Winter Imbolc Moon
Rigel. We took her to the VRCC, the Veterinary Referral Center in Englewood. This place is the equivalent of the University of Minnesota’s Vet Hospital for the Denver Metro Area. The Vet school here is in Colorado Springs, at an hour and half away too far for most folks to travel.
We had a consultation with Dr. Danielle Bayliss, an internist. She reviewed the blood work Rigel has had, all the notes from Sano Vet Clinic, asked about her ultra-sound and went over Rigel’s recent history of weight loss and neediness. Plus her insistent dining on Jewish texts.
Dr. Bayliss’s mind was a pleasure to watch work. She was compassionate, unhurried and thorough. She began by explaining that she thought we needed to redo Rigel’s blood work and do what she called biologic tests. Her reasoning was that the major presenting problem was weight loss. “That could point to some GI tract problems with nutrition absorption. We don’t want to do a liver biopsy (our Vet’s recommendation), then find out she’s still losing weight.”
The biologic test involves drawing blood, getting a baseline, then feeding her and two hours later, drawing blood again. I’m not sure exactly what it measures, but it tells Dr. Bayliss something important about the bowels. We’ll get some of the results today, the rest, the biologic tests, sometime next week.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bayliss prescribed a new dog food, one with rabbit as its primary protein, not the chicken in her Blue Diamond Senior diet. Prescribed in this instance means expensive, like $84 for a 25 pound bag. In addition, since she’s supposed to have only this diet, her treats will have to be canned dog food with the same ingredients. Another $82. Yowzer. She also received a prescription for metronidazole.
All this, however, gave both Kate and me at least a momentary reprieve from the liver cancer we thought they would find. It could be there’s still something dire going on, but it’s also possible she’s becoming unable to absorb chicken proteins and that the diet will be at least a partial fix.
We’re never ready to lose a dog and Rigel has been our healthiest dog ever. Which is saying something after seventeen dogs. She’s a sweetheart, except for digesting texts and flashcards on Hebrew and several patterns from Kate’s sewing room collection.
Since Vega died in April of 2016, she has come out from under Vega’s big personality to claim her own space. In particular she has found her voice and comments on many things, not always intelligibly to us, but usually so.
This summer she dug after and caught a vole. The shallow hole she dug was about three feet long, this is in spite of the amputation of one toe on her right front foot a year or so ago. Catching that vole, and eating it, reawakened her predator spirit and has found her since then spending a lot of time looking for critters under the shed, something she and her sister Vega did for hours in Andover. She’s retained that vigor, the eagerness, I suppose you could say zerizut. She runs out with her long, loping stride, tail up and ready for what she might find.
May she still.