Bad News, Hopeful News

Throughout the past couple of weeks, you may have seen me make reference to Ray’s “sore foot” while discussing our new walking strategy. With this winter being so bitterly cold, we’ve had (like so many others) challenges getting the dogs out to do their business and back in in a timely manner. These boys are young and energetic. They want to go outside to play and by the time they realize they still haven’t pottyed, their feet are very, very cold. Often we ended up taking them out singly but with any weather break, we did let them carouse a bit more.

With the cold, we noticed a few times that Ray favored one of his back legs, but usually this only lasted a short time. After all, when they both would dally outside, they’d end up standing with a paw in the air, looking at me as if I had forced them to play and get cold. As we modified our rotation and the boys played outside with each other less, Ray’s “sore foot” would get better and as they played more, he would favor the foot again.

When Ray was a teeny pup, I took him every month for regular nail trims. At first there was no issue, until the first day he was “quicked” and the next visit, there was more anxiety. I jackpotted treats but he was more and more anxious. The last time, I went to this location, he was in high anxiety, and I didn’t know enough yet, to call it off. Very luckily for us, we then installed and inground pool and the concrete surround kept his nails filed down to acceptable levels. Desensitizing at another location was not looking good so we are now doing desensitizing at home and I am able to clip a nail at a time and he doesn’t growl or try to bite the clippers. Much.

Similarly with the Vet. I take him monthly to hop on the scale and purchase his heartworm cookie so he has a comfort level with the office. However, last year during his vaccination visit, he had the Doctor who isn’t so into large dogs and to say that visit went poorly would be a severe understatement. I abashedly admit to putting off taking him to the vet because of his anxiety. Of the two dogs, Ray is the one I take out shopping more because he is so calm and well mannered. Juli-bean is great but we still have some leash manners and vocalization to work on, so Ray is my ambassador. The Vet’s office is a totally different matter.

Last week, however, the limping got worse and I was able to get an appointment with the Veterinarian who has a better relationship with Ray and who also owns a Pit bull mix. She is patient and caring and aware of any stigma that may stem from a frightened Bully type dog. I must say, our doctor spent nearly an hour and a half with us, watching Ray walk, sit and interact. She worked on getting him comfortable enough for a manual evaluation but at the end of the day, we came away with a diagnosis of a suspected torn ACL. The muscle in Ray’s leg and Ray’s anxiety did not allow for a completely thorough exam. I was left in the exam room while the staff checked him out and the sound of his terrified screaming and moaning will haunt me forever. I’m glad I left my phone in the car, because I may have been tempted to record that sound and really, no one should ever hear that sound.

We came away with some meds for pain, a referral to a surgical vet up here, discussion about weight loss and some brochures about Anxitane and the Adaptil collar and strict orders for no activity for Ray. The good news is that after 2 full days of doing nearly nothing, the limping is dramatically decreased so we are hopeful that we’re dealing with a strain or a sprain rather than a full on tear. Regardless, we’ll keep everyone posted on the happenings with our high maintenance pooch but in the meantime, has anyone had any experiences with Anxitane or the Adaptil collar? Thoughts? Opinions?

9 thoughts on “Bad News, Hopeful News

  1. I know the screams you're talking about all too well (unfortunately from my own dogs and others from my experience working in a clinic) it's not a sound easily forgotten.

    I'm sorry to hear about some bad vet visits and anxiety but am glad that Ray was able to see someone that he trusts. And, I really hope that more rest and relaxation will help and he won't need surgery!

  2. Poor Ray. This makes me cry just to read it. I know you must feel so sad about it. If you ever need help getting him to the vet or in for a treatment and everyone is tied up, call me and I will gladly drive in and help you. Just give me an hour and I can be there. Or even if you want someone there with you. When my schnauzer before these babies was so sick I could not have done it without my sister and Chris. But I am going to have Ray of sunshine hopes! And keep him in my prayers. I know how much you love him!

  3. Tess really hated getting her nails done, too. We actually switched to getting them dremmeled – we take them into the groomers to get them done because we love her and have no other reason to go, but you can pick up a dremmel tool for not that much and do it yourself. The sounds freaks some dogs out, but it's pretty easy to desensitize the noise, and there's really no danger of “quicking” and you can get the nails so much shorter and smoother.

    As for the anxiety meds – we've never had any experience. But keep us posted, Tess has terrible anxiety. We have some that we rarely use because we haven't noticed a huge difference (I can't remember what it's called…I'll look it up for ya), and it makes her incontinence worse.

    Sending good thoughts for Ray and YOU and hoping that it's just a sprain!

  4. Ray, you should have your momma contact me. I'm in Central IN and if your momma is willing to drive a bit I can give her a referral to an excellent Dr. who did my pitty boy's ACL repair. Not only did he do a super job but the pricing was more than reasonable but the Doc is a super nice guy who's very rescue friendly. I would go back to him in a heartbeat for any ortho problems that come up in the future even though it was an hour and a half drive for us.

    If your momma is interested she can reach me at for more info. Feel better soon Ray!

  5. Oh NOOOOOOOO! Look what happens when I leave for a few days!! Poor Ray (and you)! Have you looked into mobile vets that can come to you? We have some in our area and they are actually pretty cost effective and great for dogs who don't enjoy going to the actual vet. We don't have experience with either of those things however we have used DAP/comfort zone before (we actually use the plug in constantly at home) and when I first got Melvin I would spray down the back of the car before car rides to help relax him. It worked great for us. You can also use the spray on a bandana for moments such at vet visits. As for the ACL, I have had a lot of friends do the no activity for a while and it's gotten better – about the same number had to have the surgery. Keep us posted! Hoping for a pain free, stress free situation for the nugget!

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