Monday, November 16, 2009

How're we gonna keep 'em "Down" on the farm?

Both of our dogs have been hanging out by the back door, longing to be out. It is deer-hunting season and yesterday a big doe took refuge in our little woods, hiding out by the big rock. Cocoa was beside herself because she could see the deer through the windows and we wouldn't let her out for risk of chasing the deer and/or being mistaken for a deer by a hunter.

This year I found two blaze-orange bandanas for the dogs so they wouldn't have to wear those humiliating orange t-shirts. Cocoa's bandana is getting pretty muddy; Nutmeg managed to lose hers the first day.
Nutmeg is especially morose because she is being forced to rest for a couple weeks. She has had a recurring limp all fall. She is stiff in the morning, heads out on her morning rounds, and returns limping. I was pretty sure it must be arthritis (been there) but over the weekend she was in significant pain and unable to put any weight on her back right leg at all. I took her to the vet this morning.

Sure enough, the vet diagnosed arthritis. Nutmeg is her own worst enemy--she just doesn't know how to pace herself- she thinks she is a young pup or something. The vet said we should try to make her rest and recover for a couple weeks (right!) and give her pain meds as needed (which I worry will just make her feel better enough to run harder) and try giving her glucosamine. The vet pointed out how Nutmeg's spine is out of alignment and her leg muscles are unevenly developed because she has been compensating, probably favoring that leg for a long time. Apparently there is a dog physical therapist nearby who has an underwater treadmill to help dogs with such problems! I'll have see how that fits into our budget. Maybe I can persuade my trigger point therapist (he is a dog lover) to teach me how to work on dear old Nut.


katiegirl said...

It sure is hard watching your pets grow older. My Scooter is 13 and he's slowing down now. He's on a daily pain pill plus a joint supplement to help with his arthritis. It's a catch 22, because the pain meds have the ability to damage the dog's liver, but they'd be in pain without them. I just get his bloodwork done once a year now to make sure everything looks ok.

Hope that physical therapy works for your pup!

Susan Tomlinson said...

It is indeed hard to watch our friends grow old and feel like we can do little to ease their aches and pains. Yours look loved, though, and that's much to give them right there.