New Year, New Hopes

Happy New Year, Friends! I know, I’m two weeks late. That’s because our celebration got put on hold on New Year’s night.

Ducky has been on leash restriction in the back yard since January 2nd. She hurt herself during a zoomies attack on New Year’s Day.

Okay, so for the hopes…..

Ducky has been really, really “good” these past two weeks. She has had her moments; but generally speaking, she has dealt with the physical inactivity quite well. (Thanks to nose work games, some limited slow walks on the treadmill, and twice-daily pain meds.) It makes me hopeful that helping her to calm down – or stay calm – will continue to get easier. Today is her first day of freedom; and after 20 minutes of fun in the yard and another 10 here in the house, this is the result….Heehee.

Then there’s Shadow. I’m still having to spoon-feed her at times in order to get her to eat. And so many questions in my head. Up until the middle of last week, her knee was still bothering her. She had a hard time standing in the kitchen or bathroom. She didn’t trust the throw rugs to not skid underneath her.

Now the knee is healed, she’s enjoying her time outside, and she’s even inviting Ducky to play. Last week the vet watched a short video I made of Shadow attempting to eat her meals. I asked him if maybe her depth perception issues might be causing her “pecking” motions at her plate/bowl.

After watching the video, he felt around her neck and shoulders and said that her muscles were somewhat tense. That discomfort was more likely the cause. And, it made the proverbial lightbulb turn on over my head. That discomfort in her neck – especially – and shoulders was probably why she had been walking away from her bowl but gladly eating off the spoon that I was holding up to her normal chin level. It wasn’t that she was playing me for the special attention. It was that it hurt too much to lower her head close enough to her bowl long enough to eat.

The arctic air wave of the week plus around the holidays just made it tougher on all of us – my and hubby’s joints were bothering us more than normal too – but the last few days of sunshine and slightly warmer temps gave us all some relief.

This morning Shadow went right to the plate of food and ate it without pause. Well, she did pause when I turned it around for her but only for a moment.

My hopes for Shadow? No more pulled CCL’s; no more severe arctic air waves to worsen her joint and muscle aches; and, fewer age-related health issues. And many more happy, playful days here with us.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 🎉🐶🐶💗

I Love Our Vet!

Yes, I know I’ve said before that I love our vet, but I’m saying it again. I Love Our Vet! 

Not just because he has always taken good care of our pets; but also because he has always been honest and forthright on all fronts.

Not just because he let me do my externship (for my vet assistant course) at his hospital; but also because he has always been there for us (just a call or text away) from the time Ducky started presenting IBD symptoms, throughout Callie’s lymphoma journey, and every day since.

You might recall in my last post, Happy 13th Birthday, Shadow, I mentioned that thanks to her little sister Shadow had taken a tumble a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to the hemp oil gel caps and elixir drops and daily walks on the treadmill, the tumble didn’t seem to bother her then.

Still, over the last 10 days, she seemed to be struggling more to stand up and stay up. And she hasn’t been eating as well or as much, plus her reflux seems to bother her more often again. So, I brought Shadow back to Dr. Steve for his professional opinion on Tuesday morning. I mentioned that with her increased struggling of late I was worried that maybe she was in more pain than she let on. He put my mind at ease. “No injury. Just her arthritis flaring a little.”

I sent Doc a video of Shadow walking on the treadmill yesterday morning; and when he called in the afternoon with the lab results he commented on the video. “She looks great. She walks like an older dog with some arthritis. Her range of motion isn’t what it used to be, but it’s pretty good for an old lady.” As for the blood work and urinalysis, everything is close to or at normal levels, which means the Denamarin is working. We talked about some other minor concerns; but all’s well. The Gabapentin, hemp oil, and treadmill – and outdoor playtime – is keeping her arthritis manageable. So, we’re sticking with what works.

Now it’s time to get back to working on my final exam. It’s due back to my program manager on the 30th, so I probably won’t publish another post before Halloween.

Happy Thankful Thursday!!!

Senior Eye Exam Scheduled

Some days Shadow will eat her full meal first time around the bowl. Sometimes she’ll sniff at it and walk away.  And other times she goes through this weird ritual of eating some food, walking away, wandering around the kitchen like she’s lost, going back to the bowl and just picking at the food. And sometimes she walks around the kitchen oddly. It’s like an exaggerated alternating movement of her front paws.

(I wish I could take a video of this ritual to show the vet. BUT Shadow will walk away from the food bowl altogether if she knows or even senses that she’s being watched. That in itself is an odd behavior that started after Callie passed away.)

The wandering around the kitchen thing makes me wonder if maybe she has a hard time seeing well at times. Last week I decided to switch back to her old, stainless steel bowl from the large, black, plastic bowl. It helped a little bit but not enough to make a noticeable difference.

Being concerned that Shadow wasn’t eating enough to stay healthy, I would (more than) occasionally put some of her canned food on a spoon and hold it up for her at a level where I  believed she could see it better. And, usually, she ate it. When she didn’t want it, then I knew she just didn’t want to eat, period. And I would pick up the bowl and put it aside before feeding Ducky. I know. Spoon-feeding isn’t a good idea. But sometimes it was the only way to get her to eat her whole meal. She is so picky about her food to begin with that I can’t give her the same food two days in a row. Or even every other day. I was running out of food to try with her that I can afford and/or trust. And I have to be very careful about how much variety I give her at any one mealtime.

On Saturday morning, the new elevated food bowl I ordered from Chewy arrived. Supposedly, elevated food bowls help dogs with arthritis because they don’t have to bend as much to get to the food.  But I was thinking more along the lines that maybe it would also help her see the food better. 

Well, my own emotions have gotten off their roller coaster over the last few days, so Shadow isn’t being finicky about what she eats. Her ritual, however, continues and it’s baffling me…

While it’s not quite as exaggerated as it had been, it’s still evident. Some of it may be the aging process. After all, she celebrated her half-year birthday on Saturday  when she turned 11-1/2. She will eat some of her food out of the elevated bowl but then wander around the kitchen. The other day I emptied her food out of her bowl and onto a regular plate. As soon as I placed the plate on the floor, she started eating again. But she would back away and then move around the plate as though she was having trouble seeing after a moment or two. 

The last few days I’ve been putting her food first in the elevated bowl. When she starts to back away or wander, I transfer it to the plate. And when she backs away again, I turn the plate around. And she ends up eating her full meals, minus maybe 3 or 4 pieces of kibble. Maybe her peripheral vision is beginning to suffer from old age. Next week I’m taking her to the vet to find out what’s going on. Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to get a video of her ritual to show the vet during her appointment.