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Barney Visits the Vet

Barney visits the vet

Barney Visits the Vet

Wow, what a spectacularly wet start we’ve had to 2014! Barney and I live near the flood plain of the River Severn are we are currently surrounded by a sea of mud.  As a border collie, Barney isn’t quite as keen about actually wallowing in mud as some spaniels and labradors I’ve met but he certainly isn’t bothered about running around in the wind or rain. If I suggested we stay indoors due to bad weather, I’d have an extremely annoyed dog on my hands!  

In past winters, the only real problem I’ve had with dog-walking in the rain is the fact that suddenly all my clothes continually need washing, and my hair spends several months looking like it hasn’t been brushed since some time in the last millennium. Barney fares rather better – he has a magic anti-stick “Teflon” coat – courtesy of his working ancestors, I’m sure. 

He regularly comes home brown the nose down and soaking wet yet, given a quick towel-rub in no time, Barney looks sparkling clean once more. Of course, the downside to this is that the mud and dirt drops off him and straight onto our carpets. It seems like half the mud and dirt in the county is scattered over our floors at the moment. 

Unfortunately though, this winter’s bad weather is causing more issues than slightly muddy carpets and clothes. Last autumn, just before his 7th birthday, Barney was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis in both hips. After a few appointments with the vet, he was put on a daily anti-inflammatory and a couple of joint supplements too and for a while, that seemed to do the trick. Barney got his bounce back! 

Sadly though, as the weather has deteriorated recently, so has Barney’s health. He’s been limping and looking stiff and sore almost every day. Every evening is spent with Barney sighing wearily and shifting from place to place trying to find a comfortable position to lie down in. Once finally settled, he will spend ages just licking and chewing at his sore legs and paws, trying alleviate the pain. It’s been sad to see – especially given Barney isn’t really all that old. 

So, as well as the rain, we saw in the New Year with a trip to the vet! Barney spent the whole appointment by my side, cringing and growling furiously every time the poor vet moved. I always feel awful that Barney is such a beast when at the surgery. He has to be muzzled and is clearly utterly convinced that everyone there is out to murder him in cold blood, then probably feed his remains to the cats. 

He used to be fine until a couple of years ago, at a different practice, someone put a cold, metal thing down his ear a little too quickly and he took offence. Border collies often seem to take the phrase “once bitten, twice shy” to heart – so now, all vets are the enemy. He isn’t the easiest of patients. 

The vet was slightly dismayed that Barney’s condition had worsened but gave us some more painkillers to top up the medication he is already on and then tentatively suggested seeing an osteopath. We were both a little dubious about how Barney would cope with seeing someone who treats animals by taking a hands-on approach but thought it worth a try. 

Well, yesterday, Barney had his first meeting with the osteopath and things went better than I could possibly have hoped. After a second or two of suspicion that this new chap was out to stick needle in him, Barney tentatively approached this new type of doctor for a quick sniff.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what how treatment would work did before yesterday, which was why I was slightly uneasy about how Barney would handle it – firm manipulation or intense handling would undoubtedly have made him very stressed. 

However, the osteopath was extremely gentle and Barney quite quickly became calm and even rather floppy, which considering he was sitting in a vet practice was a novel sight! Every now and again he’d hear a vet or nurse go by and momentarily tense up but on the whole, he seemed to thoroughly enjoy his session and by the end of it was practically trying to kiss the osteopath on the face!

Barney was quite tired when we got home and slept a while but later on, he was eager to go out for a walk and I’ve been pleased to see his movement looking easier and more fluid again. His gait recently has been stiff and awkward but although it’s early days, I think the osteopathy (admittedly helped by extra painkillers!) is having an effect. 

We’re going back again next week for another session with the osteopath and hopefully it will continue to help. To be honest, even if it doesn’t having much of a long-term physical impact, I’m hopeful that the gentle method of treatment will help Barney mentally with coping at the vets and getting over the belief they’re out to hurt him! 

I don’t know, these pets! They cause so much worry! have to admit, I started the year feeling quite disheartened about Barney’s condition. He’s only middle-aged and seeing my active, agile dog struggling to walk has been saddening. However, I’m now a little more optimistic about things… With the medication and treatment, Barney’s already showing signs of improvement and hopefully, come spring, and some warmer weather, he’ll improve again and get back to chasing pesky imaginary squirrels out in the woods! We shall have to see…   

If your dog has similar complaints you could always book an appointment with our Pet Vets and then cheer them up with something from our extensive pet range.


Source Details

Regular contributor Megan Price and dog Barney.

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