Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Fur N Foliage event in pictures

Just a few photos I managed to take at the shelters annual dog walk event on Saturday.
The party can start once the dynamic duo arrives.
Who doesn't love that face?
The raffle table. Sadly I did not win the pink "Tiki Hut" dog house though I tried.

Beginning of the walk.
The agility guy decided to no show at the last minute so my gear was brought as the back up plan. Luckily I had some to bring.

Everyone had a blast on trying it out.
Minos made some new friends.

The food area. I can vouch that the hot dogs were fabulous.
Can you guess this guys breed? (photo above)
Giving out the big prizes to the walkers that raised the most in donations. (Congrats Missy!)
Susan and her helper filling out the "show" awards. Dog tags were being engraved at the table to the left.
We had a Santa's photo tent as well.

My sister and her boy kept me company at the table.

And me and my fancy signs. Who doesn't love FREE advice? We had great weather and a very fun crowd. I look forward to next years event.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three dog days and a Missy update

Sometimes having 3 dogs is a challenge. Not in the day to day routine which would be the same regardless of how many dogs I had, but in the little details. I happen to have 3 very different dogs so trying to provide for their specific individual needs is where the challenge comes in. Each has different exercise requirements as well as different mental stimulation needs. Fortunately for me only one is high energy. Most of the time I find this fun. My dogs are all very cool.
Adding to that challenge lately are my issues with one that isn't doing so well. Missy has progressed to having her episodes much more frequently. She also had a pretty big seizure yesterday as well. Fortunately I caught it on video which is on it's way to the specialist along with other video of her symptoms and her x-rays. We thought we had it figured out but either we are completely wrong or we are on the right track and she just needs different medication. Or something in between. (or I thought I knew what was going on even tho I didn't really because I was in denial to avoid that whole loss of control thing) Interestingly she seems to be doing somewhat better since the seizure but that may be due to a medication change just before it.
Dealing with a dog that was before very low maintenance (she is the perfect dog I must admit) to one that is high maintenance on top of keeping the other two happy at the same time has been interesting to say the least. Many days I have felt like I am floundering in that department. Beyond the general stuff with the dogs there is also the matter of the kids, husband, and work as well. I am mentally exhausted most days, hence my lack of posting. Thank goodness my family already has low expections of my domestic responsibilities.
I was also circling my wagons so to speak. I know there will be differing opinions on what I should have done and what I should do next with Missy's case. I wasn't sure how much I wanted to share because I wasn't ready to dodge the arrows. (been blogging awhile so I know how it can get with public opinion) I do not mind suggestions and opinions as long as they are given in a respectful manner and with the consideration that no one knows my big picture situation. Consider too that sometimes what a person wants to do and what they can do may not be the same thing.
For now I must wait and see what the specialists say and go from there. Think good thoughts that it is something not to big bad and scary. I haven't forgotten about the training posts I promised. Once things are back to a dull roar I will get back to that task.
For anyone local (Mid-Coast Maine) please come join me at the Humane Society of Knox County's annual pet walk on Saturday. I am doing a training demo and manning the free training advice table as well. Stop by and say hello. Another area trainer will be doing an agility demo and Santa will be on hand for photos with your pet. There will also be a micro chipping clinic for those in need. It is always a fun event and is a great fundraiser for our local shelter. Please come support them and make a donation. I know this year they are in great need of donations and have MANY mouths to feed. FMI check out their site: http://www.humanesocietyofknoxcounty.org/ Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Missy Moo update

So today Missy had her x-rays. We took a couple of her spine including her neck and tail. It showed that she has arthritis in her rear end which we knew. The more interesting thing, and what we were looking for, is that there are some odd spaces in her neck. One is a larger than normal gap between two neck vertebrae and right next to that is a v shaped space between two others that may account for the episodes if it is causing pinching of nerves or her spinal column. Or it could be a response to excessive pain caused by the gaps somehow. (I'll try to post pics of her x-rays this week.)
We had to anesthetize her for the process which I always hate to do. Aside from the brachycephelic issues, she just takes forever to get back to normal afterwards and looks miserable during recovery. Today I got a bonus of her vomiting on my hand as well. (oh good times)
For now we are going to put her on rimadyl which is a pain medication as well as an anti-inflammatory. We will see if this helps stop the episodes or if it changes them in any way. I also need to find out if chiropractic is an option since we have no idea how the gaps occurred or if they can be adjusted. Or maybe acupuncture for help with pain management. We might also send the x-rays out to a specialist for a second opinion. The problem is not having a normal frenchie spine as a comparison. They look like abnormal gaps to the doctor but could they be a normal view of a frenchie spine? Is there such a thing as normal abnormalities? Good question.
To add insult to injury for Missy, yesterday while racing to get inside she fell between the house and one of the steps breaking one of her nails almost completely off. Of course this was on my lunch break so I had limited time to address it. It was bleeding so I had to slap a bandage on it and get back to work. (a classic Monday from hell BTW which is always fun) Thankfully I knew we could get it fixed at her appointment today. At least she had good timing! By this morning she was gimping around on only 3 legs. They removed the nail and applied a fresh bandage while she was under. She is not impressed with the intruder on her foot.
One of the doctors came to the house after work the other day to check her because when she is at the hospital she gets so stressed. Her excessive panting makes it hard to hear her heart and she is tough to get normal reactions upon palpating her there to. Forget about seeing her walk normally. She shakes like a leaf all over. I have to say this helped us alot with an assessment. Dr. D got to see her being normal and managed to find a painful area so we knew where to look today. Sometimes the home turf is an important advantage. My hope now is that we can find what helps and keep her from being painful. There is nothing worse that seeing them hurt and feeling helpless to fix it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The trouble with waiting

At work lately it seems like we are getting far more "I need to come in today" calls. I think it is a sign of the times with people trying not to spend money on anything they deem as extra. The problem with this is twofold. One is that when you call the day you need to come in, there might not be room to give you an appointment. Oh of course we will squeeze the true emergencies in, even tho that means our day becomes hellish trying to keep everyone happy, but anything on the edge of that may need to wait a day or two if we have no room in the schedule.

The second problem with this is the fact that it may cost you even more money because the problem that would have been a quick easy fix, say like 1 small hotspot, has now become a raging infection needing more costly medication. Not to mention the longer discomfort period for the pet. When in doubt call your vet and get an opinion on when you can monitor a situation at home or need to come in to nip a potential larger issue in the bud before it gets out of hand.

Then we have the appointments that no show on us. Many times with no courtesy call to let us know. Everyone forgets an appointment now and then but we are seeing far to many regular no shows, especially with first time visits. What is that about? Hey you can change your mind and go somewhere else but a heads up would be really helpful. Especially on days we are double booking to get all the "I need to come in today" visits in. That waste of time is infuriating when we have spent alot of our time on the phone trying to juggle schedule time to accommodate everyone. (which we always TRY to do)

Speaking of waiting here is an update on our Missy. After 4 days of nothing she started again. I took her in for a check up and we ran a urinalysis. Everything was WNL= within normal limits. Our game plan is still to try to catch an episode on video. The specialists really like video to see so they aren't flying blind which could help alot. It might even help them narrow down what to look at. The whole family is on alert. I just missed one tonight before I got home but the report I got about it from my husband is now leading me to think it is something structural going on. She apparently stretched when he walked in the door and then yelped in pain and started doing her shaking. (the yelping had never happened before) He tried to get it on video but wasn't familiar with my camera and it was over to quickly to get the video before she was done. I read up on Wobblers and while I don't think it is that per say, some of the stuff does seem to apply which is why I am now thinking it is something similar. Frenchies can have spinal issues. I will give the update to the doctors tomorrow and see what they say. I'm thinking our next step is x-rays.

On an extremely sad note one of our staff members lost both of her dogs over the weekend to a tragic accident. I cannot imagine the pain of dealing with that kind of loss. My thoughts are with her. Godspeed to Hunter and Rocky. From what I had heard about them they were wonderful dogs and companions. Their lives were cut far to short and they will be dearly missed. Sometimes life just isn't fair.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A new toy for the yard.

OK so I didn't get the video of the 4 basics to post yet, nor did I get a walk in with the Canny Collar, BUT I had a great long weekend with the dogs and my family and I even got a project finished. I was given this:
Some may recognise it as the better part of an agility jump. A quick trip to Lowe's and 2 dollars and 14 cents later (plus tax, some hand sawing and some colored electrical tape) and Ta Da! we have this:
Pretty cool huh? The jump height is even adjustable. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.
Jenny doesn't look all that impressed. I know the strips don't exactly match. All I will say is that rolling tape around a pole evenly is harder than it looks. Here's what my yard looks like now.

My next project is to rebuild a stablizer for the barrel tunnel and find no-slip tape to apply to the inside of it. (and maybe the outside as well since I thought of a trick with a dog on top of the barrel) I couldn't find what I wanted at Lowe's. They only had strips for the inside of a tub, nothing the size of a step which I thought would work better. Anyone have any ideas where I can find those? I'd rather not have to order them online.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Big training goals revealed.

I have 4 whole days off. In a row. I don't go back until next Wednesday. NEXT Wednesday!!! Not counting the few clients I have scattered though those days, in the grand scheme of my normal schedule that barely counts as work. I am very excited and almost don't know what to do with myself.


One of my goals these next few days is to try out something called the Canny Collar. http://www.cannyco.co.uk/index.php Being a trainer I sometimes get free stuff to test drive. I got this awhile ago and set it aside where I promptly forgot about it. I came across it looking for a leash for Jenny in my equipment stash. I will try it on my Jack and maybe also a couple of shelter dogs. (Jack is not generally a puller.) I think it probably works for the pulling issue, I am just unsure if it is as good as a Gentle Leader or Halti. With those head collars you have the advantage of directing the dogs gaze to some extent. It doesn't appear to be the case with this version, but I could be wrong.

My other goal, and my announcement to some extent, has a story attached. I went to the movies a couple of weeks ago and saw "Julie & Julia". For those that aren't familiar it is a story about a woman who decides to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook and blog about it along the way. (I bet you know where this is going.) It was a fabulous movie and it gave me the idea to try something similar. This is my book of choice:

101 Dog Tricks by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy. (of Showdog Moms and Dads and Pet Star fame)

I am going to try to teach every trick in this book to my dogs. I have decided not to chose just one dog either. Mostly because since I have 3 to chose from it seems mean to leave anyone out of the fun. I suspect Jenny may get the lions share because she can really use the mental exercise more than the others. I may even try using some shelter dogs along the way too if appropriate. It will be interesting to see how well the books instructions hold up tho I will probably deviate when needed. I also see this as a great way to work my dogs more. Training other peoples dogs all the time sometimes means my own get the short end of the stick of my time.

I think I am going to not give myself any deadlines. In the movie she had a year as her deadline to motivate her. For me I think it might be counter productive. Plus it is supposed to be fun and I don't want to add any extra stress to the process. (trainer know thyself) I plan on taking photos and videos of the finished tricks as I complete each one. I will also give feedback on how the process for each one went.

I will probably start this weekend. I am not sure if I will go in order of the book or not. They have easy, advanced, intermediate and expert tricks all mixed in together. They are listed in sections instead like funny, chores, games, jumping, obstacles, and etc. etc. The first 4 listed are groundwork: sit, down, come and stay. I'll try to get video of that this weekend. All 3 of them can do this one already.

So wish us luck! I'm sure we will need it at some point. VBG

P.S. Missy is doing ok. She is having fewer episodes which is good. I am also going to try to catch one on video which may be helpful. And I have the name of the canine neurologist and cardiologist if it gets to that point. And even though the docs at my hospital aren't on call this weekend they are both on standby for me if things go south. Gotta love a back up plan.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Round two. This time with Jack sound. He was fresh from the groomer and feeling his oats as they say. I love the shake off at the end.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Which way is up?

When you have multiple dogs it seems there is always something to watch out for with at least one of them at any given time. This month it is our resident matriarch of the group, Missy Moo. A couple weeks ago I noticed her fall a couple times when her rear went out from under her. I passed it off as some arthritus kicking up (she is 9) or a leg that was asleep. I added some glucosomine/chrondroitin to her daily rations just in case. She was fine for the week at the kennel but she seemed to not know me when I went to pick her up. To the point where she even ran away from me. I had to go in the kennel and pick her up. Once I had her she was fine though. Then I noticed the other day she fell again and seemed very wobbly afterwards for a few seconds but then was completely normal.

I spoke with the docs at work and they said it could be anything from heart issues, a pinched nerve, or small seizures. I was welcome to bring her in for bloodwork and get her checked. Now I am not a fan of bloodwork because of a past incident with a dog I lost. (long story but in a nutshell the day she died her bloodwork came back normal) So I tend not to think about running to do bloodwork right away unless I know specificly what I am looking for.

Cut to earlier today, my day off, and she fell again. This time I saw it all happen clearly and could see that she wasn't out of it, nor panic'd in any way. It is like she is suddenly on a boat and can't keep upright. She also comes out of it quickly and is then back to normal. She has been alittle subdued today but Minos was also here so she was avoiding him and I have been babying her a little too. Perhaps she is just picking up on my worry.

After her incident today I don't think it is seizures or a pinched nerve. It could still be a heart issue (bloodflow) but I thought of another possiblilty: Vestibular Disease. http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_vestibular_disease.html After reading this I am hoping if this is the cause, she hopefully has the kind that shows up but resolves quickly and isn't caused from a lesion.

I'm not sure if it is related to her not seeming to recognise me though when I went to get her at the kennel. Perhaps that is a seperate issue. (it was very loud with all the other dogs barking so perhaps it was just to overwhelming for her) Whatever it is please send good thoughts our way for her to feel better. I hate not being able to quickly solve a problem with any of my dogs, expecially when it might cause them any distress. I'll talk to the doc on tomorrow at work and find out some options on what to check or do next. (and also have feelers out on the frenchie forum I belong to) Even though I work for a vet I may end up needing to visit a specialist with her if it gets complicated. Unfortunatly I think the closest is almost two hours away. Wish us luck.