Seeking

Monday, March 25, 2019

My Mini-Aussie, Louie, who’ll turn ten years old next month, feels poorly. Several nights ago throat-clearing and gagging noises awakened me, and they were from Louie, trying to release something from his throat. Soon, we again fell asleep.

The next night, another throat-clearing session made me wonder if he’d picked up an infection, but from where? The dogs haven’t left the yard nor been around other animals for months in this winter of freeze and snow, and none of my three other dogs showed similar symptoms.

On the third day, while hanging out with me in the house, Louie tried more to clear his throat, and I noticed. By day four, it was even more so.

Yesterday, we visited a veterinarian who said that throat-clearing with no obstruction present might indicate heart disease, among other things. Since Louie isn’t a young dog, he got x-rayed. The slides didn’t evidence heart-related issues or an object stuck in his throat. One x-ray revealed an area of “too much white” that puzzled the veterinary staff, but they couldn’t attribute it to anything other than, “something worth watching”.

In these days of opioid overuse, medical professionals are more cautious about prescribing drugs. Louie’s veterinarian at first suggested giving him cough medication, but we doubted that could help. She debated whether to draw blood and check for an infection before considering antibiotics, and I was willing, aware of issues that might cause medical professionals to hesitate. Suddenly, she shrugged and said, “let’s do antibiotics”(relief to me relative to expense). We agreed that, if he doesn’t get better, he’ll be re-examined.

I’ve had enough pets to recognize an infection, but while driving home, I thought (yet again) about my former dentist and friend, Marika Stone. She’d been killed while bicycling in a bike path, by a woman driving a truck and high on opioids. The ensuing trials revealed that the woman had been such a heavy opioid user that her doctor had stopped prescribing medications, and so, she attained prescriptions from a veterinarian for her German Shepherd, and she herself took the dog’s drugs.

I was willing for Louie to have blood work, although surprised that this would be a step toward prescribing an antibiotic. In the past, medicating dogs has been easier and less expensive. I’m old enough to remember when an average cost of visiting a veterinarian was $15. My early beloved dog was a Doberman, and in those days the cost for analyzing a stool sample was $5; the cost of puppy ear trim surgery (which today I’d never consider having done!) averaged $150.

We must roll with the times. Regardless of our status of life, we’re connected with the larger problems of massive student loans, medicine costs, medical and dental care, and the physical and psychological trauma of widespread drug misuse.

This makes me wonder if someday it’ll be too much a luxury to have pets, even little ones. We with large animals already know that it’s “a biggie” to afford keeping them. Unless humans straighten out and manage better the complexities of social economics and human care, it’ll become ever-more challenging to maintain, much less improve, the status quo.

Dear Friends, Our shared quest for stability often approaches dream struggles. Diana


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