Friday, April 24, 2009

Hostages To Fortune

“He that hath a wife and children,” said Bacon, “hath given hostages to Fortune.”

I say “She that hath pets and critters hath given hostages to Fortune too.”

Spent a day with vets on Wednesday. In the morning Blossom and Alsiki were carefully and thoroughly sonogrammed (didn't think “sonogram” was anything other than a noun, but what do I know?). The results were dispiriting: no deep shadows indicating babies—just the lumpy, bumpy outlines of the rumen. Neither goat is pregnant. That means no babies, no milk, no cheese in the foreseeable future.

In the afternoon I took lame Lexi for x-rays and a diagnosis. She has torn the cruciate ligament in her knee. Moreover, she has arthritic elbows, arthritic hips, and an arthritic spine. (No wonder she doesn't want to move.) Surgery could repair the ligament, but it would do nothing for her other joints.

She'll be eleven in July. Even before she tore the ligament, I had to entice her outdoors with pieces of mozzarella. Ligament surgery has a 12-week recovery period during which the dog is not supposed to move much. After three months of that regimen Lexi would have to be carried outside.

So we're in palliative mode. She's on anti-inflammatories. She will have acupuncture and chiropractic sessions—even Chinese herbs if they look like they might help. But no heroic measures.

I didn't know this stage would come so soon. My once-lively Lexi has become a kind of hearth rug. Her hind quarters are shrunken and her chest and shoulders are huge, because she uses them to pull herself along. The other day I lured her outside while I threw balls for Wolfie. At one point she looked at me in her intent, can't-be-ignored way. “Throw one for me!” she said. So I did, only about six feet away. She hobbled towards the ball, stopped halfway, then lay down. I looked away.

One thing she still loves is eating. She weighs 84 pounds, about ten more than she should. Every extra pound on those joints causes more pain, so I feed her less and less all the time. She's down to two cups a day. I suppose it's the right thing to do, but she doesn't think so, and neither do I.

5 comments :

  1. boscoe had that surgery when he was 10. we have never regretted it. but it was tough to get through. (you can read about it on my blog, on the sidebar. the story called "just like duante culpepper, boscoe rips out his knee" or something like that.)

    poor lexi. boscoe is also on tramadol twice a day which helps a LOT with pain. that might help her too. no side effects that i can see.

    and yeah, the weight.....

    good luck. they are sweet, our dogs, and it is so hard, so very very hard to watch them get old. boscoe will be 14 this year. it breaks my heart.

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  2. Dara is almost 13, and while she doesn't have anything specifically wrong, she is aging. Aged. She's nearly blind--when she stops looking for the ball, it's because she can't catch it in the light any longer. Her weight was an issue, up to 90 pounds on a frame built for 75, probably, but we've gotten it down to the low 80s by changing how we fed her--we used to put out her food once a day, and now we divide it in half and give it twice a day.

    Mike has started talking (not around her) about our "next dog" and Sophia wants to know if it will be a puppy or a rescued adult. I don't like dogs much, but I like Dara just fine and I don't want to say goodbye just yet.

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  3. Disappointing news on several fronts. I'm sorry to hear about all that.

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  4. Laurie and Bridgett, You must be really good dog caretakers to have your dogs reach such advanced ages. My own little Mojo (11 lbs) lived to 15, but little dogs last longer.

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  5. Thanks, Alison. Tomorrow I'll be giving Blossom and Alsiki hormone shots to bring them into heat (we're a fertility clinic around here). Then we'll drive them to Montpelier to the buck, and hope it works this time. Wish us luck!

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