Dog Days of August 2020
One of the not-so-good things has been a sudden change in our dog. Blackberry is ten-and-a-half years old and, in spite of some fatty lumps on his torso and a bit of hip arthritis, he's been pretty lively for a senior citizen.
Until recently. It kind of happened all at once: He became sluggish and grouchy, having difficulty getting up, slow and labored gait, sleeping almost constantly, and being more or less disinterested in his meal. A visit to the vet was inconclusive; she thought it was worsening of his arthritis and put him on doggy Advil. He didn't get better and suddenly he was much worse: tremendous weakness in his limbs on one side, occasional urinary incontinence, walking in circles on the rare times he did walk at all, not looking us in the eye, eating only from one side of his dish (what little he ate), and very grouchy. We thought he had had a stroke and returned to the vet who disagreed. She said that strokes were rare in dogs. Rare, she said, not nonexistent. X-rays showed the arthritis had worsened and she thought perhaps there was a gastrointestinal component. Prednisone was dispensed. Joe had to carry him to and from the car for the vet visit and also to take him outside that day and the next. It seemed to us that he was giving up and we were pretty sure we were going to have to make the Difficult Decision today.
But the prednisone is helping. His appetite has improved, a little. He isn't interested in going outside, but he can be persuaded and no longer has to be carried out. He still sleeps too much, but responds to noises and has begun making eye contact. He's still weak and kind of wobbly with a bit of a list to the left. Last night Joe got him to walk all the way around the block. We kind of think he has turned a corner in more ways than just that one.