Photo credit @LoriLeven Instagram

A very unique patient of mine named Bird recently passed away.  Bird was an older Affenpinscher who I got to know during the later years of her life.  Bird was a special find for her owner through Petfinder.com, as the Affenpinscher is not a breed that commonly ends up in pet rescues.

Although I only knew Bird for a few months I had the fortunate opportunity to spend a lot of time around her as I provided caretaking for her in my home when her mom is needed to travel out of town.

 
Caretaking for Bird was both an intriguing and harrowing experience.  The intrigue stems from Bird’s unique personality and gremlin-like appearance (the cutest gremlin, of course).  
 
The look of Bird’s large eyes and scruffy exterior reminded me of Dramatic Chipmunk, so I had to create a photo comparison of the two to share with her mom.  I think you’ll see the resemblance.
 
 
Bird also liked to observe the day-to-day goings on in my house.  She was a great task monitor when I would laser treat my patient Vador.
 
 
Bird had a very pleasant demeanor and she got along well with the other canines with whom she found herself spending time.  As Dolly the Dachshund covered from back surgery Bird lent emotional support.
 
 
The harrowing part resulted from Bird’s potential to have seizures as a result of her health conditions, including:
 
Congenital Occipital Malformation Syndrome (COMS)- a congenital disorder caused by a malformation of the occiput, which is the bony plate that forms the back of the skull
 
Obstructive hydrocephalus- improper flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside the brain
 
Syringohydromyelia- a cyst-like, fluid-filled cavity in the spinal cord
 
Managing the clinical signs associated with the above three conditions necessitated that Bird had to take multiple medications.  Unfortunately, there is a limit to what medication can do in controlling health problems like Bird’s.
 
On more than one occasion, I had to rush Bird into ACCESS to be hospitalized to get a better control of her seizures.  Compromised quality of life due to Bird’s neurologic problems and the side effects from her anticonvulsant drugs led to the decision for her to be put to sleep.
 
I want to extend a big thank you to all the veterinarians and veterinary support staff from ACCESS (especially Drs. Clarissa Robles and Jeanette Hendricks) and other hospitals that have cared for Bird over the years for your roles in striving to permit Bird to have best possible life despite her health challenges.
 
Although Bird is no longer with us, the impact she had on my life will always be cherished.  
 
Have you lost a cat, dog, or other furry or feathered friend?  Feel free to share your perspective in the Comments section.
 
Make sure to check out Bird’s mom’s tribute in @LoriLeven’s Bird Instagram Story.
 
 

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Please leave your constructive perspective in the below Comments section and communicate with me and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine and life via Instagram (@PatrickMahaney), Twitter (@PatrickMahaney), and Facebook (Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets).

Copyright of this article (2019) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist and Certified Veterinary Journalist.  Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

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