... Happy Thanksgiving!
I am so glad this story has a happy ending! Happy Thanksgiving to you, Starla, and all the other puppies in your home!
What a wonderful ending:) Starla is stunning in her coat. I also believe in going with my gut instinct!!!!!!
I am having a good cry for you and Starla, sorry you went through that but I am so so glad she seems better.
So glad to hear there is a happy ending!
Happy to hear that there still are some happy endings.
Wow! What a story! I bet you were desperate! I am so glad Starla received a Thanksgiving miracle!!! I am also glad that your story has a happy ending!!!
happy thanksgiving!!! I'm so happy little Starla is doing ok =)
Oh how I love a happy ending! Thanks!
What a great outcome! I am so glad it wasn't different!
Happy Thanksgiving! Cute picture of Starla with the red coat. That was a good story to end my night in.
It is Indeed a Happy Thanksgiving!! I am so glad you have a happy ending!!!!