|"Where to, Mom?"|
Nyxie went to the vet last week.
Now if you've followed my blog for any length of time you understand the enormity of that statement. Nyxie went to my place of work - a busy, populated by people and other animals building - for her yearly exam. This was like bringing in a loaded gun to a post office full of holiday-stressed postal workers! Dr C decided to see Nyxie without any pre-exam sleepy-time happy juice for sedation. I admit I trembled a bit in my boots when she told me her intention, but I trust her dog skills and I knew she'd be able to read her well.
I decided it was time to bring Nyxie to work, not only for an overdue yearly exam, but also because she had a growth that needed Dr C's opinion. Since she was about a year old, Nyxie has had a small flap of skin that's looked like a simple skin tag on the deepest part of her chest. Lately though, the skin tag has grown and seems more firm. I wanted it checked out to see if there were any scary changes happening. Any growth should be examined by your vet, and the sooner the better.
The morning of her exam, she was curious but defensive, wanting desperately to learn more, but ready to bark if anything frightened her. Nyxie's bark is that deafening German Shepherd bark that stops you dead in your tracks. That morning we learned that giving her direct eye contact is what will bring the bark out. Interesting.
|'"Are you looking at me? Are you threatening me?!"|
Dr C decided to go ahead and give her a very mild sedation ("Needle? What needle?" - she took all the poking like a champ!), and all the while, Dr C gave her lots of praise, good doggie vibes and treats!
She was sleepy in no time and Dr C started her exam (outside in the cold because she thought Nyxie might feel better without confinement! Great doc.) by listening to her heart. She told me that Nyxie has a Grade 3 heart murmur. My own heart sank. Then she looked at her growth and recommended that she take it off. More sinking. She drew blood and Nyxie tried kissing her but missed, depth perception impaired, and planted a wet nose on her face! My sweet girl made a new friend - better living through chemistry! She really wants to make friends, but she can't seem to get away from that damn fear.
|"Will you be my friend?"|
One of the bloodwork panels she ran on Nyxie was a CardiacProBNP, a test which can measure the amount of a certain peptide released when the cardiac chambers are stretched. Her measurement fell just below the reference range for cardiac disease and / or congestive heart failure. A blood pressure check was the next step, and Dr C suggested I take it at home for a more relaxed, accurate, at-rest reading. That, too, came back just below the reference range for high blood pressure. Her next step was a chest x-ray.
Since she (mostly me) is stressed around strangers, we decided to take Nyxie in after-hours and have Matt and me to shoot the radiographs alone. That was...interesting. She was still pretty stressed and wiggly, so positioning her 75 lb German Shepherd body was a tiny butt-whipping, but we managed it! I couldn't see anything glaringly obvious, but I'm no vet. I left the radiographs for Dr C to look at when she arrived the following morning. I know Dr C's very busy and being a weekend morning makes "busy" a silly understatement, but I was dying to hear her expert opinion.
|Nyxie's beautiful heart|
She sent me a text - the radiographs look good, vertebral heart score in the normal range (heart not enlarged), healthy spine, good abdomen. Yay!! I hugged my Nyxie tight. Eventually we may need to worry about her heart, but for now, my girl was fine. My own heart swelled!
I know it's silly, but each time I look at her now, I'm reminded of how much I love my baby girl. Sometimes feeling you might lose something is enough to help you appreciate what you have. Especially at this time of year...