Kenzie continues to be such an easy girl to have around. She joins in the fun on walks, exploring the creek and just being a silly puppy with the other dogs. It's great to see her improve and get more active. She has lost some weight as well, which lessens the stress on her spine. Here is an update on her condition from the vet:
We aspirated her lumps, about five were half a golf ball size or smaller, one was over half a grapefruit in size. All were just fatty masses, no cancer cells. So good to know! We'll keep an eye on them for growth or discomfort. Her bloodwork was all normal, another good indicator we aren't dealing with cancer or any kind of organ issues.
Okay...and now the not-so-great news: Spondylosis. X-rays revealed a pretty severe case of bone spurs on every thoracic vertebrae. It looked like two 1/2-long pointy pencil tips growing off the ends of each vertebrae, and poking into the nerves along her back. Basically, her backbone has tried to compensate for her added weight by growing these extra "supportive structures" for carrying that load all up front, since she is such a barrel-chested creature to begin with. Our vet also said it might actually help if the bone spurs grew together and formed a "bridge," which happens fairly often. (Called "Bridging Spondylosis.) Bridging is what her body is trying to do to fortify her spine for that extra weight and degeneration. (Mostly seen in older dogs, and when this happens in a younger dog like this...it's usually weight related.)
No wonder the girl is in such pain and it hurts her so when she gets petted on the back.The doc also said it's likely she has bone degeneration in her hips as well, consistent with an aging dog with weight issues, but didn't exactly think hip "dysplasia". So that's a positive!
Here is a good article on Spondylosis to explain/show visual: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/spondylosis-deformans-in-dogs
The upside is this is a manageable condition, and with pain meds, she can live a pretty normal life. As we have managed her pain and diet, her goofy, sweet Golden side shines even more. She has a great personality, and is a great spooner and snuggler.
Of course, the vet recommended doing all I could to get her weight down, and then check her lumps, pain level and mobility again in a month. We upped the Rimadyl to 150 mg a day, and added Gabapentin twice a day. I am making her a special diet of greens, sweet potatoes and low-fat "all natural" meat, plus adding some simple supplements like Glucosamin, Choindroiten and Turmeric. She LOVES it. She is also getting acupressure and doggy massages. Also LOVES.
This prognosis explains how she went from playful pup to grumpy granny these last couple years. Her attitude, sweetness and playfulness, despite her pain and challenges, is top notch! She has really bonded to me in a short amount of time, and I feel could easily do this with her new forever home as I've seen her warm up so quickly to my friends, visitors and family. Especially men!
Here's a great example: last night a police officer came to the house to ask some questions about a neighbor. Kenzie circled him 3 times, squealing in delight and then plopped down on his big feet. He got a huge kick out of this as he took his report carefully so as not to disturb her peaceful resting spot. I replied, "You know what they say, girls love a man in uniform." :-)