Friday, March 29, 2013

Nail Clipping.....

.....You know how you see dogs with long toenails and you cringe? Yeah. I do, too.

Except there are dogs whose nails ended up growing to awful lengths here at the Hurst-Stukey Rest Home because sometimes, it's just not worth the problems that crop up when you try to get nice short nails.

Buddy is a good case in point. His nails had gotten kind of embarrassing, so I decided that while we had the nail clippers out for the Demon Chi (that would be what my husband's Chihuahua, Skeeter, morphs into when he sees the clippers come), we'd go whacking on everyone's nails...well, except for the deaf Deagle, Aggie. That takes much mental preparation in advance.

Everyone was kept out of the bedroom during Skeeter's toe amputation, but the screams and screeches alerted everyone to the dire happenings taken place on the other side of the door. Obviously, the humans were UP TO NO GOOD!!

Buddy was first in line. And guess what? He was really, really good. His eyes got real big and you could tell this ranked right up there with cherry flavored cough syrup, but he didn't move. No struggling. No whining. Stock still.

Until we put him down.

Then the coughing started. And it was never going to stop without chemical intervention, so I went straight to the Torbutrol. Within about 20 minutes, the drug had kicked in, the coughing was over and Buddy was stretched out in a state of utter bliss.

The problem isn't stress, which is sort of surprising. The problem was that Randall had to hold him for me and the way he has to be held is with his front end higher than his rear end. And there's an arm wrapping his rib cage. That body angle has cause problems for him in the past.

So Buddy's personal grooming routine will include toenail clipping months apart. If the nails get so long they give him trouble, I'll clip them. Otherwise, I'm not going to worry about it. I'll keep an eye out for the rear nails since he's got some rear assembly problems at times, but that's the only thing that will trigger more frequent trimmings.  It's just not worth it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Buddy must have heard me...

yesterday when I said I needed new photos.

These weren't exactly what I had in mind, but when Randall saw him this afternoon, he grabbed the camera.

In the two months he's been here, he's never once offered to get on that pillow. He's not real steady on his pins, so it's easier for him to get on his pallet, but apparently the pillow beckoned him this afternoon and he just couldn't resist.

We'd laid down for a nap, and Randall said he didn't know where Buddy was because he wasn't on his pallet...little stinker apparently climbed on to the pillow and got comfy. LOL

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Buddy Update 3/23/13

Just one of those updates you like to read because things are going well.

Buddy is doing very, very well.

The only problem I'm having is it's oak mold season and he's reacting the way my last CHF dog, Elvis, acted with some wheezing and coughing. Right now I've started him on 1/4 of a 5 mg dose of Prednisone at night before bed. This gives him enough Pred that he's sleeping most of the night and coughing hardly at all. Just as importantly, I don't hear the clicks, clacks and wheezy/labored breathing. It gives him enough help during the day, too, that there's no resumption of those problems.

We live in a live oak grove, so to speak, and all the trees are 50+ years old. That means LOTS of leaves and lots of "green hairies" that show up after the old leaves fall. Generally, we're in the throws of this from late February until May. Once the trees are done with their spring thing, I'll back him off the Pred. I tried an every other day dosage, but that didn't work well or consistently even with 1/2 a Benadryl, so it's every day for now. You have to weigh the possibility of internal organ issues with Pred, but with a 15 1/2 year old dog with CHF and a grade 5/6 heart murmur, I absolutely have to look at quality of life. An extra six months is pretty meaningless if every breath is a struggle. The Pred means he doesn't struggle to breathe, and that's what's important.

So for now that's where we are, and the only negative side effect I can see is this boy is HUNGRY. lol

We're getting him settled on his feeding routine. His weight has settled between 11.5 and 12 pounds. It's a good weight for him, and we keep a close eye out because weight gain in a CHF dog can be fluid and that is  NOT what you want. He gets breakfast at 8:30 (meds are at 8:15), lunch around 1 pm (which is significantly less than his breakfast), dinner at 5:30 (about as much as as breakfast). His chicken liver is his snack after our dinner (about 7:15 or so). Evening meds at 9:15 and a bit of kibble to snack on at 10 pm before we head to bed.

Randall has had to give him some kibble in the middle of the night when Buddy wakes up to go out and potty. The Lasix (and Pred) has him drinking quite a bit of water and, well, what goes in must come out. (I have no salivary glands courtesy of 30 radiation treatments for oral cancer several years ago, and I drink a lot of water all day to compensate, so I can sympathize.)  Once he comes off the Pred later, the snacking will be cut back until it has stopped. For now, though, he won't settle if he's hungry, so we give him a bit to tide him over.

All the mechanics aside, Buddy is as sweet a boy as you'd ever want to meet. He divides his time between the kitchen when I'm in there fiddling around or here next to the PC on his pallet. He doesn't like to be separated from me, though he's not obsessive about it so it's not a problem on the rare occasions when I have to leave the house, and he is unhappy if either Randall or I are behind a door so he can't get to us. Mind you, he doesn't HAVE to be next to us...he just wants that option in case he wants it. :)

He's also a dog that thrives on routine. Upset the routine and he gets unsettled. It may not amount to more than some walking around pouting, but you can tell he wants things the same. The most endearing example is at night, when I shut the PC down and get ready to head across the room to get ready for bed, I absolutely HAVE to kneel down and cuddle him and fuss over him. Five minutes or so and he's set...his eyes get all squinty and his body relaxes and his ears flop. He's a happy and contented boy.

The nights I forget to do that are the nights he doesn't want to settle on his pallet and then Randall has a hard time getting him settled back down once he comes in from his 2 am potty break. So this is something I am going to HAVE to remember to do...for all our sakes!

I'm hoping to get some updated photos this next week or maybe a short video if Buddy will cooperate. Whatever it is, I hope it will be something other than him napping on his pallet. After all, how many photos of a sleeping Buddy do we all need to see?

So we're just really thrilled to have this sweet boy here and doing so well. It does the heart good to know you're made a big difference in the life of a special needs senior.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Buddy Boy. Buddy Boy. Buddy Boy....Should Read "Foodie Boy..."

The Buddy Boy is learning. He's broadening his horizons and becoming a gourmand right before my eyes.

When first we met Buddy in the kitchen, he just wasn't too sure of people food. Yeah. Sure. It SMELLED good, but once the plate got down on the floor it was "WTF IS THIS?????" accompanied by a hurt look, a cold shoulder and retreating butt.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Buddy is positively relishing new food experiences. He's learned white corn tortillas are really yummy. Many varieties of home made soups are made for drooling over and scarfing down as fast as possible. Home made treats smelling of peanut butter, vanilla and banana are to be consumed quickly before an intruder makes off with it. And well, then there are the Cracker Jacks...there is absolutely nothing better for dessert.

But...really...seriously the BEST stuff is bowtie pasta with some pumpkin sauce and Parmesan Reggiano cheese grated on top.

That said, this boy simply will not touch the peas in his Grammy's Pot Pie and the evening ritual of everyone snacking on  piece of banana just leaves him positively cold. Somehow I doubt his horizons are ever going to be broad enough for that. :)

(And for those of you wondering how his medical issues are going, he has good days and good nights/bad nights. He's got some allergy issues that kick off his coughing, but overall, this dog is doing just beautifully. We know that can change at any time, but for the time we have him he'll be loved and pampered and Randall and I both consider ourselves fortunate that Buddy has let us be part of his life...for however long we're all together.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gigi is moving on....

Bittersweet news.

Gigi will be leaving us Sunday afternoon and heading to Houston for her date with the oral surgeons and Linne. Once she's done there, she'll move on to her new foster home while she waits for her forever family.

This is what was always planned for her, so we're both happy that she's beginning the next chapter of her life, and sad that she's leaving this chapter of her life with us behind.

Unfortunately, her dental was completely cancelled this week. The oral nasal fistula was just gapingly huge and there is a second one coming up on the other side of her mouth. I wasn't at the clinic at the time, but did talk with Dr. Walthall and she was not happy with the way she looked. Her feeling was she needed to go under once and only once to have the cleaning/extractions/repairs done, and the repairs needed to be done in Houston.

Also, she went ahead and pulled blood and the anemia was showing as roaring back. As in the number showed her as having lost 2/3 of what she was in February. That right there would have slammed the brakes on, but couple it with the fact this dog does NOT look or act anemic, and it's led us to think there is something else going on.

Regardless, this is something best addressed in Houston where she can get the kind of care she can't really get here if it's related to her mouth.

So Sunday afternoon we'll hug and kiss little Gigi goodbye. We'll miss her, but we're also hopeful this is the second step in her journey to a permanent home.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


We've got a brief postponement in the Gigi dental department. They weren't sure whether or not we knew they weren't doing the fistula repair (we did), so they delayed starting the dental until later this afternoon. Randall can't get back over there this afternoon, so I'll call them in the morning and schedule a pickup time. :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gigi and her mouth...

Well, today is Monday, March 4, and tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5, sweet little Gigi is heading in to my vet clinic for a good, and WAY overdue dental (I also would like them to clip her nails way back while she's under).

She was in a couple of weeks ago, and her anemia is to where my vet feels comfortable doing her mouth work. We've had her on an increased dose of Clindamycin for two weeks, so her infection should be lessening. And all in all, I'm really looking forward to getting this done.

Gigi needs to move on to Houston for her oral nasal fistula repair and then to her new foster home while she awaits adoption. She's a sweet and happy little girl, but we currently have one dog more in residence than my husband feels comfortable handling. Plus, Gigi isn't going to be healthy until those teeth are taken care of.

So tomorrow is the big day for this little girl. I will try to blog a quick update tomorrow afternoon after she comes home, but it may have to wait until Wednesday.