Annie’s had a rough go lately.
It started about 4 weeks ago, she suddenly was reluctant to go up and down the stairs. A couple of nights she refused altogether and one night she chose to make her way upstairs in the dark well after we had all gone to sleep. We found her curled up outside our bedroom door the next morning and it broke my heart.
She wasn’t showing signs of joint pain so my best guess was that her nails were too long and the stairs felt slippery, and/or her vision was getting worse. It had been a while since her last nail trim because she had been so nervous at her last vet visit I decided to cancel her nail trim. We both braved another vet visit, got her vision checked (she probably does see shadows in her peripheral vision) and her nails trimmed and that seemed to help even though she was still anxious and would attempt the stairs 4 or 5 times before finally charging all the way up.
About a week later, she woke me up with her usual nudge and bark. When I turned on the light she looked like she had a ping-pong ball tucked into her jowl. Shit. I have always worried about her teeth and it appeared she had an abscess, so off to the vet we went. Again, she was incredibly stressed and I had to coax her along as we navigated several stops and starts before I could get her in the exam room.
Sure enough, she needed to have two teeth surgically removed. Her surgery day was the third trip to the vet in 3 weeks and she was not happy about it. She completely put on the brakes and would NOT go through the door leading to the procedure rooms. She’s 115 lbs. and when she decides she’s not going somewhere she means it! I had to lift her back-end and straddle her as we made our way into the hospital area. I don’t usually go back there but the tech that came out to assist us was a male and I just said flat-out, “this is going to make it worse”. Everyone there knows her well and he quickly retreated so that Annie wouldn’t see him as I got her where she needed to be and her regular tech ran forward to greet us and take over for me. She just knew that something big was about to happen.
After her surgery, which took longer that expected–each tooth had 4 roots rather than 3, she refused to go to the recovery room which is further back in the hospital. She would only go forward, towards the exit door. There is an office right there so they set up a bed and that’s where she recovered, getting lots of one on one attention from all of the doctors when they were in between patients. Thank goodness she has doctors that are willing to make special accommodations!
Once I got her back home, she slowly started to show improvement. It took a couple of days for her recover from the anesthesia, and she was on painkillers for few more days but her overall mood was so much better.
In the middle of all of this, I’ve been helping my mom move into her new condo and have moved several furniture pieces that don’t fit in her place into my house. One piece is a steamer trunk that we placed in the front hall by the stairs until we figured out where to put it. A few days ago I pushed it further away from the stairs and that night Annie went upstairs with no hesitation. OMG, I should have known! Annie doesn’t like narrow spaces or new doorways. I had just created a narrow space where there wasn’t one and that was the reason she suddenly wouldn’t go upstairs. Ugh, I feel terrible.
Over the past several days, she’s had trouble keeping her food down. She has a two week post surgery follow-up scheduled and I really don’t want traumatize her again by dragging her in for another appointment in addition to that. She has no other symptoms of distress. Her mood is better than ever, her energy level is back to normal, she is drinking water and her stool is fine. I stopped her painkillers, started feeding her 4 times a day with small meals of Prescription Digestive Care food (still softened as directed for her post oral surgery care), added probiotics because she was also on high powered antibiotics. I consulted with her dr. and she agreed with my treatment and also suggested an antacid to add to her food. If anything changes or gets worse she wants to see us immediately. This regimen seems to be helping, each day her food goes down a little easier so I am hopeful that she will be completely better in a few more days.
Poor Annie, she’s fragile but she’s such a trooper and once again she has shown me that she’s not going to let this get her down. She just would like it if we never went back to the vet again!