Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fear Factor, or Please Don't Scare Me To Death

Every morning, if I survive Pip's good morning body slams, er, kisses, I hop out of bed and let all the dogs out, except Lark, who always waits on the bed till I come back and give her a tummy rub. Following our usual routine, this morning I gave her the belly rub and then called her off the bed to go outside. Usually she hops down, does a big play bow stretch, shakes, and then goes out the door. This morning hopped off the bed and immediately sat down. And couldn't get back up. This falls under the category of SERIOUS PROBLEM, especially for a working dog. She could stand, albeit hunched, and could walk a little with a very strange gait in the back, if I got her up on her feet. So I called to vet to see when I could come in, and around 8:30, we headed out the door, with me carrying Larky (thank goodness she's small).

I won't go into boring detail about our vet visit and will just say that Dr. Hammond couldn't actually find anything wrong with her. That's always comforting. Being unable to get oneself up and walking with a very strange gait are things you'd really like to find a cause for, but all neurologic tests were normal, bloodowork was normal, palpation and physical exam normal, presentation not what one would expect from a toxin, and so on. In the end, the prescription was pain killers, observation, and crate rest. By this afternoon, and before she'd gotten any pain meds, she was already moving a little better, could get herself up, but still with a funny gait--not nearly as bad as this morning, but still noticeable. I'm hoping I'll see significant improvement in the morning.

The real problem with not knowing the cause is that of course you can't prevent it from happening again, but if she's better tomorrow, I'll probably just keep her on crate rest for a while and then slowly work her back up to doing stuff. We'll see how it goes. It certainly was not a good way to start the day. I was scared to death for her when she first couldn't get up, and I'm still afraid that the vet might have missed something or that she'll get better and do it again. But all I can do is try to be sensible about it and hope for the best. I just love that little dog....

Thirteen Moons
When I finally got back from the vet today, the rest of the pack needed its walk, so off we went to the "back 40." As we got to the top of the hill past the creek, I saw Twist spy something and then jump back as if bit. Kat went over to investigate and did the same. Of course I'm envisioning a poisonous snake or something equally pleasant (and probably another trip to the vet, since I seem to be practically living there lately), so I walked over to see what they saw and found that Twist the Turtle dog just had a run in with a box turtle, who was so traumatized by the whole encounter that he shut himself back in his shell with a decisive snap. I picked him up so the dogs could take a sniff, showed them that he did indeed have thirteen moons on his back, and set him back down to continue his slow journey to wherever, unmolested.

A Fountain Flows
Well, not quite, but since I was over near (sort of) Phydeaux while I was at the vet, I decided to finish the journey to Chapel Hill and stop in and get a pet fountain for Elvis and Chili. They are the happy (well, I don't really know that, since they are cats and not prone to fits of showing their appreciation for anything) of a Drinkwell Platinum Fountain. I know, it's not super special like the Trevi Fountain or anything, but let's hope they actually use it and that the dogs don't trash it (it will be in my gated off bedroom, so the dogs will have access only at night). I also picked up some various canned foods to try them on so I can see what goes over well and what doesn't. We're switching to low protein and stopping the feeding of kibble (which they used to have free choice in addition to canned), so it's going to be a real sea change for the geratric kitties, and we all know how much cats like change, especially old, set in their ways cats. I did lecture them on how it's for their health and to prolong their good years, but when did cats ever listen to humans?


Anonymous said...

Lark- sounds almost like a hernia. Did you feel around her belly for anything hard? She also could have pulled an abdominal muscle.

Julie said...

Yes, the vet did a complete physical exam, including palpating internal organs, since one possible scenario was something going on in her GI tract.

This morning she seems pretty much back to normal, so while I was leaning toward a muscle strain, I don't think recovery would be so quick or complete. And that leaves me thinking about something along the lines of a horse tying up, though the timing isn't quite right.

We'll probably never know the actual cause, which sucks, actually.

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

You need to find out what your vet's business is on NASDAQ, you could invest hehe
Im not really glad its you, but Im glad its not me. (knocking on wood here) With all the animals we have, I spend very little time at the vet.