Shadow Update

Happy to say I have GOOD news to report!


Shadow had her follow-up ultrasound two weeks ago. The abscesses in her liver that I told you about last month are gone. The nodule on her spleen remains the same, unchanged. 

So, the vet said we’re going to leave Shadow on the Denamarin long term. The Denamarin makes her tummy feel “weird” for a few hours, so she eats very little – if any – breakfast.  I’ve had to resign myself to that fact and just give her lunch instead of breakfast. 

Unrelated, she’s been shaking her head off and on for the past couple of weeks. Her right ear seems to have an excessive wax buildup on the inner flap and close to the canal. I clean it up with a warm, wet gauze pad every few days. Tomorrow morning I’m taking her to see Doc, just to be sure there’s no infection causing that waxy mess. I don’t think there is – it doesn’t smell bad, just “waxy” – but want to be sure. Shadow’s ears have always been clean, and free of infection since she was a puppy. I want to keep it that way as she gets older.  

So The Vet Said…

About ten days ago I shared with you that I was concerned about Shadow’s odd meal-time behaviors in my post, Senior Eye Exam Scheduled

I wish I could have gotten a better video to show her odd behavior, but it just didn’t work out. 


As I told the vet, any time she senses that she’s being watched, Shadow stops eating. Period. But that being said….

When I finished telling the vet my slightly abbreviated version, the vet checked everything. Shadow’s eyes, her teeth, her spleen/abdomen area, and his records on her past visits. Her teeth are all good – which I expected him to say – except for a little tartar on one of her premolars. She does not have cataracts. She has a little bit of sclerosis (hardening) of the lens of both eyes; but it’s so slight that it is not a concern, nor is it painful.

I raised the concern that she’s not eating enough to stay healthy. The vet knows me well enough to know how hypersensitive I am to Shadow’s issues after Callie’s illness last year. I told him that on days when she eats her full meals she gets between 800 and 1,000 calories…

“For a dog her size, her age, and her activity level, she’s getting enough calories on average.” She had lost very little weight since January – maybe 4 ounces, if even that – so we’ll just do monthly weight checks and see if there’s any need for concern.

“In short,” the vet said, “Shadow is playing with your head. She knows your emotions well. So, what I suggest is some ‘tough love’ at meal time. Continue with the same food; and when she walks away from it, pick up the bowl and put away whatever’s left until the next meal. Eventually she’ll figure out that if she’s hungry, she’s going to have to eat her whole meal first time around. She’s not going to starve. If she starts losing weight too quickly, we’ll run tests again; but I don’t believe she will. There’s nothing in her chart to worry me right now.”

And with all that out of the way, we had to do an X-ray on her left foot. Since Wednesday afternoon, she’d been alternating between favoring the foot slightly and really limping noticeably. I’d been using ice packs on it and giving her some Tramadol; but it didn’t help. Turns out that in one of her jaunts around the yard – chasing the ball – she stumbled and sprained the second joint of the left toe on her left, front foot. (We did the X-ray to rule out any tumors.) So, she’s on rest, Tramadol, and generic Carprofen for the week. We go back for a re-check on Friday. She was already walking better by Friday night, so the Carprofen must be working. 🙂 

Another Vet Visit for Shadow

Now before you think “oh no, not again!”, let me put your mind at ease. This was more of a consultation visit. Shadow has been eating pretty well since I made those routine changes in December.

And this morning, I was really proud of her. Normally, as soon as we enter an exam room Shadow will curl up in a corner between the bench and the wall.

She did this morning. But while I sat on the bench and entered her weight in my notes on the phone, she found the courage to come out of her hiding place.

 So, I got down on the floor myself and sat next to her while we waited for “Uncle Steve”. When he walked through the door, Shadow stayed put. We both smiled and praised her bravery.


The reason for the visit was her arthritis. On Friday morning while we were playing out in the yard, Shadow started “gimping” and favoring her left front leg. Her nails looked a little long, so I took her up to the vet for a nail trim. When we got home, I took her back outside for more play time. After a few tosses of the ball, she was gimping again. I called the vet and made the appointment for this morning. And got the okay to give her some Tramadol.

My poor girl definitely has arthritis in both wrists and both elbows. It’s not as bad in the right leg as it is in the left one; but we definitely need to manage it as best we can. So, it’s time to get a ramp and start training her to use it. Especially for getting into and out of the car.  We only have three steps to the back door – carpeted – so that’s not a big deal at this point.

I’m thinking I’ll check out Solvit; but if anyone has another brand preference, please let me know so I can check it out. As for supplements, I’m already giving her glucosamine, chondroitin, and the other hip/joint stuff in her current supplements. I need to check out some fatty acid supplements. Any ideas as to good ones that aren’t overly expensive?