To catch everyone up on Sam – what we learned from the vet a couple of weeks ago is that Sam has degenerative joint disease in both her hips and stifles and the vet noticed arthritic changes in her hips. The excruciating pain she was experiencing in her hips caused additional pain in her back. After the vet visit and a refill of pain meds, Sam got worse. One terrible night she leaned against my foot to show she was happy I was home and yelped in pain sulking off and looking back at me with that, “why did you just hurt me, I was just saying hello, I’m a good dog” face. (Yes, I anthropomorphize a bit, but you should have seen the look of complete betrayal as she tucked her tail between her legs and hid beneath the desk looking at me. It broke our hearts and I had a hard time focusing the rest of the night knowing how miserable she was and how completely convinced she was that I had hurt her.) Over the next few days we set the ramp back up so she could get down the back stairs, coached her on how to use it again (ramps laden with treats for a couple of days did the trick) and gave her a daily low dose of pain medication. In these past two weeks we’ve seen her slowly get to where she can hop, get back on the couch (with doggie steps – although, she’d desperately love to jump) and dance around. She can even lean against my foot without flinching.
Yesterday was the re-check. We walked in the door and several staff cheerfully greeted her with a round of “SAM!” I think they only know us as maybe “Sam’s mom and dad”. She wagged, sniffed and complained throughout the visit. She also managed to get several treats, which made her hop in hopes that those empty vet assistant hands might actually be holding HIDDEN TREATS!!!!! and the vet and her assistants were pleased to see the improvement. We still don’t know what happened. Our vet, the orthopedic surgeon who performed the surgery on both of her knees, felt it could have been a perfect storm of arthritis and possibly something neurological (oh boy) coming together. We’re going to continue with the non-steroidal pain meds, which may be a regular feature in her diet. In two weeks we’ll reduce the amount she receives and see how she does. Then, if it doesn’t improve, we may have to look at different approaches to manage her pain – somewhere between additional medication and acupuncture. (I have a friend who uses acupuncture on all of her horses and swears by it. I’m more skeptical, so we’ll see. If it works, then I’ll be completely sold.)
I can’t begin to express how happy I am to see her bounce about where the only stink-eye I get is because I’m getting too rowdy with my keyboard.
So, now I’m just asking that she be able to go five years without a major event. She really deserves it after having such a rough four. If everyone could send her good vibes for that, please I know I’d be grateful.
Window lovingly decorated with feline and canine nose prints.