Sunday, June 28, 2009

How Wet Can a Puppy Get?

Big sister Lola took her little brother for a merry romp around the pond. It might not show in these photos but Mr. Purple is quite dirty. They explored muskrat dens, cattails and all sorts of flora and fauna (most of which was embedded in his coat).

Staying Cool

It's a lovely day here and Mr. Purple has discovered a new way to keep cool and play at the same time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Veterinary Vaccines

The SkeptVet has a very interesting article about vaccines.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rain Day Sunday

We are receiving rain - finally. This is going to help the crops so much and I sure hope it grows the much needed grass for the cattle. We are having a bad drought here in Saskatchewan and Alberta. We ourselves are ok in terms of water for lawns and garden as we have our pond that we draw water from - but we do have potable water trucked in and deposited in our cistern (capacity of 2000 gallons). Others are not so lucky so they either have to pay to water their plants/trees/lawn or let them die.

We still have one pup here (Mr. Purple) and he is certainly keeping us entertained. He's been most amusing during the early evenings - especially when we are outside lounging in the hot tub. We let him run around and he chases bugs and cats, does zoomies and then tries to leap into the tub with us. Our big ole tomcat, Mr. Slinky, plays with him on a daily basis - and of course big sister Lola is ever the great baby sitter. Of course, he also cruises for cat poop in the flower beds...a disgusting habit of dogs. Or - he finds the "killing spots" of the cats and I have to chase him around the lawn to grab whatever dead thing it is he found. Of course, he's doing his best to try and swallow it before I catch him.

I've been crate training him, and last night he put himself to bed and slept through until 6 am this morning. I put him out for potty and then put him back in the crate and he was a good boy until 7:30. He is very cheeky and saucy and he knows when he's done something wrong. I will say NO or bad puppy and he will bark at me and run away. However - he certainly knows if I say NO or OUCH that he is supposed to stop doing whatever he is doing. He is a very resilient puppy. Loves to chase the broom when I am sweeping - sniffs the vaccum (not afraid of that noise)and of course - likes to chew on anything he can find. He's also very good in the car now and simply goes to sleep in the crate.

Pal is doing well - she gets her staples out tomorrow. Sparkle has lost most of her hair (this always happens after a litter) and she is resembling a worn-torn shelter dog. She's almost down to her guard hairs. Mr. Purple still tries to nurse but she growls him off - he just sits there and barks at her. Everyone is blowing out their coats, so our house is quite hairy. I got three dogs bathed yesterday - taking advantage of the sunny weather and strong south breeze. I washed them outside and blew them dry on the deck. This way the hair was not in the house. I hope to get everyone done in the next week.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Black Holes and Briefcases

I was at work today and when I work my attention is focused on the task at hand, so I don't like to have my purse with me, as I cannot keep an eye on it. So, instead I just put the necessary items I require in my briefcase. I keep that at my feet all the time. My briefcase has a zippered pouch on the flap, and I used that for my cell phone, car keys, camera and my VISA card (I was thinking I might do some shopping in this store after my work was complete). I was going over the merchandise display with the manager and had him sign the paperwork. I opened up the pouch to retrieve my cellphone and that's when I realized it was empty.

I can't believe it. I check it again - nothing. I check the other pockets and areas in the briefcase - nothing. I'm thinking...NO! NO! - this cannot be happening...again (two years ago I had my van broken into and my purse stolen that contained all my ID).

The manager, Joe, even went through my briefcase and could not find anything. I just couldn't understand how I had lost these items or if someone had stolen them. Joe couldn't figure out how someone had stolen them either since we were both standing there. I thought - well maybe the zipper to the pouch was opened and the items had fallen out. We checked with Customer Service and other locations to see if anyone had turned in the items. No.

So - now I am starting to panic. Not only do I not have my cell phone, but it is the company camera (so I would have to replace that). I have to cancel my VISA and suspend my cell phone account, and how am I supposed to drive back home when I do not have car keys?

I want to call Peter (and he is in Regina again this day) but I don't know what his cell phone number is (as it is recorded on my cell phone list). I phone is work and talk to their security and they give me his cell phone number. Joe, the manager, was kind enough to lend me his cell phone. I phone what I think is Peter's cell but it is not the correct number. Meanwhile the minutes are ticking by and the would-be thief could be racking up a big VISA bill and who know what kind of long distance charges. I phone back to Peter's work and tell them that's the wrong number - but they do not have his most recent cell phone number(he has a company cell phone). I talked to another of his co-workers who does have his number. I finally manage to contact Peter and ask him to please start driving back to Saskatoon - I've been robbed (again) and please cancel my VISA and call the phone company. I run out to the parking lot thinking - what if my car is gone! Joe says to me, there's lots of cars out there and chances of the theif finding your van are slim. I realize that is logical but at this point logic is taking a back seat to panic.

I'm thinking great...what a fine day this is turning out to be. I walk back to the section in the store that I was working in to look around some more. Maybe the stuff has been kicked under and display. I cannot see anything. I then figure - why not call my cell phone and listen for the ring - maybe it's close by. I call and suddenly my briefcase plays the familiar jingle (The Can Can) of my cell ringer. I look at Joe! What? We checked this thing. We pull that briefcase apart again -and finally I realize the little pouch is not a little pouch - it's folded and it's a really big pouch and everything has fallen into the back. I didn't even know this "black hole" existed. There are my "stolen" items.

Talk about feeling like a total moron. Joe, gentleman that he is, told me it could happen to anyone.

So, I phone the credit card company and reinstate my VISA. Get a hold of Peter, who is on the road driving towards my rescue, to tell him everything is fine he can go back to work. Obviously, he didn't call the phone company.

I finished my work.

Thank you Joe - you really helped me and I hope you enjoy your retirement (he retires in 2 weeks).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

And Then There was One

Poor Mr. Purple - he's going to be lonesome without his two brothers to play with. I am sure that big sister will Lola will take up the slack and keep him occupied. Mr. Purple will be with us for another couple of weeks and then be off to his new home on July 4th.

Gold Goes to his New Home

Mr. Gold - now known as "Dexter" is off to his new home today in the loving arms of Shannon and Len.

Red Goes To His New Home

Mr. Red - now known as "Petey" went to his new home last night. He will be loved by Marnie and Derek and hopefully tolerated by his Aunt "Frankie". Marnie met "Petey" when he drew his first breath and most likely rubbed him to make him squawk.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pal Is Home

I have my old girl home again. I was feeling so happy this morning after Dr. Gilbert called me to say that Pal was doing wonderful and he felt that she would be much happier here at home and that he would release her at 4:30 this afternoon. So, I drove to town and stopped at a store, did some shopping, got back in my van, turned the key...the van would not start. WTF?

Tried again. Nope. Oh come on, I'm thinking. Our truck died on Friday and it is in the shop - this cannot be happening. I phoned CAA and a tow truck came by and towed the van to our garage. I called Peter, who was enroute from Regina that I was stranded in Saskatoon. I walked from our garage to a car rental place about 4 blocks down the road - but they didn't have anything to rent.

Meanwhile I'm on my cell phone to the vet telling him that I might not be able to pick up Pal tonight as I don't have any transportation. He said that he'd make out all the discharge papers and I could pick her up after hours if I made it to the clinic.

Peter arrived in Saskatoon around 5:45 pm and we got to the vet college and picked up Pal. We decided to go to the airport and rent a vehicle there. NOPE - nothing available.

So - now I am at home and will be stranded here. If I have to travel to town tomorrow my only means of transport is my riding lawn mower.

But at least Pal is home. She is quiet and resting in the kitchen. She looks like a manical groomer went nuts with the shaving shears and decided to try and make a berner look like a poodle. She's had a couple of lumps removed over the years and all the old scars are visible - perhaps I should call her "Frankinbernerstein"

I hope things improve soon.


I've been a bit distracted. The Three Tenors are doing very well and I am hoping to get their 8 week pictures up soon. They went to the vet on Friday for their first set of shots and microchipping. They had a great time peeing all over the floor - despite laying down newspapers. Purple and Gold were the biggest sucks when it came to their needles, otherwise the boys just lay quietly on the examining table, chewing on the stethoscope. They were great pups on the car ride. I had them in one big vari 500 and they hardly made a peep.

Pal Update

I have just received a phone call from the vet who performed Pal's latest bloat surgery. It's now been just over 24 hours since she had the surgery. I am so pleased to say that her blood pressure is good, she is alert and bright and the only thing they are checking now is whether her kidneys are functioning well. If that all checks out I will be able to take her home later this afternoon.

Some may have questioned why I would subject my 9 year old girl to another bloat surgery when she just went through this same thing 7 weeks ago. Well, I questioned myself too and believe me while I was driving to the clinic and then bringing her through the doors I wondered what the right decision would be. Had Pal been a feeble 9 year old who was arthritic and showed signs of not have a quality of life my decision would have been different. But the day Pal bloated - that afternoon she was running and playing and giving me body slams and acting like a 5 year old. Pal, despite now surviving two bloat/torsion episodes has really never been ill otherwise - with the exception of pyometra (for which she was emergency spayed).

So anyway people - bloat is scary but dogs can survive it. Obviously, the sooner the dog receives medical attention the more positive the outcome. I have even known dogs who's stomachs are black and dead who have survived (the surgeon cuts away the dead parts of the stomach).

This is now my 6th time dealing with bloat and only once did I have to euthanize the dog because the toxins were too much for her organs to handle.

Most notable signs of bloat (in my experience) - UNPRODUCTIVE vomiting. If you see your dog retching and gagging and cannot vomit this is a classic sign of bloat with torsion. The stomach will also be distended and hard like a drum. The dog will be restless and cannot find a comfortable position. They will drool and they cannot swallow. Check the gums - white gums indicate shock. This is because as the stomach bloats and expands it cuts off blood supply. Get to a vet immediately - the dog must be stabilized with fluids and the gas released by either tubing (which usually means no torsion) or a puncture with a needle to the stomach to release the gas. This is so the blood flow can resume. If there is torsion surgery must be done. Tacking will prevent the stomach from flipping over on its axis, however, as with my experience with Pal, it will not stop the stomach from folding in the middle.

So - even though your dog may have been tacked - note the signs that the dog can still bloat and the stomach can still fold.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Same Nightmare - Different Night

Once again my beloved old girl Pal bloated. She woke me up with her retching sounds at 12:40 am - trying to vomit but it was unproductive. Her stomach was somewhat distended and hard. I tried tubing her myself - hoping that I could get the tube into her stomach to relieve the build-up of gas. I thought I heard gas escaping but stomach did not appear to decompress. I tried several more times. Since Pal went through bloat and surgery 7 weeks ago and had her stomach tacked at that time, I just couldn't believe that she would have torsioned. She remained restless and again tried vomiting without success. I checked her gums and noticed they were almost white - this indicates shock. No more fooling around at home - this was an Emergency with a capital "E". I got her to the Western College of Vet Med (WCVM) at 3:30 am (again avoiding the deer).

Xrays showed that while her stomach was still "in place" she had a heavy build-up of gas in her stomach and intestines and she had heart arrhythmia. Tubing was unsuccessful, so she was decompressed with a needle puncture to the stomach. She also had severe increase of lactate acid in her blood. She was stabilized with fluids, but due to the arrhythmia and high lactate her prognosis of survival was put at 60 percent - many dogs will die of heart failure at this point.

As I write this blog, Pal has survived the surgery and the blood acids are down to normal levels now. Her arrhythmia has stopped, but she is having some difficulty breathing and her plasma levels are low. She is on oxygen and is being given more plasma. The next 24 hours are critical and will determine whether she will survive.

Despite the tack from the previous surgery, Pal's stomach, while not torsioned, had folded over in the middle - cutting off blood supply. They have put another tack on the other side in hopes that this will not reoccur. Her stomach looked healthy and didn't show any necrotic tissue (but this can happen later). Her intestines were good and they saw no signs of tumors on her major organs. The surgeon was much more optimistic when he spoke with me the last time.

Pal is a fighter. She's 9 years old. I am hoping I will have her home in the next couple of days.

Monday, June 1, 2009

7 weeks old

Purple at 7 weeks (13 pounds)

Gold at 7 weeks (16 pounds)

Red at 7 weeks (16 pounds)

Big Sister Lola

Big sister Lola (10 months old) is a wonderful babysitter. She is a great help and entertains the pups for me. Today, the pups had some outside time this morning but the weather turned foul so I brought them into the atrium to play. Lola plays mouth hockey, toys and just lets her baby brothers crawl all over her. Now that the rain has stopped and it's nice again outside, the pups are back in the outside playpen.

New Outside Pen

I moved the pups to the middle outside pen since they absolutely hated the small pen. We put the plastic snow fence over the top of the pen so that owls and hawks and other raptor type birds would not be able to swoop down and steal a puppy. This pen is much larger and a lot more fun for the pups. There is tall grass to do twirlies and zoomies through and they have a lot more room to run and romp. There is a big hole being excavated under the shelter too courtesy of Callie. The boys love it - it's like a cave. I will have the Pupcam pointed at this pen when they are in it.