Four years ago when Charlie first tumbled into my life, I wrote many times about his antics as a puppy. He wasn’t bad, just mischievous and full of it as puppies are. (I still get the shivers when I think I about obedience class. Just this month I was talking to someone who remembered his “stellar” performance at graduation.)
Time went along and Charlie took on the personality of his owner. Slightly middle-age; slightly over-weight; more content to lay around and hang out. He does enjoy walking more than me which encourages me to go, so it’s a good thing. All-in-all, he’s turned into a good dog who lives the life of Reilly, coming to work with me everyday, lying on his back waiting for people to come rub his belly.
Charlie has had recurring ear issues since he was little. We’ve tried a number of cleaners and drops as well as switching dog foods a number of times. Earlier this spring, he was diagnosed with an antibiotic resistant infection. He’s been on a concoction of cleaners and drops (have I mentioned my vet is awesome!) with a strict diet of hypo-allergenic food only and it’s finally starting to clear up. I was looking forward to him not bolting each time he thought I was going to clean his ears and I’m sure he was looking forward to me not cleaning them everyday.
Two Friday mornings ago I noticed his face was swollen and his ears and eyes were pulled back. It’s spring so I assumed he’d gotten a bite or a sting and was having a reaction. This not being my first rodeo (ask me about the time one of my dogs drove his face in an ant hill) I started giving him Benadryl. (Pro-tip: children’s liquid Benadryl on food and he never knows he has it.) By Saturday the swelling had gone down, but his ears and eyes still looked off, like he’d had a bit too much Botox and was constantly surprised by what was going on around him.
Last week he was diagnosed with Masticatory Muscle Myositis. Basically it’s an immune system disorder that effects the muscles that are used to chew. Charlie didn’t seem to be bothered by that, thankfully. Apparently one of the early signs that is swelling that can be mistaken for a sting. Classic.
He’s just finished his first week of steroids and he seems to be responding well. I’m responding less well to the 3 am bathroom breaks because of all the water he’s drinking. The wrinkle on the top of his head is less prominent and he is almost feeling like playing. While he’ll likely be on steroids for a while, I’m thankful (hopeful) it we caught it early. For once I think my hypochondria may have paid off.