Two weeks ago, when The Gryphon and I brought Una back from the pet sitter's after celebrating our anniversary, she was limping so badly she couldn't walk up the stairs to bed. We thought that, an old dog, she'd played too hard with the pet sitter's dogs. The next morning, she seemed fine, which only confirmed our belief.
About four weeks ago, Una had to go to the vet for a skin infection. She'd had particularly bad seasonal allergies and, while the baby was distracting me, had secreted herself in the master bedroom and bitten herself raw. The vet shaved both of her rear flanks, gave her a shot for the itching, and put her on antibiotics. A side effect of the antibiotics was possible loose stools, so again, I missed a symptom.
Una has hated rainy days since she was a puppy and has often moped around the house on gray days, especially after being forced outside to pee. For the past week, we suffered almost constant rain and gray, so again, I attributed her lethargy to the wrong cause.
Over the years Una has often been a light eater, and she sometimes goes a day and a half without eating much of her kibble. But when she refused even wet food and lunch meat, we knew we had to take her to the vet. I would have taken her yesterday, but The Gryphon had the car.
This morning, we took her for the appointment, and the vet checked her vitals. He noted that her gums were light pink, which can indicate dehydration/malnutrition. In addition, she had a fever and had lost weight since her last visit. He requested permission to put her on a catheter to give her some fluids. He also wanted to test her for tick-borne diseases, which tend to be common in our part of the state. Symptoms include lethargy, anorexia, diarrhea, painful joints, and a fever.
Sure enough, he came back with the diagnosis: Anaplasmosis. He asked if we'd noticed any ticks on her, and I told him that I hadn't. Then again, when we first brought Kung Fu Panda home, we weren't keeping on top of her monthly baths/flea-tick prevention medication. I never expected it to be a problem, since we were only walking through suburban neighborhoods, not going to parks or forests. Apparently, I was wrong.
After the vet visit, Una was acting more energetic. Once we got home, I administered the first dose of medicine. She refused to take it in cheese, so I had to deliver it the hard way: prying open her mouth and dropping it in the back of her throat, then closing her mouth until she swallowed.
She did, however, happily gulp down the ground beef and rice we gave her for dinner. She's now taking her early evening nap.
The veterinarian took blood for tests which will tell us if the disease has affected her organs, such as her liver. We're supposed to receive those results on Monday. I hope and pray that she will escape serious consequences. If not, I know I won't be able to stop kicking myself.
Small signs can add up to big worries.