Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 1: Radiographs

This Black And White Sunday starts off the first out of a  six part series on Senior Wellness. Since it is Black And White Sunday I start my series with Radiographs. Nellie is a senior at 10 years old. Her annual physical exam and vaccinations were coming due this month. A couple other issues cropped up that I wanted to discuss with the doctor so I compiled my list and brought Nellie with me to work last Monday. To talk about everything she had done and why Senior Wellness is important I broke it down into six parts.

Sunday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 1: Radiographs

Monday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis

Tuesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 3: Bloodwork

Wednesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 4: Cystocentesis

Thursday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 5: Urinalysis

Friday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 6: Pulled Tendon

Where we going mom?

Since I am a Veterinary Technician I am hyper vigilant on noticing things with my animals. I am constantly looking at them, feeling them over and sometimes making myself think there is a problem. For sometime when Nellie lays next to me her belly looks funny. Funny you ask, yup funny my technical term for it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I thought I was seeing. She has been sneaking off and eating deer carcass’s so she has been coming back all bloated and looking like a engorged wood tick. I thought A: she might just be getting fat, B: she is older does she have cushing’s disease, C:  do I see a lump in her belly. All of the above needs addressing hence the car ride with me to work.

Nellie started out with a full physical exam this is important for every animal at least once a year and for seniors it’s a good idea to have a physical exam twice a year as things can change just like that. It’s better to “catch” things earlier than later.

What is a full physical exam? It is a head to tail exam of each part of the animals body.

1. Checking for changes in the eyes.

2. Checking for changes/infections in the ears.

3. Checking teeth for broken teeth/tarter/gingivitis/tumors.

4. Checking lymph nodes below lower jaw, pre scapular, poplitial, ingunial.

5. Checking heart and lungs for murmurs and respiratory problems.

6. Checking abdominal cavity for masses.

7. Checking rectum for masses, temperature, parasites.

8. Checking whole body for any masses and abnormalities.

Nellie’s physical exam went great, she is looking and doing well for a senior pet. Her liver felt slightly larger (which can be normal in older animals) and what about the funny thing I was seeing with her belly?

When I lay on my left side you can see a alien in my belly.

While relaxing over the lunch hour the alien appeared so I had the doctor look and feel it. It was right about where her hair is thin (white) on the picture right in front of her back legs. The doctor thought it was her spleen. The dogs spleen is very long and the “tail” of it can “poke out”. But why is it “poking out”? It could be normal or it could be enlarged because of a mass on it. So to find out you start with abdominal radiographs to see how things look inside.

Right lateral is the most preferred position.

A ventral/dorsal (on the back) is second preferred.

After the two radiographs are taken they are developed so the doctor can read them.

Right lateral

Ventral dorsal view.

There was something suspicious on the right lateral view so we did another radiograph and did a left lateral this time to see if they could see the same thing.

left lateral

The suspicious area wasn’t on the left lateral so not to much of a concern. The radiographs can’t rule out a mass there was nothing obvious so the next step would be a abdominal ultrasound which will be done at a later date.

Nellie’s liver wasn’t a concern either after looking at the radiographs.

She was such a good patient for her radiographs, she didn’t move a muscle. Nellie did receive her annual vaccinations this day as there were no concerns not to give them.

Stop back tomorrow for: Monday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis


We are joining Dachshund Nola & Sugar The Golden Retriever for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop.

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A Needle in a haystack or Glory?

Each year it is tradition that my sister-in-law Lynn and I (whoever else wants to tag along also) go shopping on Black Friday. Last year we pulled a all nighter since the stores were opening at midnight. This year some stores were opening at 9:00 pm so we decided to do some sale shopping Turkey day night. I looked at the flyers and saw that Shopko had some good sales on blankets, heated mattress pad, heated blankets so that was the place I wanted to be. We went to Shopko and I managed to get all the stuff I wanted, stood in line 48 mins to check out but it didn’t matter as this was tradition and I was getting my blankets on sale. I buy blankets to put over my couch so it keeps the couches somewhat clean from all the dogs that lay on the couch. This year I brought brown micro plush blankets. Friday I put the blankets on the couch and of course Gambler chewed up the packaging which didn’t matter it goes in the garbage anyways. John burnt the garbage and then Saturday morning I noticed 2 holes in one of the blanket. I didn’t know if it came that way or if the dogs toe nails put the holes in it. Nontheless I had to sew up the holes since I couldn’t return the blanket. I kept the blanket on the couch, grabbed my needle and thread started sewing up the hole while Glory laid on the couch and watched. I was done, tied my knot and needed to cut the needle off the thread but realized my scissors was on the coffee table on the other side of Glory. I got up went around Glory and grabbed the scissors came back and the needle was gone! Where was that needle? Only obvious answer was that Glory did something to it as she was laying right there and the needle was missing with frayed thread left behind. I searched and searched and searched some more. I was beside myself as I was thinking the worse and that Glory had swallowed it. I did more searching, tore everything apart and no needle. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack! Glory was watching me and showed no sign that she had eaten it. I would ask her “where is the needle?” and she wasn’t answering.  I spent the whole weekend looking for that needle and watching Glory for any signs of a problem.

Monday I took Glory to work with me so I could xray her as the needle is metallic and show up in her like lights on a Christmas tree. I started with a neck and chest xray.

Neck and Chest.

No Needle in here, phew! Then it was time to xray the abdomen.


No needle in here, phew! Just a stomach full of food waiting to make big poopies.

I then could sigh a sign of relief, I didn’t need to take Glory to surgery to get the needle out of her. But where o where is that darn needle? I still have no idea where the needle is but am SO thankful that it isn’t in Glory. My Turkey day sale wasn’t so much of a sale as that darn blanket cost me 2 xray’s and a weekend of worry that my baby girl needed surgery. I was very thankful that she is ok.

One day I will be cursing when I either sit on the needle or step on it but it will be a good curse as I will then know where that darn thing is.

I didn’t find the needle in the haystack yet!