Shortly after moving 1,000 miles to North Carolina, my now husband and I began fostering an 8 year old mini poodle mix nearly 3 years ago from a local shelter. She had kennel cough and we thought we had no risk of wanting to adopt her. Jared (my other half) had grown up without any pets after his childhood German Shepherd passed away when he was 5. I grew up with cats and larger, mostly outdoor dogs and never saw myself owning a little dog. Needless to say, after a week of fostering her, we fell in love. Samantha was unlike any other little dog I had met. (I should mention that I have been a veterinary technician for several years.) We failed with our first foster ever and never looked back!
Sam did not come without any health concerns. As a poodle mix, she had awful dental disease, arthritis, and severe environmental allergies. We fixed up her mouth and began medications to control the allergies and arthritis. It was noted that she had cataracts in both eyes (worse on the right side.) Nothing I didn’t see on a regular basis with other poodle-oids at work. Several blood panels were run on a regular basis to rule out any metabolic cause to the cataracts and thankfully, they all always returned normal. Therefore, Jared and I decided not to have cataract surgery done on either eye and things went along very well.
About a month ago, I noticed Sam was not eating as well and her right eye seemed to have reddening on the sclera (the white of the eye) and the eyeball itself was suddenly slightly enlarged. I took her to work with me and we realized quickly that she had eye pressures 2.5 (58 mmHg) times what they should be. After consulting with an ophthalmology specialist, it was determined that the new Glaucoma was caused by her cataract not allowing the naturally produced liquids within the eyeball to be released. Therefore, the fluids kept backing up and increasing the pressure. It was decided that we would try Dorzolamide and Prednisolone Acetate three times daily. After 2 weeks, her pressures had dropped as low as 23 mmHg but then slowly creeped up again. So we added Latanoprost once daily per the opthamologist. This did not help at all. Two weeks ago, we consulted the opthamologist one final time and her suggestion was to remove the damaged eye (the right one) and do cataract surgery on the healthier one(left.)
So today, Sam had her right eye removed. I don’t know how many times I have discussed enucleations with clients (or even amputations) and never did I imagine it would be this hard for myself. It was probably one of the most awful decisions I have ever made, even in knowing it was the right decision for her. But they have a way of telling us they’re grateful. For example, when you’re at work crying over your beautiful dog because this happened to her as she is recovering from anesthesia and her tail starts wagging… Or now as she lays on the couch next to me curled up and sleeping more soundly than I think she has in a few weeks.