My little lady is 16 this month. She's been my
since I was 21. But we're hitting a rough patch, and I'm not sure what my course of action should be.
Ever since I had her fixed (at 6 months), my beastie has had weight management issues. She's averaged between 11 and 15 pounds her entire adult life. Except during her kittenhood, she's never been particularly playful; doesn't care for toys, just likes to nap and snuggle with her human. As a result, it's been a lifelong battle to get her weight down, with unspectacular results.
Now she's 16 and (predictably) suffering from arthritis in her hips and rear legs. She's been taking Cosequin mixed into her wet prescription food (Hill's j/d
for mobility) for the last year or so. Her vet and I have agreed not to go the route of corticosteroids because of the attendant kidney problems.
She's at the age where I take her to the vet whenever the slightest thing seems off, so she's had about four inspections over the past year, including X-rays, blood tests, urine tests, and all the usual senior wellness panels. She's had a rickety gait for the last few years, but only in the last few months has she really hit the wall. Instead of sleeping with me - which she's done obsessively since kittenhood - she'd been hiding in the closet or in a remote part of the condo. Occasionally she'd let out a pitiful noise until I came to find her.
Once things got to this point, I took her in again about three weeks ago. Doc said she was in excellent health - no heart, kidney, teeth, or liver problems - but she'd lost about a pound over the past six months, probably because she wasn't coming downstairs to eat as often. We discussed acupuncture, but it is tremendously expensive, so instead he prescribed her 0.3mg of buprenorphine, administered orally twice daily, for the arthritic pain. She's not eating as much as she used to, although she still drinks water and seems to be passing her food regularly. But she really just seems to be lying there
in one corner of my room.
Needless to say, I'm beside myself with anxiety. I've become accustomed to a the progression of aging over the years, but this latest development is hitting me pretty hard. It's hard to externally assign values of "happy" vs. "unhappy", but I do have quality of life to consider in the abstract.
So, given there are no discernible health issues aside from the arthritis, what now? Am I looking at an endgame here, or is this likely just the buprenorphine? And are there any other options I should be raising with her vet? I know she's not going to spring back to life at 16, but I find this all terribly depressing.