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Thursday was kind of traumatic, and it wasn’t just because of the $500 vet bill. The entire visit took about an hour and a half. During our appointment (which ran much longer than anticipated), there was some tense conversation when we tried to ask for the thyroid tests to be done at an outside lab. Then, the first attempt at pulling a blood sample from our unsedated Shiba resulted in a noisy, violent, and shitty (literally) mess. Our vet returned to our examination room, obviously flustered and more or less ready to throw in the towel and pass us off onto their referred dermatologist. Bowdu, stinking of his own liquid feces, was returned to our room panting hard and sans cone. It was practically tossed into the room after him, then the door slammed with a note of disgust — his cone was the only thing that had saved a vet tech from getting seriously injured by our little monster. The fact that he had slipped out of it seemed to surprise the technician. Apparently we should have warned her about his Shiba ‘Scape Skillz, and not to handle him by the cone (he was wearing his Martingale on a leash, as well as the cone on a buckle collar stacked on top of it).

But we were there for a blood draw, so we were going to get it from him, dammit. After some quick thinking, we agreed to sedate him and go through with the procedure. Since the injection was just a jab to the hindquarters, my boyfriend was able to hold him in his arms while the job was done. Within a few minutes, Bowdu had collapsed into a woozy heap on the floor against my shoe. My boyfriend tried to pick him up off the floor, but apparently the urge to bite had not been sufficiently drugged out of him yet. Bowdu’s teeth clamped down hard on his hand, breaking skin. His muscles were all confused, and he didn’t seem capable of letting go by himself — my boyfriend had to pry his jaws apart with his free hand.

The vet tech’s professional timing was better. When they came to fetch him, all he could do to register his displeasure was stick his tongue out in a dopey-looking pout. The blood was collected, spun, and as of today, analyzed.

The good news is that Bowdu’s blood panel came back perfectly normal. Yay!

The better news is that his free T4 thyroid reading is low. The vet called it “borderline” low on the voice message left for me, but given that the “normal” range is between 8.0 and 40.0, and Bowdu’s reading was 9.0 (I don’t know the units yet, but I’ll find out later), I’m pretty confident in just calling it abnormally low and starting him on supplements ASAP.

This is “better” news because now we have a concrete step to take in improving his condition. One month after I started this blog, we’ve at least been able to get this far.