Huff Goes to the Vet

While Huff doesn’t want to share too much personal information, he thought there are some things you ought to know if you are adopting a senior dog.

One of the first things I did after Huff moved in, was take him to the vet. I am guessing you will do the same. I was already committed, I just wanted to know what it was going to cost me - both financially and emotionally.

I am sure you understand the first, but the let me clarify the second.  Not knowing how healthy he was, I couldn’t make a guess on how long he would be with me. Moreover, the more serious his health issues might be, the more difficult choices I would have to make. Ugh.

Holes in the Past

It’s tough to spot health issues in a "new" old dog. The warning signs of trouble are vague. Weight loss, decrease in appetite, fatigue, changes in bowel habits, unusual behavior. When you adopt a dog, you have no baseline for comparison. You don’t know what normal is.

Warning Sign 1: Weight Loss. Has he lost weight? He weighs 38 pounds today. That’s all I know.

Warning Sign 2: Decrease in appetite. Huff was eating, but a little less than the vet thought he should be. I didn’t know if that was a problem or a habit. It was a problem.   

Warning Sign 3: Increased fatigue. He was sleeping a lot, but he is fourteen. He was alert when he needed to be, so was the sleeping a health issue or an old dog’s proclivity for naps? 

Warning Sign 4: Changes in bowel habits? Uhh. Food went in. Poop came out. So I guessed it was okay. I was wrong about that.

Warning Sign 5: Unusual behavior? He’s a herding dog. A traumatized herding dog.  He had been attacked by another dog at some point in his past and he has not recovered mentally from that. Our walks are an exercise in paranoia. He has PTSD, but that’s a story for another post.  When safe inside the house, he was fine. He wasn’t whining or pacing all the time, so I gave that a no to unusual behavior. Mostly.

What the Vet Said

His blood work showed no abnormalities.

He was heartworm negative.

He had an ingrown dewclaw that was easily fixed.

He has hip dysplasia which cannot be fixed.

He needed dental work - at least one tooth would have to come out.  We scheduled that.

This was not my cheapest trip to the vet. But not my most expensive. That would come later, when the dental work was done.

The Best Part

One of the best things about adopting an older dog is watching them come back to life.

When he first arrived, Huff was closed off. He was obedient, but not expression. He was fearful, always waiting for next instruction. He shrank in fear if I was upset or angry. My emotions didn’t have to be directed at him. I am pretty sure he was not responsible for the weird updates on my computer, but my frustration sent him cowering into the corner.  

He looks alive now. His coat is shiny. Part of that could be attributed to the bath he tolerated but did not enjoy. It could be the daily scrambled egg breakfast. No, he is not spoiled, much.

His eyes show emotions. He is willing to express his displeasure with me - which is delightful. I’m still in charge but we are team now and feels safe enough to offer his input. If you live with a herding dog, you should expect that.


More Adventures with Huff

For the latest: See The Huff Diary

Huff Chooses His Name

Huff Blows His Cover

The Pot Pie Incident

Walking with a Lion

Old Dog Math

The Feng Shui of Huff

Huff's Favorite Things

Things Huff Hates

My Senior Rescue Human

The Zen of Huff

Odd Human Behavior - Baths

Sneak Attack Bath

The Holidays Part 1

The Holidays Part 2

The Holidays Part 3

Dog Flashbacks

An Old Dog Speaks

Huff's Rules for Humans Part 1

What I Love About Herding Dogs

The Case of the Unusual Poop

The Vet

Huff Goes to the Dentist

My Pack Goes Hunting

Love at the Arboretum

Learning Indoor Manners

Why Don't Humans Ask?

The Fine Art of Barking

Huff's opinion: eBooks vs. Print

Storm Safety Huff - Part 1

Storm Safety Huff - Part 2

Storm Safety Huff - Part 3

Gratitude Dog Huff - Jack & Jill

Gratitude Dog Huff - The Vet

Gratitude Dog Huff - Aunt Terry

Gratitude Dog Huff- Dr. Huff

Gratitude Dog Huff - A Fresh Start

Gratitude Dog Huff - Suzanne Speaks