So, some of you may have read my prior post featuring Lisa Scottoline’s column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, regarding her dog Ruby, who, amongst other things, wears diapers because she is incontinent. This is significant in that she has just written about her other dog Rosie, and she touches upon a subject that many of us face: older dogs and their ailments. And, more importantly, what we will do for them in their older age. I.E. what we will do for the love of our dogs, old and not so old. Next blog, I will reprint her article in its entirety. But today, I would like to talk about the realization that many of us face, as I did this week, that our pets are no longer puppies, and may even be considered “senior”.  My dog, who is almost 7, is middle aged, for her breed. That realization stunned me recently.  I brought her home from her breeder when my oldest daughter started high school. That daughter is now a junior in college, so… you do the math. She is no longer a puppy. Officially. Lisa Scottoline was talking about old dogs, and their ailments. But, the reality is that my dog was no longer young, and yet, not quite senior.

But, this particular article from my much beloved author turned out to be particularly relevant this particular day. I recently faced a health crisis with my dog, India. Better known as India the wonder dog. If I am being completely honest, my husband was the one who noticed that she “just wasn’t right”. She was a little off in terms of energy, excitement about food, excitement about jumping up onto the couch and then his lap for her nightly “massage ala dad”, and was ” a little slow walking in and out of the door to the porch”. So, he convinced me to take blood on her, and I did, and noticed, to my utter dismay, that she was hovering at a life threateningly low level of platelets that could have caused her to bleed at any real trauma to her little body. (As in her nightly wrestling session with my son.)

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So off we went to the specialty center conveniently close,  for further testing to confirm what I already knew. She was, yet again, suffering not just from immune mediated thrombocytopenia, but, in fact, from “veterinarian’s pet disease”. Which is to say that we simply don’t have good luck when it comes to our pets.  At least, I don’t. Nor do those of basically all my friends that are veterinarians and veterinary nurses.  But, the good news is that she is on the mend as we speak. Lots of liquid medication on order in flavors that should enthrall her for a full week, ..or more! Sadly, the compounding pharmacy did not make her medication in “dead rodent” flavor.  Still, we have cherry and chicken flavor on order.  Thus, I will not need to be wrestling with her to get her to take her lifesaving medication. I learned that the hard way the last time she contracted a life threatening disease (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), here on the East coast, nowhere near the Rocky Mountains, but a risk nonetheless.

So, what I am doing for love, is medicating my dog (no longer a puppy), twice a day, for several months, if not for life,  and poking her once a week, to get blood to monitor her disease. And, it sucks. But, what else would I do, for love, and for my puppy?!

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Dr. Dawn

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