Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Mouser Apprentice

JD was never interested in chasing mice.
But now, having Cookie around, he wants to hunt them too.
Not that he ever caught one ... but I'm sure with time he will.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jasmine's IBD: Abdominal Mass (Part III)

Continued from part II

Over time we adjusted and learned to live with Jasmine's belly upsets, fussiness about food and stool problems. What other choice did we have?

If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, things would had been different.

But back then, since all the visits to a number of different vets didn't bring any solution, we thought that things were the way they were.

It wasn't until we were dealing with a different issue all together when we finally got some answers.

That summer Jasmine injured her hind leg. Again.

It looked the same as the three times before, so we figured that it would go away with restricted exercise as it did in the past.

When we took her to a vet, were always told it was some type of soft tissue injury.

It always did take quite a long time to resolve. But I couldn't bring myself to patiently waiting again. Jasmine still liked her walks, but if she had a choice she’d rather rest instead. That wasn’t like her. Even though we didn't expect a different answer, I insisted that we take her to the vet anyway.

She was diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament.

We saw an orthopedic specialist who confirmed the diagnosis and TPLO surgery recommended.

I researched the subject until I was blue in a face. Our feeling was that we'd prefer a non-surgical solution if possible. We weighed a lot of options from braces to prolotherapy. When I learned about stem cell therapy, I was sold. Jasmine's vet at the time never heard of it and wasn't eager to learn about it either. We went searching for a vet certified in the procedure to discuss this option.

That's how we found Jasmine's new vet.

He was on board with the idea. He examined Jasmine and wanted to have additional x-rays. He wanted to see her shoulders and hips too. We agreed that he'd take as many additional x-rays as he felt were needed.

While he was doing that, he decided to take advantage of Jasmine being under and do an even more thorough physical exam.

We got a call from his office that he wanted to take more x-rays than originally agreed on.

He wanted to take x-rays of her abdomen. He had felt a mass.

Abdominal mass?! Our hearts sank.

The abdominal x-rays confirmed his suspicion. There was definitely something there showing up as a mass.

We had a long talk with him in his office. Whatever it was, perhaps we caught it early. He suggested blood tests to see where to go from there.

The blood looked good.

He suggested an exploratory surgery as the next step. Take a look what it was in there and take it out if possible. We agreed to do that.

When he opened Jasmine up, there didn't seem to be any tumor but something infiltrating the tissue of the stomach and small intestine. There was enough infiltration that it felt a looked like a mass on the x-rays. He did a biopsy and sent it off to the lab.

We had to wait five days for the results.

If you ever waited for biopsy results, you know that the five days felt like years. We were in shambles. How could this be? What if it really is cancer? What should we do then?

Finally the results came back and it was not cancer!

Instead, it was white blood cells (eosinophils) infiltrating the tissues. Jasmine had Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Eosinophilic gastroenteritis to be more exact. Which was a result of Jasmine's long-term food allergies which never got diagnosed.

Finally we had an explanation to all her digestive problems.

And all it took was five and a half years of vet visits and a busted knee to get it.

Related articles:
Jasmine's IBD: Undiagnosed For Five Years (Part I)
Jasmine's IBD: Life with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Part II)

Why I Dislike Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Adoption Monday: Fuzzy, Rottweiler Mix, Southington, CT

Fuzzy was born with a gorgeous black and tan coat and he still has it all! 

Fuzzy is an adorable 4 month old Rottie mix. Apparently he is also quite the little water bug too. Foster mom says he loves playing and splashing around in his baby pool. His love of water doesn't end there either (he's been known to play in the water bowl) Awww's okay little guy, all in good fun and part of growing up. His love of water somehow seems not include bath time (sounds like a typical little boy to us).

Fuzzy gets along great with other dogs of all sizes and ages and he minds his manners around cats. 

His love for people big and small is a given with this sweet tyke. 

Fuzzy is house trained to the extent that he be taken out at regular intervals and is shown where to go (treats and lots of praise...Good Boy!!).

Just because Fuzzy is a laid back boy, doesn't mean he isn't a player, he LOVES to run around and play hard as most youngsters do so bring out the toys and the yard shoes for a great time. He is a very quick learner and an astute student, smart little bugger. He already has a grasp of basic commands and is doing very well with his leash training.

Fuzzy is already neutered, up to date and on all vaccinations, (to include all three sets of puppy vaccinations), and current on all preventatives. Fuzzy was a very fortunate pup to have been placed right away into a wonderful foster home, now we are looking for the big brass ring, the forever and ever loving home looking for a great Fuzzy boy.


Best Friends For Life is a privately run, 501 c3 non profit organization, privately funded NO KILL dog rescue. They operate on a strictly volunteer basis out of foster homes.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Advantage of Your Dog Not Barking All the Time: Cookie Saves Horses' Asses

Like with the boy who cried wolf, one problem with having a dog barking all the time is that nobody pays any attention to it any more.

After all the morning excitement we went back to sleep.

Cookie barks very selectively.

Quite often she doesn't even bark, just makes a kind of snort when she smells something of concern.

When she does bark, we know there is something out there.

Most of the time we don't get to see it but we are quite positive she hears or smells something. Sometimes we get to find prints or other evidence after the fact.

Because she doesn't bark without a reason, we believe her there is something going on and we let her know we believe her, often by going to check it out.

Today Cookie woke everybody up barking at around 4:30 in the morning.

A few snorts first, then barking quite seriously. To show her I was taking note of her warning, I went to the window to look out. I didn't expect to actually see anything, just wanted HER to see me checking it out. But once your face is in the window, you do actually look outside.

I figured she might have smelled a fox which had been around, or the bear which we actually saw the other day.

What I saw instead was a small team of horses, galloping down the road.

I did not expect that. It was quite surreal as if a fairy tale jumped out of a story book. They didn't look spooked, more like they just decided to go on a trip or following somebody. But there was nobody there they could have been following.

I turned to hubby, "guess what Cookie was barking at?" And told him what I saw.
"Are you sure it wasn't deer?" he asked.

It wasn't THAT dark and I've seen deer before, and I've seen horses before. I was pretty sure I've seen five to six horses on their way somewhere towards town.

In the direction they came from, there is only one place that has horses.

They must have come from there. It WAS still 4:30 in the morning.
"Should we called them,? hubby asked.
"If it was Cookie, I'd want to know about it," I said.

So we made the call, reporting our sighting.

"Oh, shit," was the response on the other end. We offered to help if needed. A little while later we saw their truck driving slowly down the road. Some time later, there goes the neighbor with the horses on their way back home.

Apparently, they've made a few stops along the way but made it all back safely.

Fortunately, it was early enough in the morning, there was no traffic yet.

A lot of people drive like lunatics around here and weekends, with all the vacationers, are even worse. If the horses got spooked, which they would have, bad things could have happened.

Later in the morning the neighbor called thanking us.

She was very happy everything went so smoothly.

If Cookie hadn't alerted us, they would wake up in the morning, horses gone, nobody would even know which way they went. And the horses already made it pretty far, there is no telling where they'd end up. And with the traffic starting later in the morning ...

So Cookie is the hero of the day.

And all that was possible because she barks only when there is a reason. "Good girl, Cookie."

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks 
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?  
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone? 
Dog Training And Emotions 
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either 
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear 
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy? 
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT) 
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Who Is In The Wrong?
Your Dog Wants To Follow You. You Just Gotta Be Going Some Place
We Still Have Two Dogs: A "Pilot Study" Part Two  
Early Winter Safety: Exploring New Territories
Cookie Is Okay. We ... Might Be, Eventually. (Don't Try This At Home)
One Thing I Love About Winter: I See What They "See" 
Give Your Dog What They Need, Get What You Want
Cookie, The First Of The Great Hunting Rottweilers  
Distance Is a Relative Concept  
Dog Communication: Be Good to Cookie or She'll Tell on You
The Benefit of the Doubt  
Putting The Guilty Dog Look To Rest?
The Stench of Fear: Is There Good and Bad Timing for Vet Visits? 
I am a Helicopter Dog Mom
Routines: Easy Come, Hard to Go
Mosquito Apocalypse 
Things Always Change: Cookie's Hunting Adventures

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: The Cost of Veterinary Care, Feeding for Healthy Skin and more ...

Why Large Breed Dogs Have Poorer Food Digestion

I heard about this concept before but there was no explanation with it. Did you know that in large dogs, the weight of their intestines makes up only 3% of their body weight as opposed to 7% in smaller breeds? I can imagine this would make a difference.

On the other hand, the food stay in the colon longer.

What does it mean for optimal nutrition for a large breed dog? They will do best with highly digestible protein and more non-fermentable fiber. Though too much fiber can interfere with nutrient absorption so finding the optimal amount for your dog is important.

The Cost of Vet Care

Is the cost of veterinary care going up? Does it cost too much? Can anything be done about it?

We spent enormous amount of money on veterinary care. Do I feel that we were overcharged? While the expense hurt us a lot, I do not find the prices unfair or unreasonable.

People cry about the cost of veterinary care a lot. And then they go and spend $400 on a hair dresser (there is an actual story behind this statement).

When Cookie went for her abdominal ultrasound and biopsy, I figured it would come to about $500. When hubby reported how much he paid, I freaked. Then I found out that there was $81 dollars of tax on there. I was pretty pissed about the tax. The ultrasound did cost exactly $500. Is that too much? There were two people working with Cookie, there was the equipment, sending out the imaging to a specialist ... No, I don't think it was too much. Would I like getting the ultrasound done for say $100? Sure I would. But I understand why that wouldn't be possible.

The article lists VPI top ten conditions treated in dogs and average cost of the treatment. I'm not seeing anything outrageous on there.

There are treatments that cost an arm and leg. But those are fancy, state of the art treatments.

There are vets, who, from what I KNOW, mark things up more than I consider reasonable. But none of our vets ever did.

What to Feed Your Dog for Healthy Skin

What nutrients does healthy skin and coat need? Quite often you can improve things just by optimizing essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3). Skin needs sufficient amount of these fats. Quite often just adding a bit of safflower oil can make a big difference.

The other major nutrient for skin and coat is protein. Did you know that up to 30% of protein your dog eats goes towards maintenance of the skin and coat? Yes, fur is mostly protein too.

Some mineral deficiencies can reflect in coat quality too, particularly color.

Don’t ‘Ace’ the Fear: Why acepromazine may make your dog’s fireworks fear worse

This article isn't new but with the upcoming celebrations of Independence Day, an important to back-flip to.

Fireworks and thunderstorms can be a source of severe anxiety for some dogs. Of course, we do anything we can to help them feel better.

Acepromazine is a prescription medication which is often prescribed for noise phobias. Unfortunately, not only it doesn't help but it might make things even worse. It is a dissociative tranquilizer which messes with perceptions and understanding of what's happening. The dog is sedated but their brain is freaking out.

Are You Smarter Than a Vet Student About Canine Heatstroke?

I absolutely love Dr. Kay's series Are You Smarter Than a Vet Student. I like to learn everything I can about dog health matters and this series allows me to see how much I do know, and where I am smarter than a vet student.

What do you think? Do you know everything you should about heatstroke? Go find out.

I don't know if it's still time to win a signed copy of Speaking for Spot or Your Dog's Best Health. If it is there is a reason to participate right there. And if not, I think it's a great way to brush up on your knowledge anyway. Correct answers are always posted in the next blog.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Veterinary Highlights: Better Way To Monitor Blood Glucose?

Monitoring blood glucose in a diabetic dog can be a matter of life and death. 

Glucometers used in veterinary medicine allow quick reading and require only a small drop of blood. However, their accuracy isn't ideal.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found that testing blood plasma instead of whole blood improves accuracy of the measurements.

They compared the results from the glucometer and biochemical analyzer.

Biochemical analyzer takes longer to get a reading, needs more blood and is more expensive, however the measurements are highly accurate.

The glucometer measurements using blood plasma instead of whole blood were almost identical to the analyzer readings.

Source article:
More accurate method for blood glucose testing

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Primer on False Pregnancy

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM,MPH,PhD
and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS

False pregnancy is a common problem in dogs. 

During the estrus or "heat" cycle, estrogen levels increase, the vulva swells and produces a bloody or straw-colored discharge, and the female dog is inclined to accept a male for breeding.  Toward the end of the heat cycle, progesterone levels increase, preparing the uterus for an anticipated pregnancy. 

Although no mating has occurred, female dogs sometimes act like they're pregnant even when they're not. This is called a false pregnancy.

The mammary glands may enlarge and even drip milk, just as in a real pregnancy. 

Some female dogs even behave as if they are having a litter, ie, they stop eating, build a nest, and cuddle up with small, inanimate objects.

Your veterinarian can determine if your dog is pregnant or not by palpating the abdomen and (possibly) taking an x-ray or ultrasound.  No treatment is required; false pregnancy usually goes away on its own in a few weeks.

Both real and false pregnancy can be prevented by having your female dog spayed.


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