Touch of the Moth

Dear old Miss Best Friend has been to the vet. We have been a little worried about her for some time. The weather has mostly been foul, reason in itself for an elderly dog to slow down a bit, but she has had a curious skin problem. Most of her fur is sleek and glossy, but there are odd coin sized patches of scurf in which the hair falls out — from a distance, since her skin is white, there is an impression of negative Dalmation, while at close quarters, she looks moth-eaten. She has seemed quite unperturbed, however, suggesting that no sort of itchy condition like ringworm was the problem. We took her to the vet about a fortnight ago, and found that evening surgery was being held by a newcomer to the practice, of distressingly New Labour tendencies. We arrived on time, but discovered that the previous patient’s owner was being harangued (at a volume clearly audible not merely to himself but to all the nurses and everyone in the waiting room) about how his dog’s nervousness and behavioural difficulties were All Down to an Unfortunate Home Environment, and his wife was doing all the wrong things. In the ensuring twenty minutes, we found ourselves all waiting with interest to see if the owner actually clocked him one, which he didn’t. The beefy farmer who eventually emerged from the consulting room with his dog, breathing hard, paid on the nail for being patronized and effectively told ‘the answer’s divorce’. Then it was our turn. The vet looked a bit like Joe 90 in a white coat. Miss BF sleeps in too warm a room, we were informed. She’s overweight, we must give her Senior Dog Food. We observed in mitigation that the only locally available variety of Senior Dog Food seemed to have brought on the scurf problem, a comment which fell on deaf ears. Well, we must feed her less, he said. Again, we asked how this was to be achieved, given a wily and resourceful old animal who is an accomplished scavenger and completely free-range. Our response seemed strangely inaudible, though we observed the veterinary nurse rolling her eyes as the lecture proceeded — a lecture which in some inexplicable fashion seemed to be about the Planned Dog, a being who seemed less and less like the motheaten and recidivist old jackal before us with every word that was uttered. Anyway, once it was over, we, like our predecessor, paid on the nail, having spent an entire hour in the surgery for the privilege of being told it was all our fault. We discovered through indirect channels today — imagine our surprise — that the practice has inexplicably failed to take advantage of the opportunity to make Joe 90 a permanent fixture and is letting him go at the end of next month. A bit modern for hereabouts, as you might say. Anyway, it was her old friend Nice Ms Vet that Miss Best Friend saw today. The conclusion: she really ought to lose weight but I don’t see how you’re going to manage it, so do what you can. And the skin — probably an underactive thyroid, which would also account for lack of bounce. This needs confirmed by a blood test, about which Miss BF was brave, but whether Nice Ms Vet is right or wrong (& I’d put money on her being right), it at least feels like proper vetting, as opposed to a lifestyle lecture

One Response to “Touch of the Moth”

  1. Peter Says:

    Nice Ms Vet proved to be right as ever. The Good Old Dog has an underactive thyroid and now has blue pills and yummy dog-treat putty in which to administer the blue pills. She should be looking quite the thing in a week or so.

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