He had struggled with an eye ulcer this summer and illness from the antibiotic, then tore his ear somehow. In November, he battled a severe case of colitis and just when we thought he had turned the corner, he injured his knee doing a happy romp.
He could have lived with the knee injury eventually, but the support bandage put a lot of strain on his already weak hip and arthritic back. Then after somehow getting water on his bandage, he developed dermatitis. So the bandage came off early and we took care of his skin. Unfortunately there was something else going on under the bandage: a reaction to the tape. He ended up with two big holes in his leg which required daily veterinary attention. On Monday he finally seemed on the mend. The wounds were closing, he was eating well and he wanted to go for a walk. He even tried to run down the hall to get his bedtime cookie sooner.
Unfortunately, his good spirits didn’t last. The next day he seemed weaker, less eager to walk. By evening he didn’t want to move, and he was in desperate distress. We were able to settle him down for the night, but it was not a good night. When we did finally calm him his walking was drunken, uncoordinated, stepping on his own feet.
The next morning he didn’t want to walk, and he stood outside leaning on my legs. I got him to the vet clinic and they did X-rays and blood work. Peter met me there to hear the results. We knew even before we heard the results that he couldn’t go on. He was visibly suffering and we didn’t want him to keep trying for our sakes. But I needed something definitive, some concrete diagnosis, something besides old age, to let him go. Our vet gave me that.
The X-rays showed three compressing disks which were likely causing considerable pain and the neurological dysfunction we were witnessing. That in itself would have been difficult to palliate because of him intolerance of stronger pain medications and his inability to be treated with steroids because of his Cushing’s disease. But that wasn’t all. A truly deadly condition was developing that took us by surprise: a spreading lung infection. There was no treatment left for Odo. He had run the gamut of antibiotics and was sensitive to all of them, and there was nothing left. Any treatment would do more harm than good. That was what I needed to let him go. Our vet performed the euthanasia right there on the floor where he was resting, with Peter and I holding him. He is at peace now.
His ashes will be buried on the hillside overlooking the front yard, where the fall grasses reflect his coloring, and we’ll eventually plant a mulberry tree (Odo’s favorite fruit) at his burial site.
After 15 years and 7 months, its hard to come to terms with his death. We’re grateful that we have another happy soul in D’Argo to help us through the pain of Odo’s loss.