We’d only been home a few days when Teresa and Nollind carted me off to the vet. They were worried about my heart because of the activity-induced coughing I’d experienced when we were travelling. I wasn’t really worried. I felt fine for the most part. But there was that nagging concern that my age was catching up with me more quickly than I suspected.
Dr. Julie listened to my heart. The murmur didn’t sound any worse but she wanted to take an x-ray, to see if my heart was getting bigger. “Bigger? What am I, the Grinch?” I wanted to ask. Turns out the heart can become enlarged when it’s not functioning at full capacity because it has to work too hard. When it reaches a certain size, it presses on the esophagus.
Dr. Julie also wanted to check my kidneys, because of the pain killers I get for my arthritic elbow. Darn thing is like my Achilles’ heel. (Think there’s any chance “Logan’s elbow” might become as famous as Achilles’ heel?) So, anyway, off I went into the back to have some blood drawn and an x-ray taken.
After my tests, I returned to the exam room to wait for the results with Teresa and Nollind. Was I anxious? Maybe a little. As a thirteen-year-old dog I’m always walking on the edge of some major physical calamity.
Dr. Julie returned with my results. Good news on the heart! No enlargement, no constriction of the airways, and everything else on the x-ray was clean. Still just a low grade murmur to be monitored, and Teresa has me on CoQ10 which is supposed to keep my heart healthy. Good to go.
However, not such good news on the kidneys. The arthritis pills were starting to take a toll, my BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and Creatinine numbers were elevated. We needed a new solution to manage the joint pain. The vet mentioned some other drugs that might work and be easier on the kidneys but it still involved a certain amount of the Meloxicam culprit, maybe a twice-a-week dose. Problem is, until recently, I wasn’t getting the Meloxicam every day, but it’s still had an impact.
That’s when Teresa mentioned the joint injections Dr. Julie had told us about two years before. They’d been giving them to horses for decades and had started using them for dogs. At the time, I was only eleven and we were managing quite nicely with herbal and other natural remedies plus a once-in-awhile Meloxicam when I really overdid things. (They call it overdoing, I just call it being a dog.) Julie agreed it was a good next step as they’ve seen some amazing results in senior dogs, dogs who were barely making it out of bed in the morning were now running and playing. Sounded good to me.
I was back to the vet for my injection on Tuesday. Teresa dropped me off at eight in the morning and I waited for my turn on the table. They gave me some even better drugs than my travel pills so I was having a bit of trouble controlling my back end when Teresa came to pick me up around two o’clock. Nollind snapped this photo of me sitting on my tail, which I would never do under normal circumstances. And the photo on the right is my now hairless, and chilly, elbow.
Once the sedation wore off late Tuesday, my leg hurt like a bugger, which they said it might do. That initial pain from the procedure has since subsided and now, I wait. The vet said it could take a few days, up to a week, for the medicines they injected to do their good work. I don’t want to get too excited just yet but, between you and me, I think it’s starting to feel better.
The dictionary defines a “shot in the arm” as “something that has a sudden and positive effect on something, providing encouragement and new activity.” Here’s hoping.