Ruby to the Vet

I wrote a blog post about Ruby and it was suppose to post today…but I stopped that post as Ruby had to go to the vet yesterday and I decided right now, it was more important to tell about that visit.

In the past few months Ruby has not been herself.  I have gotten lots of comments from readers asking “Where is Ruby?”.  I’ve gotten comments from people saying “I miss Ruby”.  To be honest, I’ve been asking all of those same questions.  Ruby the dog has been living at my house but she’s not been “MY Ruby dog”.

Gradually things with her have been changing.  She doesn’t jump into bed and sleep with me anymore.  She’s more nervous about things than ever.  She has starting having accidents…and nervous peeing when for the most part, she had completely stopped that.  When she goes outside to pee she started peeing on the cement of the patio and not going onto the grass.  She’s gained weight.  She walks so slow and seems too tired when she walks.  When I go to take pictures of her on a quilt, she’s not happy and excited about it.  I hated it.  I simply thought she turned five and had hit that “older” stage of dog.  It was sad.  I missed “MY dog”…but figured it was time I realized she had hit five and wasn’t a frisky girl anymore.

I talked with Kelli and Kalissa about it…Hubby and I talked about it often.  We all kind of agreed that she wasn’t quite herself but chalked it up to old age.  We thought it was kind of early for old age to gotten her but who knows….

Then about a week or so ago I noticed that she was cocking her head all the time.  I asked Hubby to watch her and he agreed she was.  All of the time she would lean her head to the side like this….The other thing she started doing was not knowing her personal space.  I would turn to throw something in the garbage and almost trip on her.  I would be cooking at the stove and she would get tangled in my feet.  This NEVER happened before.


I talked to Kelli and Kalissa and they offered to help me get her to the vet.  Our vet is 45 minutes away but only 15 minutes from Kelli’s house.  Yesterday was her day to go.

I thought maybe she had ear infection…maybe she was having vision problems in one of her eyes.  I was only guessing.

After some testing, we found out this….Ruby is VERY hypothyroid.  She has to start taking Levothyroxin which is the same medicine I take for my thyroid.

But there might be more than that happening.  Ruby might have problems and has hypocradrenocorticism.  That means she would have high cortisol levels.  No testing can be done for this until she has been on her thyroid meds for a couple weeks.

So Kelli is taking her back to the vet on November 14th.  She will have a test done to check her thyroid levels.  If there are okay then they are going to do a test to check her cortisol levels.  To do that they give her steroids.  Then she has a blood test in four hours and another 4 hours after that.

That will tell us is she has issues with cortisol.  If she does that means she has hyperadrenocorticism.  It comes in two forms…one pituitary dependent and the other would indicate an adrenal tumor.  If she does…that’s where things start to get dicey…that’s where we have to start making decisions about quality of life.  That’s when dog ownership suddenly gets a lot less fun.


I can’t thank Kelli enough for taking her and dealing with telling it all to me.  She’s a good daughter.

The good news is that it could be only hypothyroidism.  She could have to take a cheap pill morning and night, likely for the rest of her life.  That would all be no problem.  All of the “things” that I thought were symptoms of aging could be explained by hypothyroidism.  The bad thing…they could be explained about the other disease too.

…so…likely one of two things could happen.
We can test and find out it was hypothyroidism…nothing else.  The meds would help Ruby get back to her old self.
We can test find out it was more than hypothyroidism and we start accessing Ruby’s life.  We decide what her pain levels are and when it’s appropriate to say good-bye.

So that’s where things are with Ruby.  I feel terrible for not taking her in sooner….I honestly didn’t know.  Hubby said, “who even knew a dog had a thyroid?”

We are all cautiously optimistic…we’ll know more on the 15th or so…I’ll let you know more when I do.

23 thoughts on “Ruby to the Vet”

  1. My mother, a nurse, has been on thyroid replacement medication since before I was born (I’m just about your age, Jo). Roughly 30 years ago, her cat was diagnosed with HYPERthyroidism. She got his meds at the same pharmacy she got her HYPOthyroidism meds and completely confused the pharmacist. He asked if she was sure these were the meds she wanted. Good luck to you and Ruby. I hope it’s an easy fix.

  2. The most important thing is that Ruby is loved! So glad you acted on your intuition that something was wrong. Whether she lives another 5-10 years or not, she has loved and been loved so dearly and by more people than you’ll ever know! Love on her for all of us, Jo!

  3. I’m going with ‘have hope’. We had a diabetic cat that required oral medication and special food. We decided giving her shots wasn’t an option and we’re set to live with a life expectancy of 6-12 months, but sad about it. With no additional additional care beyond 6 month check ups & the oral meds she lived 4 more years! She lived to 17. I think consistent care and love makes for a good life however long. Good health wishes to Ruby.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about Ruby’s health issues. She is with the right owners who are taking proper care of her and will do the best for her. We lost both our dogs in the last year and it is always a rough time . But Ruby is still relatively young and we will pray she responds well to medication and lives many more years!

  5. I will keep Ruby in my prayers. Don’t beat yourself up about getting Ruby to the vet sooner. They can’t tell us that they don’t feel well and chances are, this came on gradually. You are a good pet owner. Hoping it’s just the hypothyroidism!

  6. Wishes for Ruby to get better and that you don’t have to face anything dreadful with her. We had to make that awful decision this spring for our dog of almost 15 years old. It was so hard but it came down to her quality of life too. We still miss her. And you are right dog ownership isn’t fun when you are faced with this kind of decision!

  7. Hyperthyroidism is so terrible when it is really bad that I have hope for you that Ruby’s problems will go away……I am praying with you that that is all it is…If only our little friends could tell us more when they don’t feel well……It sounds like you have a great Vet….

  8. Our dog is a golden and they are prone to thyroid problems so he has been on medication since age 5. Just like people unfortunately, they have diseases too. Hope Ruby gets better once on the medication.

  9. Sorry to hear the news about Ruby. I will hope for a good report from the tests in November. Is there anything dietary that you could do for Ruby that would help?

  10. Hugs to all, sending thoughts and prayers for a good outcome. Just made a Vet appointment for one of ours. Both are rescues so there is always a piece of their history that is unknown, makes it scarier.
    On a lighter note, I just opened my package from Quiltmaker 100 Blocks and there you are! Front and center, big block! Congrats. Have you made a quilt from the block? I gotta tell you though that my first thought was a “Bonnie block?” but I then thought no, not quite. Should have guessed yours. LOVE it and have to have a quilt from it.

  11. I’m so glad you had her checked out and now have some answers on her behavior, so sad that she is having issues. I did not know that dogs could have thyroid issues. I hope its a simple pill to fix the issues and we can continue to enjoy seeing Ruby in more pictures. Hugs to Ruby and all those who live and love her.

  12. One of our dogs a border collie mix had some of the same symptoms, weight gain, low energy, few years ago blood test came back very low thyroid (I don’t know if that means hypo or hyper or whatever our vet just called it very low thyroid) She’s been on medds for the past few years and snapped right back lost like 20 lbs in first month. Energy level way back up. Only takes 2 pills day one morn and one eve. They are very inexpensive around $30 which lasts couple months. Good luck with Ruby.

  13. Lots of positive thoughts coming Ruby’s way, Jo…. It is hard when a pet has a health problem, but you are getting her the attention she needs….hoping for a good outcome from her appointment in November.

  14. Sandra Davidson

    I just said a little prayer for Ruby she is such a sweetie and so loved. All of us people with hypothyroidism know we can survive on that one little pill a day. All my best and hugs Sandra

  15. So sorry that Ruby is having problems! My little dog has bladder cancer, is on chemo, and has outlived the vets prediction of a 4 month additional life span. She was diagnosed over a year ago and still is doing well…Has to be in diapers now, but that does not seem to bother her! Hope Ruby’s news is good!

  16. I lost my dog last Friday. It hurts! He had blastomycosis, which is something they get from the soil. Seems some soil in Illinois has this fungus in it and even humans can get it. Who knew? It affects their lungs. He went so fast! Hope your Ruby is around for a long long time.

    1. Cindy..I’m so sorry for you loss. I didn’t know that was something that could happen to dogs or people. Pets are family…

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