The Tuesday after I adopted River, I took her to the vet to be checked out. She waited patiently for our turn.
It wasn’t long before we were escorted to our room. On the way, River was weighed: 45 pounds. Perfect size for our family.
I then discussed various topics about River with the vet assistant, who glanced over the chart from the shelter. She was up to date on shots with the except of Lyme’s. She was heartworm negative. And they had cleared up a flea infestation she had, which included a couple of mediated baths to help with her hairless condition. All in all, she looked good.
That’s when she noticed it. River was standing funny. Her back leg wasn’t quite right.
I hadn’t really noticed, but now that it was pointed out to me, she was right. Something looked off. To check if it was isolated to one side I walked around this tiny room, all the while River followed me until she shifted weight and stood the same way on her other side.
“Wow,” the vet assistant said. “She is really attached to you. And you only got her on Sunday?”
I nodded. And it was true, River was velcro.
Shortly afterwards, Dr. A came in to check River out. She got down to River’s level, who proceeded to maul her – in a friendly way. With help from the vet assistant, she was then able to give her a good looking over.
First thing she noted – her ear. The one that flops over. It looks cute and adorable. Turns out, it is a cauliflower ear. At some point, River had a hematoma that wasn’t treated and when it eventually healed, it crumpled to what it is now. Nothing can be done now, but it does mean she’ll have a greater chance for ear infections. Speaking of, she had an ear infection in that ear.
She then took River in the back to clean out her ear and check out her back legs. When she returned, she first looked at the chart to see how old the shelter said River was. They estimated 5 years. I have no doubt she is not 5. And the vet agreed – 2 maybe 3 years at most. The problem – given her age, her legs are very noisy. And they don’t work right. Walking, standing, all of it. Something is off. Dr. A just didn’t know what. She recommended starting on a joint supplement right away. (Good thing I have experience with that given my senior dog Bear is on supplements.) She also recommended x-rays at some point to try and determine what is wrong.
Since River got the Lyme’s vaccine, it required a booster in three weeks. Made sense to schedule the x-ray at the same time. Best to know now what may be wrong with the poor girl.
As we left, I was more confident I made the right decision in adopting River. Someone else might have brought her back to the shelter knowing her medical problems. Hopefully, future ear infections can be controlled with good diet. But even that will take time to narrow down the best diet to avoid any triggers. The legs have me worried. She seems fine now, and shows no sign of pain. Hopefully, I can keep her that way.