Our Paraclete Duke, Cletus for short, has been particularly lazy lately.
We just chalked it up to old age, and I knew he had some arthritis in his left leg. But this weekend, he was limping on the right side, and this morning he just licked and licked at that right paw, and was really sensitive about having it touched. So off to the vet we went this morning.
Several hundred dollars later, we have a diagnosis, and it's not terrible, but it's not great either. Our little old guy has severe arthritis in both elbows and in most of his toes on both of his front legs. Two of his claws were too long (he hates to have them messed with) and had overlapped one another--partly due to some of the gnarling of his toe joints from the arthritis. He's home now, in the bed, stoned on the large amount of pain meds it took to get him taken care of this morning.
We're going to have to put a stop to so much that makes him who he is: no more jumping on and off the bed. No more long walks. No more staying out all day and much of the night. We're going to have to work harder at taking weight off of him to help his joints out a bit, and to do that without too much strenuous exercise. And we're going to have to watch our normally happy-go-lucky WonderMutt for signs of pain or distress, signs he rarely shares until things are really bad. We're going to have to learn to scrutinize those silly-dog grins for hidden aches, and look for subtleties in his mood and behavior that I would have told you weren't there. And he's going on a regimen of meds, something we've never really had to do, although he's taken glucosamine and chondroitin for a couple of years now in treat form.