Friday, December 17, 2010

In which Nettie takes Molly to the vet...

Many years ago we started noticing that one of Molly's eyes was getting cloudy. She still seemed to be able to see out of it fine and so we didn't worry about it too much. Then one day I was at the vet and asked to have it checked out while we were there. I was told that Molly had a cataract but she could still make out shadows, light and dark and see movement.
Then about a year ago we went back to the vet for some unrelated issue and whilst there I got the vet to check her eye again. By this stage the cataract had developed to the point where Molly was completely blind in that eye, a fact that we had begun to suspect anyway. Several times Molly had had trouble seeing things on that side and it had become sadly obvious.

Last Sunday I was sitting on the couch with Molly perched on my lap getting wuzzes when I noticed her other eye had a bit of a shine to it. Suspecting the worst, I took her to the vet the following day only to have my suspicions confirmed. A cataract was already almost fully developed in her good eye. It's just a matter of time before Molly is fully blind.

The vet discussed the options with me, which were rather limited.
1) We get a referral to a doggie ophthalmologist and have an operation to restore sight in one or both her eyes. This will cost approximately $3500 per eye.
2) We do nothing and the cataract continues to develop, rendering her blind but on an indeterminable time line.

Christian was in Melbourne for work and so when I got home I rang him and we discussed the options, since if we decided to operate, the sooner the better.
It was hard but we ultimately decided to go with the second option. Several factors influenced our decision but the main ones were a) the first cataract took several years to develop enough to take her sight and since Molly is already almost 12, the chances are good that she will have some sight up until her death b) the vet said that dogs adjust very quickly to a loss of sight and she would cope rather well.
Cost was obviously a factor too and if Molly was half her age, we wouldn't have hesitated to spend the money on her. Finding the money isn't an issue - we've made extra payment into our mortgage that we can access at any time but due to her being an elderly dog it just seems silly to fork out so much money and put her through the risk of surgery.

Maybe that's callous, I just don't know. But I think we made the right decision.

I am curious to know what everyone else would have done if you were in my position. What do you think? Did we make the right call? Or should we do whatever it takes?


Shawna said...

I think you guys picked the best option for Molly, hon. She'll still be able to have a reasonably decent life without her sight, which as you said could take several years yet to go. A surgery now could be pretty risky, since she's so old. So, yeah, I would have made the same choice. :-) *hugs*

Mouse said...

I would have made exactly the same decision. She'll have a good enough quality of life, even with limited sight, to outweight the risks and trauma of surgery.

Acci said...

Yeah, Molly would still have a wonderful and happy and contented life even if she was fully blind, since she has you there doting on her. It's not as though she's a hunting dog or a farm dog, running around in the wild and facing down herds of crazed kangaroos. She'll be able to loaf around the house and be all adored and spoiled, and she'll have a great time.

I'm not really sure just how old 12 is for a dog of her type, but it's probably fairly elderly. And surgery on elderly dogs can be a bit problematic. Given that and the possibility that by the time you've paid all that money for her eyes she might simply keep over from basic old-age, I really don't see that there's need to subject her to the discomfort and dangers of surgery. Especially since she still can see, and might be able to for a goodly while.

Smerk said...

Like everyone else, I think you've made the right decision. You really don't want to put Molly through what could be a potentially stressful surgery at her age if it's not absolutely necessary.

And like Acci said, you guys will spoil and adore her so much that her poor eyesight won't even worry her.