Well here we are, three visits to the vets later and about $1000 lighter. And we still don't know exactly what the problem is - we just know the symptoms. In other words we know that Buckley has a seriously compromised liver, but the scientists have been unable to tell us what is causing that.

On Saturday we were offered a place in an animal hospital in Vancouver. Without doing any diagnostic or clinical work, we were advised (they seem to think that because we have pet insurance we can afford to shell out any amount of money before claiming it back) that for a weekend stay we would be charged between $4K and $5K!!! That kind of money takes your breath away and I cannot imagine what actually costs the facility even half of that. amount for a dog to lie in a cage.

Everything seems to be ridiculously expensive, from drugs to x-rays to special low protein canned food (which smells, suspiciously, EXACTLY the same as the cheap stuff my parents used to feed to our old mutt back in the day). Personally I cannot reconcile the ludicrously inflated costs with a supposedly ethical industry - we are, in my opinion, being gouged at a time when we feel vulnerable and pressured. No wonder so many people have to make the horrible decision to end their pet's life based upon economics.

The great news is that over the last 24 hours our little guy has perked up significantly - he has finally begun to eat in reasonable amounts, although still nowhere near to normal. Fingers crossed that all the drugs and care is getting him back on the road to recovery.

There is a different mood in our household at the moment. After days of him showing a reducing appetite we took Buckley to the vet on Friday.
After puzzling the vet with his symptoms, a sample of blood was taken. Yesterday we received the test results, and Buckley's liver is not at all healthy - so wild were the results, in fact, that were he not so young, the pathology would point to a significant tumour.  Apparently however, at the age of two this is an extremely unlikely situation.
So the next most likely thing is Leptospirosis, and when you consider how much time these dogs spend around water, that makes sense. We are, however, still waiting for confirmation following more blood tests. The prognosis is uncertain - Lepto is treatable with antibiotics and he has been started on those (try getting them into a dog that doesn't want to eat his favourite foods, let alone a drug capsule!) but if it gets into his kidneys -which the tests showed were OK at the moment - the outlook will be bleak.

Bosco seems to be just fine and has shown what a truly gentle temperament he has - there has been no trace of pestering Buckley or asserting dominance which I think we could have reasonably expected. Instead he has been calm and relaxed around his ailing brother - from whom he has very rarely been separated. My guess is that it's all a bit strange for him as well.

Buckley has, as always,  been for a walk today (just a short one today though) and is now resting in the cool dark of our basement hallway. Fingers crossed that he will pull through and be back to his usual energetic and curious self very soon.

Sleep soundly little Buckles, heal and feel well.

Right so I just came across this on FB and it moved me to post here becuase I have a problem - but first read on.
"Ten Things Your Dog Would Tell You....
1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be painful: remember that before you get me.  
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust  in me- it is crucial to my well being.
4. Do not be angry at me for long, and do not
lock me up as punishment.
5. You have your work, your entertainment,and your friends. I only have you.
6. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understands your words, I understand your voice when it is speaking to me. 
7. Be aware that how ever you treat me, I will never forget.
8. Remember before you hit me that I have teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite you because I love you.
9. Before you scold me for being uncooperative,obstinate,or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I might not be getting the right food, or I have been out too long, or my heart is getting too old and weak.
10. Take care of me when I get old; you too will grow old. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say: "I cannot  bear to watch" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if  you are there, even my death.
Remember that I love you."

(Right this is me now) OK so I applaud the sentiment of being kind and treating your dog(s) with respect etc., but dogs are NOT people!!!! I cannot get along with the notion that animals with such basic cognitive abilities can 'love' in any human sense. Once we go down that road the next step is to see them as humans in lots of other ways - for example to see their short lives as tragic and something we must fix because it is an injustice, etc., etc.. For me it's quite straightforward; dogs benefit from contact with considerate and rational humans because they get easy access to food and shelter, which makes their lives easy. As pack animals they of course develop relationships. They are, after all, extremely close - genetically speaking - to their ancestral wolves and they follow the rules of pack life, not some constructed human ideal of 'loving' one another in the way that one person may feel about others. Human love is outside of their ability or comprehension.
What do you think?
Life really does seem to get in the way of blogging sometimes, doesn't it? Anyway, since I have neglected the site for a while I thought I would post a selection, nay a compendium of photos from some recent walks with the pooches. Both the dogs are a little quiet today - Buckley has been off his food for a few days and Bosco has today shown some sigsn of a digestive upset (I'll leave you to use your imagination to do the rest) while on the walk. As I type both are lying at my feet and gently drying off after a rainy wander through the forest.

I hate it when one or both of them is not 100%, but I am also a believer in minimizing medical (and therefore chemical) intervention unless really necessary. If Buckley is not better tomorrow it will have to be a visit to the vets to sort it out because he is showing signs of losing weight now. Both dogs are tremedously fit and typically carry no extra weight so after a few days off their food it begins to show. Of course with them moulting/shedding their winter coats it constitutes an extra strain on their systems. Poor little guys! Fingers crossed it will pass and they can be back firing on all cylinders again very soon.

In the meantime, some more pictures as promised:
The dogs showing me as much respect as I deserve.
Bare evidence of bears! Not sure if the bark is worse than the bite...(see what I did there?)...
Norman. Pretending he can't see the huge camera lens inches from his...sticky-out things.
Proof that moss does NOT only grow on the North side of a tree...
Buckley feeling brave. Check out the size of this stump - probably twice the diameter when alive and now mostly rotted away.
The early morning sun burning off the dew from the night before...magical...
Bosco providing some scale after going the wrong way and struggling with the concept - you can almost see the thought bubble.
And finally, from Macro...
To (almost) micro...can you see the bug?
Meet our new friend, Brendan the slug...one of many we meet on our walks...