Dakota enjoying a walk in the woods in November 2010
We almost lost our dog three and a half years ago and at the time wondered if we were doing the right thing spending a good amount of money on a 9 year old animal . Dakota has done very well since then and other than increasing stiffness in his joints, has been healthy and happy. Over the past few days we noticed him scratching his face and thought he had a skin problem. The Becka called me at work yesterday to say his face was swollen and bleeding so we took him to the vet for an assessment. It turned out to be an abscessed tooth and we had to consider our options for a now 12 year old dog.
Infections of the 4th premolar (carnassial tooth) can cause problems for older dogs. They often appear as skin sores and can spread to the eye as well. To leave the infection untreated would be cruel so we had the choice of extraction under general anaesthetic or euthanasia. I asked for a complete blood screening in order to assess Dakota's liver and kidney function. Surprisingly, his results were near normal and much improved from his blood work in 2007 . (We now feed him a primarily home made diet and no longer give him heart worm medication.) So we booked the surgery for today and he came through it very well. He had two infected teeth removed, the area was well irrigated, a dose of IV antibiotics was administered and he is on oral antibiotics for 10 days. And doggie dental work is no cheaper than human dental work.
Groggy, but glad to be home today
Time will tell if we made the right decision, but for now he is more comfortable and happy to be home. I wish dogs lived as long as cats or ideally as long as people. We have had several dogs over the years and it is always hard to lose them.
This week the spring on our automatic garage door opener broke and the dog developed this infection. Both events took time from our work day and money from our bank account. And they are totally irrelevant to many people in the world who don't have a car, garage or money for their own dental care. I look at the news and see the losses suffered by people in New Zealand and the countries where poverty and repression have spawned revolutions. How fortunate we are to have the choice to give our aged pet good medical care.