Healing thoughts …

Image007 (2)… needed for one of our former fosters.  I always knew this day would come … a day wherein a phone call is received concerning one of the dogs we’ve placed.  Knew it would be difficult for the owners who opened their hearts and home to a rescue years long past to make this call.

BooBoo was our first out-of-state transport into rescue.  Originally from Oklahoma City, he caught a ride to Colorado with a gal that was headed home to the Springs after a lure-coursing trial.  We met at a truck stop in Limon, Colorado … a fair piece from my home, especially so when the meet /greet was set for 11:00 p.m.  Hubby, bless his heart, insisted that I wasn’t driving it alone.  I’m glad he was there as it was 2:00 a.m. when we pulled into our driveway.   Despite the late hour, it was a beautiful drive home across the southeastern plains under a brilliant full moon. 

BooBoo is a charmer.  We had friends over for dinner in July 2003 … BooBoo found an accommodating lap and proceeded to insist on sitting in it for most of the evening.  Boo went home with them that night and never looked back.

A CT scan is scheduled at CSU on Wednesday morning as well as a biopsy to examine a growth on the roof of his mouth.  At the moment, it can be one of three things:  a foreign object that entered through the nose and lodged in the palate/sinuses with resultant infection, a fungal infection of the sinuses, or a tumor which can be benign or cancerous.   We’re hoping an infection caused by a foreign object is the diagnosis as a fungal infection will require a 5- to 6-hour surgery to scrape the sinuses out.  A cancer diagnosis brings its own set of problems.

Please keep this little one and his family in your thoughts and prayers …’

UPDATE:   Boo did not undergo the CT scan this morning as his symptoms subsided on Saturday and haven’t returned.  The vets at CSU recommended a “wait/see” treatment program.  It’s entirely possible he got something up his nose and it is now gone.   Woohooo!! 

A New Foster …

Jackson ... takin' it easy
Jackson ... takin' it easy

… arrived yesterday.  All 24 pounds of him.  Jackson, through no fault of his own, is a victim of the economy.  He’s been well cared for and very much loved.  Unfortunately,  his owner was forced to work two jobs just to keep up with the bills.  Leaving little time for taking care of a beloved companion … and even less money to deal with his medical issues.  A dental is in his very near future (like tomorrow)  along with dealing with some ear tip issues.  It appears he has a skin condition at the very tips of his ears — most likely from improper drying after a bath.

Once released for adoption, Jackson will make an exceptional pet.  A young dog, he’ll be three in mid July.  He’ll be dropping a few pounds and working on a “heel” command so as to walk nicely on a lead.  He’s crate trained, housetrained and will be placed with his crate, HW meds, a microchip and current vaccinations.

If interested in this little guy, please contact me at:  ApsoRescue@aol.com.  Better yet, if seriously interested, submit an application — unless you’ve previously adopted from us in which case you’re already approved!

Update:   Jackson came through his dental with flying colors. The ear tip issue was pretty minor and will most likely be cleared up with a short course of topical antibiotics.  Because he’s doing so well, Jackson will be attending the Fire Hydrant 5 in Fort Collins on Saturday, May 9th.  He’ll be sporting a bandana that says, “Adopt Me!”

Lives more temporary than our own …

Frankers
Frankers

We recently had a scare with my 8-year old male, Frankie a/k/a “Frankers.”  While holding him during a chiropractic adjustment for an old injury earned chasing squirrels, I found a large swelling just under his jaw.  To say I was “surprised” is an understatement because I had just groomed him that morning and didn’t find anything amiss.

The first round of antibiotics prescribed were ineffective and his condition continued to deteriorate, including spiking a high fever and complete disinterest in food.  Given his lack of response to the antibiotics, a biopsy was taken of the node to determine what exactly was going on.  While under anesthesia for the biopsy, the vet checked his mouth and esophagus for any foreign body that might be a contributing factor.  Zip, nada, zilch … meaning no clue as to what was causing it or how the swelling came about.  In the meantime, we switched antibiotics in the hopes he would respond.

The biopsy finally came back and revealed a severe bacterial infection of the lymph node (does it come through that I’m not a patient person in some situations??).  A few days later, he began to respond to the antibiotic and we were advised he’d have to stay on it four to six weeks as lymph node infections can be difficult to clear up.  Weeks later, the node has returned to almost normal, as has Frankers.

Shortly thereafter, I came across an excellent excerpt article on National Public Radio (NPR).  Written by a vet — Nancy Kay, DVM — it provides valuble tools for dealing with aging/ill pets and making decisons on their behalf … Speaking for Spot.  If you own pets, this is definitely a “must read.”  For myself, I’m tucking the information away in my mental tool box.  A guidepost for when aging bodies begin to fail and emotions run high in the face of loss.

The complete book is available at Amazon.com.

April 6th Update:   Today is a really, really good day for our household.  After months of dealing with Franker’s issues … first the hip/back injury and then the bacterial infection … I finally feel like I have my little guy back.  He’s playing with his toys, racing through the house, trying to get Ali to play with him, and bouncing up a full flight of steps from the basement (multiple times, no less).  A huge improvement over ten days ago when I had to carry him up the stairs because he couldn’t make it.  A week ago today, he had a chiropractic adjustment and a session of acupuncture.  I think what we’ll do now is explore the options for a maintenance program, something along the lines of once every 6-8 weeks (+/-)

We Need to Talk …

tzu-w-presentFor several years now, we’ve seen and heard all the different news accounts of pets being made ill or out right poisoned by products manufactured overseas.  And it doesn’t stop with just products for animals … baby formula, pot pourri, toothpaste, sea food, toys … you name it.  In the interest of our health — and our pets health/well being — owners need to be hyperviligant about bringing in items manufactured outside the US.

The vast majority of our pets will be participating in Christmas with us.  Other family members include them in their holiday gift buying … and this is where we need to talk.  Many well-meaning gifters will not be aware of the contamination of products for our pets.  This is where you — as the owner — need to carefully inspect packaging for country of origin as well as overall safety of the item.  Read the label carefully — that country of origin is often buried in small print.  Does it have small pieces that can be chewed off and ingested?  It is a ball that a tongue can be caught in, cutting off circulation?  If your dog is a “heavy” chewer, can the item be easily destroyed and eaten?  If in doubt, get rid of it!  The toy or treat you toss out may just save you $$$$ in vet bills.

Santa Paws is coming!!
Santa Paws is coming!!

Dogs and chocolate. Dogs and high-fat foods.  All deadly combinations that are accessible during the holidays.  Chocolate is a known poison to dogs (especially dark chocolate and small dogs).  High fat foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs … an extremely painful and life-threatening condition.  Skip the fat, treat with veggies if one absolutely must (and not the veggies swimming in gravy!).

Santa Paws can continue to visit … just make sure that what he’s carrying in his sack is safe for those little ones (or not-so-little ones)!!

And, if you’re still feeding the ever-popular chicken strips to your dog, please read the latest update from the FDA as of December 19, 2008.

Potpourri / Strychnine Warning …

There have been at least two reports in the past ten days of dogs dying of strychnine poisoning after ingesting potpourri. 

A case in Indiana involved potpourri imported from India by a company in California and then sold at the owner’s local Walmart.  The owner of the deceased dogs (two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) is working to have the product removed/banned.  Case studies by an English lab on toxic potpourri from India note that the tree, Strychnos nux-vomica, is native to India and is the chief commercial source of strychnine. 

The primary effect of the toxin is on the neurological system. The toxin interferes with inhibitory transmitters, which produce a state of muscle rigidity and stimulation. Death is often caused by the effect on muscles that stimulate breathing.

What to Watch For:

Violent seizures
Rigidity
Muscle stiffness
Fast heart rate
Difficult or slow breathing
Cessation of breathing and death

If you have any kind of potpourri in the home, please make sure it is inaccessible to both children and pets.  Even if your potpourri doesn’t contain strychnine, it can cause an obstruction in the pet’s intestine if ingested.

UPDATE:   This site …   Pets911 … contains more information on the potpourri as well as links to other sites referencing the incident and original email which was circulated by Karen Cantner, who is a show breeder of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels out of Evansville, IN.

Mushroom warning …

We’ve all seen them, those little white ‘shrooms that pop up overnight in one’s yard.  However, if you have dogs, you may want to watch those little ones a little more closely …

Mushrooms found in yard kill family dog

 
One day she was playing with her dog in the yard and the next, the dog was dying and doctors say it’s because little Shiloh ate something that could be in your own backyard. It was wild mushrooms and unfortunately, Shiloh died a few days later. Now the pet’s owner wants to make sure others are aware of what can happen.“It was hard, she was mostly my buddy.” Tami Mungenast has pictures all over her house of Shiloh – a one-year-old, 90-pound Great Pyrenees. It only took one wild mushroom to kill her.“I never thought there’d be a deadly mushroom in my front yard.” Shiloh ate one of the mushrooms last month and four days later, she died.“She slipped into a coma and liver shut down.” Tami was desperate to find out what killed Shiloh so it doesn’t happen to her brother. “I’m neurotic about it right now.” Everyday she combs her yard looking for mushrooms.Shiloh’s vet says there’s no way to tell for sure exactly what mushrooms the dog ate but after having the dog’s liver tested, they found these mushrooms had a toxin called Galerina in them. It can kill anyone who eats it, like Shiloh did. “In about 24 hours her liver started to shut down and within three days, there was nothing you could do.”
 
Dr. Carolyn Orr says they see four to five dogs a year that have eaten wild mushrooms but Shiloh’s case was the most severe. That’s why her owner is making sure it doesn’t happen again. “Every day I scope the property and then in afternoon and just remove them. There’s nothing I can do to get rid of them.”Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and foaming at the mouth and usually these happen eight hours or so after the dog has eaten the mushroom.Shiloh’s vet says the best thing to do once you see your dog have these symptoms is get them to the vet. 

And again from headlines …  

Dog dies after eating toxic mushrooms in yard

08:49 PM EDT on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

By TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36
E-mail Tony: TBurbeck@WCNC.com
   

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Toxic mushrooms have killed at least one dog in the Charlotte area and have made several others ill, according to local veterinarians.

The recent soaking rains are to blame for mushrooms popping up around town.

Tiffany Salomon told NewsChannel 36 that her dog died of mushroom toxicity. She has three dogs — Alex, a Bichon; Riley, a Yorkshire terrier; and Gino, a Shih Tzu.

Salomon says the dogs are her family.

“I dress them up in clothes, give them baths. They’re just like children to me,” Salomon said.

All three dogs loved to play in the yard. But recent rains caused mushrooms to pop up.

“We never thought these things would be toxic,” Salomon said.

Some mushrooms are toxic. Gino ate one.

“They think it’s a toy and want to chew on it and play,” Salomon said.

Suddenly, happy healthy Gino was fighting for his life. It started with vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Mushroom toxicity attacked his liver, according to the veterinarian’s report.

“We tried everything we could. We did blood transfusions. It didn’t work. He was just bleeding too much,” Salomon said. “He was too ill and had taken too many in. His body was literally shutting down.”

Gino died.

“It’s like losing your family member,” she said.

Alex, the Bichon, was next. He, too, had bloody diarrhea. His diagnosis: suspected mushroom toxicity.

The veterinarian thinks Alex ate a kind of mushroom that doesn’t shut the liver down. Alex lived.

Gino and Alex’s vet says instead of trying to figure out which mushrooms in your yard are toxic or bringing the mushrooms to animal hospitals, your best bet is picking them and throwing them away. Eliminating the threat could be saving a life.