Jhun Bato or Jhun-Jhun is a rescued dog adopted by my wife in January 26, 2013. He was probably 5 years old when he was adopted. He died on April 18, 2019 (Holy Thursday) [at approximately age 11 years old] at around 1130 am in our house under the last-touch-care of my daughter Therese. We were out of town then and rushed home to see Jhun-Jhun. At 330 pm, he was picked up by Pet Valley to be cremated in Silang Cavite. We will get the ashes of Jhun-Jhun after the Holy Week.
His deteriorating medical condition started to be noticeable in November 2018 (when he was about 10-11 years old) when all of a sudden he would limp on his hind legs. Initially, we thought it was just due to trauma – getting in and out of the car. Limping became more frequent and more evident starting February 2019. We noticed the right hind leg was being affected. We had a x-ray done but it showed no fracture, just signs of degenerative osteoarthritis. In March 2019, we noticed he was having difficulty urinating and defecating and he would just pee and poo inside the house which he usually would not do. He would usually pee and poo outside the house when it was time for his morning and afternoon walk.
On March 10, 2019, when we came home from Anilao, in the evening, he was crying in pain and could not stand up. This was the first time I saw him crying in pain. We brought him to the vet med clinic at midnight. He was injected parenteral analgesic with great relief. The next day, he was able to walk again, though slowly and with a limp. After 3 days of confinement, we brought him home for palliative care. The vet med doctors do not advise aggressive treatment anymore, just pain management. The working diagnosis was cauda equina syndrome, etiology unknown. (see footnote on cauda equina syndrome.)
My personal analysis was that Jhun-Jhun has cauda equina syndrome secondary to a tumor, probably malignant, near the right hip joint. In April 2019, 2 weeks before he died, we noticed a lump near the right hip joint. The right hind leg was already completely paralyzed with muscle atrophy. There was still some resistance on the left hind leg, but which was weak and Jhun-Jhun could not stand up anymore using this left hind leg. During this time also, we noticed intermittent tachypnea or fast breathing. Analyzing the course of the disease until death (we did not have more diagnostic tests done nor autopsy done anymore), Jhun-Jhun, I think, had already pulmonary metastasis which could be the antecedent cause of death.
As a person, I am not an avid-dog lover. My wife is. I just learned to love Jhun-Jhun, one, because I had to help my wife take care of him, especially, the walk in the afternoon, and two, because I came to like the personality of Jhun-Jhun, quiet, disciplined and endearing. Quiet, he was the noisy type of dog, barking only when needed, if there are strangers coming to the house. Disciplined, for the past 6 years before he got sick, he would pee and poo outside the house only when he would be walked around the neighborhood either by my wife or by me. Endearing, he would sleep with his head on anybody’s lap during the car-ride for out-of-town trip. He would wait for his master (which is my wife) to come home and to have meals together (he would not eat without the presence of my wife). He would “kiss” the forehead of my wife whenever she asked for it, especially before walking.
These are the happy memories that I have of Jhun-Jhun. Yes, the other memory is the learning that I got from walking Jhun-Jhun.
In 2018, I made a blog entitled: Walking the dog enhances compassion in me.
Here are the excerpts:
“If I walk my wife’s dog everyday as a routine (every afternoon and sometimes, morning, when my wife cannot walk him), I feel I show kindness, caring and a willingness to help him.
The dog has to pee and poo. The dog is trained to pee and poo in the street, not in the house. Walking him at least twice a day enables him to pee and poo (good for his health).
The dog has to do some exercises. Although we allow him to roam around the house (unless there are visitors), he still need to walk long distance for his daily exercise. Walking him half a kilometer at least twice a day enables him to exercise his legs (good for his health).
The other benefits on the dog’s side when I walk him, he meets and interacts with other dogs whether friendly or hostile and also walking outside the house breaks his boredom (oftentimes, we bring him along for a short and long car ride and excursion to the beach).
Doing the above, I got the feeling that I am showing kindness, caring and a willingness to help Jhun the dog. For this, I think I am showing compassion to our dog. Being compassionate to our dog I feel enhances my compassion for people, particularly my patients.”
The other lesson that I got from taking care of Jhun-Jhun were how to deal with terminally-ill patients or animals: how to provide tender loving care and how to deal with the issue of euthanasia.
From April 1, 2019, my wife and I decided to buy a hand trolley and to stroll him on the streets of our village for him to see the outside world and to meet other dogs. We tried improvising a wheelchair for him but he could not stand anymore. So, we just settled for a daily stroll using the hand trolley. We did this in his last two weeks on earth.
March 10, 2019, when he was suffering in severe pain and he was crying, we contemplated on euthanasia. We decided to give him another chance. The pain was relieved by parenteral analgesics by the vet med. We were able to bring him home from the vet med clinic and from thereon, we decided everything would be palliative and we would let nature take its course. My wife persevered in taking of him until his last breath. We decided no euthanasia. We treated him like any terminal-ill persons.
Here are some pictures in memory of Jhun-Jhun Bato.
The name given to him by the pet shop who rescued him and took care of him initially was Jhun Bato. We just call him Jhun-Jhun or simply Jhun.
Picture taken on January 27, 2013, the day after my wife adopted him and we brought him to Anilao, Batangas. (Age: 5 years old)
Picture taken on January 27, 2013, the day after my wife adopted him and we brought him to Anilao, Batangas. He would like to guard the gate. (Age: 5 years old)
Picture taken on February 13, 2013, riding with us going to Anilao, Batangas.
Pictures taken on December 2013
First family picture with Jhun-Jhun, December 31, 2013.
Second family picture with Jhun-Jhun, December 31, 2014.
Family picture with Jhun-Jhun, January 1, 2015
January 31, 2016
Family picture with Jhun-Jhun with Ick Family, November 3, 2018
Family picture with Jhun-Jhun, December 2018
Waiting at the door for his master (my wife) to come home.
Jhun-Jhun waiting for his master to eat beside him.
Jhun-Jhun kissing his master
Sleeping in the car with head on the lap of anybody. Below on the lap of my mother-in-law.
Me Walking Jhun-Jhun
March 10, 2019 – Crying in pain and could not stand up
March 12, 2019 – was able to walk again but slow and with a limp after being given parenteral analgesics. Thereafter, progressively deteriorated in his walking and standing ability.
April 1 – 16, 2019
Stroll using a hand-trolley
Tried using an improvised wheelchair – failed.
April 15, 2019 – Jhun-Jhun very weak with bulge on the right hip area with atrophy of the right hind leg.
Other happy pictures:
REST IN PEACE NOW, JHUN-JHUN. NO MORE PAIN.
We will miss you here on earth. But we will always remember you.
Pop and Mom, Therese and Lance
CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME
Cauda equina syndrome is a disorder in which the nerves of a dog’s hind limbs, rear end and tail are compressed causing neurologic deficits and pain.
Clinical signs of cauda equina syndrome may include a prolonged period of intermittent or continuous weakness of the hind limbs.
As time progresses with this disease, the clinical signs become more and more severe and pronounced. Some dogs show lameness of one of the hind limbs if an intervertebral disk is bulging on one side of the spinal canal. When this bulging of the disk compresses one of the nerve roots to a hind limb, it is called “root signature.”
Your pet may be in pain, and will let you know by intermittently crying especially with activity or sudden movement. Your pet may also exhibit pain upon touching the lower spine. As your pet’s owner and advocate, another sign to watch for is a crouched stance of the body with flexion of the hips, knees and ankles.
When walking, your dog may have a choppy movement of the hind limbs. If your pet’s disease is more advanced, he may knuckle the paws over or walk on the top of the paws. Difficulty jumping, rising from a sitting position, and climbing stairs are also common in affected dogs.
In later stages of the disease, your pet may leak urine while he is sleeping, or could drop feces without meaning to. Defecation in general can also be affected by difficulty with posturing. Severely affected pets will also lose the ability to wag or raise the tail while urinating or defecating. Some dogs will mutilate their own tail, presumably due to a tingling sensation in this region.
There are many underlying causes of cauda equina syndrome. Normal wear and tear with aging results in deterioration of the intervertebral disks (disk degeneration). Although some older patients can show clinical signs, more often the deterioration progresses without any problems or symptoms. In some pets, this deterioration is accelerated and middle-aged patients can show clinical signs.
When your pet first exhibits the symptoms associated with cauda equina syndrome, treatment should be started before irreversible damage to the cauda equina nerves has occurred. The decision for medical treatment or surgery will depend on the severity of the symptoms your pet experiences and his or her age.
Ashes of Jhun-Jhun, 19apr25, with paw print and a piece of hair.
Jhun-Jhun in Heaven
Jhun-Jhun’s other pictures
Paraphernalia in taking care of Jhun-Jhun – hammock to lift him up; muzzle; water bowl; bath tub.