Sophie was at the vet today and I had her blood work done, had her knee and hips checked and generally just made sure all was well. I learned that Sophie definitely tore her ACL in the spring, which I likely should have had checked but opted to manage at home and monitor. She wouldn't be doing as well as she is, if it was a complete tear so my treatment plan of pain management and restricted activity has worked to heal it up basically. There's still some instability in the knee and scar tissue, but she's ok. Sophie wouldn't even let the vet check her hips. She didn't growl or get upset, she just moved herself away and politely refused. We both guessed she's sore.
So, I walked away with her Blood Work results. Unfortunately, my scanner isn't working or I would upload the results; that will have to wait for another day but basically everything was normal.
I am left with a young, high energy, depressed Lab who is in pain off and on, all the time. I have Deramaxx to manage the pain as the Glucosamine/MSM mixture she gets doesn't cut it. The Deramaxx comes at a price as it will eventually destroy her liver function but the goal is mobility in the short term. I also can do acupuncture, laser treatments and underwater treadmill work with her. Unfortunately, that all costs money and Soph is expensive. Her pain pills are about $5.00 a pill; she takes 1 a day when things are bad and that's the cheapest part of her treatment.
As I discussed this with a friend, she made the comment to me, "all this for a dog that doesn't do anything. At least she's not your agility dog". That got me thinking about everything. Would I pay for hip surgery if this was Spike we were talking about? Would that change my treatment plans, if it was my flyball/agility/therapy dog? How much is realistic, considering I am a normal person, making a decent living working as a teacher, but with other commitments like student loan payments from the last round of school and tuition payments for this round? Does my inability to continue to do things like acupuncture regularly enough stem from the fact that she's just a pet, or would I be making the same decision for Spike? All interesting thoughts and questions.
Here's what I know. I love Sophie to pieces. Sophie is not an agility dog, she's not an obedience dog, she's just a pet. She lives in my house with me, licks my plate clean when my back is turned, sleeps with her head on the pillow beside me and is my constant companion. I have always claimed Spike is my heart dog, but Sophie has a greater empathetic nature to her; she gets things emotionally better than Spike does. She wants to make the world better with a tail wag and a lick. When I am upset, happy, laughing or crying, Sophie is there first. She makes me angry when she's bad but she makes me laugh more than any other dog ever has. She would be an agility dog and obedience dog if she could physically do it. She loves running agility; she lights up in the yard when I put her through a tunnel or over a tiny little jump. She has enthusiasm to spare and she was so much fun in agility class. Just because she didn't get to earn a title doesn't mean she didn't want to. If she had her way, she'd still be playing. Sophie was also very close to going for her CD title in Obedience; I had entered her in an Obedience competition last fall but my grandmother passed away and I had to withdraw her. She could have done it, and I know it but the winter was so hard on her hip that I just didn't enter her in the spring, when I had the next opportunity to.
So, I guess where I am heading now is that I know I am doing everything I can for Sophie. I will make her as comfortable as I can, for as long as I can. I hope more treatment options come along, in the meantime as I really think she's too young to be on as big a dose of Deramaxx as she is. And, I don't care whether Sophie is just a pet... she's my girl and I am trying to make the right decisions. I think I would be doing the same if it was Spike.