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December 30, 2013: Rainbow’s Cough

Rainbow’s cough continued – Pete said that he lay in bed last night and counted the hacks the way that some people count sheep. Jenna and Ryder were upstairs with us – this time they paid Rainbow no mind. This morning Pete leapt out of bed and immediately called the veterinarian and rescheduled tomorrow’s appointment for today.

I followed Pete downstairs – usually it’s the other way around. Jenna and Ryder roused their lazy dog asses and then descended the stairs. The hallabaloo then resumed. Rainbow coughed, Jenna barked, and Ryder alternated barking and running back and forth between the two. It was much like a three-ring circus except for the fact that there was no ringleader. I finally stood over Jenna and

held lightly onto her muzzle. And Pete put Ryder outside. Rainbow stopped hacking and then it was again business as usual – dogs playing musical food bowls.

Over breakfast, Pete and I made a list of Rainbow’s symptoms and when they began. A good idea because otherwise we might have forgotten some important details.

Arrived at North Star Animal Hospital at 10:30 a.m. We’d decided on the drive to town to have Rainbow wait in the truck because she gets nervous when in veterinarians’ offices. This is a holdover from her first year – after spending time in the Butte animal shelter, we transferred her to a Butte veterinary clinic where she spent the next ten days. I don’t think she liked being in either place.

When it was time for our appointment, we led her in the backdoor, which adjoined the examining room. The staff at North Star (all female) are kind, helpful, compassionate, and intelligent. The exam takes place on the floor, and not on a table, which I think that dogs like Rainbow appreciate. I do think that they should have something besides tiling on the floor, because it is slippery, but, oh well.

Pete held Rainbow who skittered about—and the veterinary technician asked us questions, which she typed into the computer. Her thinking, after listening to us describe (in excruciating detail) the symptoms, and after listening to Rainbow hack, was that she has kennel cough. Still, she took her temperature, which was normal. She also asked about the color of her cough sputum, which Pete said was clear.

The veterinarian then came in. She was quite young, had long brown hair, brown eyes. It occurred to me that she was probably born the year I started graduate school. Anyhow, she thought, as did the veterinary technician, that Rainbow most likely has kennel cough. Her exam included a heart and lung check. As she explained, she was attempting to determine if Rainbow was having difficulty breathing in or out. The answer was no. She also checked her gum color, which was normal, and her capillary refill time, which was normal. Rainbow, of course did not during this examination, cough at all. So I did an imitation – saying it goes like this “hack, hack, hack, grummmpt, hack, spagatooey, hack, hack, hack.”

The veterinarian finally determined that Rainbow should be put on antibiotics. She also talked with us about prescribing cough medicine – we all decided we’d wait on this.

We returned home, and gave Rainbow a pill pocket with a capsule. Then Pete and I went for a horseback ride. After, I took Jenna and Ryder for a late afternoon walk. Ryder ranged further than usual, most likely because Rainbow wasn’t with us. The two usually stick fairly close. It occurred to me that if Rainbow were younger, that the two would have disappeared over a nearby ridge, never to be seen again.

Dog, how I love wonderful god. She’s so amazing. Fingers are crossed here. We don’t know if anything else is amiss. She’s been fairly quiet this evening. Only time will tell, and she isn’t giving away any of her secrets.

Next: 290: 12/31/13: The Year in Review