I left out part of the story about Cricket when we posted about her birthday last week. I wanted her birthday posts to be strictly happy, because as it turns out, she is showing her age more. She was excited about all the ball she got to play over that weekend, but here’s what I left out:
I let her overdo it. It was completely my fault, but it was such a beautiful day, and we were having so much fun, I didn’t cut her play time shorter like I have been doing lately. She’s had an on and off limp which I’ve mentioned before, and keeping her play time limited was helping and most of the time she was fine.
She was due to go back to the vet to have her heart murmur re-checked and we also realized it was time to talk to the vet about her limp. In the photo you can see she’s holding her right leg up. I was pretty sure last time it was her left (I should learn to write this stuff down).
She had very short play times after that, and with a couple of doses of baby aspirin and some extra rest, the limp was long gone by the time we got to the vet the following week. Our appointment ending up being a good news/bad news kind of appointment.
The good news is that he found no sign of her heart murmur again! He called it only a Grade 1 the last time, and felt that it must have been situational…either from nerves, or maybe she was a bit dehydrated at the time. So her heart is fine!
I suspected Cricket’s limping might be caused by arthritis (we had her on joint supplements), and I was half right. The bad part was the arthritis is pretty bad, and that she also has a ligament tear, as well as a meniscus tear. The bottom line is that because of her advanced arthritis and her age, our vet does not feel surgery would be worthwhile for those issues.
But on the brighter side, he feels it can be managed with joint supplements (we switched to a different one he recommends and we’ll see if that seems better) and pain/inflammation relievers (Rimadyl). He said he does not feel that the tears will worsen. She can do whatever exercise she is comfortable with, and if it causes issues, then no more of that!
They also did blood tests for Lyme disease, to be on the safe side. Lyme is very common in our area, and Cricket does not get vaccinated for it. Any time a dog shows signs of lameness, they want to test for it. Hers came back negative, and her liver and kidneys are in good condition so it’s safe to give her the Rimadyl (with a re-check in two weeks).
Long time readers of our blog know that Cricket is ball crazy, and lives to play fetch. Since she’s had the off and on limp, we had shortened her play sessions, and don’t throw the ball into the pool like we used to. She seems happy enough with that, and we will be far more diligent about sticking to short play times. I don’t want to take that game away from her if we don’t have to.
We already know the drill with arthritis, since Sheba also has it. We’ve been able to manage Sheba’s pretty well, but she’s not quite as active (intense) as Cricket. Since Sheba has been doing so well though, I think we’ve become a bit complacent about extra things we could do to help her stay that way. It was very timely when our friend Jen over at the blog My Brown Newfies put up a post yesterday on how they are managing their dog Sherman’s arthritis (“How We’re Managing Canine Osteoarthritis in Our Senior Dog“). I needed the reminders of all the extra things we can do to help. We’ve done well on one of the most important things for arthritis, and that is keeping weight down. We try to get out moving every day, playing in the yard, but we could do more walks and get some hills in there to help strengthen muscles too.
Sheba only has to take an occasional Rimadyl, and I’d be happier if we could get Cricket to that point too. We’ll see how these two weeks go and if she tolerates the meds, and then go from there. At that point I’d like to talk to our vet about alternative therapies as well. I’ve researched it for Sheba, and even though we don’t have an acupuncturist or chiropractor for dogs around here, I did find someone that does cold laser therapy so that is an option.
The best news is that Cricket is doing well! We took a one mile walk this morning and she was her usual spunky self. She has not been holding her leg up since the weekend before her birthday. I’ll tell you what, it is not easy to keep this beagle quiet. If she thinks she smells a deer outside, she is jumping and running, barking away. It’s hard to slow her down. When she had one leg up in the air, she still wanted to just run on three legs (which is probably what led to the tears).
We’re just tossing the ball lightly these days. It’s been so hot we didn’t want to play long anyway. We’ll continue to see how she does, and go from there. I’m also encouraging her to use the stairs to get on and off the couch more, and we’ll continue to work on that. The only thing is, I miss my little jogging partner! Our hot spell is supposed to be over after today, so we’ll be working into some new routines anyway. I see a lot of walks in my future….I’m not a spring chicken anymore either, so we could all do with keeping our joints loose!