This week, I was reminded again why it’s good to pay close attention to your critters. Our dog Leto had to go to the veterinarian and if I hadn’t been paying attention, I could have missed symptoms of a potentially serious problem.
The thing is that Mister L is a rather stoic hound. Unlike some of our other dogs, he’s not a complainer. Much of the time, he’s so relaxed, it’s hard to believe he’s awake. With such a mellow personality, it’s less obvious when he’s having a problem than it is with our other dogs. In contrast, Cami, the rebellious white dog, excretes something revolting at the slightest provocation ("hmm, I feel a little queasy this morning…BLAP!").
Anyway, Leto’s problem was that he would go to relieve himself and nothing would happen. Unlike a lot of male dogs, he doesn’t mark 7,000 trees every time he goes outside. He’s pretty businesslike on his outdoor excursions. In general, he does what he’s gotta do and moves on.
But this week, he had a problem with what my vet book calls "no results" when he lifted his leg. He wandered around trying, with a sort of confused look on his face. I thought it was odd, but didn’t really worry until I talked to my husband about it, who reported that he’d witnessed the same behavior.
I looked up the problem in my veterinary guide and it turns out that it’s one of those symptoms where you should "seek veterinary attention at once." That freaked me out. After I verified that Leto did have some success, I was able to sleep and decided to call the vet in the morning.
As it turns out, male dogs are susceptible to developing crystals or stones in their urinary tracts, which can cause obstructions. The condition is fatal if it’s not treated promptly because of toxin buildup in the bloodstream.
Anyway, Leto and I went off to the vet and the Big Dog probably just has an infection, but we’re still watching him closely. This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful the Big Dog is okay.