Lives more temporary than our own …


We recently had a scare with my 8-year old male, Frankie a/k/a “Frankers.”  While holding him during a chiropractic adjustment for an old injury earned chasing squirrels, I found a large swelling just under his jaw.  To say I was “surprised” is an understatement because I had just groomed him that morning and didn’t find anything amiss.

The first round of antibiotics prescribed were ineffective and his condition continued to deteriorate, including spiking a high fever and complete disinterest in food.  Given his lack of response to the antibiotics, a biopsy was taken of the node to determine what exactly was going on.  While under anesthesia for the biopsy, the vet checked his mouth and esophagus for any foreign body that might be a contributing factor.  Zip, nada, zilch … meaning no clue as to what was causing it or how the swelling came about.  In the meantime, we switched antibiotics in the hopes he would respond.

The biopsy finally came back and revealed a severe bacterial infection of the lymph node (does it come through that I’m not a patient person in some situations??).  A few days later, he began to respond to the antibiotic and we were advised he’d have to stay on it four to six weeks as lymph node infections can be difficult to clear up.  Weeks later, the node has returned to almost normal, as has Frankers.

Shortly thereafter, I came across an excellent excerpt article on National Public Radio (NPR).  Written by a vet — Nancy Kay, DVM — it provides valuble tools for dealing with aging/ill pets and making decisons on their behalf … Speaking for Spot.  If you own pets, this is definitely a “must read.”  For myself, I’m tucking the information away in my mental tool box.  A guidepost for when aging bodies begin to fail and emotions run high in the face of loss.

The complete book is available at

April 6th Update:   Today is a really, really good day for our household.  After months of dealing with Franker’s issues … first the hip/back injury and then the bacterial infection … I finally feel like I have my little guy back.  He’s playing with his toys, racing through the house, trying to get Ali to play with him, and bouncing up a full flight of steps from the basement (multiple times, no less).  A huge improvement over ten days ago when I had to carry him up the stairs because he couldn’t make it.  A week ago today, he had a chiropractic adjustment and a session of acupuncture.  I think what we’ll do now is explore the options for a maintenance program, something along the lines of once every 6-8 weeks (+/-)

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