About 4:30 a.m. last Tuesday Dudley turned up his nose at a carrot. Dudley loves carrots and has never let one lay uneaten. He went outside and came back in and even though I had a knot of fear in my belly, I did go back to sleep until it was time to get up for work. Dudley didn’t eat much of his breakfast and I decided to work from home to keep an eye on him. I could tell his arthritis was bothering him, so I gave him his pain meds on the 8 hour schedule instead of the usual 10 hours. I made him some rice and he gobbled that which made me feel better and on Wednesday he seemed like his normal self, although he wasn’t eating much of his dry kibble and he was drinking more water than usual.
Thursday I could tell he wasn’t feeling good, he didn’t even eat rice until I bribed him by adding some broth. I had been emailing the vet and she advised me to get an appointment the next morning. When I picked up Dudley’s food dish to wash it, I noticed some blood in the bowl as if he bit his tongue or scraped his gum, or had a bad tooth. I stuck my hand in his mouth and looked around but didn’t see anything but pink gums and there was no blood on my hands but the possibility his lethargy might be due to a bad tooth lifted my spirits.
I took Dudley to see Dr. Szabo at Hidden Valley Animal Hospital at 9:00 a.m. Friday. Sure enough, he had a temperature of 103.4 degrees. Normal for dogs is between 101-102 degrees, so the temperature indicates the presence of infection, which could be an abscessed tooth. It also explains why he was drinking more water than usual. Dr. Szabo put a rush on the blood work and I took Dudley home and gave him his prescribed antibiotic then went to work. Dr. Szabo called me later that afternoon with the good news that aside from an elevated white blood cell count (which indicates infection), his blood tests were all great. So we are continuing treatment assuming he has an abscessed tooth.
I stocked up on canned food and he’s gobbled every bit of what I served him. By Sunday, his water consumption was back to normal, but he’s still leaving quite a bit of kibble in his dish. He seems to be feeling better and he’s eating carrots again. The knot of fear that has been in my stomach since Tuesday morning is going away. Call me paranoid, but when your dog is 14 and ailing, you tend to wonder if this is the end with every little difference in routine. Thankfully for us, it seems we have dodged another bullet. Take care of your dog’s teeth and if he stops eating and starts drinking more water than normal, consider that he might have a fever and schedule an appointment with the vet. Dudley will be going back to the vet tomorrow for a bath and I’ll have them check his temperature again, but he really does seem like his old self now.
The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. ~Author Unknown