Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Old age

My girl had to visit the vet last week. She's been coughing and wheezing a bit. I put it off for a while, thinking it might be allergies, but then T encouraged me to take her in.

When I called to make the appointment, they asked me some questions and then told me that for respiratory issues, the dogs needed to come in on the "cat side" of the clinic. That was interesting for Bam....lots of enticing new smells.

Dr. R came in and listened to her lungs, checked her circulation, etc. I described the problem, "If she really was a cat, I'd say it's like coughing up a hair ball." Then she did something...like pressing on B's throat somehow....that elicited the cough. "Wow, that's quite a cough." Next up....chest x-ray. I was pretty sure Dr. R was thinking lung cancer, based on B's age and the symptoms. They took her to the back room and did the x-rays. Which she ought to be used to by now, since she's had pretty much every joint in her body x-rayed at some point. Dr. R even commented that she did really well, she's practically a pro at it.

The good news...no tumors on the x-ray. The bad news...there's *something* on the x-ray. Dr.R points out some striations in the x-ray along both lungs. She says that older dogs typically have them, and I'm fairly sure she called it 'old dog lung', although I can't find much via Google on that. However, B's were excessive. So, we're trying an antibiotic. Almost had some excitement as we left the exam room and Bam proceeded to stick her head in an open cat carrier that was sitting on the bench. Yes, there was a cat in it. Evidently a very mellow cat. Lucky for B.

I'm supposed to give Dr.R a status update tomorrow. While the cough seems a little better, at least I don't hear it as often, I think the wheezing is worse. Or else I'm more attuned to it. Either way she sounds like a train when we go for walks and she starts panting. Next up, I think, is a stronger antibiotic. But we'll see what Dr.R says tomorrow.

This is the worst part of dog ownership. When they get old, or sick, and you can see that their best days are behind them. I hate that. It's worth it, of course, for all the good times and joy. But I still hate it.

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