Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nursing Home For Old Dogs?

Cody is getting really old. I took him in today for his annual checkup and the obligatory laying upon of hands and had to make some heavy duty decisions.

He's 13 years and 3 months old and that's pretty impressive for a large dog. He weighed in at 63.5 pounds and I thought he'd lost quite a bit since last year, but Dr. Taylor (yum!) said he'd only lost 2 pounds, but all of it was muscle. One of my concerns was that he's holding his back legs oddly and doesn't want to lie down - he'll walk around and around the house before he finally settles down and then it seems that something will happen to make him pop back up and then he'll go through the restless phase all over again.

He also smacks his lips - drives me crazy! My mom used to do the same thing! He pants heavily too, but my mom never did that.

Anyway obviously the first thing "wrong" with him is he's getting old. Dr. Taylor (yum!) wanted me to let him do a geriatric blood workup. That would run around $105 or so. Today's visit costs $114.90, more about that later. He suspects Cody might have diabetes. If so he'd need TWO shots a day, at the same time of day, forever. Almost for sure he has some kind of metabolic disorder due to his heavy panting and muscle loss. He said he could just do a blood sugar test and that would run me about 20 bucks. He also heard a heart mummer of his mitral valve - he says I can expect to hear "old man coughing" as a result of that. His liver was okay for the most part, but also showing signs of aging.

I asked the "what would you do if it was YOUR dog" question. And he said he'd have the blood work done and then go from there. I said realistically how much longer would Cody live period. He said anywhere from 2 days to 1 year. That's pretty much what I'd figured all along. I said his job was to tell me when it was time to put him down if it came to that. He said that when Cody woke up in the morning and didn't want to do anything - eat, play, etc. - just sleep, it was one day past time. (I thought to myself: Self, watch your kids if you take to your bed too much!)

One other huge complaint is that he can't hear ... he can hear certain sounds, but not many. The vet (yum!) said he never expects a shepherd to hear after age 12 or so! Hmmmm. I said the good part was he also didn't bark much. He used to bark when a squirrel farted in the backyard or a leaf fell off the tree in the front yard. He certainly used to alert me to anyone on the property and I miss that. Now *I* have to let HIM know when someone is afoot.

I decided not to do the blood tests - any of them. I don't want to know if he has diabetes or anything else. I don't want to give him 2 shots a day. If he was 7 or 8, sure, but at 13 it's not like he's going to live to be 20. For right now he's back on Zubrin for his osteoarthritis (that was $51.90 of today's total). I'm to call in 7 to 10 days and let him know if there is vast improvement. He doesn't want just so-so relief. He said then I could decide then if I wanted to do any testing, etc. I think he thinks my kids are going to be all over me to do whatever it takes to make him a puppy again and put some heat on me.

You see, it's not that I can't afford it. I can and I've proven that with his TWO TPLO surgeries. Money is no object when it comes to momma's boy. Now I just want him to be comfortable. I suppose shots or whatever he needs would make him more comfortable too, but when is it time to just say enough? What would YOU do if it was YOUR best friend?


Cody Is 12 Years Old Today!

Cody's Album

Dr. Yum, er I mean Dr. Taylor can be found at the Prestonwood Animal Clinc.

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