Thursday, 19 January 2017

a worrying time and grass eating

Bette Davis is supposed to have said, 'Old age ain't for sissies.' Or, as I've heard it often said here in Australia, old age ain't for wimps!

I agree, in terms of my own life, not that I yet consider myself old... But I'm sure not young.

And in terms of of dog ownership, a beloved dog getting older can be stressful. It's been about six weeks since I blogged, and the hiatus has been mainly because Penny's been plagued by one problem after another and I kept waiting for her to be back to her usual energetic self.

Well, perhaps that will happen, but if I keep waiting it might be another six weeks, so I thought I'd write about what's been going on.

To sum it all up, she had an x-ray to check what was the cause of her ongoing limp, and to our surprise and that of our vet, it turned out her right leg has a completely torn cruciate ligament. We'd both thought it would be her lower spine that was the problem. The x-ray didn't specifically show the tear, but the specialist felt sure it was the problem.

To a certain extent, a torn cruciate ligament is an easier problem to deal with, given that she had cruciate surgery in September 2010 and made a good recovery.

But the x-ray showed some 'spots' in her body and so we arranged for a CT scan, which showed some issues in her liver, upper spine and her lung. The surgeon says they might be just part of the ageing process and we could keep an eye on them. But he won't do the cruciate surgery until he feels he's checked that out. So we'll have another CT scan in a week's time. That's three weeks after the original one. He's looking to see if any of them have changed in that short time.

It's been hot weather, so it's not too hard to convince Penny that she should rest and take life easy. We started her on pain relief - anti-inflammatories - but after a while her bowels seemed upset, so we've taken her off the tablets and put her on a bland diet.

We're obsessing about her poos. I'm sure anyone who has a dog understands this obsession. Her  gut is settling, we think. But yesterday she - as usual - grabbed something from the front garden and it must have been bad, or maybe it had something on it that bit her, and she rushed around eating grass for what seemed like ages.

Her appetite is good and she poos regularly, so we're just watching and waiting. But this afternoon, she vomited up this:

What a mystery. How could a bunch of grass sit in her digestive system and come back up, when all the other food is passing through normally?

It's not the first time she's used grass to self-medicate. She has always done that. But usually it comes out the other end. I just checked my past blog entries for ones that focus on grass-eating and there are ten! Sometimes she's pooed out the grass, sometimes she's vomited it up, and sometimes she even ate grass after vomiting something revolting she'd snatched as we walked.

In the midst of all this stress, it's kind of amusing to re-read my old post about how silly I was to buy pet grass. That pot of grass has turned out to be wonderful, given that it's hot and dry here in Melbourne and most of the grass in our garden is dying off. (I let weedy grass grow in the garden for Penny's sake.) The one little pot has multiplied into a big bunch of luscious leaves. You can see it in the background of this photo of our back patio, which has been spread with mulch to encourage her to wee and poo there, seeing she can't get down the back steps. (She refuses to toilet anywhere but the back yard, though, so we have to take her the long way around the house. Sigh...)