I posted this here because I’ll probably talk to the vet about it, and I was hoping for a mix of facts, opinions, and experiences.
So, Haplo’s getting up there. He’s 16. He’s a small dog, though (a Westie) and they tend to live longer than bigger dogs. Some of you may remember that we had a bout with heartworms about a year ago, which he came through just fine. He can’t hear well and he’s losing his vision, but he’s quite lively and his quality of life seems excellent. He had his senior physical maybe a month ago, maybe a little longer, and came out very healthy.
Since it’s gotten cold this year (and I mean within the last few days) he’s really slowed down, though. Not in the mornings, but in the evenings when he comes in from outside. He usually stays outside while I’m at work - he likes to sleep in the sun even when it’s cold, and he has a nice bed under his porch and one out in his sunbeam. The cold has never really bothered him before. He does, however, have to go down a set of steps (a normal-sized flight) when he goes out and come up them when he comes in.
A few days ago, I came home early from work around noon and gave him the chance to come in, as I often do, and he didn’t want to, which he often doesn’t. So I asked him again at 3 before I went running, and he said no. (Sometimes he comes in, sometimes he’d rather stay out. I usually let him decide.) My dad was coming over for dinner at 6 and loves the dog, so I went to bring him in and he came to the bottom of the steps and just stood there, shivering. It scared me a bit because I’ve never, ever seen him do that before - he just doesn’t mind the cold. So I called him and he came up the steps with me, slowly. (He’s never particularly liked the steps because he’s kind of a little dog, so he usually goes up them in one big rush - this time he went more step by step.) Yesterday again he didn’t want to come in - he didn’t have trouble with the steps but he seemed to be moving slowly. Today I went home on my dinner break to let him in before it got dark (it only seems to be bothering him once the sun goes down) and even with the leash he just would NOT climb the steps - I had to carry him.
He doesn’t really like being carried, which is why I haven’t done it before now.
Is my poor little doggie winding down? He doesn’t seem to be in any pain when he doesn’t want to go up the steps - he isn’t favoring any particular leg, he doesn’t chew at his legs or anything, none of that, and in the morning he’s bright and skippy. Could it be arthritis?