Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mina and The Hair Loss

I consider myself to be somewhere left of neurotic when it comes to Mina...probably a smidgen closer to neurotic if I give it any amount of thought (I don't). She's 11. She's hypothyroid and incontinent. She has a strange intermittent limping problem with her left shoulder that remains a mystery to the three vets who've seen her. She goes to the vet multiple times a year for blood work and urinalysis and fecal exams and sometimes just because I want to apparently torture her.

And now she will be making a trip to the vet Monday because of The Hair Loss.

I'm not sure when it started. I noticed it a couple weeks ago and thought it was a trick of light. Then last week, I thought someone had taken a tweezer and plucked out the hair, in equal proportion, on both sides of her pelvic bone (or hip bones? or are they the same? whatever). A crop circle on my dog's butt. Trying to get a closer look was dangerous, as Mina's white-tipped tail prefers to lash back and forth in doggy happiness whenever she is touched by Those She Loves.

So now I am Concerned. This is not concern or CONCERN, but it still deserves at least one capitalized letter and why not make it be a proper sort of deal?

I think she is drinking more water, but this could also be my imagination. Until Monday, I will be closely monitoring her intake and shaking my fist at Celeste if she dares drink from the official MINA WATER INTAKE BOWL. Maybe I'll put a sticker on it.

Any thoughts? My panicked thought was Cushing's - the hair loss is similar to my last dog who had the adrenal gland problem (she also baffled the vets by living another eight years). But Mina is also hypothyroid and has been on the lowest dose for years, perhaps her thyroid is in need of another pick-me-up. The area isn't irritated, so I know she isn't biting it. It's very localized just on those two spots near her rear end.

I have many fears about losing Mina. Sometimes I have to squish them down deep out of another fear that even THINKING about those fears will somehow make them a reality for Mina. Silly. I don't do this with Celeste, which is probably good for Celeste. But Mina? There has never been a dog I have loved so profoundly. It's a painful love and sometimes, like now, I hate it. Never Mina, of course. She I could love for a kajillion years and more.


Kari in WeHo said...

Oh I hope its not a big deal. I am all too familiar with those tail lashings

Pibble said...

Calm down, calm down.

Hypothyroidism can cause bilateral hair loss as you've described, and since she already has that, perhaps you're right and she does need to have her meds adjusted.

As for Cushings... Drinking more water comes with age, too. Does she show any other signs, like a pot belly? Also, I think the coat gets fairly dull and dry (but I don't know if that's also a symptom with hypothyroidism as well).

Now, one other thing. Is the hair loss in a place where her tail can come into contact with her body? I know it sounds weird, but I've seen wild tail waggers who wag so hard that they've lost some coat on their backs where their tails come into contact with their bodies. And yes, their tails feel like whips when they hit you!

Hang in there, your Mina will be fine; you're too good a mom and you'll make sure of it!

Luisa said...

Got nuthin' -- just wanted to send best wishes and super SoCal mojo to Mina and of course to you. May this be a Very Minor Thing.

Out of curiosity, would Mina tolerate acupuncture? It's been a real help for my senior dogs over the last few years.

Rinalia said...

@Kari: Thank you! Me too!

@Pibble: *deep breath*, thanks! :) I know, I get too paranoid with Mina.

I think her coat has gotten dryer but no pot-belly or loose skin.

The hair loss isn't where her tail could have hit it, although that's a good suggestion.

@Luisa: Thank you!! Good thoughts are nice.

Mina would definitely tolerate acupuncture, that is how she rolls. It's just expensive at her vet. If I can find it cheaper elsewhere, I might try that with might help with the weird limp and/or her just feeling a little less achy.

Pibble said...

Rinalia! Look at your video "Mina gets her toy back." Look at where Mina's tail hits when her back legs are splayed out - is that where the hair loss is? I know I'm grasping at straws, but 11 years of that wiggly-waggly tail hitting the same spot... (paws crossed)?

And I love how Celeste just watches so patiently!

Amanda said...

Just well wishes! We never want our loved ones to hurt and somehow it seems even less tolerable when they are loved ones who can't tell us what they're truly feeling. ={ Here's hoping for answers and years and years of Mina love to come. =)

Rinalia said...

@Pibble: Creative thinking, I like! The hair loss is recent, though, and I tested the reach of Mina's tail in a full-wag and it doesn't hit her body at all (not for lack of trying). It could still be a possibility, but I'll get her bloodwork checked as well. :)

@Amanda: Thank you so much, I'm expecting Mina to live at least another five years if not a million. :)

Princess said...

Let's hope for a million!! Like you said, she has enough love for it!

Now quit making me worry in turn!! Lots of happy thoughts coming yours and Mina's way.

And quit making me tear up thinking I have the same feelings of my girl...I'm already freaking out because at 5 she's showing gray hair, 5 is.not.old!!

Nichole said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's nothing serious.

PBOforlife said...

I feel the same way about my Jessie. Just the thought of losing her can bring me to tears. We'll all send our positive thoughts your way.