I have worked overnight shift Monday and Tuesday night and when I do that I Get To Thinking. About Molly's onset storm phobia. About Molly's lower energy at trials and at home. About Molly not being able to swim as strongly as she used to be. About Molly looking a bit pudgier than she used to. About how Molly just doesn't seem Right. I made a vet appointment have her checked over physically, just to be sure. I wanted her joints checked out and I wanted bloodwork done - especially a thyroid check. I was concerned that Molly has hypothyroidism.
We waited in the waiting room for a while, the office was running a little bit late. Molly was mildly chattery, but she comically sat up on the bench with me and was far removed from the days when she used to scream and lunge and embarrass me there. We also had to do a weigh in and I had quite a surprise. Molly had gained seven pounds since her last visit. Yikes. She is currently 69 pounds.
Once we got into the exam room I explained Molly's storm phobia that had begun last June and how intense it has gotten. The vet said that unfortunately, Molly's age of onset (four) is very normal for storm phobia. We discussed a thundershirt (check!), making her a den and possible supplements that we can try in the future to calm her anxiety down. I had not thought about making Molly a den, but I am going to try setting up her soft crate in the house during the next storm and covering it. Who knows, it might help her feel more secure.
We discussed the energy drop, the reluctance to come with me to Fun Places, the panting that happens sometimes for no good reason. The vet drew some bloodwork, but not without the most dramatic screaming and chattering noises coming from Molly. You would never guess that such noises could come out of a big tough looking dog like her! Drama at its finest!
I asked the vet to feel her knees for me, because Molly's knees give me constant worry. Because I worry about everything, and I know that pitbull ACLs can be prone to tearing and needing surgery, I end up staring at Molly walking around and wondering if she is really sound or if she is hiding lameness or a knee about ready to "go". It is ridiculous. The vet manipulated her knees, flexing and extending them and pronounced them to be "smooth" without clicking. Great! I need to let the matter rest!
Some other issues with Molly that I had addressed while we were there was a wound on her ear that has been reluctant to heal. We were given an antibiotic ointment and instructions to put a cone on and keep Perri from licking the ear - strict! From there she took an ear swab and found an infection in the right ear, the same ear as the wound, so we now have ear drops. I also saw Molly licking her right foot on Saturday morning and found a tiny bump in between her toes. Interdigital Furuncle. Salt soaks. Boy, that sounds like fun...
She has had better weeks...that's for sure!
I got a call from the vet today - Molly's thyroid levels are completely normal. And so are the rest of them. No hypothyroidism! So...what's going on then? Well, my next plan is to get the ears and foot cleared up. No swimming of course during that time, and that is a real bummer. My other plan is to get that weight off of Molly. There was a time when Molly was 59-60 pounds and we need to return to that time. The top photo is November 2012. The bottom is just a few weeks ago. The top one is just slightly too skinny for my liking (that is my personal preference.), so I would like to find some middle ground. Her expression of absolute disdain for what I am trying to do has not changed at all, however.
I feed Molly less food now, but she weighs more. What gives? Lots of training treats, and my husband's super high calorie Kong treats loaded with leftovers and peanut butter. While I usually eliminate Molly's evening feeding on heavy training days, the Kongs have to be reigned in. I am officially taking over the Kongs. Molly's Kong size has been downgraded from an XL to a L (and Ein's has been downgraded from a L to a M.) I made a puree of lots of cooked green beans, carrots, a few blueberries and some plain yogurt and a small amount of peanut butter.
So, my hope is that Molly's energy levels return to normal as the weight comes off , and as summer gives way to autumn. (though, we are not having a terribly hot summer anyway.) We are working on a lot of foundation behaviors for agility that we should have done...years ago. 2 on / 2 off on the stairs - Molly knows this behavior. It came back 'just like riding a bicycle", I was surprised that she remembered it from foundations class. But it needs to be majorly built on, proofed and generalized in a lot of locations. But Molly is really enjoying herself and that goes a long way. I am also shaping a back up behavior to further increase her rear end awareness and that is going well and we are both having a lot of fun! (And all of this is done for pieces of kibble for Molly's evening meal rather than additional treats. Poor girl!)