Kaktus has been to the new vet 2 times. First time was on friday and he just went there to say hello, familiarize himself with the place and meet the vet. She was very good with him and had replaced the vet coat with lots of tasty treats he had never had before. She let him decide everything and let him run around the clinic and check everything of interest and then he went home. We got the new hypoallergenic kibble Specific and some treats that she recommended. Very low in calories but still very tasty.
Today he had his real consult with blood tests and a skin scraping. The scrapings didn’t show anything wich is good. She looked at his groin wich is very bad and irritated and she found allergic irritations under his paws. She checked his knee and said she could not get it out of posistion and couldn’t understand how our previous vet gave him a grad 3-4. She doesn’t want to give him a definitive grade on the knee before both the chiropractor and the fysiotherapist has seen him, but she highly doubts that he ever needs surgery. She thinks the most important is a proper exercise plan where we focus on keeping the ligament beside the knee firm. She also checked muscles and joints and found that his left front shoulder has restricted movement, he has a painful muscle in his left back thigh and half his back is completely stiff. So now the suspicion that he has struggled with muscle problems is confirmed. The chiropractor and fysiotherapist will find out more when they see him.
Next step now is to keep him on the new kibble and he got a temporary treatment with a new allergy drug Apoquel. It’s only been on the market for about a year and is supposed to have very much the same effect as Prednisolon but without the sideeffects. He also got a cream to use for his irritated groin, Atop 7 wich should rehydrate the skin and lessen the itching. This is meant as a temporary treatment to help get the reaction in check. In about a week we should have the answers to the blood tests and if they reveile anything they will be sent for further and deeper testing. She is also hoping that she can create a vaccine for him based on the results of the blood tests and he is going to both the fysotherapist and chiropractor for a consult and treatment.
His groin today
The vet was very good with him today also. She adjusts to him in a wonderful way and if he shows signs of discomfort she calms her bodylanguage, turns away and continues at his pace. He did very good on the table and when he was done he got some time to just hang out, eat treats and get a chance to just be calm before going home. It’s so good that he gets this time to leave with a sense of calm and a good last impression. I am amazed that a vet can be so thoughtful and I am suprised that we finally found a vet that understands how important this is for a dog. In a short period of time I have gotten answers to a lot of the questions that other vets just ignored or shrugged at. That he struggles more in cold and moist weather because of painful muscles, that he struggles with certain sounds because of his allergies, that he is stiff and in pain, that he might have stomach problems because of his allergies, that the kicks he gets probably is because of his luxation patellar and muscles and that a lot of his restlessness is due to pain and annoying allergies.
After the appoinment I had all kinds of emoitions. I was furious at our previous vets for not taking him seriously, dismissing many symptoms and for not turning to others for a consult where they couldn’t find the answers. And because of this he has had to go on itching and in pain. We have had three years of ups and downs, where we get our hopes up just to spiral back into the same problems and it’s draining and demotivating when you feel you don’t get help. We have invested countless hours into training him to get passed his triggers, to keep his stress under control and impulse control training and it shows great improvement for a long while. I get him to be a confident, calm and happy dog that loves training, has really good impulse control, can be called easily away from triggers, rests well and is my perfect happy little Kaktus. But then he suddenly crashes without anything having changed. I am glad that he finally has a vet who listens and takes his problems seriously and that we finally have some inital answers. But I am also really sad that he has been in pain and that my suspicions of him suffering are true and that it means he has beein struggeling for a long time. I am also sad that now I have trouble trusting a new vet, I am scared to get my hopes up because it’s so heartbreaking and draining each time we end up back where we started. The pessimist has been fed too much.
It’s really sad that so many vets in Norway have so little knowledge of behaviour. It leads to stressful situations at the clinic that could have been prevented or lessened and it means that a lot of vets don’t know when to spot when behaviour can be a symptom of physical problems. Our experience is that vets don’t ask enough questions, are not good at listening and has little trust in the owner who is the only one who truly knows the dog. They are very often too rushed and when they don’t find an answer they dismiss it without referring to another vet. But if they had listened from the biginning and shown some trust in the owner they might have found answers instead and wouldn’t have missed important information in their haste to treat, get the dog out the door and the vet bill payed so they then could do the same to the next patient.