Wobbly Dogs and Aging
Tessa woke up the other morning listing. She’s like a ship that’s lost it’s ballast – leaning to one side, head cocked in what should be a cute sort of tilt. Only it’s not cute, not at all. She’s having a hard time negotiating stairs and any kind of uneven ground. She’s barrel rolled herself a few times going down the outside steps, and we’re not even taking a chance when it comes to the basement stairs.
The veterinarian isn’t 100% sure what the problem is. It’s not her ears – they’re fine, thankfully. Tessa has been spared the ear problems which plague so many French Bulldogs. She certainly has bad teeth – she always has. One or two of her back molars need to come out, and she’s on antibiotics to clear up any lingering infection before we tackle this. I’m hesitant about putting her under anesthetic for anything less than a life threatening condition, but bad teeth can cause all sorts of issues in a senior dog, and I guess we need to take the plunge and have them extracted.
Mostly, though, Dr. Boyd believes Tessa has had something commonly called “idiopathic neuropathy” – idiopathic being a fancy word “designating a disease having no known cause”, and neuropathy being “any diseased condition of the nervous system”. So, idiopathic neuropathy, meaning “We don’t know what it is, or what caused it, but it has something to with the nervous system”.
I’m consoling myself with the studies which seem to indicate that the majority of cases of idiopathic neuropathy just disappear, as mysteriously as they came. Already after a few short days, Tessa seems more steady on her feet. All of this, of course, is a symptom of the greater truth, that my dog is aging. And, like of all of us who are aging, she’s become plagued with mystery ailments. A hip that clicks, hearing that’s failing, a bit more wobbly on her pins that she was in her youth. I know it’s all to be expected, but none of it makes me happy.
Still, Tessa’s a remarkable healthy dog for both her breed and her age. Infirmity doesn’t stop her from occasionally charging and rolling the cat, or from staking out her claim when the puppies get too close to her pillow. She still rules the house, with a little bit of help from me when it’s called for.
She’s also looking forward to making it to the Nationals in Minnesota in 2008, as am I.
Hammie sez, cheer up sistah. Next year, Minnesota!
Hammie and Stone and King Clovis went to the vet today. Hammie is fine, except that he is bald in patches, and his eye sight is a bit blurry. He has started taking Soloxine for a low thyroid, and maybe he can get some of that hair back. We can only hope. He can still jump on the couch, but he prefers to be lifted. Hammie, like his sister Tessa, will be 13 on November 22… He’s going to make it, if I have to dig him up and prop his eyes open with toothpicks.
Stoney, 3 years younger almost to the day, is not doing nearly as well. His hearing is almost all gone, he prefers to sleep on the deck in the doggie igloo, where he feels surrounded and safe, rather than to roam the yard with the intrepid Hammie and warrior Pug Clovis. He has an ulcer in one eye, that I am treating, and a lump on his side that is a mast cell tumor and will have to be removed. NOT FAIR! He is the sweetest Frenchie that I know, and you would think God would give him the breaks, but not so… old sulphur breath, Hammie, gets all the breaks…
Nothing wrong with 3 year old Clovie. A damaged brain stem doesn’t slow this boy down a bit… what does a Pug need with a BRAIN after all??
Aging is tough on all of us…
Stoney suggests that his quality of life would be greatly enhanced with a new red headed puppy to keep him on his toes.
Actually, that’s Tessa’s suggestion. She’d say just about anything to get me to place any new red headed puppies into far distant homes. Her granddaughter Ellie is the sweetest and most gentle Frenchie I’ve ever owned, and yet I know for a fact that she won’t be here ten years from now. It’s true – the mean ones are too ornery to kick the bucket.
Tessa’s wobbling less today, knock on wood. Sailor looks like she swallowed a small child.
I’ve been looking for a new Wilcott lined Frenchie for two years now.. I could happily live with a houseful of horrid tempered, cranky, foul breathed red headed heathens.
Here is a thought.. and you may think I’m out there.. but… well..
is it possible that the tooth is throwing her off? I mean, Traditional Chinese Medicine says that all things are connected.
I’ve seen dogs run beautifully with perfect gait and as soon as they put an article in their mouth, their gait gets totally wrecked.
Yes, our vet can’t say for sure it’s her tooth, but she’s on the antibiotics just in case. When they’re finished, we’ll be removing the tooth.
By the way, she’s almost 100% back to her old self today. Yippee!!!