Sunday, July 10, 2011
Overlooked Signs of Andy's Bad Back
I have no doubt that Andy’s bug-bite was the final domino to fall in his bad-back injury but there were signs before the bug-bite indicating something was wrong with his back. I wasn’t able to pick up on those signals. Sure, the twisting and straining Andy did to scratch at his throat aggravated his back but he had back problems before then. Unfortunately, my limited knowledge about dogs resulted in my overlooking the symptoms of his bad back.
First, a few months before the paralysis, Andy’s knees would buckle. He wouldn’t fall on the ground but he would noticeably dip. The knee buckling, when it did happen, took place at the start of our late afternoon walks. I didn’t think much of it and wrote it off as arthritic knees stiffened after a long day of inactivity.
Second, Andy would “knuckle” when he walked. Instead of landing on his paws, he would sometimes land on the knuckles and the claws scraping against the sidewalk would make a grating scratching sound. By the time I looked around to see what he was doing, he had lifted his knuckled foot to take another step so I never actually saw him knuckling. It was only a year later when things with his back got much worse that I would see him knuckling. Instead of merely stepping on his knuckles, he would actually stand on them. His numbness in his legs wouldn’t allow him to feel his missteps.
The third symptom I overlooked was his incontinence. A few times after I just arrived home, he had to go so bad that he would pee on the living room rug. Also, when I woke up in the morning, I had to immediately take him outside or else he would pee inside. Andy’s bad back pinched on his nerves causing him to lose control of his bladder.
I know Andy must have been in a hell of a lot of pain. How he was able to mask it, I don’t know.