Sleet is getting old and I hate it! She's my little canine soulmate. I love all my dogs, but Sleet has a special place for me. My first "real" sled dog, my first leader. If not for Sleet, I'd either still be in the yard trying to figure things out or hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere! But she's at least 11 now. Her eyes are cloudy, her hips are stiff and she just can't pull anymore. Her last run was almost a year ago. Her last run was also Ozzy's first run on September 11, 2004. She never asked to go last winter at all, although she would bark at the team sometimes. She knew her time had passed. The year before she ran occasional, short, quick, fun runs.
Today she had to go to the vet again. Her allergies are acting up. She's late this year. Usually she needs a steriod shot by June. I thought we might get through to the snow without meds, but she was scratching herself raw again.
As an added bonus, yesterday she started walking on three legs. She wouldn't put any weight on her left hind leg. She's been getting stiffer and slower over the past few months. There's definately athritis in her hips, but this hopping was new and without a preceeding incident, at least that I saw.
Sleet hates the vet. I have never figured out why they have to make the floors so freaking slippery in clinics! She hates that feeling under her feet. Today we saw Dr. Kim Friedenberg who was nice enough to do the exam outside. No way was he going to see how Sleet walks in the clinic. She was not standing up even. I had to carry her through the door! He did a very complete exam on the little patch of lawn beside the clinic!
Sleet has an acute injury to her left hind ankle. She likely twisted it. It's swollen and sore, but doesn't appear to be too serious. If she's not weightbearing by Monday, she has to go back for x-rays. She's still eating and drinking and trying to run around the yard. I don't think she's in an extreme amount of pain. Unfortunately, with the steriod shot, she can't take Metacam for a while. They don't mix well. The depro-medral shot she had today though has some anti-inflammatory properties and should help her ankle too.
Her right leg has some laxity in the knee, but apparently it doesn't bother her. The hip on that side is great, almost a full range of motion in it. The left knee is solid and the ligament is tight. However, that hip is a mess. She has a very limited range of motion in it. But again, she showed no pain signs. No yelping, no trying to pull away, nothing. She did all of those things when Kim was messing with her ankle, but not when he was manipulating her hips. He doesn't think meds are warranted yet for her hips, but I will be upping her glucosamine and other supplements.
He's a little worried about her teeth too--her incisors are gone, worn right to nothing, her one lower canine is broken and most of her molars are cracked. She broke the canine a couple years ago. It's a complicated dental surgery to remove it and there is a very high probability that her jaw would break in the process. It doesn't bother her at all so I've never done anything with it. Most of Sleet's life she's eated bones and frozen fish. That's worn down her teeth. Again, no pain it seems and no sign of infection in her teeth or gums. She chowed down on a piece of frozen moose tonight!
It all sounds like bad news, but overall Kim said she's in pretty good shape for an 11 year old sled dog. Her heart is strong; her lungs are clear; she's hears well; her coat is shiny and soft; her weight is stable and healthy for her; she's happy and fairly active. She should be with us for a good while yet to come. Thank doG!!