Yes, today IS Pet Obesity Awareness Day; but quite frankly I think it should be renamed/re-dedicated to Pet Health Awareness Day because a pet can be underweight as well as overweight. And, being underweight can be just as problematic as obesity. I am writing this post in hopes that it will help my “gizzards” settle down and relax a bit.
Earlier today, I brought Callie and Shadow outside for a game of fetch/keep away — their favorite way of meeting the challenges of K9 Kamp. After we had been playing for a few minutes, I went to get the ball from Callie and noticed that their was a little bit of blood on the ball. Since she has a tooth in the back of her mouth which has a very slight fracture, the first thing I did was check that tooth for signs of breakage. Nothing. Then I noticed it. Her nose was bleeding from her one nostril. Not a little bit. Flowing. I quick-like-a-bunny got both dogs in the house, grabbed a tissue, made Callie sit, and tilted her head back slightly and dabbed at the nose with the tissue. It stopped almost right away. Then I thought back to the last few days….
Callie has been sneezing a lot since the weekend. I don’t mean little, “I got dust up my nose”-type sneezes. I mean the kind of sneezes that make ME hurt. The kind that make her whole head jerk forward. Not constant, but enough to now concern me when I see the blood flow. She sneezed in the examining room, and drops of blood went everywhere. Scary! We were able to stop the bleeding just by blotting her nose with yet another tissue.
Meanwhile, as is the standard practice, before putting us in one of the examining rooms, the receptionist and I put Callie on the scale for a weight check. I could not believe my eyes…66 lbs.?! “That can’t be right. Let’s do it again.” Second time, the scale said 67 lbs. (give or take a few tenths of a pound). Third time. Now it’s up to 68 lbs., but that’s still a substantial loss in a six month period…between 8 and 10 pounds. Okay, let’s not panic here, Sue, let’s put Shadow on the scale. Shadow’s lost about 3 lbs. in the same time period. Maybe I’m not giving them enough food since the switch from kibble to Fresh Pet Roasted Selects. Mentioned it to the vet. “That’s a possibility. Let’s hope that’s all it is as far as the weight goes. Meanwhile, I’ll do the bloodwork, nose tissue sampling, and x-rays, and we’ll take it from there. Sound like a plan?” Says me, “sounds like a good plan”.
So, here I am at home, writing this post as the knot in my stomach slowly loosens and relaxes, waiting for the vet to call and tell me to come pick up my sweet Callie. Hoping, and praying, that he doesn’t say “we have to talk”. And, at the same time, wondering how I could have missed such a substantial weight loss. Of course, being the weakling that I am, I don’t go around lifting my Golden Retrievers. Yes, now and then I give Callie a little boost in the hind end to help her get up on the bed, but not often enough to notice an eight-pound weight loss. She has at times looked like she lost a little weight, but certainly not eight pounds worth. And, at times, I have “caught” her eating grass and weeds, but just attributed it to boredom and/or a little tummy upset from whatever. Maybe my poor girl has just been hungry. Please, God, let that be all there is to it!
Meanwhile, folks, this whole thing with Callie has raised my awareness in a hurry. Yes, pet obesity is a big problem. It can shorten the pet’s life by at least two years. But, unnoticed weight loss can be deadly too. It can be a sign that there is something wrong that needs immediate attention. Or, it could mean simply that you’re under-feeding your dog because you know that the charts on the food bags usually err on the high side. Whatever the reason, if you notice your pet losing weight — regardless of how good their appetite may be — at least, please, talk to your vet. Discuss the situation with him/her, and come up with a plan. Just don’t let it go unnoticed, unchecked, and untreated. Please! For your dog’s (or other pet’s) sake, and your own, if there’s any unexplainable change, consult with your vet.
Our vet just called. Everything LOOKS good. He can’t see any evidence of tumors ANYWHERE. But he did see a little bit of digested blood in the x-rays and in her trachea. “It may or may not be something to worry about, which is why I asked you about her appetite.” End result, he’s sending blood sample to lab along with the tissue samples from her nose. Bill for all this? Let’s just say “ouch”. But I’d rather spend the money NOW to find out if there is something hidden or not, than say we’ve done all we can for her and find out later that we had in fact missed something. I know this vet…we’ve been taking our dogs to him (previous and current) for 13+ years…and he’s not going to suggest something he doesn’t think is worthwhile, nor is he going to sugar-coat a potentially serious problem. He tells it exactly as he sees it. And that, along with the fact that my girls all love him, is what I like most about him. And, he’s simply a really nice guy.