Archive for January, 2010

Confessions of a Trashaholic

January 27, 2010

Sissy here.  I really am ashamed.  Mom insists that getting it all out here will make me feel better, but I’m not so sure.

 Over the span of just over five days, I’ve had a bit of a destructive spree.  That there are no photos as evidence reflects both Mom’s ire and her underlying patience and understanding.

You see, other than a shoe or two – which I found loose on the bedroom floor as a young pup – the bobbin incident with Auntie ‘Nita is my only real destruction problem, prior to the recent string of events. 

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Mommy takes over now.   If I was still considering myself Catholic and had a great priest, we’d be going to confession.  I can’t even take Sis to the blessing of the hounds at my church, because it’s 10 months away and because the last thing I need is for Sis to hang out with REAL hunting dogs, who would encourage her desire to follow her nose to the ends of the earth.

The reason this story is here, and not on MY blog is that the timing is such that I think Sissy is hungry and seeking out things, as hounds in particular tend to do.  Because of our fears of bloat, we don’t feed the dogs if we’re not going to be home with them for a while.  So both Friday and Saturday evenings, Sissy and Gretchen were allowed to hang out in the master suite, as part of an on-going experiment (now on hold) to see if they still need to be crated.

Neither dog had eaten supper.  We feed twice daily, around 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.  However, they do get treats when we leave the house, and had been given a treat or two during the day on Saturday too.  Saturday, they also drained their water bowl in the bathroom, so I was very tolerant of the frustration brought on by hunger AND thirst.  (We were gone just over four hours and there was water in the bowl when we left, so no one was truly suffering.)

Gretchen's hiding her face too!

What destruction?  Well, on Friday, Sissy created a fancy, sharp edge all the way around the bathroom trash can.   And yes, it was Sissy; one advantage of having dogs so different in size is that their teeth prints are remarkably distinct.   The trash can was replaced, and I actually apologized to the girls for the delay in their dining schedule which CLEARLY caused so much frustration.

Saturday, Sissy tore the cover off of a Bible.  Yep… you read that correctly.  Luckily, it was one I’d purchased for myself a couple of years ago (or more?) and it turned out to be a version/translation I did not like at all.  It was published in a textbook style, so if she had to destroy a book in the bedroom…  I’m still sorry it was a BIBLE.  While the Knight was dispensing kibble, I cleaned up the small mess and placed it in the trash can with sharp edges.

However this morning, the girls had eaten, and I believed them to be wadded up in their cute fashion on the bed, as they usually are while I shower.  I was concerned when I stepped out of the shower and didn’t see them.  I was angry when I found them in the hall bath, trash overturned, with tissues EVERYWHERE.

After all the girls – especially me – had a time out while the Knight picked up trash (don’t give him too much credit; had HIS trash been dumped, there would have been nothing but the trash can for Sis to chomp on), I sighed deeply and announced that the vet and I need to talk.

Sissy isn’t a bad girl, or even a particularly naughty/nosy basset.  I understand that wondervet wants Sissy as lean as possible for the sake of her back, but there’s also my sanity and the safety of my home at stake.  This girl ain’t fat, and even if it lands us in the poor house (bag #2 of the dietary gold dust was ordered yesterday as we prepare for the January version of BIG SNOW), I’m increasing her kibble intake by 1/4 cup EACH meal. 

Yes Sissy, we’re all on this journey together.

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Allergies v.1.2

January 21, 2010

Okay.  Here’s the plan.  Someone remind me when I forget, okay?

Ailment – self-explanitory.

V? – the round we’re on with this particular chief complaint.

.x – the number of times we’ve seen Wondervet for this problem.

Please note that they’re dancing – hence, Sissy’s blurry face – at the door that brings Wondervet to them.  By the time I’d taken that photo, Gretchen had already made her rounds and charmed a few techs and such, and at some point, she shot past Wondervet and was rewarded for her escape by Supertech, who returned the felon to the exam room, with Gretch in her arms, while Supertech giggled and cooed.

Gretchen

So, the easy report first.   Gretchen went for her first visit at the new to us place, which happened to be her first-ever annual visit too.  The Knight sent one concern for each dog, and for the wee one, it was her riding anxiety.  We were given “Ace” to try.  We’ll do a trial run one weekend day before we head to the beach again, to be sure we have the right dosage.  Of course, I’ll let you know…

Sissy

Again, the photo is a little blurry.  (Cell phone cameras are fun, but…)  However, I went with a larger size, hoping at least some of you can see the ATTITUDE in those eyes.  DIVA ain’t happy.  She’d already had her glands checked again, and just so we all know – dirty alert! – when Gretchen suddenly takes an interest she’s never had before in Sissy’s rear… it’s a sign the anal glands need to be expressed.

She’d also had her ears swabbed.  For anyone unclear on what THAT means, imagine the human tonsil swab shoved into the ear canal, and then… dig.

Guess what?!  Her yeast infections are alive and well, but there is a silver lining; no bacteria.  Evidently, that’s another clear sign that we’re dealing with food allergies.  We dropped the burning drops (MicaVed) and switched to an ointment (MalOtic), and we’re still washing with Malaseb twice weekly. 

Now, about the blood testing I mentioned…

Wondervet doesn’t recommend it for reasons I was able to accept.   Firstly, Sis has no signs of environmental allergies, but for those, Wondervet likes skin tests.  (Shave a patch on one side, and then it works just like it does for humans.)  As for food allergies, the blood tests throw too many false positives and positive falsehoods.  That’s the short answer, but for me, it will do.  Sissy has suffered so much for two years, and we are seeing improvements – I think, Wondervet says it’s too soon to tell – so since Sis (and Gretch) like the food…

Looking lovely, no matter what her ears are growing and ...

So, Sis goes back in two weeks, and hopefully, her ears will be in good shape by then.

Ears Lookin’ at You

January 14, 2010

From January 2008

It’s a baby photo, but if you’ve had a basset or other flop-eared, long-eared dog, I bet you’ve learned that repeated head shakes are a bad thing.  Our first basset had all but chronic yeast infections in his ears, and it took years to find the right mix (yes, a custom blend) of meds to keep things in check. 

We thought we were doing well with Sis until our December 30th visit to the new vet.  Her poor ears were ALIVE with yeast, despite how nice what the naked eye could see looked.  However, the Knight and I made the decision to stop the current (canine ear drop version of Massengill) treatment yesterday, because her ears are RAW and angry.  New to us vet is on vacation this week, and since I don’t know the practice as a whole yet, we feel we’re in the best position to make the right choice. 

I am flushing them twice daily with a prescription wash our now former vet gave us the only time Sis had any signs of an ear infection, and we’ll regroup on Monday.  And yes, yeast ear infections are another sign of food allergens, it seems.

Here We Go!

January 13, 2010

Sissy, the expressive sweetie

Thank you for caring about Sissy and her struggles.  If you’re here because of your pet’s digestive and/or anal gland problems, please know I am no expert.  The links within have not been approved in any way, nor have I received any compensation for their use.  Just because I link to a site or a product, I’m not endorsing it.  Just because it didn’t work for us doesn’t mean it isn’t adequate or even ideal for you and your pets.

Before we get started, please be warned that there are signs and symptoms within.  When I think they might be something the average reader doesn’t care to read, I’ll use “dirty fact” to warn you.

Just the facts, folks.   I wish I could remember when Sissy had her first problems with her anal glands.  Eventually, I might dig back through my emails and her vet records and see if I can pin it down, but in the meantime, I know that before her first birthday, we began reading kibble bags and feeding her a high-fiber diet.

I can’t even recall all the brands and varieties we’ve tried, but we had our first success, albeit short-lived, with Wellness Core, Reduced Fat Formula.   Around that time, I began to suspect that Sis was intolerant of cornmeal and chicken meal.  (Dirty fact:  ANYTHING with chicken meal in it makes her throw up.)

Gretchen, the Jack Russell Terrier

After a brief search, we settled on EVO red meat formula.  It worked really well for MONTHS.  I was crushed when Gretchen – our other fur-girl, roughly a year younger than Sissy – began doing the tell-tale (tail?) scoot a few weeks ago.  Around the same time, Sissy began to refuse her kibble, which is always her way of telling me that the current kibble isn’t suitable for her system.

Sure enough, the night of December 29, Sissy let us know she was MISERABLE.  While our then regular vet only had limited hours into the New Year, I was able to arrange an appointment with the woman who instantly became our new vet.  Sis and Gretchen went on Royal Canin’s Vet Exclusive Rabbit and Potato formula on the 9th.  It’s insanely expensive by everyone’s standards – the vet was even apologetic! – but the vet really felt this is our best first option, as Sissy is likely allergic to beef and/or venison as well.

Wishing for a healthy New Year

They LOVE it.  Sissy still believes that dry kibble doesn’t count as a treat, so we’ll have to talk to the vet about that, because hounds are very food-driven, so I need treats that she recognizes as rewards.

The symptoms remain, as this is an 8-12 week experiment.  Scratching, a yeast infection in both ears for Sis (that is NOT responding to the ear drops) but the scooting is gone in both girls.  However, Sis is STARVING on the one cup, twice a day prescribed, so the cost is going to be higher than the vet estimated, as we will be buying kibble more often.

One more housekeeping type comment…  While I value your input, please don’t tell me what we’re doing wrong.  We’ve been through two years of this already.  Sis and I have seen FIVE vets.  I’ve been patted on the head and told some dogs just have to have their anal sacs squeezed every few weeks, and I’ve been told just removing the anal sacs is the way to go.  (Dirty fact alert!) We finally have a vet who gets that the soft stools are the real symptom, and that if we can firm those up, Sis most likely won’t have an anal gland problem anymore.  So if you have a different life experience that you believe would be helpful, please word it so that I’m not grinding my teeth and such, okay?

Thank you to all the friends who continue to support us in this big adventure, and welcome to the new friends following along!

Welcome, y’all!

January 12, 2010

Gretchen - far left Sissy - front right

Hiya!  Sissy here.   Thanks for coming to visit me.  Mom will be keeping track of my grossly restricted diet and how it changes the way I feel and act on here, but once in a while, I’ll try to sneak on and liven things up!

For you Gretchen fans, never fear; she’ll make an appearance now and then too.   For those of you who don’t know us, she’s my little sister (we’re both adopted) and my faithful sidekick whether I like it or not.  She was born with some skin problems, so Mom’s hoping the deprivation diet will help us both.

Mom will be by later to record some boring facts.

See you soon!