Zorro is one of those chi/JRT mixes who manages to capture the best parts of both breeds with very little of the bad. One of those traits is his love of vertical take-offs and landings. He can, when inspired, jump higher than my shoulder, and while that may not sound like much since I’m only five feet tall (exactly), he’s only 7.5 INCHES tall.
He likes to jump up and down from our bed, which is fairly high, as we have a thick box spring on the frame, and a pillow-top mattress on top of that. There’s a chest at the foot of the bed that makes a good step, and sometimes we find him curled up on top of it, but he almost never uses it to get up or down.
A couple of days ago, he fell off the bed, and I thought I heard a dog-bone sort of pop, but he didn’t squawk or anything, though he did begin to limp on that leg, a leg where he already has a problem knee. The limping continued, with no signs of pain when I manipulated the leg or hip, and I began to wonder if my dog was just acting out for attention. (He affected a limp when the pet sitter was here last Christmas.) He’s also got a stage six heart murmur, so when limping was accompanied by his dry hacking cough for the past two nights, despite drugging him like crazy, we went to the vet.
Here’s the result:
His heart is marginally worse (it’s enlarged, but it has been for a while). His blood pressure is a little high, but not dangerously slow. He’s at his higher summer weight (9 pounds) because it’s been too hot for walkies (108 today). The cough, the vet thinks, is allergies/cold/irritation, and rather than give us more cough meds, he wants us to try benadryl.
His leg, OTOP (on the other paw) is not so good. He basically blew out the ACL on the side with the bad knee. There’s a surgical fix, of course, but because of Zorro’s heart condition, the vet advises against anything invasive, especially since anesthesia would be required. They are uncertain it is worth the risk putting a 14-year-old dog through that.
So, we have canine narcotics (tramadol – it’s $1 / pill, and we have 15, but that’s a 60 day supply for a dog this small), and we’ve been told to keep him still as much as possible but that there will be a degree of healing, though we should expect that he’ll always run on three legs, even when he begins walking on four again.
The people who were leaving as we came in had one dog in a trauma collar, and had just put down their other, and were in tears.
We got off with drugs and a $140 bill.
We were lucky.