The non-wordless update from Fi's Mom: I took TaiChi back to the ophthalmologist vet today to have her eyes checked, and the visit was quite a bit more complicated than I had hoped for. When the vet when to look at her eyes, she was afraid that maybe TaiChi's retina had become detached, but she couldn't actually tell because of the really bad cataracts that she has in her right eye. So, they did an ultrasound on her (at no charge, amazingly - they just wanted a way to check on the retina), and determined that, in fact, her retina is detached. Which means that she is blind in her right eye. However, her cataracts were so bad in her right eye that she was likely very close to being blind in that eye, anyway.
Because of the detached retina, and her chronic renal failure (i.e. her kidneys are failing - not unusual in a dog her age - and we've known about this for over a year - and she get subcutaneous fluids every other day to help her kidneys process toxins), the vet thought that she might have high blood pressure. So, they checked her blood pressure, and it was REALLY high. (Normal is about 100; she was at 180 - even with the stress that vet visits cause her, 180 is Way Too High). The good news is that they have really effective treatments for high blood pressure in dogs.
So. The upshot? TaiChi will be on blood pressure medicine for the rest of her life - we'll monitor her blood pressure until we get her blood pressure back down, and then we'll stabilize her dose. Luckily, it's a Really Small pill, because TaiChi isn't so thrilled about taking pills (even when hidden in peanut butter). TaiChi will also be on two sets of eye drops for the rest of her life; they are designed to prevent secondary glaucoma (which is a potential problem resulting from the detached retina). If she does develop secondary glaucoma, it can be treated, but we have to be on top of it, because she could lose the eye, and at her age, she can't handle surgery. But, that is a worst-case scenario, and we're keeping our fingers and paws crossed that this won't happen.
She's a very old dog, and these health problems are not surprising (especially given that she was a puppy mill puppy). But I'll always worry about her. And, truthfully, I'm worried about leaving her to go visit my Mom, who has also been having health problems. However, TaiChi is not in any imminent danger (at least no more so than she has always been in just from being an old dog).
*whew* Okay. So I'm worried about my little old lady. But the above picture? It makes me smile - it was taken right after TaiChi got home from the vet, and it was almost like Fi was holding TaiChi. It was so sweet. I love my kids - even when they worry me. - Dr. Liz