If you follow my InstaStories then you may know that the Tiny Dog aka Lettice hasn’t been very well since Saturday. Listless, with a distinct lack of Tiggerishness, I have found her standing stock still in the garden on several occasions, and watched her hesitate to hop down even the single step back into the house.
We had had a lovely couple of days with the Wilkins Dog Squad in situ, whilst my mother was in London. Billy the Whippet, Mouse the Jack Russell Terrier and Maisie, my sister’s Miniature Wire Haired Dachshund all moved in and I took them for lovely park walks each day, and had a dog or two generally up close and personal for the duration of their stay.
I wasn’t quite so keen when my mother stayed on Friday night, I was relegated to the sofa, and they all piled on my bed. Even Maisie, who generally treats me with disdain.
The highlight on Friday being Mouse’s reunion with her brother Dash, who she hadn’t seen she left her litter almost a year ago. (Dash’s owner and I met through Instagram when one of her friend’s saw Mouse on my feed and became convinced that they must be related.
That’s Dash on the left, Mouse on the right
Lettice seemed to lose energy on Saturday afternoon after the squad had left. She was unable to manage any steps and just waned to snuggle. I was worried about her back and legs so palpated her spine and all over her knees but she didn’t seem to be in pain.
She did rally on Sunday – poached chicken often helps in these cases, and spent much of Monday valiantly defending me against Amazon deliveries, the postman, several couriers and my next door neighbour.
But when we walked up the road to the Park yesterday afternoon she trailed apathetically behind me instead of prancing ahead. The final straw was when she saw two plump squirrels within a easy sprinting distance. The will was there but she just couldn’t muster any speed beyond a half-hearted trot. A few minutes later she stopped walking and just stood there, shivering. My best attempts failed to move her, so I carried her towards the park gates. A second attempt to get her to walk failed so I called the vet.
Luckily Village Vet are a 24hr practice so they told me to come in straight away.
The lovely vet checked everything – heart, breathing, tum, spine and nothing showed up. She’s not in pain from anything that can be touched, although there was a delayed reaction on her right back knee when bopped with a patella hammer, and it does look as though that leg is turning in when she walks. (It’s difficult to know if that is the issue as she has always had an abnormal gait.)
The thing with Dachshunds is that they are prone to all manner of horrible back problems. These include ruptured discs which must be treated ASAP otherwise they are basically untreatable and eventually fatal, which is why I had her at the vets in a flash.
All sausage owners know that they have to be extremely careful – no lolloping up and down stairs, no jumping in and out of cars or off beds. It’s hard though with Letty: she’s like a tiny sausagey-gazelle, and loves nothing more than exploring everywhere into which she can get her long nose.
Pink Crate (borrowed but available from £24.99 on Amazon.)
So we’re taking a watching brief – she was quite constipated, so she’s got some lactulose for that, but the vet thinks it’s most likely to be her back. She had prescribed her an oral suspension of an anti-inflammatory, and crate rest for at least a fortnight – that means no walks whatsoever, being lifted into the garden for wees, no jumping on and off the sofa or in and out of the car, and being shut in the crate when I am out, when there are visitors and when there is a possibility of the doorbell ringing so she exerts herself as little as possible. This is the best way to rest her back, and avoid any danger of long-term spinal damage.
(She’ll spend the rest of the time, as she is now, snoring like a tiny piglet on the back of the sofa, with her bum pressed firmly to the scalding radiator, and her head on my shoulder.)