Monday, February 13, 2017

Cookie's Wellness Exam

We keep a schedule of two wellness exams every year. One in the spring, one in the fall.

Last year, with JD's passing and our struggle to make the tiny home inhabitable, we didn't get around to the exam until before Christmas. It's not the best timing for a bunch of reasons, including the fact that you're risking the possibility of getting an unpleasant surprise just before the holidays.


Fortunately, there were no surprises.


Cookie's exams, both conventional and integrative, checked out. She's doing well, and there were even some improvements from the last check-up. I always like to hear that. Cookie also lost 3kg since the previous weigh-in, which is also great.

We discussed how Cookie is doing, her diet and supplements. I am one of the lucky ones who's veterinarian is cool with raw feeding.  We also went over my concerns. Naturally, if there were any real problems, I wouldn't have waited for a scheduled exam. I only wait when I know the issue can wait.

I had the vet check two little growths which I assumed were either skin tags or warts.


I was prepared to discuss how we should best support the immune system if they were warts. But they are skin tags. Probably from how enthusiastically Cookie dives into everything and anything when in pursuit of a mouse.

We talked about Cookie's incontinence.


Between her chiropractic care, supplements, and a course of estrogen once or twice a year, things are controlled quite well for the most part. There is the odd leak. There is also the odd clear mucoid discharge; this has been happening periodically for a long time, and it's not a major concern such as it is.

We talked about ticks.


For the longest time, we had little to no problem with ticks. But in December we suddenly started experiencing a tick invasion, finding them on Cookie almost every day. This is disconcerting, should the trend continue. We did try having Cookie on Advantix, but she had a bad reaction to it. Since we didn't encounter more than one or two ticks a year, we simply dropped the whole idea. But now we have to revisit it.

The top contender for preventive is Bravecto, which is what the vet also recommends. I did my research, and it seems to be the best option. Yet, I can bring myself to feel comfortable about it. Because it seems that in our area the only disease spread by ticks is Lyme disease, I wonder whether it would be better to use the vaccine instead. I am not a big fan of the Lyme vaccine either, but it seems to be the lesser of the evil.

We still have a little bit of time for me to make up my mind about this.

We talked about Cookie's mysterious scratching of her left shoulder.


Cookie is not "an itchy dog." Her coat and skin look happy and healthy, And yet she has been scratching her left shoulder frequently enough for me to pay attention. I checked the skin over and over and never found anything wrong with it. The vet checked the skin as well. There is nothing detectable going on with the skin.

I am more concerned about other possible reasons why Cookie would be doing that. It is very reminiscent of Jasmine's scratching her left elbow. There was nothing wrong with her skin either. She did have some arthritis there ... but with all said and done, I believe that it was from at that time only brewing, issues with her neck. Which makes me pay even closer attention to Cookie's elbow scratching.

However, neither her vet, her chiropractor, or her PT can really put their finger on what is really bothering her there.

The vet did find some tension in the left trapezius but nothing really significant. She did dry-needle a few points, but it didn't make any difference for the scratching. A thorough massage by her PT did reduce it, though.

We did a urinalysis and full blood panel.


There was nothing of concern on any lab work, other than a couple of minor discrepancies which in themselves don't really mean anything.

Cookie's ALT was very slightly elevated but not enough to try and open that can of worms again. Her platelets were a touch below normal, but that can happen when they clump together during the draw.

I did faithfully enter all the important values into my trends spreadsheet. There are no concerning trends happening.

All seems well in Cookieland.


Originally, I also wanted to test the blood for tick-borne diseases, but since we kept finding so many just prior the draw, it makes more sense to wait a bit and then run the tests. Which means just about whenever we're ready now. I also wanted to run thyroid panel with Dr. Dodds but might as well do these specialized tests together. Or wait a couple more months and do it as part of the Spring check-up, along with Heartworm test.

Related articles:
What's the Difference between Annual Exams and Wellness Exams?
A Secret Benefit of Regular Wellness Exams

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot?
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: Restricted Activity and Weight Management
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update
Has Your Dog's Physical Therapist Taken Dog Training Classes? 
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear Update and Considering the Future
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate (CCL/ACL) Tear and Leg Circumference



Do you have a story to share?


Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!


What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.



Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

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