When I woke up yesterday, my beloved chocolate lab, Mocha, did not greet me.
She did not run to my side, as she usually does, filled with joy to see me.
She lay on the ground not moving.
I approached her.
She gave me a sad, pitiful, look without so much as raising her head from the ground.
I sat down next to her.
"Thump," her tail wagged one time, weakly.
I knew, instantly, something was very wrong.
Mocha tried, eventually, to stand.
She staggered as if she were drunk and paced in wavy circles.
She lay down again; the effort to move was too much for her.
Mocha is eight years old.
Labs can live 12 years, sometimes more.
The night before she had been fine, but now she was not.
I called Briefcase at work.
I'd like to say I stayed nice and calm, but I didn't.
If you've ever truly loved an animal, you understand.
I can't lift Mocha. I probably wouldn't be able to lift her even if both my arms worked.
Briefcase came home from work and rushed her to our vet. She stayed with the vet all day, and then we received a call explaining her diagnosis, informing us of a vet bill for $700, and notifying us we could come pick her up.
(Seven hundred dollars? I should have been a vet! Also? See, holiday expenses and bad timing.)
Apparently, the vertebrae in Mocha's neck is deteriorating causing bone to rub on bone. Although she seemed perfectly fine 48 hours ago, now she is in pain. Severe pain.
The thing is?
I'm not entirely convinced we have an accurate diagnosis.
Mocha's balance seems completely off. She staggers when she walks. It doesn't seem to add up to neck pain. Or can pain make a dog pace in circles and stagger like a drunken sailor?
Our vet gave her steroids and pain killers to reduce inflammation and hopefully make her feel better. We have to watch her closely now and hope the medication can keep her comfortable.
If it doesn't, or if there is further deterioration, our vet suggested we take her to a dog neurosurgeon for major spinal surgery. I won't do that. Not because of the cost, although I'm sure it would be astronomical. I won't do it because a positive outcome is questionable. Also, I couldn't bear to subject her to such a traumatic surgery and the pain it would cause.
If the medication can't help Mocha, we will have to put her down.
My heart is hurting …
Really, really, hurting.
© Twenty Four At Heart