Tootsie is our miniature dachshund. I don’t remember bothering my parents for a dog as much as they do. I did not want a Sweet 16 birthday party and instead asked for a dog. My parents (thankfully) caved and we did some negotiating on what type of dog I was allowed to have. Since my parents each had experiences with dachshunds, that is what we had decided on getting.
Tootsie is pure-bred from a line of show dogs, including her father, Red Lover Boy. Though she is a pure-bred, I consider her a rescue dog since she has been through so much in her 17 years.
Shortly after we got Tootsie, she thought it would be a good idea to try to bite a printer wire and ended up electrocuting herself. When she was 5 years old, she herniated a few spinal disks and had back surgery. The surgeon gave her a 50/50 chance of being able to walk again. I was in college at the time, but with the hard work of my parents and sister they did physical therapy with her several times a day and a few months later she was walking on her own again. Since her back surgery, she’s had a few relapses of pain but has otherwise been good. Most people think she has hip trouble with the way she walks and runs with her back legs, but this is just a result of the nerve damage.
In November 2012 she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Unfortunately there is no current way to treat and cure this cancer in dogs. They gave her 6-9 months to live when she was diagnosed. It’s been 2 years and 3 months. We have been able to shrink the tumor with an anti-inflammatory medication but as of May 2014, the tumor has begun to grow. The veterinarian has told us that when the tumor begins to grow a second time, there is no stopping it, but the medication is supposed to slow the growth. Between May and July, the tumor did not grow.
At the end of May 2014, while James and I were on vacation on the west coast, Tootsie was boarded at our vet. One afternoon, we got a call from my mom saying the vet had called her telling her that Tootsie’s right eye had an ulcer and they were going to give her some eye drops to help it heal. However, within 24 hours her eye had perforated and became infected and had to be removed. My parents had to pick her up from our vet and bring her to a specialist to have the surgery (Thanks again, Mom and Dad!). Needless to say, James and I were freaking out thinking of ways to get home. Since she was stable after the surgery, we stayed our last 3 days on vacation and had a happy and sad homecoming to a beautiful dog with one eye.
One morning at the end of August, as James was holding Tootsie, the light had caught her remaining left eye at just the right angle for me to notice something abnormal. We brought her to the vet and she didn’t have an ulcer in that eye. She had a thinned area that we treated every two hours with eye drops so that it did not become an ulcer.
Unfortunately, that thinned area of her left eye did become an ulcer. Tootsie had another eye surgery on October 24 on her remaining eye in an attempt to save it from rupturing like the other one. In the past few months, her body had decided to deposit minerals on her cornea. This had happened on the other eye, but had not influenced the eye (maybe a bit of vision) for years. Then overnight October 23 to 24, the eye decided to slough off the mineral deposits and leave a crevice in her cornea. Now, this had happened with the other eye too, but again, it had taken years for this to bother her, and she always had the eye checked on her vet visits, and it didn’t pose a problem until the cornea perforated suddenly and ruptured eventually lending itself to infection and having to take the eye out. Overnight her left eye sloughed those mineral deposits and started bothering her, so we got her to the emergency vet/ophthalmologist as soon as we could. She told us that the ulcer was about 90% through the cornea, and there was a very good chance that this cornea would perforate and rupture as well. So Tootsie underwent a conjunctival graft which involves taking a piece of the pink/white of the eye, cutting it and stretching it over the cornea and into the area that has sloughed off.