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.

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