Friday, July 21, 2006

Wishing my little dog could talk ...

The other day I got home from work to find my little dog Lucy not herself at all. Instead of rushing up to greet me and zipping about happily, she was--I don't know of a better way to put this--dragging ass and looking generally pathetic. She at her dinner very slowly and just generally acted as if walking, sitting, lying down and getting back up were a great effort or perhaps painful. She seemed to be hunching her back slightly and holding her body a little crooked. My first fear was that she, too, had contracted a tick disease, but it seemed a bit more like she had a specific pain--either on her abdomen, back or side--that was making her miserable. So we went to the vet, and on the way I as thinking through all the questions I knew they would ask in an attempt to narrow down the problem:

Eating normally? Yes, but slowly. Any diarrhea? Not that I can tell. Is there a chance she could have eaten anything different, toxic or non-food that could have made her sick or cause a blockage? Not to my knowledge--she's not an eater of plants or non-food items, but she will gladly snarf down things like rat poison or children's vitamins if given the chance, and she's always finding and eating random disgusting things on our walks before I can stop her. Did she take a fall off of anything or do anything physical that could cause an injury? Again, not to my knowledge.

There were a few more questions at the vet's, and she determined that Lucy definitely did not appreciate pressure on the right side near one of her ribs. So we did blood tests, which were all normal, and x-rays, which showed nothing amiss. So the less-than-certain diagnosis was that she dad some sort of soft-tissue injury. The vet gave her an injection of dexamethasone for the pain, and gave me some prednisone for her to take. I figured that our plans to run in the Philadelphia Barking Authority flyball tournament this weekend were right out, but I went ahead and asked the vet what she thought: definitely no flyball, she said. We also skipped agility class last night, although we did take a walk and Lucy seemed very happy to be out walking. She seems to be feeling much better this morning.

So instead of driving to Philadelphia today, I decided to go ahead and take the day off work as planned (I was looking forward to it!) and try to arrange an appointment at a doggie chiropractor. Everyone I know who as tried it with their dogs reports wonderful results. I go to a chiropractor myself, and it helps a great deal with a place on my back that frequently gets quite stiff and painful, so why not try it on my dog? She is getting up in years--she turned eight in May--and I think that even if her spine is not the root of the current problem it will still do her good. (And Mr. Gomez would probably benefit as well--I'll ask about multi-dog discounts!)

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