Sunday, August 11, 2013

A dog's life

George Carlin once said that getting a puppy is investing in tragedy.  Or something like that.  Anyway, it is happening again.  Our Chewba, the lovely not-German Shepherd who was found as a stray & turned out to be the gentlest, most mild mannered dog ever invented seems to be up next.

Chewba went in for a routine visit (get her heartworm scrip renewed, really).  The vet noticed a squishy, bad bit on her upper left jaw (#208 for you canine dental enthusiasts) & we all agreed that baby needed to come out.  We did the blood work, made the appointment & waited for the day.  In that same visit, we talked about her lack of desire to run with me, particularly when it is hot, & we all agreed let her sleep the summer way & start up when the morning temps gets below 70F.  I wasn't all that concerned, she is a 6year old not-German Shepherd, after all; I wouldn't run if I was as skinny as her even if I wasn't wearing a heavy fur coat all of the time (who breeds heavy coated dogs in Florida?!?!?!?!).  The vet also felt around Chewba's hind quarters & thought they were a bit wasted & in the process of shifting her around heard crackling in her elbows & said "well, since she will be out anyhow, why not get some pictures?"

So the big day (& the big bill rolled around) & we brought home a not-so-happy girl with a giant hole in her gums, her different pain-&-antibiotic meds for a total of ten pills a day & a new & exciting biopsy result to wait for from the lesion at the back of her mouth that no one knew was there until they opened her mouth wide.

What we did not have to wait for was the word on her hips.  & elbows.  I got the bad news on Wed & A went in with me yesterday (also a check-up on Chewba's mouth wound) & got to see for himself. 

In short:  there is no option for the elbows. We could talk with an orthopedist -she recommends it, actually- but likely hip replacement surgery is the only option.  The pictures are of a dog with grade 4 arthritis, despite the fact she is still moving around (grade 4 dogs are often immobilized with pain).  Her pain management is likely due to her otherwise good health & strong muscles.   While this is great, it is not a long term solution.  The less she moves, the more muscle she loses; the more she moves, the more likely she will injure herself.

I have had better weekends.

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