Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Changing realities

Thanksgiving weekend marked Robbie's return to agility competition.  That includes not only competing with him, but bringing all dogs to the show site for the day, setting up camp and handling all three through various things (exercise, play, socialization, etc.).

The following weekend was a 4-day agility trial in Milwaukee.  It marked by 12th year at this event.  It was my 1st year at the event without competing with MacDuff.

Duff has been limited in mobility for awhile now.  I am not sure when it started exactly but I do know that in July, August & September, prior to Ghilley, he was becoming increasingly difficult to convince to go on a walk.  He retired from agility competition in late May but still would play in class.

Trouble is, when Robbie hurt himself in mid-July, we ended our forays into the city for agility class to all Robbie to heal.  I wonder if that seemed to shut down the old man.

Regardless, I realized, finally in mid-to-late October that the arthritis medication we were using (etogesic) did not seem to be helping Duff that much.

Early November it was annual examination time for Robbie.  I decided to have complete blood tests done on both boys, given their ages.  They both came back really well, showing good numbers for just about all categories.  Robbie had an elevated CPK of 263 (vs. 200 normal) which would be expected since he does have mild cardio myopathy.  Duff's CPK was 468 which prompted me to send him in for a day of tests for heart issues.

After the EKG, x-rays, etc. Duff turns out to have a very healthy heart, healthier than Robbie's actually.  But, he does have a heart arrhythmia, which would prompt taking medication.

We talked about wanting to start him on a new arthritis medication, Medicam, and he would need to start on heart medicine (digoxin).  Trouble is, we could not start him on both at the same time just given any potential side effects.  We chose to start him on the digoxin first.

That turned out to be more of an issue.  His pain was not being managed by the etogesic anymore so I was watching an aching dog seem to become depressed on top of things.

So, after 10 days on digoxin, I talked to his vet about starting medicam.  I could see the medicam was working but noticed increasing lethargy, incoordination, pickiness eating, etc. from Duff.  It seemed to amplify slight nuances from the digoxin.

Next step, took him off digoxin and let it ride with the medicam to try again.

Duff went back on digoxin on Thanksgiving.  As of Monday, December 7th, he was off of it again.  His appetite improves without that medication, and so does his happiness.

It appears that digoxin is not the heart medicine for him.

I am trying to see improvements in attitude but now seem faced with the potential of something else.  Duff seems to be stuck with a turn signal permanently on left.  He walks around in continual motion but unless he is walking through hallways, he turns to the left in larger circles.  No longer does he walk from my sliding door straight across the 30-feet to the gate of my patio.  He turns left circles on the way.  He straightens out with direction but it is the initial move that has me concerned.

Not sure what to do other than to take it day by day.  Work is tough with stress and an oppressive CFO.  Home is tough watching my champion suddenly turn very old, almost overnight.


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