Bonnie and Lily are both closing in on 14 years old. I have had them since they were six, rescued from a Texas puppy mill. Both had just weaned a litter, and were thin and frightened. Today they are grand old ladies who I love dearly, but they are suffering some age-related illnesses.
I wrote in a recent blog about Lily’s onset of old dog vestibular syndrome. She continues to have balance issues and her head is always cocked at an angle. But she remains sweet and always hungry, so all in all, she is doing well.
Bonnie, however, had a scare last week with a bout of pancreatitis. She spent two days getting IV fluids and antibiotics at the vet hospital. Symptoms included bloody, smelly diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. I thought I was going to lose her.
Bonnie has had digestive issues for over a year, and is on a special high-fiber diet, so at first I thought it was just another episode. But she didn’t get over it, and started to get dehydrated.
In conversations with friends, I discovered that many shelties are prone to this ailment in old age. My Mac died from it, and my friend Lynn in Seattle has had several shelties that were affected. My dachshund Tuffy also died from pancreatitis. Once a dog gets it, they tend to relapse, and that starts a downward spiral.
Fatty foods, like Thanksgiving turkey, can trigger a bout of pancreatitis. In Bonnie’s case, there was no known trigger.
Old dogs get expensive, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. My girls are so sweet, and as long as they are comfortable, I will do my best for them. The love of an old dog is priceless.
© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.