Lab for allergy testing
(has been used by gimpydog list members and they recommend it)
Friday, November 23, 2007
Bowel issues are probably one of the most common issues with dogs, and also pretty elusive as far as actual diagnosis. Depending on your vet, they may initially diagnose and treat as a "your dog ate something that didn't agree with it" and most of the time that type of treatment will work.
Its when the symptoms become chronic that more invasive and evasive diagnostics are necessary to figure out the main cause of the problem.
Some vets will use colitis, IBD, IBS, and pancreatitis interchangeably as an initial diagnosis of "your dog has an upset stomach".
In almost all of the initial treatments, your vet will recommend:
- Fast the dog for 24 hours, just give limited amounts of water to reduce the chance of dehydration.
- Either prescribe an anti-diarrheal, or tell you to give pepto bismol, or Immodium
- Either prescribe or tell you to give your dog something to calm their stomach, such as Pepcid
- After the fast, put your dog on a bland diet, either prescription or home cooked (chicken and rice)
- If the issue gets worse, or does not resolve after a few days, return for further diagnostics.
If there's ever blood in the stool, or vomiting with diarrhea, it is best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet!
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A group of diseases of the small and large intestines, characterized by chronic and protracted diarrhea, malabsorption, weight loss, anemia, and malnutrition. Treatable, but seldom cured.
Pet Education Link
American Rottweiler Club Resource
Marvistavet Resource page
AKC Resource Page
K9Kitchen Support Group
IBDogs Support Group
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Chronic, occasional large bowel diarrhea, including frequent passage of small amounts of feces and mucus. Constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting and nausea may occur.
PetMD Resource for IBS
Marvistavet Article on IBS
K9Kitchen Support Group
Colitis: An inflammation of the colon, and responsible for about 50% of cases of chronic diarrhea in dogs. Painful defecation, prolonged squatting and straining, flatulence, and passing many small stools mixed with blood and mucus. Colitis requires a scope and a biopsy of the colon for actual diagnosis. Most vets will rule out any other causes and then treat the symptoms if money is an issue in getting a definitive diagnosis.
Diarrhea: The passing of loose or liquid stool more often than normal.
Washington State University article
Webmd for pets on diarrhea
ASPCA on diarrhea
Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a potentially life-threatening intestinal condition of the dog which manifests as sudden onset bloody, watery diarrhea.
Marvistavet HGE resource
Whole Dog Journal resource
One person's blog about the experience with their dog
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Larger breeds hit the senior years a lot faster than little dogs, so find out when your dog is official a senior so that you can start a senior citizen protocol with your vet.
The proper food and medical tests will keep your senior healthy and happy in their golden years.
Once your dog is a senior, you should have your vet perform an abdominal X-ray at least once a year to watch out for tumors, a complete blood work up to watch out for organs that might be getting cranky and not functioning properly, and a prostate exam on male dogs (especially uncastrated male dogs) to make sure the prostate is not enlarged, and to rule out adenomas.
Spaying and neutering are VITAL for a senior pet's health. If performed while young, the risks of cancers and health problems decrease.
Abdominal Tumors - coming soon
- Canine Epilepsy Resources (one of the best sites for epilepsy)
- Epilepsy Guardian Angels (great resource for seizure disorders)
- Canine Epilepsy Network (College of Vet Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia)
- Where to buy books on living with epileptic dogs
- Marvistavet Information on seizures
Interview with the Five Sibes
One of the scariest illnesses around has to be epilepsy. A nasty disorder that can lurk unknown for months, or years only to appear out of nowhere and scare the bejeezus out of everyone involved.
I am blessed to have never experienced this issue in any of my gimpy dogs, but I know a lot of people who do and have. I don't envy them at all. I've dealt with spine, knee, and hip issues. I've dealt with blindness, cataracts, and a myriad of other gimpy issues, and would much rather deal with them again than have a dog with epilepsy. Its not that I wouldn't deal with it... I just would rather deal with something I can see, treat, or help with... seeing one of my poor pups dealing with a seizure would break my heart, and its very hard for me to understand how the brave epi dog owners can handle it.
It is a great honor that I had an opportunity to interview Dorothy Wills-Raftery, author of the FiveSibes blog™ who recently wrote a children's book about her Siberian Husky, Gibson, and his battle with epilepsy.
Gimpy Dogs: What is the biggest message the book will give to both kids and their parents?
Dorothy: It is my hope that the message kids and parents get will be that it's okay to have a pet with epilepsy. Today there are medications, diets, and vitamin therapies that can help a dog live a good life, even as an Epi-Dog. I also hope that it takes some fear away for children. They may have a pet of their own that has Canine Epilepsy, or even a family member, friend, or they themselves may epilepsy, so I hope this helps them know they are not alone. And there are real tips in the book, such as the bag of frozen peas... cooling a pet's body after a seizure is important and when Gibson had his first seizure I didn't have an ice pack in my freezer so I used a loaf of frozen Italian bread and bags of frozen of peas. If a child sees their pet seizing and they remember to get a bag of frozen peas or a dish of water or even the vanilla ice cream ready, then they will feel they are helping, and that's important.
Gimpy Dogs: Even though its in a kid's version format, can a dog owner just starting out learning out Canine epilepsy learn from reading it?
Dorothy: Yes, I believe so. The "Tale" is based on true facts from Gibson's seizures, so the things that Harley instructs the pups to do or she does herself are true. She has them stay calm. She has them get a first aid kit - every Epi-Dog household should have one. Harley and the pups help steady Gibson and get him safely inside - a dog who has just had a seizure will be confused, disoriented, and even have temporary blindness, so they need some guidance and should not be left alone. Harley jots notes in a journal and a journal is important to have to mark down seizure dates, time, length of seizure, meds, emergency vet numbers, etc. Having ice packs or frozen peas on hand. Water to drink. And even the ice cream is fact for a few spoonsful of natural vanilla is good to help bring a dog who has just seized sugar levels back up. We always have a pint or half gallon of Breyer's All Natural Vanilla in our freezer just in case!
Gimpy Dogs: What is the one thing in the book that a first time epi-dog owner may discover that is not commonly known?
Dorothy: In the book, I'd have to say first-time Epi-Dog parents may not know about the First Aid Kit. In my blog I have a link to what is good to have in a First Aid Kit. The thing about Canine Epilepsy is that even a dog who is being successfully treated, there is always a chance a seizure could still occur. We pray it never will, but having the First Aid Kit keeps us prepared just in case. I'll be happy if it gathers ten inches of dust and never has to be used again, but I will always have it on hand.
Gimpy Dogs: You've talked in other interviews about how hard it is to just "let him live his life" without jumping at every little hiccup or snort, what helped you let go and just let him be a dog?
Dorothy: That was the best advice my vet gave me...but it's not always easy. I always keep Gibson under watch and I am vigilant in timing his medications, vitamins, and meals and also opt to have his blood levels checked every six months (sooner if I think something may be off) rather than annually. I think the biggest thing that helped me adjust though is time. As each day turns into a week that turns into a month that turns into a year passed without a visit from the "seizure monster" is what really helps. I let Gibson lead me. If he is happy and talkative and is eating and playing with the others, then he makes me feel good and that's the key. When he has the days of stomach upset or is really lethargic, then I am on high alert. Having a baby monitor by his bed helps too!
Gimpy Dogs: What was the biggest resource, other than experience, that helped you learn more about epilepsy in dogs?
Dorothy: There are three. First, a gal who I met via social networking when I posted a notice on MySpace explaining what was happening with Gibson. She is a nurse with an Epi-Dog and she talked me through so much in the early days, including what to expect and side effects from the meds. I also have a wonderful - no, make that awesome - veterinarian team. They care so much about Gibson, all of my Huskies, and are open to discussing the best treatment for him. They are also pro-holistic treatments combined with medication. I like that. They do not believe in over-medicating a pet, and they just really work hard to keep him healthy. Then there are some valuable online resources (which are also listed in the blog link) including the Canine Epilepsy Resources, the center I will be donating a percentage of profits from the book to so they can keep up the great job of providing valuable information and resources to Epi-Dog parents worldwide.
Gimpy Dogs: Who would you recommend this book to, and for what reasons?
Dorothy: I'd recommend it for everyone! All ages of children as young children like to help and this book will help them to understand Canine Epilepsy so hopefully they won't be afraid if they see a seizure and they may even know what to do in the event one happens. The story is also creatively illustrated by artist Michelle Littler. She has created the Huskies so adorably that everyone can't help but smile when they see their expressions! It's a good book for teachers and parents to read to children and then hopefully have a discussion afterwards so it can be an important learning tool. I also think adults and pet owners will like it as well. It's a book that will appeal to the child and pet lover in all of us, while also discussing the important topic of Canine Epilepsy Awareness.
The book "What's Wrong With Gibson" is available at ArcticHouse Publishing
If anyone is interested in purchasing the book, they may do so at theArcticHouse Publishing website. Books can also be personalized, if a reader would like, just leave a message in the "comment" section of the order form.
If you want to learn about canine epilepsy, want to teach a child about it, and help a worth cause at the same time, please consider ordering your copy!
Thank you Dorothy and the FiveSibes for helping others understand this invisible disorder that affects so many!
- Gimpy Dogs
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Congestive Heart Failure:
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM):
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA):
Chronic Valvular Disease:
Inherited Cardiovascular Disorders
Heart Support Group:
Urinary Tract Infections
Sunday, March 04, 2007
He’s been getting back on a regular routine with the other dogs, and has stopped having potty emergencies in the house. He’s actually asking to be let out when he needs to go, so the 4 times out per day rule is out the door. He’s also been going up the stairs with more improvement these past few days, actually able to support himself better in the jumping up the stairs, although his back legs are still weak at times.
His walking gait has improved somewhat, although if he gets in a hurry, the right back leg goes a little wacky and we have to slow him down so he gets some control over it. Going down the stairs is still problematic, as he still insists on leaping down all three stairs, which we’re not keen about at all. We’re trying to slow him down with the leash to get him to actually walk down the stairs, not spring and leap down them. While he’s allowed to go up the stairs whenever he goes out, due to his leaping down style, we only allow him one or two down the stairs per day as we don’t want him to jar his back.
On friday I let Meeshka downstairs for a quick visit. Loki was outside, and I felt more confident with handling two dogs instead of three should they get a little out of hand. They did the obligatory sniff greeting, and then once Meeshka figured out that I didn’t have any food to give her, she decided to play with Sam. Sam wanted to play too, and I allowed them a few chest bumps and posturing, but when they decided they wanted to do full tilt wrestling, I called a stop to it and sent Meeshka back upstairs. The last thing I needed was a misplaced claw on a bare back and injury.
Today we carried Sam upstairs and gated him off in the upstairs computer room with hubby. Since he mainly lounges around most of the day downstairs with me, we figured we’d give him a change of pace upstairs, be with all of us, and give the pups some sniffing opportunities while he’s up here. For the most part... they’ve totally ignored him. Oh, its Sam, hey, how’s it going, I’m going to go nap now. That’s been about it as far as dog/dog interaction goes. I’m also upstairs with everyone, and I figured that they would be thrilled to have me up here with them... well, they’re sleeping in their usual spots, where they’ve slept since I’ve been spending time downstairs. So, all that worrying about them being separated from me, and not having anything to do... yeah, they’re now in a nap mode routine and probably didn’t even care that I was downstairs all this time.
I’m glad to see that they’re as mellow as usual, that having Sam up here (even though he’s double gated away from them) isn’t a big deal, and hopefully we’ll be getting back into the usual routine of things once Sam has gotten his strength back and can navigate the stairs by himself.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
It does seem as though he's not leaking either as much or not at all when he sleeps. We're very happy about that, as well as having him need to drink so much water because of the pred.
Now that the weather has melted the glacier in our yard, we still sling him to help him up the three steps and then release him from the sling to walk around on his own. He's leaning still a bit to the left when he walks, just the back end swinging around ever so slightly, but he is starting to correct that. He still curls to the left on the backside when he eats or drinks, but he's starting to correct that as well.
He slept on the aero bed with hubby all happy and content, eating well, being a husky by annoying me.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that he's getting so much back to normal that I'm going to stop doing the daily updates. Although he has some more recovery to go through, we are now in the returning to normal routine and getting our sweet, considerate, and somewhat evil Sam back, so every day is becoming just a normal day with him... and for that we are ever so grateful to Dr. Schueller and his staff, the staff of the Catonsville Vet ER clinic, the folks at CVS, and everyone that has been reading Sam's recovery postings.
I will continue to post milestones and special events (like the meeting of the pups), but I don't see any reason to post "he's fine, took a poo, tried to jump on the table" when that happens every day now.
I hope my writing or our experience with Sam's recovery is helpful to someone who, unfortunately, finds themselves in a recovery situation. I only hope that they experience the same caring, concern, professional help, and support that Sam and our family has received from everyone.
So, back to posting gimpy dogs in need, educational articles, and yes, milestones for Sam as he cruises his way back 100% healed and husky.
thank you everyone
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
No accidents, just a very happy puppy on his cushy pillow that was smiling and wagging his tail at me when I came downstairs this morning.
He’s trying too hard to get up the stairs and I’ve needed to lift him up. He keeps trying to jump up them, not walk up them, so we’ll need to try to slow him down so he walks up them and gets some strength in his back legs. It was still very slippery in the yard this morning, but mushier because it was in the 40s, so he was able to walk pretty much without the sling and even do his business without it holding him up.
Lunch was uneventful, although I thought he’d be happy about the bit of tuna water I put in his food. He’s pickier than he use to be and wasn’t happy about my mucking with his food mix. I’ve learned my lesson and will continue with his normal food mix from now on, guess he showed me.
I got home shortly before hubby, so I let Meeshka and Loki out, then back in, went down and got Sam out, and surprisingly he didn’t poo and wanted right back in after marking some spots. I figured he was hungry, since over the weekend he had free access to food and eats a lot throughout the day. I’ll need to come up with better ways to stuff his kongs so he has more food throughout the day. He did suck his food mix down pretty fast and I gave him some kibble to snack on for later.
While hubby was down with him while he ate, I let the pups out and chipped more ice off Sam’s regular path, then did poo duty for the rest of the dogs. The yard was getting a bit “full” and Meeshka had been glaring at me because her regular poo spot hadn’t been cleaned lately, so rather than face her wrath, I went out and cleaned up. After that there was some steam cleaning of the spot Sam chooses to have his emergency pees on (and the pee pads sometimes don’t always catch) and before we knew it, it was 7pm, so we ordered pizza.
I have a sink full of dishes (why I bought bakeware that you can’t throw in the dishwasher, I’ll never know, but that crap is going as soon as I find replacements), and nothing thawed, so pizza on paper plates was the answer to our food dilemma. Now we just have to remember to put the leftovers in the fridge and not in the oven... also known to husky owners as the large food safe. The microwave is the small food safe. If you don’t have huskies, then you probably aren’t aware of their amazing counter surfing abilities that will net them whatever happens to be on the kitchen counter that they want. Oh sure, you obedient breed owners are saying “just train them not to do that”. Well, for huskies, training them not to counter surf would pretty much be a lot like training them not to breathe. Oh sure, they wouldn’t do it while you were standing there saying “don’t get on the counter”, but the moment you turned your back they’d be up on the counter and eating your pizza, box and all.
So, to prove this, I give you tonight’s exchange between myself and Sam, who wanted the pizza on my table downstairs:
Sam jumps and puts his front feet on the table
Sam NO, gently push down
Sam jumps and puts his front feet on the table
Sam jumps and puts his front feet on the table
Sam, stop it
Sam jumps and puts his front feet on the table
Sam, I’m serious, NO
Sam jumps and puts his front feet on the table
Sam jumps and puts his front feet on the table
This goes on forever.
Which isn’t nearly as bad as Sam on the couch AGAIN when I came back downstairs with my pizza, but still.
About the time that I hear Meeshka and Loki running back and forth upstairs like wild buffalo and wooing (except that wild buffalo don’t woo), and the telltale sound of hubby letting them out... Sammy claws at the back door and woos “gotta go out now”. Of course you do, because its the most inconvenient time for you to go out, so of course you have to go out.
I go upstairs, bribe Meeshka and Loki to come back inside, go downstairs and leash Sam and out we go. He heads straight to his poo spot, so I know he’s serious. One poo. He starts walking back to the house, whips around and trots back to the sacred poo spot. Two poo. He turns a circle and Three poo. I know he’s done because he does his little victory dance and heads for the back door again.
After eating some more kibble, he’s down for the count and napping. Worn out from his illegal couch jumping, table jumping, pacing, and pooing. He’s had quite a full day.
Monday, February 19, 2007
It was icy there too, and Sam just couldn’t find the right pee spot, and he really, really loves that vet place and pulled us into the waiting room. There was a couple sitting there with their dachshund waiting for a swim therapy session. I herded Sam across from them and sat in a chair, and Sam did his girly squat and proceeded to shoot pee across the small waiting room and peed a river. The dachshund owners looked aghast, not sure if it was the river of pee or the fountain coming toward them. I knew better than to move him, because he’d just spray everything in the waiting room, so I just let him finish up and then we asked the receptionist if they had a mop. They laughed, and we blamed the pred.
Dr. Schueller saw him and was simply amazed at his progress. Despite Lyme, platelet count low, the extent of the rupture, he was thrilled beyond words at how mobile he was, his attitude, how good he looked, and his reflexes and movement. He declared him 70% healed and told us to slowly increase his activity level, slowly re-introduce him to the other dogs for limited and supervised visits, and that he can walk up a small amount of stairs, but not down them until he gained some more weight, got his muscle mass back up to normal, and in a month or two he’ll be 100%.
We’re to decrease his pred to 5mg once a day, then call them next week for the next reducing dose and to make sure he’s doing ok and give them an update. He’s rejecting some internal sutures, which he said is fine, some dogs do that. If we see them migrate out, we’re to just clip them with fingernail clippers to keep them short and not catch on things, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get infected.
He also said that the urine leaking is most probably due to the pred and muscles not being as strong as before. The issue should go away once he’s off the pred, and if not, we can bring him back in for some testing to make sure its not nerve or spine related, but he was pretty confident that it was the pred.
When we got him home we allowed him to walk up the three back stairs to the outside, but he’s still on sling restriction, at least until the ice in the yard melts (hopefully tomorrow). Once the yard isn’t so slippery, then he’s just on leash restriction and we can walk him longer out in the yard. He took the stairs really well and didn’t freak us out. He may have issues with pooping where we’ll need the sling to help him, but he’s been doing that with minimal help lately. On the way back in, we cautiously let him try the stairs going down, but the fool decided just to leap down the three stairs. Luckily I still had the sling on him and hubby caught him before he landed, so we were able to give him a smooth landing. So... he can go up, but no going down.
Now that he’s allow to do steps, I’m thinking that hubby will finally allow him to be free downstairs while he sleeps, and I’m sure I’ll get to hear him complain about him hogging the bed. We still plan to keep him downstairs and segregated from the other pups for now. They’ll be allowed to visit with him for short periods of time, but due to the no stairs thing, it would be premature to move him back upstairs and then have to carry him up and down those stairs.
So, its business as usual for recovery, except he’ll now have more exercise in the yard, more freedom out of the crate during the night, and maybe even limited play time.
Of course, he was listening in to this whole plan, so when I went upstairs for something, after making sure the anti-puppy jumping on the sofa block was up... he figured out how to move that aside and I found him smiling and happy laying on the couch. Ok, fine, you can jump up, but no jumping down. When he decided that he had enough of laying on the couch, I helped him off.
I can’t believe we have 70% puppy now, we’re so relieved that he’s doing much better than expected, and that he’s well on his way to recovery. Sure, we’ll have some bumps here and there, but looking back at the Christmas day where we were in the Vet ER asking them if this was something that could kill him... I’ll take a few bumps, now that we have our happy, smiling Sammy almost back to normal.
Sam survived a vacuuming. We didn’t vacuum him, we vacuumed downstairs because his little area was getting slightly nasty. He was crated during the traumatic event, and did well except for some screeching. He doesn’t care for the Dyson. Meeshka and Loki yelled at each other over empty kong bones. They’re going to need some tough love, since they’ve been pretty much left to their own devices for Sam’s recovery. I figured they might have some “issues” to deal with. Give a husky a foot and they’ll take a mile, so now they think they own the upstairs. I’ll have to teach them who the real boss is (they are, but lets keep that a secret).
Sunday, February 18, 2007
We’re still having issues with the slippery back yard. Because its so slippery out there, I’ve had to support him in the sling a lot more in order to keep him from slipping and falling down, so he’s probably not getting the exercise he needs walking around out there. I’d rather he not get a good walk in than fall down and re-injure himself though. He is getting plenty of indoor walk time with me being downstairs with him and he’s able to walk all over the downstairs when he wants. Even without the Ace, he still sleeps a lot, and that’s actually pretty normal. He’s still in “routine” mode on the weekends: Breakfast, nap, lunch, nap, dinner, do stupid husky things until bed. That’s the usual routine around here anyway and its good to see he’s sticking with it.
He also didn’t seem to miss his Saturday going out for swim routine. I’m thinking he was dreading 5pm because that’s when we normally took him there, and then seemed very happy when that didn’t happen. Of course, I could be imagining that, but he did seem overly happy when we didn’t go anywhere.
Tomorrow is the long drive to Westminster to see his surgeon and his final spine check up. I don’t know if they’ll be drawing blood or not to check on the Lyme, or actually what they’ll be doing with him, but I hope we’ll be lifting some of his restrictions. I’m pretty sure that jumping on the couch and stairs won’t be lifted any time soon. He MAY be able to go up the three steps to the outside, but I’m sure the 10 steps upstairs won’t be anything he’ll be doing in the near future. For one, I wouldn’t trust his legs to hold him for such a climb. He’s still not 100% on the whole balance thing, and needs some muscle strength before that happens. I’m sure jumping on the bed is going to be right out, so we’ll be leaving the bedroom door closed when he finally gets his ok to come back upstairs. He has his own cushy pillow on the side of the bed that he’s very protective of. Ok, none of the other dogs want the cushy bed because they hog my side of the bed (or Meeshka hogs the air vent), so that’s not a problem.
We already have area rugs in the kitchen to cover the linoleum so he doesn’t slide around, and he’s actually very good at only walking on the carpets before the incident, so I don’t have any fears with the kitchen. The rest of the house is carpeted, so no worry there either. I’m sure with all the thinking, plotting, and planning something will come up, but we’ll improvise and handle that when it comes up. I just can’t wait for him to be a pack member again.
The usual Sam out, slide around on the ice, then back in for lunch and his after lunch nap. Meeshka and Loki are lounging in the sun on the deck. They want the cold weather, but the heat of the sun for their napping. Huskies are goofy like that.
So far, my evening has been spent like this:
Sam, get down.
Sam, don’t jump on that
Sam, get off there
Sam, leave it
Oh yes, he’s feeling oh so much better tonight. He just went outside for a very good poo (first solid one in a few days), and now he’s terrorizing me, so I bribed him with a bully stick. He’s certainly full of energy tonight, and even made an attempt to run down the fence line when the neighbor dogs were out and barking at him. Of course, I’m behind him, slipping and sliding all over the place trying to keep the sling tight in case he slips, and keep my balance at the same time. I managed to convince him to be a good dog and leave the other dogs along, but he made his point by sniffing at the fence before listening to me.
I can’t wait for the yard to thaw, and actually even though tomorrow is suppose to be cold, starting on Tuesday we’re suppose to be getting a warm up, with a predicted high on next Sunday at 65 degrees. This weather is nuts, that’s for sure. I’d much rather deal with some rain than this crappy ice stuff in the back yard.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Hubby came down with the pups at one point, and when he brought them back in, Loki (always rude) went around the gate, so here I am with Sam, and now Loki in a big husky bunch, trying to keep Sam from breaking through the gate, and Loki from getting all the way through the gate, and they just acted as though it was one big mommy sandwich getting love. That was cool. Hubby, on the other hand, about had a nervous breakdown. He’s still in the bubble wrap stage, not wanting him jostled or bumped, not allowing him any time by himself, constant supervision, constantly staying close in case he falls or stumbles. He’s so cute. Apparently he has no idea that I pretty much let Sam be Sam right now, and except for blocking the couch so he can’t leap on it, or blocking the stairs so he can’t run up them, I’m allowing him the small leap onto the aero bed, letting him eat, drink, walk around, pace, and leaving him down here unsupervised for small periods of time, knowing all of the danger zones are blocked.
Its going to happen eventually, the whole freedom, the whole husky play thing, the whole Huskies akimbo, might as well move into it gradually and adjust as we can, rather than just give him all that freedom at once. I figure this way, I can see the reactions, see what may be an issue and deal with it right away gradually. I’m sure there will be screaming and differences of opinion on this, but that’s what happens. I’m all for leaning toward the side of caution, but I do realize that I have to let them all be how they are.
The deck stairs have thawed sufficiently to let Meeshka and Loki out that way, so Sam’s little recovery area is back to its calm state. Ok, Sam isn’t calm by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s another story. Right now, for him, its nap time. Loki and Meeshka are outside, and I can only imagine that Meeshka is laying right on the ice and loving every minute of it, while Loki is staring at something. They will only play and run around if there’s an audience, so right now they’re happy just to be laying in the cold outside.
I haven’t aced Sam since... gee, I can’t remember, and he’s doing well in the crate without the sedation, and doing well out of the crate without the sedation, with moments of husky nuttiness as usual. I’m thinking that his days of sedation are over, and maybe I’ll save the last few pills for hubby during the husky reunion festivities (just kidding... sorta). I plan on letting him sleep on the aero bed with me again tonight, since we was such a good boy and stayed put the entire night. I wake up for anything dog related and would have woken had he jumped off the bed, and he didn’t. Just sprawled and enjoyed his night on the comfy air bed. I’ll have to change the cover because of his leaking, but that’s what washing machines are for, no big deal.
I went upstairs to finish fixing dinner for us, having fed the pups and Sam already. I neglected to put up the piece of cardboard that blocks the couch and yes, you guessed it. There was Sam, laying on the couch, looking very pleased with himself. He wagged his tail furiously as I lifted him off the couch, then he tried to steal my dinner.
Friday, February 16, 2007
The pups have sniffed him through the baby gate and were not impressed, which is a good sign. Hey here’s a dog... oh, its just Sam. Sam got a bit mad when he was locked in his crate for their grand entrance and exit, and Loki managed to squeeze past the baby gate and started eating Sam’s food. From his crate, Sam yelled at him and actually had his hackles up. Now, Sam raises his hackles for everything. Food time gets his hackles up, playing gets his hackles up. I think among other things, he’s got dysfunctional hackles. The funny thing now is that with the shaved area, he only has a tiny tuft of hackles. It actually looks more like a hackle. I was teasing him, telling him to get his hackle down... he didn’t seem amused.
He’s been doing stupid husky things all day, like trying to jump up on the table with his front feet to get kleenex, trying to run and play bow, jumping on the aero bed and bouncing, sliding around on the ice, and just generally being a pain in the butt between napping. Ok, he’s a good puppy, but still, he’s trying to give me a coronary by doing husky things.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Its REALLY icy out in the back yard, so frozen that you don’t even break through the snow, its like a glaze of ice out there. Sam has slipped a few times, but I’ve made sure that I’m holding his sling up enough to where if he even loses his balance, his back stays straight. Of course my balance is questionable, but as I go down, I’ll be sure to keep that sling nice and steady. There doesn’t appear to be any relief in sight for the ice to melt or get mushy within the next few days, so we just have to be very careful out there with him.
Since I was a dork and didn’t scrape off the slushy snow on the deck or deck stairs when it was still slushy snow, its now a treacherous potential bone breaking slippery hazard. Because of that, we’re now forced to let the dogs downstairs and out the back door. This means going by Sam, who really, really wants to join then out there for a good romp and play. Yeah, not on your life $10,000 dog. I swear, these dogs just don’t appreciate the things you get them. Does he think that spines just grow on trees?
At the 8 pm dogs go out time, Meeshka and Loki dashed right by him behind the baby gate and paid him no attention (they had pee emergencies). On the way in, Loki stopped at the baby gate and they both had a tail wagging sniff, but then Sam started yelling at him. Maybe he blames him for the whole spine incident, even though I told him that I saw the whole thing and for a change, Loki was not involved at all. Regardless, they decided to yell at each other, so that’s perfectly normal. Sam doesn’t really like Loki anyway. Meeshka shoved her entire fluffy head under the railing and gave him a good long sniff. I think she does miss him. We’re still not sure how we’ll be re-introducing him to the pack again once he’s cleared for pack duty, and no matter what we do, I’m sure we’ll be total nervous wrecks about the whole thing, but it will all work out... we’ll just drink heavily from now on and bubble wrap him. Put sensors on him so if he gets bumped or jostled.... Ok, maybe we’ll just keep them all separate for the rest of their lives and put them in display cases. All right, it’ll be fine.
Now begins phase II of the freak out... restrictions being lifted. Join us as the humans go stark raving insane with fear and trepidation over the re-introduction of husky pack life in the next installment of Sammy, the fragile husky. Next thing you’ll read is our getting rid of all furniture and sleeping on the floor to keep him from trying to jump on things. EEEEEEEEE!!!!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The kitchen door is frozen shut from the weather, so I had to bring the pups downstairs so they could go out the downstairs back door. Plus I wasn’t crazy about letting them out on the slippery deck and slippery deck stairs. I don’t need another broken, ruptured, torn anything right now.
My office is closed today, so I’ll be spending time downstairs with Sam doing work, and then spending some time upstairs with the pups while Sam is crated for a bit. The big “if” is the weather, as we’re suppose to get more freezing rain and then 40 mph winds, which will probably mean power outages and mass chaos, cats and dogs sleeping together and all that. Hubby’s office is on a two hour delay, but he’s standing by in case his management catches a bit of sanity and closes his office. Its so horrible out there that its like an ice skating rink highway, and I’d rather he didn’t have to drive, even the 7 miles to his office for the day.
I haven’t Aced Sam since yesterday morning, and won’t Ace him today since I’ll be home. He’s still pretty mellow. Gets a bit worked up because Meeshka and Loki are in full snow mode upstairs, running back and forth and wanting to go out. He’s currently laying in the computer room with me taking a nap, which is a good thing. If he does get overly worked up, I can Ace him, but I’d rather save it for when we have to go to work. I’m sure he’ll now be fine in his crate while we’re at work without it, but like to have some on hand just in case.
Sam did very well today, he had moments of stupidity where he’d try to jump up to get something, and I did catch him trying to climb on the couch at one point, but other than that, he’s been a good boy. Still eating well, walking better, but he is having some slipping issues on that icy snow out there, but aren’t we all.
Today we had freezing rain, which settled on the trees. At one point hubby and I were out walking him for lunch and the wind picked up and started knocking these ice shards down on us. Hubby got hit on the hit with some, luckily there was no damage, but then we worried about them falling onto Sam’s back, so we kept him near the deck and away from the trees until the winds had blown the shards off the trees.
Loki and Meeshka have been play-play pups because of the snow, so they’ve managed to run around upstairs and get Sam all riled up. He so wants to go up there and be with them, but we keep telling him that he’s not well puppy yet and can’t go up there. I’m thinking that we’ll most likely have to keep him leashed upstairs and still semi segregated from the pups so he doesn’t take off running around like a loon when they get going, and try to do stupid things like jump up on the bed. That will be a difficult thing for him, because he LOVES lounging on the bed.
He’s having either puppy dreams or muscle spasm when he sleeps. He was twitching and going on under my feet just now, so I gave him a quick back leg massage to see if that would help him out. He’s lounging under the coffee table (his favorite lounge spot down here).
OOH, I almost forgot to give him his pred and antibiotics! He really loves those milk-bone chicken drumstick treats, and actually low crawled out from under the coffee table in order to get them. Now he’s chowing down on his kibble. He get moments of ravenous hunger, so I keep food in his bowl, make sure he’s got kongs in his crate to eat on throughout the day, and generally feed him pretty much when and what he wants.
After a good poo on the slippery snow and ice (I helped him balance this time, didn’t want him to slip), he came in and wanted a kleenex to rip up and eat. For some reason all of my pups like eating kleenex. Rather than him eating a whole box of kleenex, I gave him a bully stick to chew on instead. He’s happy now.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Sammy is doing great today. I actually had to remove my leftover food plate off the table I'm typing on because he was trying to jump up on the table to get at it. Yes, he's full of energy and husky spirit once again, demanding, into everything, and generally a pain in the butt. Its good to have him back.
We're expecting some "weather" tonight, but we aren't sure what because non of the weather people around here have a clue. We're hoping that its bad enough to close the state of Maryland, but we won't be that lucky and will probably have to crawl along the ground on ice with Sam to make sure he doesn't fall down. Who knows, I guess we'll see tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, he's in here trying to look all cute and helpless so I'll give him whatever it is I'm eating (which won't happen) and pacing around looking for devious things to do. We confirmed his 8 week appointment for Monday the 19th, so we're hoping that some of his restrictions will be lifted and we'll get the pack back together... once he's bubble wrapped and safe.
P.S. just as I posted this, Sam found a nice piece of paper to shred angrily since he didn't get my leftover food. Yep, he's back in husky form.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
When he was done eating, he walked over and sat down next to the aero bed and gave me that “gee, that bed looks awfully comfy” look. I told him to get on, and he walked onto it. Its no higher than a street curb, so it wasn’t like he was jumping on a sofa or real bed. He quickly made himself comfortable next to me and slept. He looked like he just won the doggie lottery, so pleased to be on a bed again, a little piece of normal in his life.
We have noticed that he leaks a bit when he’s sleeping or laying down. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in another post. I’m not too concerned about that at this point, since I don’t know if its something that is being caused by the pred, or something that may be connected to the incident and surgery, so we’ll just have to wait and see. We’ve dealt with leaky dogs before, its not that big of a deal and that’s why we have mini steam cleaners and big steam cleaners and puppy pee pads and carpet towelettes and Zero Odor and carpet that will get replaced if we ever sell and move. My concern is that if this is something that is long term, it will need to be watched carefully as it may cause urinary tract infections more frequently than a dog that doesn’t leak. He leaked a little on the aero bed, but the pads are washable, don’t care. I’m actually all caught up with laundry for the week for a change.
Around 8am, the other dogs burst out of the bedroom where they had been hassling poor hubby all night. Apparently they don’t just plop on the bed and sleep through the night with him like they do with me. They (according to hubby) torture him all night. With the rumbling herd upstairs, Sammy felt it was his turn to eat and go out, so after the herd had their turn outside, we went out with Sammy. He managed to poo all by himself this morning with no support from me, which is a very good sign in my book.
We had someplace to go to around 9:30, so I bribed him into his crate with a kong and cookie and he was fine with that. I’m back downstairs with him for most of the day, although I really need to go spend some outdoor quality time with the pups, and also scoop the yard which is out of control at this point... shame on me.
I locked Sam up in his crate while I did some housework. He was content to be in there with his kong and cookie while I did what I needed to do. I did get to spend some time outdoors with Meeshka and Loki, and they played. They require an audience in order to play, otherwise they just lay on the deck and watch the wild life go by. After my chores were done, I let Sam out, and he was in no rush to come out, now content with knowing that his crate restriction times are shorter now that he’s improving so much.
Moving my laptop downstairs so I can do certain things has also helped with my schedule. I feel less stress giving him time out, then locking him up to go upstairs. Should have thought of this sooner, but oh well, it’ll work out well now. One of the things I needed to do was strip off the sheets on the aerobed because he leaked on the bottom sheet, and wash those, so I pulled the covers off and threw them in the wash, came into the other room for a minute and realized that Sam wasn’t following me. I went out and there he was, sprawled all over the aero bed all comfy and happy. I just let him be. Sometimes you have to give him a little victory. He got lonely soon enough and came in here with me. He’s so cute.
Sam got up and walked into the other room and stayed out there. I went out to check on him and found him staring at his water bowl... so I filled it for him. Sometimes I wish he would be a bit more vocal about his needs, but I’ve learned to check and see what he’s staring at. Hubby is a little more oblivious to the staring, but Meeshka always seemed to watch out for him. I’ve noticed that Meeshka will come into a room wooing and clawing about something, then lead me into the kitchen, where Sammy was staring at an empty water bowl. I love how they work together sometimes. Of course, not the times they work together to steal stuff off a counter, or someone’s plate, but that goes along with the husky territory as well.
I had to share this with everyone. For those of you who aren’t husky owners, this probably won’t mean a lot to you, but for husky owners, you’ll know what I mean.
I brought my dinner down to eat with Sam in the computer room. He smelled it and was immediately interested in my dinner. Since we JUST got his BMs to a normal consistency, as much as I wanted to spoil him there was no way I was going to share with him, and told him so. He was not at all happy about my not sharing with him... so he found some plastic shopping bags on the floor and proceeded to rip them to shreds. Of all signs of progress, of all things he’s done, the fact that he’s getting on the aero bed when he knows he’s not suppose to, and he shredded the plastic bags in front of me signifies that our husky Sam is indeed feeling much better and more himself! I almost cried, seriously.
Another milestone, Sam woo’d softly to let me know he needed to go out. I really do think that he’s coming around back to normal more and more. He’s still on the pred, and the doxy and he’s still getting Ace to keep him mellow, but he’s showing more and more of that true husky spirit again. This is a great thing, because its so abnormal to have a mellow, well behaved husky. We’ll have to be on our toes from now on to make sure he’s not doing devious things again, but its such a relief actually. Their spirit and independent thinking is what really bonds us with this breed, frustrates us, endears us, wraps us around their paws. I can’t wait for the pack to get back together again and be whole again. I miss all of their evil pranks and husky attitude. You really miss the things you once cursed about!
Saturday, February 10, 2007
He’s also showing a lot more interest in outside things. He kept trying to run to the fence when the neighbors dog was walking nearby on the other side. I had to leash him in to keep him from running. He’s sniffing things and being more of a normal dog, which is good to see.
He downed his gruel hungrily, and is now chewing on his stinky bully stick right under me. Dang those things stink.
We have to break the news to the swim people that he can’t get any of his boosters until a month after he’s weaned off the pred, so I hope they’ll allow him to continue to swim without the bordatella. If not, then we won’t take him. I’m tempted to not just say anything to them, out of sight, out of mind, don’t ask don’t tell. We’ll play it by ear.
One thing to take into consideration in the recovery, is transferring the “patient” mentality to “dog” mentality. We’ve been treating him with kid gloves, letting him get away with things we normally wouldn’t allow, not making him do normal training types of things. Its time we switch to a more structured puppy behavior with him, to retrain him that he needs to go into his crate when we tell him, he needs to signal when he needs to go out (with the understanding that he’s still on pred and his bladder is still under a lot of pee stress), that he needs to listen to us when we say “no” or “sit”. We’ll have to integrate him back into the pack, so we don’t want his behaviors to rub off on the other dogs, and we want him to realize that he’s under the same rules as they are. This integration may be coming as soon as a week, as his 8 week recheck is coming up on the 19th.
I’m pretty sure that his stair climbing and going down won’t be coming as soon as next week. I’m pretty sure that he’ll be able to be leash walked without the sling, he’ll probably be able to go up the three stairs outside with the sling on initially, and everything will be done at super, super slow speed, but it is both exciting and scary to integrate him back into the pack, and getting back to semi normal once again.
Sammy has spent all day out of his crate, as I’ve sat up the laptop down here to give him a one day pass on the day’s crating. Meeshka and Loki are pouting and refuse to leave the landing, even though we’re both in the other computer room and out of site. I will definitely have to go out and play with them later, but I’m sure they’ll still be very mad at my silent treatment of them and will refuse to play (even though they really want to).
Sam has been doing good, not being too rambunctious or evil being out. He’s mostly lay around, taken naps, chewed on his bully sticks or walked around snorfling for scraps and treats. He’s supervised my laundry runs, and has very helpful trying to finish my tuna sandwich because he thought perhaps it was too much for me to handle. He didn’t get any, much to his disappointment. Its actually been a sorta productive day for me, getting the laundry done and concentrating on Web work that I’ve been procrastinating on, also cartooning for a friend. Oddly enough, the Sammy recovery experience has allowed me to realize that slowing down, not piling too much into a weekend, and just spending some quality time with all of the pups is much more relaxing than what our old routine had been.
I’m also finally getting over this rancid flu thing. I didn’t take any medicine last night and survived, and today I’ve only taken a Sudafed PE for some congestion. My brain doesn’t feel like oatmeal anymore, so that’s always a good thing, that whole thinking clearly thing.
Sammy went for his swim, he was very eager to get out of the house, eager to get into the swim building, not so eager to get into the swim area, and really not so eager to get into the pool. He did well again, three sets of laps with rests in between sets, but was more than willing to get out and go get rinsed and dried off. I got to experience the rinse and dry session, which pretty much means you end up getting more wet than Sam does.
Unfortunately the swim place can’t let Sam back until after he’s had his bordatella shot. I certainly understand their position and their reason for having such a rule, as they can’t have Sam potentially giving their clients bordatella and all, but since Sam can’t have any shots of any kind until after he’s been weaned off the pred for a month, that means that today was Sammy’s last swim until he can get his boosters. I’m fine with that really. I don’t want to compromise his immune system, he has Lyme, so he just can’t so swim there. We’ll find other ways to help him gain back his strength until he can get his boosters and return to the pool, if he even needs to return to the pool.
While his once a week swim sessions were no doubt good for him, I can imagine that he would actually require something more along the lines of twice or three times a week to be any beneficial to him anyways. So, it was fun while it lasted... well, maybe not to Sam, who still has that same terrified look in the water that he did the first times, but I’d rather err on the side of safety when it comes to him immune system and health, than risk it for a once a week exercise session.
Without any Ace, poor Sam has been zonked out from his swim for most of the night. He was really cute and hopeful earlier when he thought he was going to get some of my chicken casserole, but I resisted those cute brown eyes and didn’t give him any. He want over and sulked on his big cushy pillow. Pretty soon we’ll be waking him up and taking him outside for his final out for the night. He’s had a rough day of being out of the crate all day, then going for a swim. I hope he’s enjoyed his freedom. I’ll be spending some more time with him tomorrow so he’s not locked up all the time, but also have to give the other dogs some quality play time as well. I’m sure they’ll be claiming abuse and neglect because I’ve spent all day with Sam, but they’ll just have to get over it.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
This morning when hubby went to give him his morning before we go to work kong, he dashed out of his crate and skittered around the downstairs in a burst of freedom and energy. He did NOT want to go back into the crate, not even when bribed with the tasty kong. I had to go down there and try to convince him that it would be in his best interest to go into his crate, but he skittered off and then peed for a good 15 minutes (ok, it just seemed like something out of the Austin Powers Cryogenic thaw scene), before deciding that he could now go into the crate and eat his kong. I figured he had to go. One of the “good” side effects of the pred is that he drinks a lot of water, which is recommended on the Doxy pills, so its a good thing, and a bad thing that he drinks a lot. Lucky for us we’ve been strategically placing the pee pads in places where he’s most apt to go, now that we’ve figured out the average PSI of the squatting to pee male dog on pred. Its all an elaborate mind game with him, since he refuses to pee on the pee pad, but on the pred the flow shoots out pretty far and invariably he actually does pee on the pee pad. I’m sure he’ll be figuring out that soon enough and be shooting it across the room.
Lunch time was uneventful, except that he decided that he wanted to lounge and be fed small bits of kibble at a time while being massaged. Stop the massage, he stopped eating. Massage, he eats. I spent my lunch massaging him so he would eat, then ended up feeding him all of the crust of my sandwich (hey, I don’t like crust anyway).
He was nice and calm and quiet when I got home and let the healthy pups out. He was nice enough to wait for hubby to get home before starting to complain about being locked up and wanting out. The moment he got out of the crate he decided that he was going to eat his lunch gruel (that had been untouched for lunch) before going out, which meant he didn’t want his dinner gruel with pumpkin after he came back inside. I’m sure he’ll find that to be a tasty night snack when he goes out for his night time break. He did want to be massaged while he snacked on kibble on his cushy pillow, so I obliged, and also gave him a moist toilette rub down because he was getting a bit gamey from the firehose pee sessions. His aim leave a lot to be desired, and usually most of the pee ends up on his front legs. He’s not pleased about the moist toilette cleaning sessions, so I have to pretend that I’m just massaging him and happen to have a moist toilette in my hand while I’m massaging.
He took his pills well, only glaring at me a little when I was done and demanded more dog treat steak things, which I gave him. I even gave him some under the coffee table relax time after the pills, where he chewed on that foul smelling bully stick thing. As I was about to go stark raving insane with all of the “Anna Nicole Smith” specials already popping up before her body is cold, I enticed him into his crate and made my escape upstairs. We were fine until the pizza delivery guy came, and then he realized that he was being left out of the tasty food in a box fun and started complaining. We’re just letting him complain at this point since we know he’s eaten, peed, poo’d and is just being a brat.