Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Tail of a Three Legged Dog and CRB

Colin the yorkie had his annual checkup a few weeks ago. At the appointment, his regular vet remarked that this was the longest we had not seen each other in a few years. Somehow, Colin did not go to the vet from May until October. After catching up with her, seeing pictures of her new baby and sharing child care provider dilemma details, I came back to reality and realized it’s not that we have not been to the vet because everything’s been fine. My dog has some new issues. What on earth will she find now? Insert feelings of panic here.
Suffice it to say at the end of the appointment, we were referred to two doggie specialists, one who was new to us and one which we had seen numerous times and who has operated on Colin 3 times. The new specialist was a canine eye care specialist who needed to check out Colin’s eyes and determine why one of his pupils is not constricting and make sure that there were no treatable underlying causes or diseases present. We now know that Colin is experiencing iris atrophy which has begun and will continue to advance and no treatment is available. She stated that when he is 12 he may not see too well. At this point, I burst out into inappropriate laughter. She was quite puzzled and I responded that I am not sure my 5 surgery dog would make it to the ripe age of twelve. I believe I usually come across better to health care provides but I am sure I appeared to be kooky lady with a crazy 1 year old who was infatuated with all of resident pets and who was drinking apple juice out of a bottle instead of a sippy cup. Couple that with the fact that in the next breath I am begging CRB to not eat Colin’s doggie treat or any of the banana puffs he discarded to the floor, I am sure that the eye specialist thought I was a loser dog mom.
Next up was the doggie orthopedic specialist. In some way it warmed my heart when I called to make the appointment and after I said “for my dog Colin” the vet tech said, “Oh for Colin? He’s a great dog. Can you be here tomorrow at 9:30? You know the drill, no food after midnight.” CRB accompanied Colin and me on this trip and was not in a good humor from the get-go and the hour or so ride in the car had not helped. But once in the room, he saw her: A young white dog that was wagging her tail at him. CRB’s legs started kicking with excitement. He said “pa” (for puppy I guess) and I realized that unless everyone wanted to witness a fit, we needed to go see the white dog up close. CRB stuck his hand out for the dog to lick it. Then CRB patted her head. We eventually found our seats but CRB kept trying to get the white dog to notice him. To pacify CRB I tried to make some light-hearted conversation about the white dog which got increasingly hard to do.
The white dog had clearly been through some extensive surgery very recently. She still had many surgery markings on her, and had been shaved in lots of places. One of the recent surgeries had been to remove one of her front legs and most of that side’s shoulder. Her owner appeared to be in a great deal of pain over his animal’s condition and the decisions he was going to have to make over her care. I sincerely hope his heart was warmed by CRB recognizing that she was still a beautiful dog.
Colin has some cracking in his right shoulder and must lose 1.7 pounds immediately, but is also on activity restriction. We are scheduled for a follow-up in a few weeks.