Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Buddy's improving situation

Buddy Boy has been here now for four whole days, and he's been on his current medication now since Saturday.

Currently, he's getting Lasix, Enalapril, Robitussin DM and 1/4-1/3 a baby aspirin (for inflammation of the trachea) twice a day.

And he is doing really, really well.

We still get the cough that comes from the collapsed trachea, but it's less frequent, and I'm hearing a WHOLE lot less of the cough that was coming from the heart condition. Let's say on a scale of 1-100, his cough is at about 35. And that's really significant. Before the medication kicked in, I'd have put him at 85.

What I get now is the cough after drinking water, but not eating. Stress isn't nearly the factor it was originally. He's calmed way down. He's also not coughing every time he moves around. I hear it occasionally, and he still does it during the night, but it's a whole lot less often and the intensity and duration of it is much less.

Night time is still the roughest on him. He now settles right down on his pallet with nary a cough. If he moves some during the night, he'll cough, but it's light and lasts less than a minute. But once a night, generally between 2:00 and 3:00, he gets up for water an that's the bout that lasts the longest - a couple of minutes.

He also got through a bath this morning with no coughing. Very unhappy that The Foodlady would stoop to such mistreatment of him, but he got through it. Of course, being given a Stumpy Snack after the fact made the whole ordeal almost worthwhile.

You also can see shades of a younger Buddy when he's hungry or motivated. He really wants to jump up on his hind legs for attention and treats and because of what looks to be an old injury, I really have to watch how much he does that. He gets very, very attentive during snack time and the years just melt away. It can be hard to believe he's 15 1/2.

I've got a weight on him now. He's 11 pounds. I think Dawn said he was 10 pounds at the clinic, so if that's right (there's no weight listed), he's put on a pound. This is good because he's really too thin...even taking into consideration he needs to be on the thin side. Main thing is I now have a baseline to use to keep an eye out for water weight gain.

Temperament-wise you just couldn't ask for a sweeter boy. Very easy going. Loves attention. Enjoys being groomed (haven't cut his toenails yet, but the brushing is just ducky with him).  Really enjoys being outside just poking around or laying in the sun. Scratch him and he'll just close his eyes and sort of lean into it. Very good manners.

I've got to head down to Petsmart tomorrow to pick up some canned food. He's protesting the kibble if it doesn't have something added to it. I keep cans of Pedigree on hand to make the Stumpy Snacks out of, and I put a couple of tablespoons in last night's dinner and this morning's offering to see if that helped. Much improved vittles according to Buddy. So we'll get some canned food in here that's good quality and add that to his dinner. I'm also going to just let him have a couple of tablespoons in the morning since he really isn't all that hungry then. And unlike my dachshunds, when he's not hungry he doesn't eat.

I'll leave you with some photos from this afternoon.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A definite sense of entitlement...

...either that or just a picky eater. :)

Mr. Buddy isn't a big fan of most of the handouts the rest of the household gets. As a matter of fact, today he turned down a boiled egg, something I don't think I've ever had a dog do. However, he is a REAL BIG FAN of boiled/baked chicken livers.

I was trying to mix up the diet today. Dog food by itself, which had previously had a chicken liver in it. So he got the liver and egg as a snack around 1pm. Totally rejected the egg. Scarfed down the liver like normal.

Then at dinner tonight, he turned up his nose at his kibble until I gave in and added a liver.

Honestly. This boy.

I've also taken to giving him his Robitussin by mouth rather than mixed with food. And he hates it and I don't blame him. Why or why can't they make this stuff in a flavor other than cherry? As much as he hates it, though, at least I know how much of it he's getting.

Seeing less coughing now that he's getting the Lasix, Enalapril and Robitussin on a regular basis. It's still worse at night (and after drinking water), but last night was better than the night before, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed on this. As long as he can be kept comfortable, we're doing good.

This is where you can find Buddy most of the time...he's got a nice cushy blanket/towel combo down next to my desk. It's his spot during the day unless he's in the kitchen with me and it's his spot at night (we gave up on the crate...too much stress).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Buddy's Story

First some back story.

Randall and I originally began fostering in July 2009 when we took in Elvis, the puppy mill refugee from Waco, who was a permanent medical foster. Elvis was basically sent home with us to die, and no one expected him to live more than a few weeks...certainly not two years. And when we lost Elvis in Summer 2012, we kept on fostering with our focus being on dachshunds (my breed) and seniors.

Fast forward to December 2012. We lost Haley, my 17 year old standard smooth dachshund who was the last of my breeding from the days when I showed dachshunds. Randall and I had talked about fostering another special needs senior, but we knew our time with Haley was limited and we needed to focus on her. Also, five dogs is really the limit for Randall since he has ADD, and more than five really stretches his ability to keep track of them.

We had dog sat for Dawn Enriquez last summer, and we had talked about fostering through her group since Bark N Rest pulls the most senior and special needs of small breeds. She's in Azle, so we knew that it would take some coordination to make happen, but things looked to be working out, and we expected to have a foster dog from her probably in early February.

OK. So we're just a bit early, but whose counting? :)

Dawn contacted me a couple of weeks ago to see if we were ready to foster. There was a candidate at the Irving shelter that she had her eye on. His stray hold wasn't up for quite some time, but if Randall and I were ready to take on a new foster, she would tag this boy. At the time, she was told by the shelter that he was 15+, but relatively healthy (as you'll see in a bit, that's patently untrue). So tagged he was with his stray hold up on 1/17.

 Buddy enters stage left.

At the shelter in Irving

At the shelter in Irving

 And a very unhealthy little senior he is, too. This is the type of dog Dawn pulls, but still it bothers me that the Irving shelter was so far off the mark with him (Caveat: I have a personal history with Irving. I did their adoption portal work from August 2011 until May 2012 when the volunteer situation blew up and many of us left. So I have a history and it's pretty bitter.)

Sweet Buddy's medical situation isn't good. It's remarkably similar to Elvis's medical problems, though, which was one reason Dawn wanted to get him here as soon as possible.

Start with the good news...he's neutered and heartworm negative.

Then the bad news. He is late stage heart murmur (grade 5-6/6) moving into congestive heart failure. He is also late stage collapsed trachea.

So Buddy wheezes like a bellows, and he's got the rasping cough that goes with his condition. But he's here and he's got a host of medicines we're working with. Currently, he has Lasix, Enalapril, Robitussin DM and Vetmedin. When we picked him up from Dawn yesterday, she'd stopped all his medicines because he wasn't reacting well to them. She wasn't sure what was causing the problem, and he'd only been on them a day, so she decided to skip his morning medicine.

Having watched Elvis react badly to Vetmedin and hearing some of what Buddy was doing, I decided we'd start with Lasix and Robitussin we got him home and then get him on Enalapril today. So that's where we are. The Lasix is in tablet form, so I don't have the luxury of giving him a bit more if he needs it, but Dawn is going to send me some Guafenasin  and Torbutrol to help with his cough if it gets out of control at night. Some of that is related to the trachea collapse, but some is also his heart.

His rear assembly has some problems and you can see it in the stiff legged gait. It looks as if an old injury didn't heal right, but it doesn't really seem to bother him. We'll just be sure he doesn't over do it...now that we know he doesn't always limit his activities (see photo below).

Buddy showing us he still has some moves

He's also quite thin, and we're going to work on that too. He's got a good appetite and he picked up on the fact I'm The Foodlady just about immediately. So while he does like Randall a great deal, my stock rises astronomically when I head into the kitchen.

Personality wise, you just couldn't ask for a sweeter boy. He came in and everyone took to him immediately. Even Skeeter, the resident Chihuahua, hasn't had too much trouble adjusting to him. He's fine with the cats....he's eyed Howdy with some interest and I told him that was a really bad cat to test the waters with. So he's left both Howdy and Ollie alone.

He won't really tolerate a crate. So, like Padre before him, he eats in one, but that's it. He likes the dog pillow here in our room, so since that's where he's comfortable, this is where he can sleep. When he gets agitated or stressed, the wheezing and coughing kick in, and I really see no reason to put him through that. He's more or less house broken....I waffle on that because the boy IS on Lasix, and since that's a diuretic, he's going to need to pee a lot. We have hard surface floors throughout the house, so it's no big deal if he can't make it outside all the time.

Watch the birdie...errrr....treat

So here we are with Buddy, a needy senior who will live out his days here for however long he chooses. When it's time, he'll let us know and we'll let him go, reluctantly, I'm sure, but he'll leave us knowing he's been loved and cared for. And we'll let him go knowing we've been blessed with the love and joy that we can only get from loving an old dog.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What's this...

you ask? Someone new? Who is it? Where'd he come from? What's his story?

Stay tuned for more details....

Friday, January 18, 2013

GiGi Update

(I swore up and down this blog would be for more than just health updates, but that seems to be what's happening right now!)

Gigi has pretty well kicked her infection. She's been on the Clindamycin now for around 10 days, and the drooling has virtually stopped. Her breath is much better (sort of a relative description) and her energy level is quite good.

She also has reached the benchmark weight of 10 lbs, and I think it's safe to say that her weight should range between 9 1/2 pounds and 10 or so. She's fleshed out, though I suspect she will continue to add weight in places as things continue to shift around.

One thing I'm not seeing is a filling in of the hollows on her skull right above the outside of her eyes. As far as I can tell, that's remained the same. I'm unsure if it will always be there or if it's just the last place to fill in. Poor GiGi is the obvious product of bad breeding, and this may simply be a structural issue of her conformation. Regardless, she's a sweet little girl, so if you like her personality, that's not going to make a bit of difference.

Her diet is still being supplemented. She's getting 1/3 cup of food twice daily. In the morning, she gets fish oil and half a boiled egg. In the evening, she gets 1/3 cup of food with 1 oz of chicken liver added. She gets yogurt with her antibiotic, and she's a big fan of low fat vanilla yogurt. :)

(In my experience, dogs with bad teeth or no teeth seem to gravitate to sweets. LOL)

I also think she's about ready to have a blood test done to check the status of the anemia she was suffering from. If she's got good numbers, she'll be ready to go down to Houston to Linne so she can get her dental and go into another foster home.

Personally, I think she's adoptable. She's got a fine temperament, and is very friendly once she has a chance to size you up. She likes laps, blankets, cuddling and affection. Not much wrong there.She will make a nice pet for anyone looking for an older girl.

She is, however, NOT a fan of cold weather, as you can see from these photos. :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dixie Doll

I honestly can't remember having a foster dog that was this easy.

The only place I really fault Dixie is she's a bit pushy. I get the feeling she was an only dog, even though she has slid right into the pack hierarchy, she tends to not be really aware of boundaries. With Penny, it's OK. She really doesn't care. With Skeeter, the Chihuahua, he's a bit less tolerant. And Gigi. Well, Gigi I think has also been an only dog and her acceptance of another dog pushing her boundaries is a bit more expressive. Nothing major between the two girls, but Dixie isn't as close to her as she is to Penny and Skeeter.

She is just fine with both the cats here, too, and I wouldn't have any qualms putting her in a house with dog friendly cats.

I think, too, she prefers men. She's just fine with me, but she really gravitates to Randall. Of course, that could be because the den where he is, is warmer than the bedroom where my computer is, and there's a basket in there she can sometimes co-opt from Skeeter if she's fast enough. It would be no problem for her to go into a home with just a woman, but I think Dixie's dream home would also include a man to go with a comfy basket and lots of blankets.

Being on a diet is paying off. I've seen a gradual weight loss. She's down to a bit over 13 pounds. I still can't feel her ribs, and I'd like to see another 1/2 pound off her, but she's headed in the right direction and is looking good.

February is Senior Month at ATDR, and I'm going to try this week to get some good photos of her. As much as I would hate for her to leave, this girl is absolutely adoptable. Being crate trained and house broken helps widen her appeal, so if anyone is looking for a super senior, take a look at Dixie.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Updating Little GiGi

Wow. What a difference a week makes. From a very sick little girl last Saturday who barely had the energy to crawl out from under a blanket, to a little spitfire who has a ton of energy and really seems to be enjoying life.

She's had 7 days of Doxycycline and Prednisone. She's eating a bit less than she was when she got here (she was up to 1 one cup a day - a HUGE amount for a little girl), but she's also getting the Miracle Food combo of boiled eggs and chicken livers. Some yogurt to help her digestion along in the presence of antibiotics and this girl has gone from lethargic and just the other side of skin and bones, to happy, energetic and 9.4 pounds.

I really would like to see her at 10 lbs before I decide how much more weight she needs. She's one of these dogs who actually looks like she weighs less than she does. She has sunken in spots on either side of her skull right above the eye sockets, and I'd like to see those filling in.

Her breath is still bad, but not anything like it was, and the drooling is less, too. I'm hoping another week to 10 days of antibiotics will kick the majority of the infection and those two side effects will improve too.

Not sure when she'll go in for bloodwork. I'd like to aim for somewhere around the 28th of this month. That will give her a full month on antibiotics, Pred and the Miracle Food. See where we are with the anemia. Nothing much can be done until that is under control.

Once it is, then this little girl will wave adios to Waco and head down to Houston. We're in no hurry to get rid of her, though. She's a sweetie and her personality is really beginning to shine.

Updating Miss Dixie...

I continue to be impressed with just how sweet this dog is. And easy going. And accepting of change. She really is a trooper. She hadn't been here all that long herself before a new and needy foster came in. She handled that transition pretty well. There was a little insecurity as everyone tried to figure out the daytime sleeping arrangements and who was going to be in which room, but now that we've got multiple pillows and blankets, she's a happy camper.

Dixie pretty well goes on the the motto of  "Home is where the comfort (food) is." Give her a pillow and a blanket, and she's good to go. Her only real obsession is food. Some of that may be because she's dieting or it may simply be she's a typical dachshund who can pack away any amount of food/treats you care to hand out.

When she came to us a few weeks ago, the clinic had weighed her the day she left and she was 15.8 pounds. Our new bathroom scales came today, and she's 13.8. That's a pretty significant loss since she got here on December 17. Basically 2 pounds in 20 days. I would like to get her to 13 pounds and see what her body looks like. Right now, she's got a waistline, but there's still some extra padding on her ribs. Once that's gone, I think she's going to be close to where she needs to be. I originally thought she'd need to weigh a lot less, but as what she has moves around, I'm reevaluating that.

So, the good news is she's looking good, the bad news - for Dixie - is the diet isn't done. :)

Meanwhile, crate trained, house broken, easy going, likes other dogs, ignores cats, leash trained, spayed and heartworm negative. What else could you ask for? So if anyone is looking for a perfect senior girl, you really need to meet Dixie. Even the lack of teeth isn't an issue for her for the most part.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Kid On The Block....

I really hadn't planned on bringing in another ATDR foster dog quite so fast, but Dixie is without question the most easily assimilated dog I've ever brought in here. She slid into the pack hierarchy and people routine without even blinking. Seriously a good little girl.

So.....................when Denise Wilson, who connected Dixie with me, told me there was a sickly mini smooth who absolutely had to get into a rescue group ASAP, I told her to talk to Linne (ATDR's president) and let her know we could take the girl as a temp foster while she was getting over what ails her.

Things meshed again, and we picked up GiGi from the woman who had taken her off the streets and rushed her to the Tyler clinic where Denise works.

And what ails this girl is a whole lot. She's a big old mess. She was first treated in mid-October, and was in such bad shape the clinic gave the option of putting her down then and there. Melissa, the woman who had her,  wanted to attempt to save her, so work got started. The first step was bloodwork that showed she was horribly anemic...so much so she received a blood transfusion then and there.

GiGi is a little bitty girl. The clinic has her weight at 8.7 pounds, and maybe she is, right after eating, but when I look at this girl I see smaller than that. That aside, though, and in addition to the anemia, she tested high heartworm positive and with a raging mouth infection.

She was given the transfusion, started on Prednisone (to suppress her immune system while working on the anemia situation) and antibiotics for the mouth infection.

Unfortunately, a month and a half into treatment Melissa's senior senior dachshund was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and her attention was shifted from GiGi to him.

So when we picked her up from Melissa on Saturday, we took possession of a very sick little girl. Without running a CBC, I was just going on the assumption she was pretty much back to where she started (albeit probably not as anemic).

Denise was mailing some Pred and Doxycycline to me as part of the agreement with ATDR to bring her into the program (as I write this it's not here yet because of the holiday), but I have Pred here on hand, and some Doxy that is a bit old, but I figured would at least get her started until the good stuff gets here. I've also emailed Linne an update on her and requested she send 28 days worth of Clindamycin and more Doxy so I'll have it on hand once the stuff Denise sent is used up. Clindy should kick the mouth infection which is causing some seriously foul breath. She has very bad teeth (what are left) and a huge oral nasal fistula that needs to be closed....all of that will need to wait until she's well and can head to Houston.

So now I'm waiting for meds.

Meanwhile, GiGi is getting her dog food that I've split into two meals a day. With that, she's getting a little over 1 oz of baked chicken liver and half a boiled egg (aka Magic Food Stuff) with each meal. With the anemia present, the liver and egg should giver her a much better chance of kicking it quicker. And, well, GiGi is in LOVE with the additions. I've told her the high quality protein will help what ails her, but she doesn't seem to care much as long as she gets it. LOL

And after just 2 days of antibiotics you can tell she is feeling better. Even though she has staked out the big pillow in the den as her spot, she runs into the kitchen if I go in there for any length of time. She also comes in here into the bedroom where I have my computer to see me. She likes Randall, but you can tell she's really a woman's dog (being The Foodlady doesn't hurt my standing either) and she perks right up when she hears my voice.

So, what I'm hoping and planning is we can get a good 3-4 weeks of antibiotics and Magic Food Stuff down her to help her beat the anemia. She'll have a CBC done after that to see where she is. If she's improved enough, she'll head down to Houston where Linne will get her teeth and oral nasal fistula seen to and then she'll go into a new foster home until she finds a forever home.

Here are a couple of photos of this little girl and one of her and Dixie together. There will be a link in the Places To Go list before long, too.