As I was driving around today, I saw a dog running near a frozen pond, the human about fifty yards away. On the usually-mild south west corner of Canada, frozen ponds are rare. Unfortunately, images of people skating on frozen ponds in central and eastern Canada seem to lull west coasters into a false sense of security. I feel my stomach knot up and my jaw clench whenever I see a dog running loose near frozen water around here.
A couple of weeks ago, a dog just north of here went missing. Tonka's body was found several days later - he had fallen through the ice of a pond and died. Yesterday, a friend's dog went through the ice while on the Wednesday Walk - fortunately the story had a much happier ending, with a chilled but thankfully alive dog making it out (though not, I'm sure, without knocking at least ten years off her owner's life!).
Tonight is supposed to be even colder than last night - minus 16 with the windchill factor. Ponds are frozen - but they are NOT safe! For a pond to be safe, we would need well below freezing temperatures for a very extended period of time, producing several inches of consistently thick ice on still water. One weak spot and the dog falls through - and frantic attempts to clamber out of the frigidly cold water only result in more ice breaking off. Human attempts to rescue the dog can result in almost immediate hypothermia -- and the loss of both human and dog.
Please - if you live in the (now freezing) south western part of Canada (or northwestern part of the States) don't let your dogs run loose anywhere near frozen water.
Off my soapbox, and on to an update on Sadie. Sadie visited the vet about her strange eye problem today. Doc had dried liver treats, her absolutely-most-favouritest treat in the whole wide world, so she was putty in his hands.
The diagnosis??? It's "A Puzzle". That's his exact words. A Puzzle.
He rules out Horner's syndrome - there's no drooping of the upper lid, which he says is most characteristic of Horner's (though I have heard and read that this is not always the case). He also ruled out the most obvious infections: no dental problems, no nasal infection (in fact he did a swab to be absolutely sure), no ear infection. He froze the eye to check behind the third eyelid (that little part that comes up from the bottom, like a pearly-white cover) - no infection or inflammation there. No redness. No foreign body.
However, there is definitely something wrong with it. He says it is tracking okay, but the rate of dilation and amount of dilation differs from the left eye, and the visible shape is different too - it looks different, more sunken, than the left eye. And there's some squinting.
He said there are a few possibilities. First is the possibility of an infection behind the eye - for that he has given me antibiotic eyedrops to use on her for a week. Second is the possibility of a neurological problem that is affecting the muscles behind the eye, and third is the possibility of a tumor or other scary growth behind the eye. For those last two options, he would need to refer her to a canine opthamologist, which means a trip to the mainland and mega big bucks.
His recommendation is that we try the antibiotic and monitor it for now. It doesn't seem as bad this week as it did last weekend, and she sometimes goes hours at a time when it looks virtually normal. We'll keep our toes and fingers crossed (and paws, too) that Sadie soon recovers fully from The Puzzle.