A month ago, when Ken and I drove into the garage after an outing, the dogs were waiting for us as usual. But Annie acted like something was hurting her. Her tail was between her legs and when she moved she cried.
So, of course I called the Vet immediately. Loomis Basin Vet is wonderful because it's usually pretty easy to get an appointment (they have a bunch of Veterinarians on staff) and they have longer hours so we don't have to leave work, or make it an emergency appointment.
If you've ever met Annie you know she can make her presence known. But to see her in the waiting room, shaking like a leaf, is just heartbreaking (though kinda funny, too). And like many dogs afraid of the vet, when you go from the waiting room to an exam room, she thinks it's time to go home and gets happy again. And then the shaking begins again when we go into an exam room instead of the parking lot.
Annie's trying to make herself as small as possible and fit in the corner of the exam room. And she's not looking at me, either.
The vet was great with her, taking his time to get to know her (it was their first time meeting), feeding her tiny bits of a yummy treat and waiting for her to come to him. However he couldn't find anything wrong with her. He checked her ACL (thank goodness it wasn't that) and flexed her legs (I had no idea how flexible a dogs rear legs could be - did you know they can be extended back and be parallel to her back?). After a thorough exam he said we could do x-rays to examine her hips or we could give her Rimadyl for 5 days and see if she improved.
Considering she was acting perfectly normal at this point I opted for the Rimadyl with the thought that if she started crying again we'd bring her back for x-rays. And we would do blood work if we had to continue the Rimadyl. She was a trooper and was wagging her tail by the end of the appointment, too.
Annie being the good dog that she is, promptly got better. Not a yelp, cry, hold her leg up, or lack of appetite to be seen for weeks.
We figured she must have pulled a muscle running after a Squirrel. (She's ALWAYS on the lookout.)
But things couldn't be that easy. Last week Ken and I came back from a Super Bowl party to find Annie in pain again. I tell you, hearing a dog cry is awful because there is no way to tell them it'll be alright and know that they understand.
We did our best to comfort her and called the vet again. We got the Rimadyl prescription refilled and brought her in for x-rays. We were able to get an appointment with a Vet Annie had seen before. Also super nice (alright - I've never met a not-nice vet, so maybe that isn't very descriptive).
This time when I walked in the vet's office she started whimpering and shaking even more than last time. Knowing that she'd not been out of my sight during the last visit, and that the vet couldn't have been nicer so I knew she wasn't whimpering because they'd beat her. Sheesh! :-) Sill Hound.
However this time I knew I'd have to leave her behind because they would have to sedate her to take the x-rays. Maybe she knew this visit was going to be a bit different and that is why she was shaking so much. After the exam, as I was leaving her in the room with the Vet, Annie looked at me like I'd betrayed her with my very existence! Those eyes!!! Made ME want to whimper.
Alas, I knew she was in wonderful hands so I headed home.
It was good news when they called sooner than expected letting me know I could pick her up. They didn't have to sedate her as much as expected. She had multiple x-rays taken, of her hips and her foot. The foot x-ray was because she thought she saw an area where Annie had been licking a rear toe and that it might have had a cracked toenail with some discharge. The didn't see anything wrong. With the hips or the foot. One of those "the good news is that we don't see anything wrong but the bad news is that we don't see anything wrong so we don't know why she's in pain" diagnoses....
When they brought Annie out to me in the waiting room she didn't wag her tail, or act like she even liked me. And forget about it when we were home. She wouldn't have anything to do with me. Betrayed. That's how she acted! I can laugh because she was back to her old self by the next day. (I know most of it was the sedation wearing off - but I'm sure some of it really was because I had the nerve to leave her behind.)
What's the bottom line? I paid a hefty vet bill for multiple x-rays, blood work, medication and exams but we still have no idea what is wrong, or if ANYTHING is wrong.
Don't get me wrong, I'm THRILLED that she appears to be fine again (she hasn't whimpered/cried since Super Bowl Sunday)! We're just keeping a close eye on her (and kept her crated during the day all last week - Ken came home at lunch each day) now. And she's getting Rimadyl for two weeks (thus the blood work) for pain. If she acts like she's in pain again they recommended we talk with an Orthopedic specialist for another opinion (though we have had 3 different vets and a radiologist say they can't see anything wrong - oh and that her hips look great - no signs of hip dysplasia).
I got the cold shoulder!