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Another vet visit... and it hit me

Posted By: DarkEyes

Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/16/20 03:04 AM

Abbey had to go back to the vet, I think her third time in a month. I'm losing track, it's been a struggle with Abbey and the kids and trying to be on top of things with hygienic measures for school and work. I can't even remember what the first reason is for but we've been to the vet several times since her last checkup in July and it's just all leading up to the fact that Abbey is getting old and her neurological health is failing. Her brain isn't sending signals to the nerves in her back legs and paws at times now. Peripherical neuropathy I think is the term the vet used? She's not feeling anything in her right paw and started the obsession over it. I understood because I would have these loss of feeling in my hands and feet whenever I had a flareup so yeah, it's awful to have that loss of feeling and it just doesn't feel right. And Abbey is in a lot of pain. Got her on tramadol to go with the deramaxx. Waited on the gabapentin because we did not have much success but then this last visit we are able to get an increase in the dose and to try again. Abbey's paw got infected, even with the ring, the reversed victorian cone, and some other crazy device, she was able to somehow get to it and gnaw on her paw. Such a stubborn dog. Over the weekend, her rear paws would randomly knuckle while she's walking. She's already stumbling once in awhile when it seemed that her legs stopped working while she was turning around and would criss cross her legs. We're going to invest in anti-knuckling boots so she can still walk and reduce risk of more injuries. We got a nice ramp for Abbey so she didn't have to jump up the steps anymore. That stubborn dog would STILL jump over the steps and disregard the ramp no matter what we did. I think at this point we're just gonna have to let things be... no matter what we do that dog is going to cause some sort of injury on herself.

She did stop running for awhile. Once she figured out how to "tolerate" her injured paw she's walking a little more normally again, still with the occasional moments of not being able to use her legs.
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I knew this was coming but I guess I was in denial. After the vet visit and getting that confirmation of what's happening with her legs and her infected paw, I allowed myself to face it and I cried. I didn't realize it but I've been pushing that feeling aside. But it finally hit me. We're likely in our last months with Abbey. It's the same awful feeling of grief I felt when my dad unexpectedly died but I at least can have time to prepare myself for Abbey's passing. She still has a lot of life in her and I don't know if it's because she's still going because she wants to take care of us or if she's going because she wasn't ready yet. We're bringing home the Anatolian shepherd pup next month and I have wondered if once the next dog starts taking his place as the family protector and Abbey finally starts to "retire" herself to just enjoy the days, that she might be ready to go. I sure hope not. It is our hope that Abbey can really enjoy just laying with us on the porch to watch the kids play instead of being out there keeping up with them and watching for strangers and predators. I thought her herding instincts would slow down by now but she's a true working dog.

She now sleeps in a kennel when we're sleeping/working because she keeps laying on hard floor and creating abrasions on her joints. We usually have rugs throughout the house but that day I was getting the rugs washed.

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Vet: Abbey needs to be laying on something with cushion. The floor is going to contribute to her joint pain and the skin abrasions on her joints.

Abbey:
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Abbey.... full of awesomeness... full of stubbornness....
Posted By: Woodreb

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/16/20 03:54 AM

hug It's never easy watching them get old and having to face that it is time. But I do think that knowing it is coming and having time to prepare somewhat is easier, at least that's true for me. It hurt to lose Rica years ago, but I knew it was coming. In some ways similar to Abbey - she had HD really bad and severe arthritis as a result. She had lost control of her bowels and was starting to become incontinent. We used a harness to help her up the stairs. I think I had prepared myself more than DH did, because I made the effort to, instead of denying it.

Losing Aodhan was much harder because it was so unexpected. I know my DH still feels it and I do as well.
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/16/20 01:29 PM

I relate to this so hard. Luc had polyneuropathy (he had a paralyzed larynx which then spread to his hind end). We got him a Help Em Up harness (I think that's what they're called) and that helped a bit. He was also in pain, and senile. It was very hard to let him go.

I am so sorry you're going through this. You're doing good for Abbey, and will continue to do so. Thinking of you.
Posted By: Mary Jane

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/16/20 05:23 PM

What you and Abbey are going through is just awful but way too common. Despite all the marvelous features of GSD, their health can be a problem in my opinion. You are caring for Abbey with head and heart and that's all we can do. She does have a real personality.

please take care,
MJ
Posted By: Shilohsmom

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/17/20 02:19 AM

That's a good point MJ, the GSD seems to keep having an awful lot problems as they age. It seems most are getting DM.

I'm sorry to hear of the issues Abbey is having. I love the picture where you have the two nice beds and she's laying on the floor....go figure.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/17/20 03:27 PM

I encounter a lot of people whose seniors would have detoriating health problems, so it seems normal to me. Abbey is also dealing with thinning ig her skin so she is easily getting bed sores. I continue to have problems with Abbey wriggling just enough to take the sock off her paw and lick/gnaw at her paw, even with the cone and ring and extra restraints when not supervised. Last night, I felt bad that she could not get quality sleep in her kennel with limited mobility so I moved her bed to my room for the night.
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Took a picture... Abbey slid off her bed. Didn't feel like moving so she stayed there.
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Found Abbey this morning like this 🤦
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I admit, I laughed....
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/17/20 04:37 PM

Oh Abbey. I can imagine my guys doing something similar. Neb had a bed but wouldn't sleep on it. Then Xerxes and Agis began systemically destroying all our dog beds so now everyone sleeps with us. Thank goodness we got a king sized last February!

I think it is common with older dogs. Neb is 12.5 now, so I'm waiting to see how much longer he's relatively mobile. He's definitely slowed down.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/20/20 06:15 PM

Abbey's paw was doing better but last night it stunk to high heaven. So she's going back to the vet. I might have her boarded for the weekend. I'm starting to feel overwhelmed with her care. She's too much with all this effort of trying to stop her from going at it. I had to muzzle her because even with all those preventive measures she still manages to get to her paw and aggravates it. Now she just waits until I am not in sight then goes for the paw licking at it. We're getting a different muzzle that removes any chance of tongue contact but will allow her to drink water. She definitely dislikes the muzzle but it is stopping her. We had a sock covering her paw to keep dirt off and replaced the sock 2-3 times a day depending on if it got wet from Abbey's licking or dirty from being outside for potty breaks.

DH told me his friend said the pups will be ready to leave their mother soon. I thought we had at least another month. I told him that I can't take on a puppy right now with Abbey's medical care needs. If we can just get past this paw issue, we will be ok. He's going over this weekend to pick the puppy we will take home at some point.

Jarn, you said Neb is 12.5 yrs. What month was he born in? Abbey is a June 2008 pup.
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/20/20 06:40 PM

Neb was born in April. So pretty close!

I'm sorry her paw got worse again. Maybe boarding her at the vet for the weekend will reset her paw and allow you to get a jump on it's healing...I hope so.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/21/20 12:02 AM

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Vet cleaned her up and put her in a soft cast. Xray on wednesday after a few days to see if leaving alone does the trick. She got a shot to help with the swelling. Now we wait.
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/21/20 12:03 AM

Aww beautiful girl wub I hope all of that does the trick
Posted By: Woodreb

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/21/20 12:29 AM

Poor girl - Hope this helps her.
Posted By: Woodreb

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/21/20 12:37 AM

Poor girl - Hope this helps her.
Posted By: Shilohsmom

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/21/20 04:38 PM

I so hope the latest visit to the vet is the last for awhile. Poor girl. Loved the picture with the donut on her head rofl They sure keep us on our toes don't they?
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/22/20 12:46 PM

I still laugh when I think of her with the ring on her head. I mean, this is too comical to wake up to. I do recognize the danger that could have put her in and suffocated her. Thankfully, this did not happen.
Posted By: SeanRescueMom

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/22/20 03:36 PM

I'm sorry I did not see your post earlier. Abbey has proven she's a fighter and in true GSD fashion, perseverant. You are a truly dedicated mom like so many of us and will go to the ends of the earth to do what's best for her. wub Please keep us posted on her vet visit Wednesday. Hugs and good thoughts to both of you. hug
Posted By: Shilohsmom

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/25/20 02:38 AM

Just hoping on an update on Abbey.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 11/26/20 09:31 PM

Well, her toe nail fell off. They did some x-rays and it turns out she has pretty severe arthritis on her paw. It got so swollen her nail detached. It made sense why I swear I was smelling decay. She still has swelling in her paw. She still won't leave it alone so we're still keeping the cone, cushion ring, and muzzle on her. Not really sure what to do with her at this point. Keep her moving but keep her discomfort controlled. But don't let her bite or lick at it. Boots are not going to help. But we gotta keep her paw clean. Blah.
Posted By: middleofnowhere

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/01/20 01:33 AM

Well, their needs seem to get more when they get older. As much as they understand us, they don't comprehend "licking won't make it better!" no matter how often that's repeated.

She does look all done up in her matching recovery wardrobe. May she get better soon.
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/01/20 01:59 AM

How's her paw now DE?
Posted By: Islandgsds

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/01/20 09:49 AM

Just got to see this now. What a struggle you're having with this. Poor Abby I hope she heals well enough that the cushion can eventually come off.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/04/20 02:17 AM

I'm not sure. It has been swelling since the last visit (day before Thanksgiving, I think?) but recently the swelling has gone down. Now it just looks ugly. She has hair loss on two toes and her paw is constantly in a pinkish color from the licking. She's still licking through her muzzle and in spite of the preventative ring we put on her. I'm about to tell the vet to just amputate that leg. (not really, I'm just driven a little crazy trying to keep her off of it).

She's walking more, which means I can burn some of her energy. We got her some special boots to keep her paw clean while outside. She has to wear them on both rear paws or she seems like she feels lopsided. The first time she wore them was comical. She didn't mind wearing them, but when she started to walk, she seemed to have jumped and spread her legs apart like "What the **** is this?!" lol. Since Duke came, she seems to be resorting back to her puppy ways and just running around the yard. I mean, that girl is running! This afternoon, I just watched her leaped off the back porch (the ground is only one steep step away from the porch). And then she took off in a playful run. I guess the medicine is kicking in... or maybe it's a combination of both medicine and playful puppy (when he's being nice). I am trying to keep her from getting too wild, but I'm glad to finally burn some of her energy. I have tried giving her some toys to mouth on. Not interested. And forget treats in a kong, she is not food driven unless it is wet food.

I'm stumped. I can't get her to leave her paw alone. She is going back to vet this weekend for a recheck.
Posted By: Mary Jane

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/05/20 02:21 PM

Hoping your vet visit is productive.

MJ
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/05/20 05:05 PM

We couldn't go... so I sent in pictures and talked to the secretary about Abbey's current situation, so will see what the next step is. I am isolating myself and kids since we're waiting to hear testing results from a neighbor who thinks she caught covid. I hugged her a few days ago, her husband had been in the hospital for heart issues and had emergency bypass surgery. How could I not? So we skipped the visit out of caution and opted for virtual since emotionally and physically she's ok, just mentally she won't leave her paw alone.
Posted By: Woodreb

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/05/20 05:49 PM

Have you tried any kind of spray which would keep her from going after the paw? Caleb has a tendency to lick and itch himself at times and I spray thiis product on his toes. It seems to help and I don't think it tastes very good so that also helps him to leave the toes alone. Just a thought.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/06/20 02:22 AM

I would love to try one. But because the skin is in bad shape, it is a bad idea to spray. I thought about using the spray on the muzzle, but there is still that chance it could rub onto her skin and cause further irritations. The vet is good with the progress of the paw so we keep doing what we have been doing....drive mama crazy. crazy
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/06/20 02:58 AM

Maybe I missed it - can you wrap the paw? Actually, I think you've done that. Plus sometimes air is good, depending on what's going on.

I hope she continues to improve.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/06/20 01:32 PM

I think air is what the paw needs to help with the healing. Some areas have started to scab so just gentle wash with soap and water is what the vet recommends. I've only resorted to covering the paw up with a sock and taping the fabric together only when we are sleeping/ away at work. Make her take longer to reach to her paw. Thanks for the suggestions!
Posted By: SeanRescueMom

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/10/20 02:32 PM

Keep doing what works best for Abbey and you, and please keep us updated on her paw's condition. Fingers crossed for both of you. crossedfingers
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/13/20 01:21 PM

Abbey's new toe nail is gone. I mean, completely GONE. It disappeared one day and there were blood splatter all over the house. (Not like a murder-scene blood splatter, just splot of blood here, there, it trailed around where Abbey decided to walk it off). There's no growing a nail in that toe now. We tried getting ahold of the vet to update them but... that phone just rang and rang and rang. 2 days. No signs of infection, the swelling is gone. So we're just keeping it clean, aired, and applying antibiotic ointment as needed.

She is fine, otherwise. This happened a few days ago. eating fine, playing, running. No personality, physical activity, or eating changes. She actually seems to be leaving her paw alone now... so maybe her root toe nail just needed to be out.
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/13/20 02:35 PM

You're doing good by her. I hope you get in touch with the vet, but I'd say you're doing the right things.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/20/20 02:40 AM

We did not... her semi-annual check up is next month and her foot is not bothering her. She has a boo-boo on her leg which we're not sure what it is, but it's not swelling and no signs of inflammation or otherwise affecting her in any way. With current treatment (same as her paw), it's healing. It might have been aggravated by the boot she wears to keep her paw clean so for now we just cover her affected foot with a plastic bag to keep her paw clean until that booboo area heals. Otherwise, she's happy, it seems. Playful, running, playing tricks on us, eating. She even grabbed a toy and invited the kids to play with her. Right now, with covid cases rapidly rising here in TN I am trying to limit visits to the vet unless absolutely necessary.
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/20/20 03:35 AM

Happy is a good thing! I'm glad. It's good her leg is healing.

Absolutely, doing stuff like vet visits and COVID is complicated. Do you guys have contactless appointments?
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/26/20 01:20 PM

I think they're working on those type of appointments and only if necessary. I know they like to be hands on- animals can't tell us if something is wrong except in behavioral changes so I think their contactless appts are very reserved for certain types of visits.

Abbey's leg is not healing as it should but it hasn't changed anything in her behavior. We'll find out more on it next month when she goes in for her semi-annual.
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 12/26/20 08:59 PM

I hope the news for Abbey's leg is good, even if it's not healing as it should. Not changing her behaviour is good I suppose.
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 01/01/21 03:59 PM

I was able to schedule the pets' January visits early with their vaccinations. A different vet looked at Abbey and had confirmed with the original vet's diagnosis of Abbey's leg. There is not really much more we can do now and she said we're doing a fantastic job keeping the wounds clean and preventative measures we are using to keep them from getting worse. There is no sign of infection. It's likely the result of severe arthritis and the nerve impairment. Her hips and legs are weakening. She collapses easily when I try to use any pressure, be it from a simple rub or a gentle brush. Brushing Abbey is now a challenge because I can't use any pressure on her lower back, her sides, or her legs. So now we're vacuuming her. Which she loves, for some reason. She's always waiting to be vacuumed every time we get the vacuum cleaner out.

I thought for sure when I started this thread that we are in our last weeks with Abbey. She's being tough about it and clearly she's not ready to go and is fighting her disabling conditions. We're having successes with the new medical treatment and I think that's really making the difference for Abbey. She hadn't been this playful in a long time until she was started on the regime. We have hope she'll make it to her 13th birthday in June but I'm still preparing myself if her time comes sooner.
Posted By: Mary Jane

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 01/01/21 07:08 PM

You clearly are doing something (many things) right in caring for Abbey. How great to enjoy a playful 12 year old dog.

I hope the good trend continues.

MJ
Posted By: SeanRescueMom

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 01/02/21 10:20 PM

You are realistic and have a good attitude. Fingers crossed Abbey continues to thrive with your TLC. crossedfingers
Posted By: jarn

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 01/03/21 02:53 AM

You're doing a great job with her. Caring for elderly dogs really is a privilege, as you know. I love that she loves being vacuumed!
Posted By: DarkEyes

Re: Another vet visit... and it hit me - 01/04/21 02:09 AM

I appreciate the support!
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