Monday, April 14, 2014

Another week, another vet visit

So, one full week on the Doxycycline and Bella is limping worse than when she started it. Guess it's not ticks that have her limping.

As easy as it would have been to manage if it were a tick-borne disease, this is actually very, very good news to us. Especially since we think we have found something that gives Bella some relief AND identified what we think she's doing to her right side.

Let's start at the beginning.

Or at least with Bella's visit to the chiropractor last Wednesday.

We had selected this veterinarian based on recommendations from friends. When your dog is afraid of people, finding vets who know how and have the patience to work with her can be challenging. Especially when that visit will be as "hands on" as a chiropractic one. To be honest, I wasn't sure some of the hands on modalities would even be feasible with Bella since both require her to be at least moderately relaxed to provide any benefit.

So we turned to our friends and our trainers and one name kept coming up again and again: Dr. Rogers at Integrative Animal Health. The doctor roster at the clinic reads like a Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine alumni who's who so we were very confident that the doctors there were every bit as good as the doctors we have been working with. Learning that the two practices routinely refer patients back and forth as required was just more gravy.

But what about the scared-y dog factor?

Bella has never been a fan of the vets' office. Basically having people she doesn't know touch her in any way is always cause for her concern. But the last two times we went to the vets, we left her there for the whole day.

I haven't talked about it much because it's kind of low on her list of issues but Bella does have some separation anxiety. Surprise! Okay probably not a surprise. But leaving her at the hospital the last couple of times we took her there pretty much did her in. By the time she figured out we were going BACK to another clinic on Wednesday morning, she wasn't having any of it.

Pacing, panting, whining and climbing, Bella was hoping against hope that she could make this whole thing not happen.

But happen it did.

We got her into an exam room, did the whole terribly long and boring speil of what happened when and how all over again to the technician and then again when Dr. Rogers came in to see us.

Then Dr. Rogers wanted to 'do an adjustment'.

She wants to do a what???
Bella was lying on a mat in the exam room and Dr. Rogers sat down behind her and started just gently scratching Bella's bottom. You know that spot on top of the tail dogs love to have scritched so much? Yeah, that spot.

I thought my heart was going to shatter into a billion pieces as my poor dog shook from head to toe at the gentle touch of a stranger.

We've never pushed Bella into accepting being touched by strangers because she had so many other fears and issues to work through but I wonder now if we have done her a disservice? We will have to see if the good doctor can ultimately change her mind about strangers touching her.

As Dr. Rogers examined Bella she was making gentle adjustments to her muscles and structure. And she found things. Things no x-rays or ultrasounds or MRIs had been able to find.

First, was that Bella's right-side lameness likely stemmed from an injury in her right foot, not her shoulder. Jan had been saying that all along but the focus, and perhaps rightly so until ruled out, remained on her neck and shoulder.

Next Dr. Rogers found some issues in Bella's left shoulder which we pretty much expected. But traveling on, she also found potential issues in Bella's back and hips.

But as she examined and tweaked our little girl, Bella's panic subsided. 

You could almost see her pain release as Dr. Rogers found spot after spot that needed adjustment. Bella's panting eased, her face softened, the shaking stopped. She still wasn't what anyone would call relaxed but for our crazy kid, the change was night and day.

As Dr. Rogers was working on Bella's hips though, Bella's agitation began to increase again and Dr. Rogers stopped, recognizing that Bella "was done" for the day.

We finished the visit with instructions on how to give Bella Adequan injections at home. (Jan gives the shot. Leslie manages the dog. Leslie does not do shots. Leslie could barely stomach the chiropractic adjustments.)

We see Dr. Rogers again on Thursday and I have a lot of questions to ask. I think I was just so happy to have a plan that didn't involve surgery and more medications that make Bella sick that I didn't ask for as much detail as I normally do.

Jan and I have also made some observations over the weekend that we'd like to bring up with the doctor. Until then, Bella is enjoying be free of crate rest and this lovely spring weather. Hopefully now that we've got her on a rehabilitative and healing path and we'll be able to get her pain in check soon.

Thank you for all your kind words and support.


  1. A good vet is worth her weight in gold and it looks like you've found the right person for Bella, which is great!

  2. Kick your heels away from that crate Bella. Lots and lots of luv's X

  3. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsApril 15, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    I'm so glad to hear that things are looking up, and that Bella did well with the new doctor. Here's hoping things continue to go in the right direction!
    I'm sure it's easy to forget things when you are at the appointment and there's so much going on. Once you've relaxed a bit you can think better and things come to mind. I hope you can get all your answers at the next appt.

  4. Glad the chiropractor is able to help Bella! Heck, we're glad that she could touch Bella.:)
    Totally agree with you on the shots, the Mr. used to do our old cat's fluid injections.

  5. Makes you wonder how much her fear of touch is actually motivated by pain ...? Things that nobody could know about? Jasmine loved attention and loved people touching her but every now and then she would react to a particular spot. Sure enough, next chiro appointment it turned out to be a sore spot.

    Hoping that gentle chiropractic might get your girl more comfortable and maybe happier too.

  6. Hooray for good news and a wonderful chiropractor. that's so great that you could see her relaxing! Rita has issues with strangers too - esp'y men, so i've been trying to bring her along when I visit the chiro and she's learned to love him. (Luckily she tolerates our vet...) Hopefully if I ever need to take her for a chiro treatment herself, she'll be okay with the hands-on stuff!

    Interesting that he found the paw problem. Hooray for no surgery!

  7. God I hope this is the path to recovery for you and for Bella. Dr. Rogers sounds amazing.

  8. It is amazing to witness the relaxation. The last time Sampson had an adjustment his nose was running, which the vet said was a good thing, it means he's very relaxed.