I’ve written here about Butterscotch and aging, which continues along. We actually both survived giving her my first intramuscular shot. I was more nervous than she was, but we got the job done. She has very little muscle tone, so it is really hard figuring out what is muscle and what is tissue, but I guess I did okay. The shot (Adequan) helps her be able to go up and down stairs herself, and that makes all of us happy.
With all of Butterscotch’s health issues we kinda didn’t notice that Paris, our other guy is having senior issues too. Or rather, we noticed, but didn’t give it too much weight until a couple days ago. He has some cognitive decline, and has gotten afraid of going out after dark, or eating from a silver bowl, and going into the kitchen. It isn’t that we missed these things…we noticed, but we’ve mostly worked around them.
A month or two ago, Paris had a bit of a limp. One of his front legs was bothering him, but a couple weeks of an NSAID prescribed by the vet and some rest took care of the problem. We didn’t think too much about it. Probably twisted his ankle on a walk or something.
But a few days ago he started having trouble with his back legs. He had difficulty getting up on the bed or the couch. Put him back on those NSAIDs again but it didn’t help this time. It got worse rapidly, and then he fell down a flight of stairs yesterday. It isn’t really a good thing when a 72 lb dog falls down a flight of stairs.
Off to the vets office, with worries about neurological issues on our minds. The good news is that his muscle tone is good, and he knows where his feet are and what they’re doing. He isn’t crossing his legs or getting confused about placement, all of which is really bad news for dogs. But one spot on his spine does seem a bit tender. Why that’s so is hard to know…one of those trial and error things. Could easily be the result of the fall down the stairs and not the cause.
The vet gave him a steroid shot, and we’ll start him on a course of Prednisone tomorrow. But the shot helped him a lot. He’s sort of back to himself as far as comfort and ability. He’s back on the couch. The vet told us to keep him off the stairs, knowing that was going to be a bit of a challenge. (“I had to say to keep him off the stairs,” she said, shrugging her shoulders, knowing it was futile.) We managed for a short while, but both Paris and Butterscotch decided that the barrier wasn’t really meant for them, and we eventually gave up. Luckily Paris isn’t having any trouble navigating today, and he is walking with much more confidence. So the steroid is helping at this point. We’ll have to see what happens when he’s done with the course of pills.
Our big challenge with the Prednisone may be that the pills cause extra thirst and hence, extra pee, and getting him out after dark to pee may be an adventure. You can’t really make a 72 lb dog go potty if he doesn’t want to! A belly band to catch urine may be in Paris’s immediate future.
Which brings us back to seniorville. We were thinking, for such a long time, that we had only one geriatric dog, but really we have two. Butterscotch, 40 lbs, is 15 and Paris, 72 lbs, is 13, and that makes them pretty much the same age. (Bigger dogs have shorter life spans.) We ordered a second orthopedic bed with a waterproof liner yesterday, so both dogs have beds on the floor as they find couches more difficult to navigate, and I suspect there will be many more accommodations before all is said and done.
But that’s what you do for the furry family members who share your life for many years. They’ve given us so much for such a long time. It’s our turn to make their senior days as comfortable as possible.