Putting back the BAWH

Connery's Harness

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that ConneryBeagle has been sick.

In fact, you probably know that for the last year, our lives have pretty much been all about the Sick.  Figuring out what’s wrong and going through a series of vets to do it, funding that whole process–the CT scan, the various meds, the early rhinoscopy–and then funding the meds. (Hey, did I mention that THE HEART OF DOG would make a great Christmas gift?)

Through it all, Connery just kept trucking–playing agility, training in tracking, just plain being a good boy.  He was on a slow and steady downward slide, but at every step of the way, did what he could.

At the end of the day, we learned that his sinuses are self-destructing in an idiopathic way, which means, “We don’t know why.”  No doubt it’s related to his lifelong auto-immune issues–the same ones that prompted his first and very wonderful vet to warn me I would lose him early, maybe very early.

The solution was a doggy Flovent inhaler.  (If you’ve never paid for Flovent out of pocket, then trust me when I say you never want to.)

Then came the steroid side effects, which weren’t supposed to happen at all.  In this case, Connery instantly shed every muscle he had, but hid the fact by bloating up with water retention.  So as we lowered the dose and the water came off, what it revealed was a weedy little guy with no muscle tone.  We lowered (and lowered) and LOWERED the dose, and finally realized that for him, there is no dosage level that takes care of the problem without affecting his body–but it’s a lot better than it was.  We walk a fine line.

Right at that time, he started showing reluctance to jump  into the car, and we thought he’d simply gotten too weak (I had a vet check him that same day).  In the days that followed, he saw a chiropractic vet (who helped a LOT), he regained some muscle (not all), and I gauged his progress by watching carefully as he ran agility.  His confidence and speed steadily improved, but his right hind muscling didn’t seem quite right.

As of Thanksgiving, Connery had his BAWH! back.  He ran with fierce glee for a three-times-Double Q weekend, and pulled together 82 MACH points.  (For us, that’s a once-a year kind of thing.) In the following week, we got the notice that he made AKC Nationals in Reno, and we started thinking about that late-winter trip.

Then on Saturday I went to the most awesome soundness clinic.  I signed up for it months ago, including an exam for Connery!  During the course of the clinic, the presenting veterinarian gave us the tools with which to identify problems in our dogs; it’s an elegant system.  Not that I’m a sudden expert–I’m just someone with more insight than I had before.

By the time we broke for the individual exams, I was pretty sure I knew what was coming: during Connery’s time of weakness, he’d done himself an injury–from which he’s now mostly recovered, but which is now shifting to a lurking chronic condition, maybe with another six to twelve months before it blows up big-time.

Some days, it sucks to be right.

So thanks to this wondrous vet, I know where the injury is (stifle) and I know how to treat it proactively (ultrasound diagnosis, prolotherapy, and rehab).  It means no agility, no play time, no tennie…  It means biking to keep him moving straight and strong (OMG it just turned into winter!), and thank goodness, he’s allowed to continue tracking.

But it’s this or we’re done.  No agility, no play time, no tennie…ever again.


DogMom: Me either!  Still in there fighting for you, BeagleMine!


collage by Inside Hope’s Chest; altered by moi

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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7 Responses to Putting back the BAWH

  1. Ruth says:

    And we’re pulling for both of you. ((hugs)) and ((Scritches))

  2. Laurie says:

    Oh. Wow. I don’t really know what to say. At least you know what is the matter, both with his hind leg and the sinuses. Not that that’s much of a comfort, but you do know what to do (stifle) and to some extent the sinuses.

    All of ConneryBeagle’s fans (and your fans, too!) will keep extending our support and encouragement, and making sure lots and LOTS of good vibes and prayers and healing wishes will continue to fly his (and your) way. ConneryBeagle is an inspiration to us all! *Now pardon me while I go wipe the tears out of my eyes.*

  3. Doranna says:

    Thank you both for that encouragement. I admit that sometimes I just need to beat my head against the wall.

    But the truth is, there are very few vets who could have helped catch this before it was a crisis–Connery had already seen two, including one on the very day I first noticed an issue with him, and they’re *good* vets. They just aren’t *this* vet. So I think I need to focus on how lucky we were to catch this now. No matter how many times I need to remind myself!

  4. Erin says:

    Shadow and I send our sympathies to you and Connery.

    This year we’ve said goodbye to Nellie (rabbit) and Peanut (rat), and Shadow (13 yr old border collie) has started falling down fairly regularly. She’s currently on prednisone to manage her allergies and it seems to be helping the hip pain, but sometimes her back end just seems to give out on her. I’m trying to be a good dogmom and not freak out and as long as she’s happy (which she seems to be) and not in pain (which she seems not to be as long as she takes the pred or aspirin) I get to keep her with me. Unfortunately I don’t think I can ask her to take the bus with me anymore though (she’s theoretically a psychiatric service dog).

    Shadowdog: Keep playing, Connery! When Daddy gets paid we’ll help kick in for your meds ‘cuz now Mommy’s meds are covered as of today!

    • Doranna says:

      Oh, gosh, tough year for you, for sure.

      Connery doesn’t tolerate steroids well; these weren’t supposed to go systemic, which is why I was willing to follow the course I was. But they did, and this is the result. OTOH, for some folks, the steroids are a miracle.

      My dogs have always been my anchor and my therapy; I take them with me every possible place for that reason, especially when my health is in an especially rocky phase. It just makes all the difference. I’m sorry it’s getting too hard for Shadow to stick with you. PS Congrats on getting that coverage! Folks who’ve never had to worry about same have no idea how it affects *everything.*

      *scritches Shadowdog*

  5. Ilona says:

    Hugs to you and ConneryBeagle. Hope you both pull through this too.

  6. Doranna says:

    Thanks. 8) We’re working on it!

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