Monday, 4 July 2011

Summer fun with midges and dog-legs

Well it’s been a hectic few weeks here and I know I haven’t written a blog for ages, but I have managed to fit in a holiday as well as a fair bit of work for some new clients and some trips to the vet.

We had a fantastic holiday in Scotland a couple of weeks ago, where the dogs enjoyed lots of long walks. We went to Strathyre in Perthshire and were lucky enough to have fine weather for most of the week. It did rain for an entire day, but that was at the end of the week when we were all tired out and didn’t mind staying in and around our log cabin, watching the red squirrels and the occasional red deer outside the window.

'Can we go inside now?' Billy hating the midges
Billy's midge issue
There were quite a few midges about in Scotland and they seemed to be particularly fond of Billy the Whippet. He wasn’t so fond of them and, a week or so after we got back home he developed a nasty rash on his thighs and tummy and in his ears, where the midges had bitten him. So, off to the vets we went and it turned out he’d had an allergic reaction to the midge bites. I’m glad to say that was sorted out quickly and easily and he’s back to his old self now with no sign of a rash.

Fargo’s knee
You may remember that I spent last summer helping Charlie the Whippet to learn to walk again, and it seems that this summer I have another lame dog issue to contend with. This time it’s Fargo the Labradoodle.

Fargo and Billy enjoying their holiday in Scotland
Fargo has been getting a bit stiff lately and I suspected the onset of arthritis. But he coped well with the walks in Scotland and in all, the holiday seemed to loosen him up a bit. Then last Wednesday we went for a long walk on the park where the dogs had a great time chasing their toys. Fargo was perfectly well when I went out for a meal that evening, but when I got back home a couple of hours later he was yelping in pain and he couldn’t put any weight on his right hind leg!

So, off we went to the vets again for the second time that week. An examination suggested that Fargo might have a cruciate ligament injury as well as possible arthritis, but since Fargo’s a bit of a squealer when it comes to vets pulling at his legs, further investigation is needed. He came home with some Metacam and an ice pack, which I’m currently applying to his right knee three times a day, as well as orders for a week of rest before the vet sees him again.

Fargo quite enjoys the ice pack and the Metacam has certainly made him feel a lot better. I think it’s been a great help with any arthritis he may have, but he still limps on his right leg now and again. He’s not allowed any walks at all this week and he’s not allowed to walk upstairs – a tough proposition for Fargo because he loves his walks and he really likes to sneak upstairs and lie on the bed whenever he gets a chance. Luckily I’ve got a stair gate and Fargo’s been very good about it all so far, but he’s a naturally bouncy dog who’s not allowed to bounce right now. I have to watch him when he goes out into the garden as he occasionally tries to start a wrestling game with Billy – this tends to involve them both standing up on their hind legs, so it’s definitely not allowed right now.

Fargo’s going back to the vet’s this Thursday for another examination and to see what we need to do for him. It’s likely that he’ll need an x-ray under anaesthetic and possibly some surgery on his knee.

I’ve kept dogs for more than 25 years now and I can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to have pet insurance. I hate it when my dogs are ill; it’s such a worrying time and all I want is to be able to make them better again. I’m anxious about whether Fargo needs an operation, but at least I can make sure he’ll get the treatment he needs without fretting about how I’m going to afford it.

Anyway, there’s no sense in worrying about it until I know for sure what’s going to happen, and I’ll find that out later this week. I’ll let you know what happens.

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