Usually when I start throwing hay (or appear to throw hay), he rushes out of the run-in shed and makes a bee line right for the hay. Now, I'll throw a couple piles of hay and then he'll mosey his way over to a hay pile. He'll still pin his ears but he doesn't have that same gusto that he used to have. At the beginning of the month, his back end was really giving him fits, which means he's off on the front.
His left hip is the one giving him problems, so he puts all his weight on the right hip/leg. But when the right leg/hip starts to hurt even more, he puts more weight on the front and in the beginning of November, he was limping on the front as well. Luckily we got him trimmed up, thinking that might be part of the problem (he's also slightly over at the knees as far as I can tell). But with the snow and freezing temperatures, I'm not sure if his hip is giving him more pain or if it's his feet that are bothering him. He doesn't walk like King, who has flat and super tender feet. But Dude does seem like he's overly cautious about where he's putting his feet.
So I don't know what to do. I don't want to stall him every night because that could cause even more stiffness with him standing around. But he seems to be hiding from the wind, which used to never bother him in the past. I'm guessing the hip now has arthritis so there's a lot of aches and pains. So I don't know if I should blanket him to see if that helps? If there's less wind and a little bit more protection, maybe he'd be less inclined to stay in the run-in shed (and keep everyone else hostage who goes in before him). Or if I need to put him on some type of pain medication? I don't want to run him through a gauntlet of tests but I'm not sure what to do with him to keep him comfortable. It dawned on me that he'll be 18 years old this coming year. In the Sanctuary's world, 18 is still considered young. But with the hip, it could be that for Dude, 18 is considered old and I need to start pampering him a little bit more.
So now I don't know what to do. I hate being in such a quandary. If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. Once the temps warm up, and the roads clear off, if Dude doesn't perk up, I'll be heading to the vet to see if there's anything I can do to ease his discomfort. I'm now adding Dude to my watch list.