My husband and I have known for quite a while that we have a senior dog. But it is the rapidity with which it happened that still amazes us. I mean, I know I am a bit oblivious but it seemed like we were seeing no signs of aging at all and then one morning we had an old dog. A year and a half ago we began noticing Mic having some tremors – mostly in his back end. Soon enough however he was having tremors head to tail, or bunny butt as it were. Not continuously but intermittently and with varying degrees of severity. He never seemed to mind. I describe it as his Katherine Hepburn impression or Doggy Parkinson’s.
He started having a great deal of difficulty going up and down stairs. He also had developed foot drop in his left front paw. We would come home from even short walks and he would have bloody knuckles. We found a great product called ‘Pawz’ which look like balloons and are semi disposable booties for dogs (avail at Petco). This fixed the bloody knuckles but not the underlying problem.
We had him in to the vet and Dr Wachtel discovered on exam that he did seem to be having pain. Spine and hip x-rays later, he has spondylosis and arthritis, especially in his left shoulder. So we started on a round of treatments to see if that would help. We also had him tested for DM just in case and he did come back at risk but his symptoms don’t really follow the natural progression of DM. We did anti-inflammatories, tramadol , prednisone. All of which seemed to help with his energy level so clearly he was in pain; none made any difference in his tremors or foot drop.
After a couple of months of suboptimal response and concerns about chronic medication use, we saw our vet again and asked about acupuncture. She was enthusiastic and recommended a holistic vet who not only could do acupuncture, but was a practitioner of Chinese medicine and would, she hoped, have other meds for Mic’s ailments. Her top choice was Dr Dennis Thomas ( http://www.drdennisthomas.com ) – a doc others had recommended as well. I won’t go into detail about his practice because you can just go to his website or Facebook page (Heart to Heart – Holistic Health Care for Pets) and get much better info than I could possibly summarize. Long story short, 4 acupuncture treatments and no more foot drop! Now Mic and Moli go monthly for a treatment and are on Chinese herbs as well as a raw, home made diet. So from first hint of aging to acupuncture maintenance was about 9 months. Which is 3 month longer than we even thought he was going to live.
When Mic started deteriorating before our very eyes, we thought we would not have him for six months. But we have been given a great gift of renewed health and vigor for him. He is still a little old man, but he is doing well. He does have some doggy dementia and that has brought out some challenges that I will go into some other time but we are just grateful for all the time we have had with him and hopeful that we still have some quality time ahead of us. Thanks, Dennis.
Regarding the diet – I was reluctant for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which was Mic’s propensity to bloody diarrhea with diet changes or indiscretions. BUT it has been great and really is not that much more effort to prepare. Moli is on it too. We tried to convince Megwyn that it was a great improvement but she is having NONE of it. Maybe when she is out of adolescence and doesn’t want to eat doggy junk food any more. Ha!
Now off to feed the mutts and hit the sack. Hugs and slobbery kisses from the Rat Pack and the Brat pack. (Keep watching for explanation….)