As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently bumped up Leah’s annual vet exam because she was having difficulty getting up from a down, and also because we thought we may have gotten to the bottom of “the noise” issue she’s been having. Our vet wanted to address her mobility issues first, and even though Leah’s blood work came back with flying colors, he put her on a very mild supplement, (Duralactin), with relatively few side effects, due to her age.
Leah’s hip and leg bones are starting to protrude from under the skin on her hindquarters, and she is definitely thinning in that area, but she is not underweight anywhere else. It saddens me, as I believe it is muscle wasting from age, and if that is the reason she is having a hard time standing, I don’t see how supplements (or even pain killers) are going to do much good. But we’re trying them anyway, just in case her arthritis is to blame.
And now, for the past few days, Leah has not been wanting to eat in the mornings. Before you go assuming it’s the new supplement, I should mention, Leah has never been a great eater in the mornings, and sometimes she refuses to eat entirely. But lately, (even before the Duralactin), it seems to be occurring more frequently. We will of course bring it up to my vet on Monday, but my heart tells me it’s not the meds.
Leah’s “Grandma” sent home a care package of some roasted turkey and white rice for Leah last night when I mentioned she wasn’t eating well, and Leah scoffed that up this morning, so I will probably be putting healthy add-ins into her morning meals if the problem continues. At least she is still eating the “good” stuff.
Besides the standing and eating issues, Leah has developed a new nocturnal behavior that puzzles me. For the past eight and a half years, she has always slept in her bed on the floor right beside me, with the exception of during thunder storms, during which she lays on the far side of the room against the closet (and away from the window). But for the past few weeks, not long after we douse the lights, I hear her get up out of her bed and head over to the closet to curl up on the bare floor.
There have been no storms.
It’s disheartening, and feels almost foreboding, to wake in the middle of the night and have my eyes fall upon her empty bed…
Yet I keep putting these issues out of mind, trying to remain in denial, and I’d practically succeeded – because NONE of these things affected me like what happened TODAY.
Today, I entered the house after a day of running errands with my mom, and for the first time – EVER – Leah DID NOT GET UP to greet me when I came in the door. Normally, Leah races to me as if she hasn’t seen me in weeks, bouncing around, wooing at me, sometimes grabbing my entire arm in her mouth, even if, like today, its only been five hours…
Today, although she wagged her tail when I said “Hello” to her and each time I reached down to pet her…Leah never stood. Not even when I brought in three armloads full of meat from Costco…
Today, Leah remained lying there on the cold hard kitchen tiles while I unpacked everything and even returned an important phone call. She just lay there, silently watching me with her big brown eyes, and my heart sunk a little further each time I walked past her.
Today, Leah did not bother to get up at all, not until after I let Meadow out of her crate – most likely to prevent herself from getting run over. (Meadow exits her crate by bounding about the house like a character out of Bambi).
Today, there are tears in my eyes as I write this.
Today, my heart is breaking.