It’s a Cyprus Dog’s Life: MRI

image of our dog Harvey

When a family member becomes ill, your first emotional response is concern. When it becomes obvious your family member is very poorly, you naturally think of what it will take to cure them. Our dogs are family members on equal standing to our human family members, and it’s therefore our duty to ensure everything possible can be done to cure them. Yesterday, we were to meet our vet in Larnaca for him to explain what it was going to take to find the root cause of Harvey’s Ataxia. We had already been told it may be that Harvey will need an MRI scan and with that knowledge came the realisation that an MRI scan would cost a lot of money.

I don’t know about the rest of the world but here in Cyprus there isn’t really a trend toward pet insurance, mainly because the cost of treatment is not high. On the other hand, having experienced vet bills of epic proportions back in England for our Sammy’s cancer treatment, we took the view that Harvey’s treatment will be costly. When you have a pet, you must expect at some point to visit a vet, especially when they get older. Logic therefore dictates you must also expect the cost of treating that pet to be potentially high.

So we waited out the interminably long morning and worried that the cost of an MRI scan was going to be prohibitive, and we would then have to make a hard decision. Worry goes hand in hand with illness.

The veterinary practice we use is called V3ts and are based just outside Larnaca. They are so very professional and caring, and that would become even more apparent as the day wore on. But unfortunately our meeting wasn’t to be. We arrived at noon and Harvey’s vet was in surgery with another dog. So it fell to a junior vet to explain. That’s okay, we understand that you can’t abandon an animal that’s under the knife simply to explain something to someone. But we got the chance to visit Harvey and the poor boy lay on the treatment room floor looking so very sad. But when he saw us he immediately perked up and tried to stand. It was heart wrenching to watch. So we went down to his level and calmed him down.

The junior vet said that in order to pinpoint the cause of Harvey’s Ataxia, they needed to do an MRI scan. The cost would be €500 for the scan. I must admit I had expected it to be higher and even so I would have still agreed to the payment. We gave our consent and the junior vet told us to expect a phone call later with further details.

As we left, the vet managed to raise Harvey up and with her holding his back legs he walked down the corridor, turning once to say good bye, and then scurrying off as best he could. We made our way home, feeling slightly less concerned for the future, but full of pain and anguish.

The wait in the afternoon was as long and traumatic as the wait in the morning. During that wait we assessed what we knew about Harvey’s Ataxia and we consulted the internet for information. It’s a natural response these days to consult the Oracle, that all knowing entity that will alleviate your worries about a loved ones health problems, so I told myself knowing full well I was lying to myself.

It’s hard, but take my advice, do not consult the internet. Wait for your vet, assuming the vet is competent, to give you information as they discover it themselves. Consulting the internet will only open a can of worms, especially with something like Ataxia that has so many root causes and from that has so many different cures or end results that are incurable and inevitably lead to euthanasia. Your mind will only play tricks on you and the emotions will begin to run even higher than they already are.

Naturally, this advice I give to you after I have ignored my own advice and trawled the internet for information, much of it contradictory and just plain false.

It wasn’t until around six in the evening that we received the phone call, and even then he couldn’t tell us much. Harvey was much the same, but he was scheduled an MRI scan later that night. Later that night? Didn’t these vets sleep? Apparently not, as true to their words they phoned around nine that night. Harvey had his MRI scan, he was awake and he was as fine as could be expected. The vet said he would call the next day with an update, but I pushed for more information. I could tell he was reluctant to give out any false hope, but was happy to confirm it looked like a spinal issue, probably degenerative vertebrae. But he assured me once his team had assessed the MRI scan they would know more and be able to plan treatment.

We felt a whole lot better knowing it wasn’t cancer that was the cause, although it’s still early days so let’s not count our chickens before they are hatched.

Sleep never comes easily and it certainly hasn’t over the last few nights since we took Harvey to the vets Saturday afternoon. But we’ve soon learned that this sort of situation is a waiting game. Waiting, worrying and hoping quickly take over your life and other things are pushed aside. All we can do is wait… and hope.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2018