Archive for the ‘Signs & symptoms’ Category

Probiotic Thorsday

September 19, 2013

UntitledHappy Thorsday!  So… we’ve had two probiotic feedings for Sissy.  She wolfs the powder on down, but as the dogs and I are together virtually 24/7 right now, I can report that unless it’s happened in the pen when I turned my head… there’s been no pooping since she began the probiotic. 

Is this normal?  Do I need to put the doggy door block in so she can’t go out when *I* am in the bathroom and might miss the moment?  She’s showing no signs of distress at all, but regular readers know I’ve spent almost all of Sissy’s life obsessing about her … output. 

Sorry for the not-rosy topic today, but I need your input…

Spelling Bee Word

March 26, 2013

photo.JPGI can never remember how to pronounce, much less spell sebaceous.  That’ll change, as Sissy now has two such cysts we’re watching.   Dr. D has already warned me – and Sissy – that the one near her “armpit” might have to be removed if it grows or begins to interfere with the harness and/or Sissy’s athletic pursuits (otherwise known as *MY* walks?).  I found the first one, the one we’re watching, before her annual exam, but neither Dr. D nor I could find it during said exam.  Then a few days ago, I found another one on the outside of a rear hip, so Dr. D wanted to take a look … and a sample to assure all is well.

And it is.  Quite well indeed.

photo.JPGSee the purple circle?  The cyst, about the size of a green pea, is in there.  Dr D chuckled and thanked me for marking it so it was easy to find.  The joke was on me though; I couldn’t find the one I just *KNEW* was on her rear hip “in the white area”, but the awesome vet tech found it… on the opposing (left) rear hip.  It’s a little smaller, and in my defense, it’s deeper AND in the white part of that hip.  Anyway, it was found and sampled.

Sis also got what I’m learning is Dr. D’s routine “while you’re here” go-over.  She asked if all was well with the eye, gave it a little look, flipped each ear around, shoved her nose in each ear to assure they were as healthy as they look, etc.

photo.JPGSissy was – as almost always – a VERY good, cooperative patient.  She does go to the vet often enough that she has this rather rude notion that once the vet leaves the room – and she knows a vet from a tech, somehow (the white lab coat?) – she’s DONE.  And I mean D.O.N.E.  That means we should exit the exam room and LEAVE.  So… she was impatient and fussy while we waited on the lab results.  Silly dog.

Yeah, that photo was taken before Dr D came in the first time, while Sis was still being patient.  You might note that I had to sit in the corner on the bench so that The Queen could sit where she could see out the window in the door.  It’s all about keeping the DIVA happy.

Anyway, hooray for great vets and good lab results!

There and Back Again

August 16, 2012
July 2012 012

High maintenance, and totally worth it

Happy Thorsday!   I need to learn that especially with Sissy’s kibble, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Gretchen loved the previous kibble, but the signs of Sissy trouble started almost as soon as the Knight bought the large bag. 

This is how it works.  Sissy almost always LOVES a kibble change.  If it’s really a problem, we know within an 8lb. bag.  However, if it’s just not quite right, sometimes it takes 25 lbs. or more to get there. 

WARNING:  This is about Sissy’s food allergies, signs and symptoms.  Continue reading at your own risk.

Any food change results in a soft stool.  I’m all about Sissy’s pooo…  It’s ridiculous, but her anal gland health depends on a firm poo, and the poor girl was over 2 years old before she had her first, nice, firm, normal stool.   So the first sign of trouble is that the stool either gets even softer or just doesn’t firm up.  With the previous kibble, even Gg the soooper pooper had soft stools, so I wasn’t shocked when we reached the critical, all-telling stage 2.

June 2012 003

Gretchen is mortified that we speak of such things…

The second and clear warning is when Sis won’t eat her kibble dry.  Now, you hound caretakers out there are laughing at me.  Of course a hound – a DIVA hound, a SMART DIVA hound – will work the system.  I know that.  So we ignore the first episode or three.  But when it reaches the point that the girl simply won’t eat the kibble without significant enticement, it’s the kibble, not the dog.

While Sis has eased out of the 40s and into the very low 50 lb. range,  she’s still lean enough that we worry when she won’t eat.  Also… see above.  We worry when she won’t eat because her food allergies have ruled our lives since before we knew they were food allergies. 

So…  back to PetCo.  I’m so grateful that the City and PetCo corporate decided to build directly across from the League office and almost within sight of  The Pink Palm.  Highly convenient.  It’s also nice that they’re open longer than many stores, because the Knight and I eat late and therefore are usually in town after normal business hours.

Courtesy of Wellness

We’re on our second small bag of Wellness Whitefish & Sweet Potato.   This time, poor Gg is taking one for the team.  If she doesn’t firm up soon, I’ll consider doing a two dog, two kibble world, but that creates so many problems because like kids, they always want what the other has, especially when they (Sissy) can’t have it!

I’m not really looking for feedback, but I truly appreciate each and every one of you who read all of this.  While this blog is mostly for doggy bloggy fun, it also exists so that my fair knitting friends and fashion friends don’t have to read about dog poop and anal glands unless they want to. 

Oh – and the title?  Wellness was the first premium food that Sis did well on, briefly… but I’m not at all sure it was Wellness’s fault that the relationship wasn’t permanent.  See above; it took us two years and then some to find Wondervet with her focus on allergies and even food allergies.  It took her two visits to get Sissy’s message on precisely how allergic to chicken she is, and as the wonderful Wonder-woman predicted, we’re so happy with our healthy girl that we don’t care to figure out whether Sis might could eat lamb.  ALL poultry is off the table, because of the severity of her reaction to chicken, and we’ve just stuck with no land animal save rabbit and seafood-based protein sources because they keep working… mostly.

April 2012 005

Lean but not mean!

When there is a failure, it’s almost assuredly because the manufacturer sneaks in trace amounts of chicken something.   In case some manufacturer is reading, my girl can’t do chicken fat, chicken meal, or eat your kibble if you ran a batch of chicken anything through the factory before her seafood kibble.   We know this happens because there are some very caring, awesome people in the pet food industry who share these dirty secrets, and we are so very grateful for their shared wisdom.

Seriously.  Sis is THAT sensitive to chicken.  Know a human kid with peanut allergies?  Yeah.  Like that.  Thank goodness thus far, her reactions have been NOT the traditional human anaphylaxis not-breathing type, but despite my background as a medic and my training in pet CPR… we’re not taking that chance.

Blog the Change

April 15, 2012

Blog the ChangeOh, how we hate being late to a party… but better late than never.  Today is the 2nd Blog the Change date in 2012.

My – Mama, Chan – philosophy is pretty simple.  We’re all here to make the world a better place.  I could go on for days about how dogs make us better people, but for this post, the important message is to promote canine glaucoma awareness.  Eventually, we’ll have a separate site/blog to focus on that mission and to share resources and offer support to others trying to manage a diagnosis of canine glaucoma.

Our awesome Vision Vet is working on a post for us, but in the meantime, all you really need to know is that there are two kinds of canine glaucoma.  Primary is genetic and is what Sissy has.  Yes, HAS.  She lost her left eye to aggressive glaucoma over a year ago, and we’re fighting a good fight with the right.  It can occur at ANY age, so pay attention to any change it your dog’s eyes’ appearance and to any sign or symptom that might indicate a vision problem.  Secondary glaucoma can be caused by an injury or other eye illness, so likewise… it too can happen at any age.

December 2010 010

Sissy 12-26-10... already blind

Blinking and/or cloudiness of the eye are big clues.  That picture still almost makes me cry, because the other piece of glaucoma awareness you need is it is PAINFUL when the pressure is not under control.  Sadly, we weren’t able to control Sissy’s left eye’s pressure, so she lost sight permanently from the damage, and we had no choice but to remove the eye to stop her pain.

photo.JPGSo… there’s our post for change.  If we can help one other dog owner spot the signs sooner and get proper treatment faster, we’ve been successful.   That Sissy still lives large and keeps us on our toes with just one eye is just icing on the cake.   She’s still quite the live-wire, always up for an adventure, and she adapted so quickly that really, she helped us deal with the loss of her left eye far more than we helped her.

What change would you blog for your dog(s)?


Ribbons of Drool

April 9, 2012

photo.JPGThat photo pretty much sums up my Saturday.  See the STREAMS of drool on each side of her mouth? 

Yeah.   Sis didn’t feel well.  She’s normally a great rider and the belle of the ball when we get to the eye vet’s.  Not Saturday.  They were worried.  I was worried and frustrated because I didn’t know what the problem was.

Sissy’s favorite tech suggested the depth perception problem (that comes with only having one eye) was causing motion sickness.  Maybe, but it didn’t FEEL right…

Hem.  I finally realized on our walk that afternoon, when she had a ring of tiny bubbles around her mouth, that the girl had been helping me when I gave her a bath from the neck up first thing Saturday morning.  She kept licking her ears, even while they were soapy. 

Yep.  Sis took in enough soap that it upset her tummy, made her drool like a river, tremble like a leaf in a tornado, etc.  Gah.

The good news is she’s fine, and her eye pressure was a nice, low 6. 


You can see, she was up for a big adventure walk despite it all.  That’s the Rivanna River.   The girls don’t have any interest in diving in, thankfully.

Have you ever ingested too much soap?

Dudley on Thorsday

March 29, 2012

Dear departed Dudley, courtesy of gMarie

Happy Thorsday!   Chan – aka: Mama  – here for a follow-up, informational post.  Just as Thor changed Thursdays for me, even though I never got to have tea or read with the giant gent, Dudley changed my mind’s reaction to that word.   No longer do I think of Harry Potter’s bully of a cousin, or the family I know here with that last name…

March 2011 025

Dark nose 3-11

So when Sue responded to this post about Sissy’s fading nose, I was curious about this Dudley nose thing.   Now… it seems that the doggy medical community doesn’t even agree on what is what with nose pigmentation changes, because there’s also this snow nose (sometimes called a winter nose too)…

As the snow nose link above suggests, we removed our plastic waterer about ten days ago, and maybe it’s a coincidence, but I think Sissy’s nose is getting darker again.   (No, I don’t have a recent photo to show you…)  The Knight wants to put his best girl (Sissy, in case you’re confused and think it might POSSIBLY be yours truly) on a supplement of some sort.  Given that water analysis is basically his job, he’s convinced that the plastic must leach some essential nutrient out of the water and/or the dog, but my research doesn’t support that.  It’s much more likely that our allergy queen is also intolerant of some chemical IN plastic that is sneaking into the water…

January 2012 007

Paler nose 1-12

Since Gretchen HATES metal bowls and Sis only uses metal bowls, this has been a challenge.  I’ve finally settled on a metal water bowl in the master bath, and a ceramic bowl in the kitchen.  Gretchen will drink from the metal bowl if she must, and thus far, Sis hasn’t tried to pick up the ceramic water bowl, even when empty.

Of course, you should report any obvious changes in your dog’s appearance to your vet.  

Here ends the lesson on nose color changes. 

But we’re wondering… what kinds of bowls do you use, and why?

More meds for Sissy

December 27, 2010

Today, Sissy and I met Supervet.  You see, Wondervet is off right now, and Sissy needed to be seen about her eyes again. 

December 2010 010

That was the best her eye looked all long weekend, and that was with eye ointment, drops and lots and lots of benadryl. 

Turns out she has Uveitis.  Luckily, Supervet got a wild hair and decided to test each eye’s pressure too.  Sis also has glaucoma… in both eyes.  Her right eye is right on the line of the pressure for diagnosis, but the left eye is a cause for very real concern.  She’s already had her first round of drops for both issues, and a pain pill. 

At this point, Supervet is very optimistic that we caught it fast enough that vision will be restored to that left eye, and more importantly (in this human’s opinion), we can almost assure that the right eye won’t get any worse. 

Why yes, she is very young, but at 3, she’s at the window for it to appear, so here we are.  Thank goodness for awesome vets!!

Red, red eyes…

October 30, 2010

I don’t have a photo for you, but Sissy and I made a quick trip to see Wondervet this morning.  The past two nights, girlfriend’s eyes – particularly the right one – have been cherry red.  2-3 children’s chewable benadryls and she’d settle down and sleep, and in the mornings, she’s bright-eyed, but that right eye in particular was troubling.

October 2010 007

Sis on Thursday, before the red-eye set in

We came home with a steroid ointment and some human wetting drops.   I’m typing with the patient’s head on my hip, so she’s resting comfortably.   Wondervet did a stain and saw no scratches on the eyes themselves, so we’re guessing it’s allergic in nature.  Could be bacterial, but the steroids will take care of that too.

The good news is that the other end of the same dog, which has been problematic just about her whole life, seems to FINALLY be in a very good, healthy state.  It’s been a long haul, and as Wondervet predicted, we’re so happy to be “here” that we have zero interest in trying to re-introduce other proteins at this time.  Some day… maybe…

But Butt…

June 14, 2010

Sorry for the crass title, but that’s where we are these days.  Wednesday, Wondervet and I thought things were looking good and ordered a long-term supply of one drug, and a small bag of kibble, just in case.

Yesterday morning, that awful raspberry looking swelling and redness were back in the most indelicate spot.

I have a call in to the vet.  Gretchen does look concerned in the photo, because we’re all frustrated and sad.  I hate that Sis doesn’t feel good.  I hate that we can’t even figure out how to treat the symptoms, much less get to the root of the problem.  Sis is such a good sport, but when she cried this morning when I began putting on my jewelry, and then as I walked through the house, it really broke my heart.

All around the mulberry bush…

June 2, 2010

I wish I had a mulberry bush.  Actually, we called it a mulberry tree and I climbed it in my childhood.

Hiding her head in shame... the things I share!!

Anyway, I feel we’re chasing our tails, and I don’t have a cute photo of Gretchen trying to catch her little nub either.   Sissy and those blasted anal glands are at it again.   

I’m really worried it’s not just her environmental allergies.  We have a life-long (roughly 2.5 years or so) pattern of Sis and her glands developing problems about every 4-8 months, in direct correlation with a change in kibble.  We started this rabbit prescription stuff in early January.  You do the math.

Aside from wanting her to be happy and healthy, I know she is ashamed of her little gland problem.  She’s learned to ask to go out when she needs to lick that most indelicate spot, and the two times she has “dumped” her gland(s) in the house, she’s been absolutely mortified.

I can tell you what we won’t be trying…  more steriods or anything else that might upset any of her systems more than the existing problem does.   The Knight REALLY wants to have the blood allergy test done, and at this point, a few false positives would still be better than what we have now.

Any and all feedback is heartily appreciated.   Wonder vet is incredible and we’re blessed to have her, but the Knight is quite sure this plan isn’t working, and I’m inclined to agree.