Help Me Help My Grace [How My World Has Been Turned Upside Down]

Friday, September 23, 2016

Grace is my 9 year old female chihuahua and everyone who knows me knows that her and my other 3 chihuahuas are my children.

Recently Grace was having what looked like severe anxiety and panic attacks due to pain in her neck.  She would tense her neck up and scream if you touched her neck.  This was happening twice a day almost everyday for a month.  After a recommendation from my regular vet to a neurologist in Maryland, I took her down there on Friday September 23rd.

The neurologist did some poking and prodding and could tell that there was some sort of spinal pain with Grace but the only 100% way to find out what it was and where it was, was by doing an MRI.  The MRI cost over $4,500 but without it, I would have no answers for Grace's pain and she would continue to suffer every single day.  I needed to be able to know what it was that hurt so I can properly treat her.

The MRI showed that Grace has Intervertebral Disc Disease  (IVDD) which is common in small dogs like Chihuahuas.   IVDD is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space.  In Grace's case, 3 of her discs ruptured, the C34, C45, and C56.  This is why she is in so much pain when it flares up.  So much pain that it actually causes her to go into a panicked state. 

Some dogs have it further down their back and end up losing the ability to use their hind legs and become paralyzed.  Luckily, Grace's is up higher and is treatable in a variety of ways, those of which I am still learning about as I research my options.  One option is surgery, which obviously comes with many risks, but there are other options for pain management.  Grace's quality of life is great. She literally JUST turned 9 and she is healthy in every other way.

My heart is breaking that money is even an issue for me.  I already spend $2,000 a year on my other Chihuahua, Rocky, for his heart condition.  He has Mitral Valve Disease but we have it way under control and he is thriving.  Unfortunately, I thought I had atleast another year or two before I had dish out major money on another one of my dogs.  So this was very unexpected.

I will be discussing my options with my regular vet (whom I trust with every fiber of my being) and in the next week I should have a better plan of action.  My goal is to give Grace a normal pain free life.  For now, she is on pain management with Gabapentin, Rimadyl, and Tramadol.  Because there are risks with anti-inflammatory medications, I am looking into other options immediately.  But in the meantime, Grace is not in pain and is enjoying life. 

Please consider donating to Grace and I or atleast sharing with others.

Friday was such a difficult day!  I went to Maryland alone so I was already overwhelmed.  Of course when they were telling me that we should do an MRI I was already freaking out at the cost but I knew that the MRI would give me answers.   As soon as they told me the amount I was devastated and my world began spinning. They casually mentioned that depending on the diagnosis there is surgery and I just nodded my head because all I could think of was SAVE HER!!   Then they gave me a quote just so I had an idea.  After seeing $11k I went to my car and cried. I couldn't even remember how to type or who to call. I was having a major panic attack! I knew that the MRI was necessary for me and for her.  But then came the question of how to come up with more money than that for her treatment. 

After the MRI, when it was time to take Grace home I lost it. I cried the entire ride back in the car. 
I was not ready to see my poor shaved pup! 

Please consider donating to Grace and I or at least sharing with others.   I can not tell you how important this is to me. If there's only one favor you ever do for me in your lifetime, please let this be it. Thank you so much for even reading this! 

If you can't donate on GoFundMe you can also help in another way. 
Another way you can support Grace is by using my affiliate link when you shop on Amazon. Simply bookmark this Amazon home page and use it anytime you get on amazon and order. Each month a portion of the sales will actually come to me. It's small but every little amount helps!
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  1. Oh Ellen, I'm so sorry to hear this sad new about your girl. I probably would've reacted exactly like you had, full on tears and panic attack.

    It's amazing what they can do for our furkids in this day and age but man, the cost to do so it's astronomical. I'm hoping that either way, if meds for the rest of her life or surgery is the option, she'll be comfortable and happy. And I know you'll be her advocate 1000%.

    Tough road ahead my dear. Keep your chin up and give her Grace my love.


  2. Send you a big hug.

  3. So sorry to hear your sad news, I was put in a very similar situation but with other medical issues than what Gracie is going threw. For the last six years my puppy Marcie had been going threw many health problems and the older she was getting the more health problems where coming up. You could look at Marcie and know and see the pain she was going threw. We had spent many thousands of dollars on her in just a very small amount of time in her last couple of weeks. But at the end of the day, we knew her life would not be a long one. Our vet sat me down and told it like it was. She explained to me that an emergency vet / emergency rooms for us, will always try to do this or that, but the quietly of life may not be good, but they are there to try to do anything but the quality of life may not be long but they well keep pushing you.... My vet explained to me that I could do everything in this world for her and spend all the money I have, but I can't take that pain away for her and it would only get worse and its not fair to put her threw all of it. We had to make the choice to put Marcie down. It was very sad and still hard and we miss her very much, but knowing she is not in pain any more and is now playing with all her sisters up in heaven is very comforting. We where able to do all of Marcie's favorite things one last time, it was bitter sweet.
    You have to ask yourself how much can I put Gracie, you and your bank account threw... It is a hard decision either way... but I know you will do whats best for you and her. Just relax, watch her closely this weekend and enjoy the weekend and go from there.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story! I am so sorry you had to go through with that. Yea, for me, Grace is young still and shows no signs of aging yet and all her organs are in great condition too. The pain is definitely manageable which is what I am looking into for her. That's why this is so bittersweet.. if she was older, a decision would be easier ya know? She's not in any pain now, especially not with her pain meds but i know over time and over the years her condition will worse and itll be harder to get rid of her pain. Thanks for your kind words. Now i'm off to do my research!

  4. My heart goes out to you...I feel so awful....if our finances weren't so awful right now I would help, I am so sorry I can't. But........I did tweet and will definitely try and share more. Do you have Care Credit there? With your excellent history they probably would give you a large credit line. We use it for the Vet and it is a Godsend. Sending prayers and healing energy ((((hugs)))) DakotasDen

    1. I did get care credit. However the APR is 24% after 6 months and that's scary so I hope to pay off what i've already paid but thank you sosososososo much for sharing! It means SO MUCH! <3


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