Category Archives: health

Callie and Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

I had many other topics in mind for my next blog post, I wanted to introduce the newest members of the pack, our two guinea pigs. I wanted to talk about, oh gee, a month ago when we went to New Jersey and had to have a friend dog-sit for the very first time. Maybe I was even thinking about just giving an update on Charlie, but none of my potential topics included a very frightening health experience with Callie.

Callie just experienced and is still recovering from, a bout of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.

You can read a general description here, but basically, it is an awful illness that can be caused by – ready for this list? – Stress, anxiety, eating something either non-food or drastically different food, immune-related disease, parasites, bacteria, toxins, pancreatitis, or possibly an allergic reaction to something either ingested or inhaled. The primary symptoms are vomiting and very bloody diarrhea. AND it’s a common problem in small dogs – FYI.

Wednesday Callie had diarrhea twice, both times inside the house, so it was clearly sudden and began throwing up in the afternoon. She only threw up once, so I wasn’t too worried. I was also exhausted and went to bed, so Jess was left to deal with everything. I didn’t want Callie to have dinner for obvious reasons, but I wasn’t as worried yet.

Then she continued to throw up throughout the night and went outside a few times. I called the vet first thing in the morning on Thursday for an emergency vet appointment. While I was waiting, and panicking – the only time I have ever seen a dog throw up everything including water immediately after drinking has been when they have something lodged in their stomach and require surgery – I tweeted to the cavpack. I couldn’t imagine Callie had ingested something large so I was desperate to hear that she would be ok.

The cavpack rules, and someone I can’t remember who although I think it was Holly, suggested gastroenteritis. After researching basic gastroenteritis, I wasn’t as worried until I was driving her to the vet. Just looking at Callie put my heart in my throat. She was so lethargic and sad. The night before she slept by my face, all night. She never does that, she’s a foot of the bed dog. I don’t remember the last time I was so terrified for one of my animals. That drive to the vet was horrible, she kept readjusting in the seat, trying to get comfortable, and looking at me with “help me” written across her face.

When we arrived, we discovered Callie has gained 2 lbs… now that’s a different topic for discussion, but interesting because she looks thinner.

Callie didn’t have a fever. The vet also thought it was likely gastroenteritis but was surprised when Callie let her palpate everywhere in her stomach and intestinal region without tensing. I tried to explain that Callie is the opposite of Charlie, she is the most stoic dog unless something is in her paw.

Of course, we had just cleaned up her diarrhea originally, not thinking twice about it, so we didn’t have a fecal sample for the vet. She attempted to obtain one from poor Callie, but there was nothing but blood on her glove when she removed her finger. She did notice Callie’s anal glands were full (but not impacted or infected so not the cause) and expressed those for us. Always nice when someone else ends up doing that!

We decided the best course of action was to give Callie fluids there, put her on both an antibiotic as well as an anti-nausea/anti-diarrheal, and, of course, put her on a bland diet.

Callie came home and seemed a little perkier so later that afternoon I went out to run a quick errand, leaving Jess and our daughter at home.

While our daughter ran upstairs to ask a question, Jess heard Callie get off the couch and move around. G ran back downstairs and then came running back up to tell her that something red was all over the new rug.

Jess came downstairs and found what looked like a crime scene, blood in a trail leading to the living room where it was sprayed in a giant poop-like circle and smelled horrific. This was still Thursday.

I am going to post a picture of the rug at the bottom of the post so those who don’t want to see it don’t have to.

Jess called me in a panic, and thankfully I was on my way home, so I was there in a few minutes. We immediately called the vet even more terrified this time. The vet then told me that they had prepared for the possibility that the gastroenteritis would turn into hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and that the best move now was to add a second antibiotic to see if we could end it there. So Callie added penicillin to her list of medications.

It was hard to get her to eat that night. But the vet I spoke with gave me so much information including a list of various things I could try that would be bland enough, among them was hard boiled eggs. I love our two vets, they treat us like intelligent humans to work with, not like idiots and they talk to each other, so both know what’s going on.

Callie LOVES eggs. So for the first day and a half, she got eggs with her pills mushed in – and YAY she eats her pills in her food! Then we switched to cottage cheese, now boiled hamburger.

Callie rallied so fast. On Friday she was still very lethargic (funny to say about a dog who spends most of her time laying around and sleeping anyway, but this was different) and had a sick face.

pic of Callie snuggling
My heart and soul. This dog is magic.

 

 

 

My heart dog, right here:

 

 

 

By Saturday morning she was starting to look and act like her old self. We even saw froggy stretches and big wags when we first got up in the morning. Plus enthusiasm about food. But she lacked energy and slept in the way the sick do.

By Sunday, she was really rounding the corner into a healthy dog. She was starting to wrestle a little bit with Charlie, she definitely wanted treats – we are sticking with small Zukes treats that we know (are pretty sure) her stomach can handle – and food was very exciting. In fact, she was mad at me by 4 pm that dinner wasn’t ready and they don’t eat until 6ish!

Today, she woke up a happy dog. Still a little tired and very glad to lay in my lap rather than near me or across the sofa, something she doesn’t often do anymore. But she came downstairs, and after they went out, she stole one of the bones.

I say stole because Callie doesn’t play with the toys or chew on the bones actually. This was Charlie’s favorite thing in the world that she took; however, because she doesn’t ever grab toys, we defended her for a long while until distracted so she could have a turn. We were both stunned and thrilled to see her chewing on a bone.

She still hasn’t pooped since the bloody scene. I think she is a bit scared to do so and understandably! I would be. Any time we say the word when she is out in the yard she comes running to jump up on the deck. But my stomach is un-knotting, I feel like she’s on the safe side now. My baby, my love.

 

 

 

 

 

Bloody Carpet Photo Coming:

 

hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
The bloody carpet from Callie’s hemorrhagic gastroenteritis

Round and round and round we go!

I can’t remember if I have said anything about it on here but, I have fibromyalgia (along with chronic pain and chronic fatigue – aren’t those part of fibro?) I was diagnosed when I was 29, 3 years ago, but I likely had it for a couple of years before.

What does this have to do with Callie or Charlie, you might be asking yourself. Nothing and everything. 

Fibromyalgia is not really understood yet by doctors or the public, heck, it’s not really understood by the patient who is experiencing it; it’s what’s often called an “invisible illness.” See the great spoon (energy) theory. Technically that was developed by a woman with Lupus, but she has spread it intending to be for all invisible illnesses.

Fibro affects those who suffer from it differently. It’s a nerve disorder of sorts. Some people get numb or tingling or sharp sensations in their faces, some get brutal muscle pain that spreads to their joints. I often suffer from “fibro fog” in which I struggle to think super clearly or say what I am thinking. The words are there, the images are there, but I can’t say them.

And then there is the worst, the flares. Sometimes when it flares up it’s just a bad neck/back/arms for me, but between the moving and all the activity this past month, my body shut down. I have spent the last three days in bed, getting up for food or to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom. I’m recovering, but that’s one of the things fibro does, it will slam you to the ground like a big wave if you don’t plan for rest times.

The dogs have been great, mostly happy to lie in the bedroom with me, especially now that they like to wrestle, but Charlie, as a 5-month-old puppy will do, is starting to go a little crazy. Yesterday, he purposefully antagonized our next door neighbor’s grumpy little Chihuahua TWICE, just so he could outrun her and fly back (I don’t even know how he got away from me the second time.) Thank goodness she’s a friend of ours!

I rescued this breed purposefully, not only out of my love for Cavaliers but because they can also either go or be mellow. I also knew that taking Charlie on meant a few years of craziness before the easy, mellow part – although he’s surprisingly good about that!

I feel like a failure when I hit this cycle again where my flares are so bad they prevent me from doing stuff with my dogs.

Charlie needs a regular training schedule. I can’t promise that. Callie needs to go on daily walks to stay a healthy weight and Charlie too, for weight as he grows, for exercise, and for energy. I can’t promise that either. I was able to when we got them, I was so good with Callie all winter and with Charlie this spring and early summer. And now… guilt

But then, right before we had to move, so many other things suddenly happened – mostly good, but energy-sucking none the less, and I’m back on the old carousel ride. 

 

Fibro, how I hate you.

 

 

 

 

And how grateful I am to have such a wonderful family who loves and supports me, and my fabulous dogs who may get cheated out of some things but are certainly spoiled in other respects! I just hope it’s good enough.

Carousel

FUR! Yes, We Have FUR!

Oh, Charlie, Charles, Chuck, Charleston Chew, Charles V. Charlington (?), Prince Charles, Charles Wellington (again ?) and I throw out my latest addition here – Johnnie B. Goode (Chuck Berry), how we adore you.

Charlie has a sweet face
Sweet Face

 

That’s what I tell myself every night before bed when you curl up between our chins, such soft, deep brown eyes. A melted chocolate that never ends. And ridiculously long lashes to boot.

 

Every day lately I have to remind myself that I adore you, as you tear into one thing or another, especially during this move. Even, at a few points, my hair and yes, puppies are known to bite and pull on hair, it’s just that mine is short enough it’s pretty hard to get.

The biggest news is that Charlie HAS FUR AGAIN!!

I asked the Twitter #cavpack for some ideas regarding potential skin issues as it stumped the vet and one of our dear friends, @sunneesummer, noted that Sunnee, as well as a few other dogs, had responded in various similar ways to the medicine in topical flea/tick solutions – selamectin. It’s very rare to have a dog react to this. Oh, problem child.😆

Our vet had asked us to try applying Revolution every two weeks instead of every month with Charlie in case (only test for) it was an extremely unlikely mite. Upon finding this new info out, I called our vet and told her we weren’t going to go ahead with the Revolution test. She understood and agreed, especially as none of our other animals were scratching like him and losing hair. So, our next choices were:

  1. Try a round of Ivermectin – a powerful anti-parasite medication that could wreak havoc on his little system.
  2. Make an appointment with a canine dermatologist an hour and a half away.
  3. Keep going with the Benadryl and see what happened

At first, Jess and I agreed that we had to take our miserable puppy to the dermatologist. Then, the next morning Jess noticed I had been using the little dropper (as the vet had emphasized “such a tiny amount” I didn’t even think) and had been giving him .25cc instead of 2.5cc of Benadryl.

Now there’s a good way to feel bad about yourself, especially when you are a person who tends to be confident in your animal,  particularly dog, knowledge and care. Not that we don’t all make mistakes, but medicine mistakes are the worst! Anyway, based on that alone, we decided to wait a few more days and see if the Benadryl helped more. During that time I found this magical stuff:

Itchy, hair loss skin spray
And Incredible Skin Spray it is! http://bit.ly/2tBS8aF

Within a week he looked like this (apologies for the blurry photo, trying to hold a puppy still is not easy):

Charlie with some fur
Charlie with some fur

 

If you look closely, you can see that his back is once again covered in fur but the side isn’t as much. His whole body used to look like that, with just long wiry hairs left.

 

 

 

Now he has fur everywhere again!!!

It’s still pretty short and very puppy-soft, so he does have to wear clothes, or he gets cold in the morning with the dew. Especially lately as we have had several rainy days.

 

Callie looks annoyed
Yay! I made it to the Big Bed!

Charlie graduated to sleeping in the big bed, even for my naps. He loves it so much. He curls tight, stays close all night and is surprisingly well behaved on the bed. He has not graduated to life without his crate though – couldn’t trust this kid for a second if we were gone!

 

He handled the move surprisingly well. We never separated him from Callie, so they both had the comfort of the other which certainly helped. Also, they only spent one day away from us. Nana puppy-sat during the big moving day (THANK YOU NANA ❤️) and that was awesome,  Nana’s dog Angie taught Charlie how to play tug with another dog!

Charlie also loves the new house. At first, he got extra excited about being able to run out the sliding doors and off the back patio. That enthusiasm has subsided a little bit. He still loves it, although he does seem to find the tie-out lead mildly insulting.

The biggest Charlie issue at the moment is that he won’t stop attacking Callie by biting and pulling on her ears. Once or twice this has resulted in minor play, so he thinks it’s a good idea. We have mostly left them alone on this, waiting for Callie to put him in his place, but despite her few snaps in his direction or yelps when it hurts, he doesn’t stop, and she won’t go further.

So now we are struggling to find ideas that fit in with positive training methods – or at least not too negative. I did resort to yelling, that didn’t work of course, so I had the idea to get out our kitty training squirt bottles. Although he doesn’t seem to mind the water, it does get his attention sometimes, for a second, just long enough to distract him.

I have found that occasionally hitting something behind him with the spray can get his attention better, but it’s still not totally successful. I feel like I want to put No-Chew on her ears except it tastes awful and what if she gets it somewhere and licks it and has to deal with that through no fault of her own?!

Any ideas doggie friends? Help!

My daughter and I ran an errand to Home Depot the other day and randomly parked behind this car. We both decided that, clearly, this car was meant to be ours: 

As G pointed out, it even has a big and a little tricolor sticker, just like we would have!

Problem Child

“He’s your problem child,” said both the vet tech and the vet separately, each smiling. The second time, when our vet said it, we all laughed, and I held Charlie up saying, “we can’t afford you!”

We were supposed to be going in for a mere second distemper round, but, in the week before we were to go, he developed itchy, flaky, scaly skin everywhere and started losing/chewing off his hair.

 

Waiting for the vet
#NationalSelfieDay pic at the Vet

 

It began with his knees and looked like dry/hot spots, so I found some good moisturizing hot spot treatment and used that, his knee/thigh hair started to grow back. But then, like *that* it was EVERYWHERE, and he wasn’t just chewing off his hair, it was falling out.

coconut oil and hair loss
Charlie – Greasy with Coconut Oil and Losing Hair

I didn’t call the vet because he didn’t seem to be in pain and I knew I had an appt this week. I decided to try helping the dry skin. I coated my 5.5 lb puppy in coconut oil two nights in a row. Even though we put it on at night, it didn’t soak into the fur, so it was kind of funny to have a greased up puppy running around.

That didn’t help so I went and got medicated shampoo and he got a bath. He was going to get one anyway – I certainly wasn’t going to take a greasy puppy to the vet – so I chose between oatmeal style shampoo and medicated.

The next day we went to the vet. She was stumped by the particular look of his skin and the way it was thinning. She decided to take a skin scraping to check for a particular kind of mite but found nothing as she suspected. She took him to her co-worker, a woman who has been practicing for 30+ years, she too was stumped.

So, with a combined 45+ years of vet practice, nobody knew what Charlie could have. My vet came back and said, “This is the only time I think I will ever say this, but I hope maybe it is just allergies? Environmental even?”

She knows how hard we have worked on getting Callie’s food right given her allergies, but we may have to consider the possibility of him having them too. Unless this skin stuff goes away with Benadryl and applications of flea/tick stuff every two weeks just in case it is a different kind of mite, the next step is an animal dermatologist an hour and a half away. He can’t even wear sunblock, with all the thin fur he’s getting sunburns, he has to wear shirts to protect his skin. The vet doesn’t want anything else possibly irritating him.

Charlie wears shirts
Charlie has to wear shirts for now, not happy about it! ❤️

He was SUCH a crybaby after getting his one vaccine that he literally climbed up my shirt and under my neck. He was so loud it startled both the vet tech and the vet. If it wasn’t that our wonderful vet already knew Charlie, I don’t know what she would have thought happened. She had to put a note in Charlie’s chart for any of the other vets, just in case, “Very Sensitive Boy.”

Do you have a problem child? Tell me about them!

The kiddo and the puppy
Who is cuter? The kiddo or the puppy? 😍

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Mama B helping Charlie with his hill climbs 😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonding that saves lives!

These stories are so lovely and magical. Reading this post is re-empowering me to get back to work with Callie, training for her therapy dog license so she can work with kids.

Original post:

Shelter Dogs and Special Needs Kids: A Match Made in Heaven

By: Vera Lawlor June 9, 2017

About Vera Follow Vera at @vtlawlor

Brook, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, was sitting in a high-kill shelter in Arizona with just two days to live when she was rescued by Janice Wolfe, founder and CEO of Merlin’s KIDS. The nonprofit organization rescues, rehabilitates and trains shelter dogs to work as service dogs for children with autism and special needs, as well as to assist disabled veterans. After extensive training Brook returned Wolfe’s kindness by transforming the life of Julie, 21, who is developmentally delayed due to a premature birth.

Wolfe describes Brook as a “rock star,” a calm sweet dog with the perfect temperament for working as an emotional support service dog. Julie’s mom, Ellen, couldn’t agree more.

“Brook has given Julie a greater sense of confidence,” Ellen said. “They are always together and Brook definitely knows that it’s her responsibility to take care of Julie.”

Before being paired with Brook, Julie was afraid to go outside the house on her own. Now she and Brook take walks down the block or sit together in the yard. Julie has become more outgoing and enjoys speaking or singing in front of people.

“Brook has become an emotional support for all of us,” Ellen said. “I can’t believe that they almost put her to sleep. She is the love of our lives!”

Julie takes a selfie with Brook as he smothers her with kisses.

Another Merlin’s KIDS graduate, Willow, was rescued from a beach in Aruba where she ran with a feral pack. She was so scared that nobody could touch her. With patience and love her foster family won her love and trust. Now after completing the training program, the 40-pound sweet-natured cunucu dog is ready to join three other Merlin’s Kids service dogs in the Animal Adaptive Therapy program at the Calais School for special needs children in New Jersey. Willow is a cortisol detection dog trained to detect stress signals in students and to alert the counseling team so that they can intervene before a problem escalates. She will also work with students to learn the social, emotional and behavioral skills they need to succeed in life.

Willow and Brook are just two of the 1,300 dogs that have been rescued, rehabilitated and trained as service dogs by Wolfe, a canine behavior rehabilitation specialist and author of “SHH HAPPENS! Dog Behavior 101.” In addition to Rhodesian Ridgebacks, the nonprofit organization has rescued and rehabilitated Labrador mixes, pointer mixes and coonhound mixes to work as service dogs. The goal of the organization is to ensure that service dogs are available to families in need regardless of financial circumstances. To fulfill this mission it depends on financial donations and sponsorships.

Wolfe said that Merlin’s KIDS service dogs are highly trained and highly specialized. They can do anything from keeping a special needs child from wandering away to opening doors or picking up pencils for children with disabilities to alerting before the onset of a seizure. It’s important, the trainer said, to make sure that the dogs are physically capable of doing the jobs being asked of them and that they have the right temperament.

“I’m very careful when placing dogs with autistic children because these kids can have such erratic behavior and the dogs have to be able to handle that,” Wolfe said. “Service dogs who will be tethered to a child have to be really chill and calm”

When it comes to autistic children Wolfe’s dogs are trained to serve the individual child. For example, dogs are trained to help children who are overstimulated by interrupting behavior patterns, and they can prevent children from opening a door and running out into the street. Some children need deep pressure to fall asleep so Wolfe and her team train service dogs to lay across their laps at night.

“We have a lot of autistic kids who had never slept in their own beds until they got a service dog,” Wolfe said. In addition to donations and sponsors, Merlin’s Kids is always in need of volunteers and foster families.

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This beautiful article was first seen on the Care2 site and, please, do drop across to that Merlin Kids website.

Learning from Dogs

Again and again the power of our relationship with dogs is breathtakingly beautiful.

If I carried on writing about dogs and sharing articles with you for a thousand years, I still don’t think I would become immune to the joy and wonder of what dogs mean to us. (Luckily for your sake you won’t have to follow this blog for quite those many years!)

Turning to us, the measure of a compassionate and caring society is how it looks after those who, through circumstance and bad luck, are disadvantaged. While there are many in such a situation who are the wrong side of twenty-one there’s something especially important, critically so, in reaching out to help our youngsters.

So why this switch from dogs to disadvantaged young people?

Read on:

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Shelter Dogs and Special Needs Kids: A Match Made in Heaven

By: Vera Lawlor June 9, 2017

About Vera Follow…

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