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My posts have mostly been sad lately... and honestly, they may continue that way for awhile... but for 14 years Chase was a happy dog and that happiness shone through to everybody who met him.

Towards the end, he was mostly blind from cataracts, mostly deaf, and getting a bit wobbly, all of which made navigating big strange hotels something of a dicey proposition. WindyCon is always so big and crowded that I borrowed a wagon from a friend with kids, and Chase spent the weekend riding around the hotel in the wagon.

This way to the pictures... )
He loved going to cons, 'cause he got lots of attention and frequently lots of french fries (especially when we roomed with [ profile] catalana, 'cause he was expert at convincing her that it had been hours since his last treat). I will always be grateful for cons at dog-friendly hotels, because some of my best memories from Chase's last year were times we spent hanging out at cons, introducing people to my wonderful red dog.
Finally got the myasthenia gravis test results back, almost three weeks after they were sent in and a week after Chase died. Test was positive, not that that was a surprise, given that he'd responded to the pyridostigmine.

The necropsy results also came back today, and the root cause of all of the recent problems was cancer. Specifically, hemangiosarcoma... and it was pretty widespread... it showed up in every sample they tested other than the lymph node. No large tumors were evident, though, which explains why nothing showed up on xray or ultrasound (and we were looking... his spleen was specifically checked in early January.

Ultimately, it's not something that could have been cured, and any attempt probably would have just made him miserable and prolonged the inevitable. I think he fought to stay for as long as he could, bouncing back from the pneumonia and the myasthenia gravis, but in the end, his body just gave out.

Dammit... I'd just managed to go a whole day without spontaneously breaking down crying, and now it's started all over again.

First, thank you so much to everybody who's sent hugs and sympathy about Chase. Just knowing that y'all are there and that you care (and that some of you had a chance to meet my fuzzy boy) really does help.

On a somewhat lighter note, I've been fascinated by the behavior of my cats since I got home from the vet last night. When I first came home, none of them would come near me... I think I was radiating more stress than they could figure out how to deal with. Then, all of a sudden, I realized I was petting a purring cat curled up by my left leg. I never felt him get on the sofa, and Smudgie's a big boy, but there he was... just hanging out and purring. Over the course of the night, I had an ever-changing procession of cats in that one spot. I frequently didn't realize they'd changed until I looked down and realized "Hey, that's not the fur I was petting a few minutes ago!"

Then I started noticing another piece of the pattern. Each time I got a "new" cat to pet, the previous one would go engage in a vigorous game of hide-and-seek or pounce-and-tussle with one of the other cats. In some cases, cats who generally consider themselves too "old and dignified" to play (looks at Errie) were suddenly hiding around corners and leaping up in the air and pouncing on furry passers-by.

It's almost like each cat would curl up with me 'til they'd soaked up all the grief and stress they could handle, then they'd go off and discharge it with a rousing bit of silliness with one of the other cats... like zapping them with a static charge... while another cat moved in to take their place by me.

It was very cute... and more than slightly odd. But, well, they're cats and "odd" is kinda in their job description.
Chase is gone.

We fought a good fight... he beat the pneumonia, responded well to the drugs for myasthenia gravis, and we were managing the megaesophagus, but the thing we couldn't win against was whatever's been going on underneath. Something caused the anemia, and the currently unexplained high white cell count. Whatever it was, I came home from work tonight to find him collapsed on his bed and panting. I scooped him up, called my vet, made the decision to go there rather than the emergency vet 'cause if this was the end, I didn't want it to be with strangers.

At 6:31 p.m., about four minutes from the vet, he stopped breathing and was gone.

We had a great last week... he was feeling good, bouncy, dragging me around the yard when we went outside. Sunday he was a little lethargic, but yesterday morning he was eating his breakfast practically as it poured into the bowl. Whatever this was appears to have been fast, and from what Dr. R could tell, painless.

There are certainly worse ways to go.

I miss my boy... *sob*
Over the course of the weekend, I made minor variations in Chase's med schedule, with the cumulative effect being that he can now have meds at 8 and 8 rather than 12 and 12, which means I don't have to continue taking 90-minute lunches to go home and feed/medicate the dog.

By yesterday, he was having a not-so-good day... no energy... a little wobbly... and completely not interested in food. This morning was my first attempt at getting up an hour earlier in order to have time for the extra dog-stuff pre-work, and it went well... I got up when the clock went off, stumbled to the kitchen, prepared his food and then left it to sit and soak. Fell back in bed for a bit to continue convincing myself that being up that early wasn't a mistake, then got up and showered and got ready to meet the day. By the time I was done showering, Chase was awake, so I walked all three dogs, fed Chase (he was, thankfully, hungry and thirsty again), and then caught up on a bit of TV while sitting with him through the obligatory Vertical Dog period post-breakfast.

All that, and I even had time to stop for a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit at McDonald's and still get to work on time.


vet update...

Feb. 27th, 2008 11:21 pm
tollermom: (Default)
So... finally heard from Dr. R, but only voicemail as I was actually busy feeding Chase when she called.

more lab results hiding back here... )

In the meantime, he's been very bouncy and active today, so I'm taking that as a good sign and trying not to stress too much about the rest. He's eating well, has a good attitude, and to all outward appearances seems to be in great shape for a 14-yr-old deaf and blind Toller. I'm going to enjoy that and not sweat the rest, especially since I know he can sense when I'm stressed and it'll make him stressed.

Thanks to everybody who sent good wishes and good energy our way... I really appreciate it, and based on how bouncy (and demanding!) he's been today, I'd say he does too. :-)
So... I contemplated doing a posting filter for the Chase updates, but I have some non-LJ friends (and LJ people who read the RSS feed) who'd be excluded, so I'm not going to filter. I will, however, put all the medical details behind a cut so that those who don't want to hear in-depth discussions of bloodwork or feeding a megaesophagus dog don't have to see it.

Today's adventure was with bloodwork... )

So please cross your fingers, light candles, invoke the gods of your choice, etc., for my fuzzy red boy. I'm off now to feed him his dinner, 'cause he just sat in front of me and barked at me (a sure sign that he wants dinner "now, Mom, please!")... dog food soup... yum yum! (Thankfully, he likes it, so it doesn't matter than it smells weird to me!)
So far, the magic recipe for food for Chase seems to be his daily ration of Eagle Pack Holistic Lamb & Rice, soaked 'til it's soft then run through the blender and served with enough water to make it about milkshake consistency (I'm adding a couple of tablespoons of Missing Link and a couple of tablespoons of oil to boost the nutrient and fat counts). Conveniently, this gets him most of the water he needs in a day too, since water seems to stay down better if it's not drunk plain. Currently doing three meals a day, which is manageable even on workdays. We see Dr. R. tomorrow afternoon for the bloodwork that got postponed on Friday due to crappy roads. His gums don't seem as pink as they should be, which is worrisome when combined with the fact that he was somewhat anemic when bloodwork was done in Chicago, but his attitude and energy levels are good. I have plans on the way for a "Bailey Chair," which is basically a custom-built high-chair for dogs with megaesophagus... it lets them eat in a vertical position, and then they sit in the chair for 20-30 minutes after each meal. Currently I'm having to hold him in a vertical position after each meal (basically, letting gravity do what his esophagus can't) and while I'm not averse to snuggling with the dog, it's getting to be really tough on my shoulder, plus it's hard to keep him vertical for that long... hopefully the chair will provide more support than I'm able to, so he'll stay upright for longer.

I talked to my former across-the-street neighbor, who'd talked to another neighbor who actually got their certified letter on Saturday. Turns out that it's not from the developer (so it's not our "intent to close" letters) but from the city instead. There's yet another public hearing scheduled, on March 11. This one is apparently during the regular monthly meeting of the City Plan Commission (no, that's not a typo... I don't know why it's "Plan" and not "Planning," but it is) and I have no idea what it's about or whether it will hold up the closing dates. I hope not, since I can't make an offer on the river house 'til I have a closing date in hand. *sigh* I'll swing by the Post Office and pick up my letter in the morning, then call the Plan Commission if I still have questions once I've seen the letter. Entertainingly, the one other house that I'd been watching, a big ol' farmhouse out from Lapel, finally posted interior pictures and it's really pretty, so now I want to go see it in person. It's not got central air, though, and between the purchase price and the cost of retrofitting it for central air, it's really close to the top of my price range, where the river house, even with replacing all the floors with tile or hardwood, would be easily $50k less.

In other news... had a fairly lazy weekend... caught up on sleep, went to a Pampered Chef party, did a bunch of dishes and a couple of loads of laundry, fueled up the Beetle (dear gods... diesel was at $3.69/gal) and picked up a few groceries. Also caught up on watching some of the stuff that was piled up on the DVR, so there's actually room for it to record this week.

Now I need to go start another load of laundry and walk and feed the RowdyBoys... with all the time I'm spending on caring for Chase, I fear that the younger two are getting less attention than normal so I'm going to spend some concentrated time with them before Chase's last feeding of the evening. Thankfully they're very tolerant of the vagaries of my schedule and they seem to be taking all of this in stride.
Chase is about the same today... he spent a lot of the day sleeping, but when he's been up and around, he's seemed fairly energetic and not stressed. I've done a ton of reading about myasthenia gravis and megaesophagus (and especially what's involved in helping a megaesophagus dog to thrive) and we're now on a quest for the perfect consistency of food. Apparently some dogs do well on (essentially) meatballs, popped in and gulped down, while others do best on anything from normal consistency canned food down to about milkshake consistency. The universal constant, though, is that the dog needs to be vertical while eating or drinking, and needs to be kept that way (think of a dog in a "sitting up and begging" position) for 15-20 minutes after each meal, and there should be four to six small meals a day. So far, Chase is tolerating me holding him upright, but as he gets his energy back that may come to an end. There are plans available for what is essentially a fitted doggy "high chair" and I'm going to check with a couple of my crafty friends (aka, those who have woodworking tools/skills) and see about making one for Chase. It would simplify the meal thing considerably!

Picked the RowdyBoys up from Caring Hands, where they'd spent the weekend. Drummer got his three-year rabies shot, and he and Thunder were both titered for distemper and parvo. Titer levels came back fine, so no need to vaccinate. Yay! Both were clear of any kind of parasites (worms, heartworms, fleas), and Thunder's ears (which I'd been treating for a yeast infection) were pronounced clean and clear. The kennel staff fell in love with Thunder. He's just so happy... and so easy-going. Poor Drummer, who's only been boarded one other time, apparently was pretty obsessive and spent most of his time pacing and worrying. They said he was _much_ better by the end of the weekend. Also, he was massively nervous when Dr. Roach did her exam... one of the techs ended up holding him in her arms like a baby and then he was fine. Apparently I need to get in the habit of swinging by the clinic with him so he can say "hi" to everyone and have a treat and get over being so nervous.

The cats were all happy to see me come home, and everybody seems healthy. Errand had the sniffles and a runny eye before I left, but he's all better now, which is good 'cause I soooooo can't afford any more vet bills right now!
So... I came off to Capricon in Chicago, with the youngsters in boarding and Chase (who loves to travel) with me.

Thursday afternoon, things were fine, but by late Thursday night it was obvious that Chase was distressed about something, but I couldn't figure out what. He kept [ profile] sweetmusic_27 and I awake most of the night, pacing and fussing and pacing and fussing. I'd take him outside, and we'd come back up and he'd drink more water and in awhile we'd go outside again. He finally let me get a little sleep about 5:30 a.m., but I never got more than about an hour at a stretch without him waking me up again.

During the day on Friday, he seemed to be doing okay, 'til afternoon when he started having trouble standing up (he'd been having trouble on the slippery tile in the bathroom all weekend, but that wasn't terribly surprising). I called my vet and they had me go get a thermometer since I'd forgotten to pack one. He didn't have a fever, which was actually scarier than if he did, since he has a history of not wanting to walk if he's feverish. Called the vet back and got the prompt response of "get him to a vet".

The first trip to the vet, and a concert... )

So now it's the end of the concert, I'm in brown pseudo-leather bodice, black harem pants with a black handkerchief skirt over them, and black cavalier hat with requisite jaunty black feather. And we need to go pick up meds and take them to the clinic... where they'd jokingly said I should come back in garb. You saw this one coming, right?

To the drugstore and clinic... avast, ye mateys! )

Word today is that he's feeling better... when I called this morning he was standing up and barking at them. This is a good sign. This afternoon, they said he's eaten and been outside and he's seeming pretty recovered from yesterday's muscle weakness. I'm hoping this means he's going to be responsive to the meds and this thing will be manageable. We shall see. In the meantime, he's spending another night at the vet, and I'm back to running sound in the Internet Cafe.
I'm starting to think I'll never dig out from under the vet bills...

Yesterday morning, about 6:15 (yawn), Chase woke me up making the weirdest noises. It basically sounded like he was breathing underwater, but the noises were all in his head and throat (not the deeper lung-based noises that he made when he had pneumonia). I couldn't find his thermometer anywhere, but he seemed to feel fine other than being stressed out about having trouble breathing, so I called Caring Hands and they said they'd make a slot for me in Dr. Roach's schedule if I'd bring him in when she got there (8 a.m.).

The 6-degree temperature succeeded in thoroughly waking me up, and we were sitting at Caring Hands at 8 a.m. After a good visit w/ Dr. R, we headed home with antibiotics, Benadryl, and Xanax in case he gets stressed and worried again. After the second Benadryl last night, he started sounding a little less like his head was full of soup (I really wish there was some way to teach a dog to blow his nose!) and he sounded better still by this morning.

We're assuming this is a side-effect of his recently developed megaesophagus (as was the pneumonia), so I'm still trying to find the magic combination of food and feeding position (and schedule) that will keep his food down so we don't have to keep worrying about infections. So far, he's doing pretty well eating multiple small meals of canned food from a spoon held just high enough that he has to reach up for it, and he's getting water a few ounces at a time now instead of having the big bowl of water down for him all the time.

He's going with me to Capricon this weekend, and the Rowdy Boys are going to go board at the vet (my petsitter was unexpectedly called out of town). Hopefully his head will clear up so that he's less noisy by the weekend!
No, not an old update... an update about the old dog. :-)

Took Chase to see Dr. R yesterday for a followup visit to see how well he's recovered from the pre-Christmas pneumonia. Xrays looked great and she's really happy with how he's progressed. He's off the antibiotics for now (yay!), and the only concern is a slight line showing up on the xrays along the edges of the esophagus, so she's worried that he's developed megaesophagus.

The megaesophagus could have any number of causes, including age (he's almost 14) or auto-immune (not terribly surprising, given that he's had some auto-immune problems in the past, and they're not uncommon in the breed). So for now I'm just managing it with a raised feeder and looking for the type of food that seems to cause the lowest incidence of "urping". So far, that seems to be anything that's not pasty, so his Eagle Pack kibble dry, instead of putting water on it, and supplemented with a chunks-and-gravy style canned food (current favorite is Merrick's Cowboy Cookout, which I discovered when I was desperately trying to tempt him to eat when he was sick. It's good stuff, and Dr. R and I both had the reaction that it looked and smelled as good as regular made-for-people beef stew (the picture on Merrick's site doesn't do it justice).

Of course, the youngsters don't think it's fair that Chase gets the yummy-smelling stuff and they just get kibble, so now the daily drill is to fix the bowls of crunchy food, scoop a spoonful or so of the canned stuff onto Drummer and Thunder's bowls, then put the rest on Chase's. This seems to be keeping everybody happy... we'll see how it goes in the long run.

So far, the only time Chase has coughed up his food since I got back from the west coast was the first night I was back. The pet sitter had had to tempt him to eat, and in his happiness at having me back, he apparently ate too much too fast that first night (and it was Eagle Pack with water on, which turns into slush). Now I have to track how much he's eating and when and we may have to resort to (a) many small meals, or (b) hand-feeding to ensure that he eats slowly if just the changes in consistency of food don't help.
Chase had a followup appointment with Dr. Roach last night, and she was thrilled by how well he's doing.

The unwritten subtext seemed to be that she was also surprised by how well he's doing. I don't think she expected the almost-14-yr-old dog, who was hospitalized three days running two weeks ago, to be essentially back to his normal bouncy self. Energy is good, coat looks great, attitude is normal, and there's no sign of the pneumonia when listening to his lungs. We go back in another month for another followup and another chest xray to make sure he's really really well, but things are looking great for the elder statesdog of Reddog Central.
Chase just rolled around in the floor to scratch and stretch, and wound up lying on his back, grinning and wagging.

He still doesn't have much energy and can't walk far without having to stop for a bit of recovery time, but this is a much different dog than the one who came home from the hospital on Friday. :-)
I brought Chase home yesterday afternoon, and did another nebulizer treatment when I got home from the Solstice service. I got distracted with email and catching up on my friends list and was still awake at 2 a.m., at which point he could have another Tramadol. I tried to take him outside, and he wouldn't even try to stand up, so I gave him the tramadol and we both went to bed.

About 6 a.m., he woke me up whining and I carried him outside again. He couldn't stand by himself, but he did manage to pee while I held him up. When I brought him back in, he drank a bunch of water and settled in to sleep some more, and I went back to sleep for a couple more hours.

When I got up, he was sleeping so soundly that I didn't want to bother him. The only things he was scheduled for this morning were his bronchodilator meds and another nebulizer treatment, so I let him continue to sleep. About 1 p.m., a neighbor stopped by for a few minutes and the doorbell set off Drummer and Thunder. That was enough noise to wake up Chase, so I took the opportunity to get his meds into him. He was sitting up, and when I went to pick him up to take him outside, he stood up! I didn't want to waste his energy getting from the bedroom to the yard, so I picked him up anyway and carried him outside, where he stood all by himself to pee, and then wandered across the yard a bit before deciding that that was quite enough walking for now, thanks very much.

I picked him up (my shoulder hates me, btw... but I'm really glad I didn't have surgery at the originally scheduled date, 'cause I'd've never managed all this doggy lifting and medicating if I was still trapped in a sling) and settled him in the dog bed in the living room, at which point he still had enough energy to try to avoid the nebulizer mist.

You don't realize what a big deal the little things are 'til they don't happen for awhile. He sneezed a little while ago... and stood up to shake his fur back into place when he wasn't happy with my ruffling of the dog.

So... I'm cautiously optimistic that we may have turned the corner. I'll keep the nebulizer treatments going (gotta go refill the MucoMyst scrip this afternoon) and keep getting his meds into him, but I'm very encouraged by the fact that he walked a little by himself!
For the last X years (this is the fourth or fifth... I'm not sure which), UUI has done an open Winter Solstice ritual, which fast became the high point of my WinterThing season. Good music and great energy with a wonderful bunch of people.

This year's was tonight, and the choir and accompanists were (as usual) to wear black, since the service starts in the dark. (Choir members then got red or gold sashes... accompanists could sash or not... I chose not to, 'cause it just ends up in the way when I put the djembe, with its criss-cross harness, on.) Looking in my closet this afternoon, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma... I have really dressy blacks (worn when accompanying the Women's Chorus or other groups) and really casual blacks (think black BDU pants and a t-shirt or tank top) and neither of them were really what I was in the mood for this year. I wanted something dressier than the BDUs but more comfortable than the formal stuff.

Then I realized... Ooh! I've been buying stuff to wear at Capricon in February, which has a pirate theme! But... could I find my black peasant blouse, which I haven't seen in months (or maybe years)?

It took some serious closet excavation, but I came up with the black blouse, so my attire for the evening was black gypsy-style dance pants tucked into my black deerskin Ropers (those are boots, for those of you who don't speak cowboy boot), the black peasant top, with the black handkerchief skirt and leather waist cincher over the top.

I looked good, if I dare say so myself, but what made it really entertaining was to have a couple of people, who I've known for quite a few years, come up to me and say "Oh my god... I don't think I've ever seen you in a dress!"

(Note that I'm not positive it really counts as a "dress" since I was wearing pants under the skirt, but it was still amusing.)

Ritual went really well, and the small group who sang "Kore Evohe" locked in better than we've ever done before. I really love the acoustics in the sanctuary, and after the week I've had with Chase and his pneumonia, I was seriously in need of the energy boost.

So I'm recharged, and ready for the arrival of my parents tomorrow, and Mr. Chase made it just fine without me for a few hours this evening and is now settled in the big fluffy dog bed in the living room. He gets another nebulizer treatment before bed, and the vet put him on Tramadol today to take the edge off his anxiety (he still can't walk, which is highly concerning but we've got to deal with the infection first), so he and I can take our Tramadols together at bedtime and hopefully we'll both get a good night's sleep.

Happy Return of the Sun to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere!
Got home from solstice rehearsal and Chase was all stressed and wheezing. I took him outside to the grass for a few minutes, then came in and gave him a can of his favorite gooshy food (which I had to fight to keep the cats away from) and his various and sundry pills. He ate, but was still doing the whole stressed-out rapid-breathing thing. I got the nebulizer set up and spent the next 45 minutes keeping the canister in front of Chase's nose... for a dog who won't get up, he can still manage to move a remarkable amount.

By the end of the nebulizer treatment, he was breathing normally and resting comfortably. At the moment, Errand is hanging out with him, mooshing up against him. It's very cute.

I think I'm going to see if I can scoop him up and get him settled in my room. Hopefully he'll sleep for awhile now that he's breathing better, which means I might also get to sleep for awhile. If all else fails, I guess I can go back to bed after I take Chase back to Caring Hands in the morning.

Anyway... thanks to everyone for all the good wishes and healing thoughts. I really appreciate it!
Mr. Chase spent the day in the hospital, after I got home at lunch and found that he was still feeling too bad to even walk more than a few steps. That, when combined with the results of his bloodwork from yesterday (sky-high white cell count), meant I was much more comfortable leaving him at Caring Hands for the afternoon (we're short-staffed, so I couldn't take off work) than leaving him at home alone. So he got IV antibiotics and fluids, and more nebulizer treatments, and now I have him home for the night for more meds, more nebulizer treatments, and some destressing. Apparently he worried all afternoon. :-(

He has to go back for the day tomorrow for more IV stuff (they left his IV cath in, so they don't have to stick him again tomorrow) and then we'll see how it goes from there. For now, he's home and I have the emergency clinic's number at hand Just In Case, but we're not expecting that I'll need it.

And now I'm off to Solstice Choir rehearsal. Since I haven't been to any so far this season, and Solstice is tomorrow, I thought I should probably take the drums and go to the dress rehearsal. *eep!* The vet says Chase will be okay alone for a few hours, so I get to go drum for awhile and see if that helps my stress level.
Well, yesterday's improvement was short-lived and this morning Chase was all raspy-sounding and stressed. He fussed and whimpered from 6 a.m. 'til I went to work at about 8:45, and he still hadn't eaten anything (other than the venison treats he gets with his pills) since sometime Saturday.

I got to work and promptly got deluged with server problems (may I just point out that Symantec is the root of all evil?) and didn't manage to escape for "lunch" 'til after 2:30. I came home and Chase was obviously still feeling really down, to the point that he really didn't want to walk very far. So I called my vet, who said she'd see us as soon as she could when we got there, and I scooped him up and put him in the car and off we went to Caring Hands. On the way, I called my boss and let him know I probably wasn't coming back before the end of the day.

I took the treatment records from Bridgeview with me, along with the CD with his chest x-rays. The techs came in and visited a couple of times, and finally we saw Dr. R. (I'm not complaining... they were very busy and we were unscheduled). Upshot, after more xrays, bloodwork (which I don't have results for yet), and a lot of time w/ Dr. R.... he's still feverish, the pneumonia in the left lung is substantially worse since Monday, but the good news is that these xrays also didn't show anything else scary (these covered the back end of the dog, since he wasn't wanting to walk).

So... we're home with new meds (a bronchodilator and Baytril, since he's responded well to Baytril in the past and since the stuff Bridgeview gave us didn't seem to be helping), plus orders to do thrice daily breathing treatments with a nebulizer. Getting through all the pharmacy's paperwork to buy the nebulizer was fun... they aren't used to selling them for use on a dog! I get to mix gentocin, MucoMist and saline and get him to breathe it three times a day. I wonder if I can get him to wear the silly little kid's mask that came with the unit? :-)

While we were out, I also stopped and picked up canned food for him, to see if I can entice him to eat (that worked... he happily snarfed down a can as soon as we got home).

So... we're still fighting this thing. We go back to see Dr R. on Friday morning. Hopefully I'll get better news then!
Chase is feeling a little better today. Coughing a lot less, but still a little feverish and he always seems to feel so not-himself when he's got a fever. He's still got no appetite. He's perfectly happy to eat the yummy smelly treats that he gets with his pills, but he hasn't eaten actual food since sometime Sunday. If he doesn't eat tonight, I'll pick up his favorite canned stuff on my way home from work tomorrow.

Hopefully the antibiotics will knock the fever on its miserable butt soon. As long as he's getting better, we don't go back to the vet for two weeks, then we go back to the regular vet (and drop off the xrays, which are on disk... digital xrays rock... I have pictures of the inside of my dog... how cool is that?).