About seven months ago, we got the news that Lucky had several terminal heart ailments. He was given six – eighteen months to live, probably on the shorter side of that range. He’s on some terrific heart medication, which has really turned back the clock for the dog I affectionately call "Old Man."
He’s been slowing down though, and having trouble with his hindquarters – loss of muscle tone, losing his balance, and generally looking a lot more fragile. I was afraid he was in pain – it sometimes take a great deal of effort for him to stand. Occasionally he cannot stand without assistance. Once he’s up though, he’s off and running!
We went to the vet today just to get him checked over and to talk about mediating his pain. Turns out the symptoms in his hind end are neurological, not arthritis-related. The vet thinks Lucky can’t feel his toes, which would explain why his gait is off, and why he sometimes just falls down.
The prognosis is uncertain as far as speed of deterioration – could be several months before he can’t use his hind end at all. He is an old dog, after all, so these problems aren’t unexpected, and I’m happy to learn that he’s probably not in any pain (other than the typical old-man aches and pains).
His appetite is still terrific (if it’s food, he’ll eat it!) and he’s still quite active despite his heart failure and his hind-end troubles. Show him a school bus or a UPS truck and he’s ready to give chase! So as long as he’s happy, I’m happy…