Regular readers may recall that he was of unknown age when I adopted him in May 2006. We guess he’s around 14 though he could be older. Late last year he had become uncomfortable on longer walks, was no longer trying to get on the bed which is pretty high, and not really playing with Fitzi. So we went to our vet in November.
Dr. Vallee preliminarily diagnosed degenerative lumbosacral stenosis in Chili’s lower spine just forward of his hips. A definitive diagnosis requires an MRI or CT scan which would mean a trip to the Ontario Veterinary College, which is several hours away; the procedure would require an overnight stay.
While I have the utmost confidence that the College would exercise great care with Achilles, given his age I’m doubtful that it’s in his best interest to subject him to the necessary travel and stressful experiences. Had I opted for this the likeliest recommendations would have been either surgery, which is not an option, or managing his pain.
So we discussed other options and settled on administering Deramaxx, 37mg 1x daily. I understand that its extended use can compromise kidney function; I believe that at Achilles’ age helping him be more comfortable is more important.
He responded very well! He was more interested in walking and occasionally romped with Fitzi and Lucy. In mid-December we decreased the dosage to 25mg 1x. I didn’t think he was as comfortable so in mid-January we returned to the 37mg dosage. We followed up with Dr. Vallee for a physical evaluation and blood draw for a kidney function check. Achilles’ stride and posture are good and the bloodwork results showed no kidney impairment.
We looked for a cushier bed for Achilles to rest on and bought this insert for one of our dog bed covers. We put a somewhat heat-reflective crate pad on top. He seems to like the combination.
Throughout all this his appetite is unchanged – he eats every scrap of food. He wants to go out, hops up on the couch, is interested in what’s going on in the kitchen, at times even plays a bit with Fitzi and Lucy. He’s obviously still interested in life and living.
Cattle dogs, and some ACD crosses, have a forehead blaze. Achilles has one.
There’s a saying among ACD owners: ‘Glowing Bentley here.’ It means best wishes, kind thoughts, condolences. While we aren’t at the last definition yet, not by a long shot, your gift of a glowing Bentley for our Chili Dog is deeply appreciated.