April 2002 Archives

Info... arthritis in dogs


We are all glad that Thori's doggie is feeling better... most dog owners who are lucky enough to have their dogs living into the double digit years will probably have to deal with canine arthritis at some point.

Most vets will treat canine arthritis with some combination of anti-inflammatories, pain killer, and substances that protect or promote healthy joint cartilage. Added to this would also be weight management, providing warmth and a proper orthopedic bed for the sleeping area, and appropriate exercise and/or physical therapy.

One more feature...


Thanks (AGAIN!!! :) ) to the scriptygoddesses for their random list how-to!

My list of reads (over by there to the left and down) was rampantly growing out of control. It has now been replaced with "ten random reads" which are selected... well, at random... from my entire list of blog links.

Popup pet info boxes!


Eventually I'll get around to writing the "long versions" of each pet's life story. Two down, seven to go! :) And to make things a little easier to follow on a daily basis, I've used Erik Bosrup's most excellent OverLIB JavaScript library to implement some cool little mouseover info boxes for each of the critters.

So now when you see the first occurence of a pet's name in an entry... for example, Oscar... you'll notice the dashed over- and underscore. That means if you mouse over it, you'll get an info box so you'll know a little bit about the pet I'm talking about.

Also added something just for my own convenience: Josh Cooper's smilie bar mod which adds clickable smilies to the Movable Type Edit Entry screen.

UPDATE 4/30/02: Look under MORE... for some info on using OverLIB if you or your audience will be viewing the pages with IE 6.

Missy's latest test results are back. Both the ACTH stimulation test and complete urinalysis came back as normal, so we are fairly sure she does not have Cushing's Disease.

While that is good news, it does mean that we still don't know for sure what is causing her weakness in the rear. I am sure some of you are thinking "my God, she is eleven years old! See if you are walking around steadily when you are 77 years old!" Of course some (or maybe all) of this is probably age related degeneration. But if there are therapies or dietary changes or supplements or, as a last choice, drugs, that will help her be more comfortable, I still want to know about them.

Next step... consultation with a veterinary acupuncturist. We are fortunate to have a well-regarded one as a member of our primary vet practice's staff. We may also consider veterinary chiropractic or conventional physical therapy. More on that after a few phone calls are made.

The sad and horrible news from California of a seven-year-old rottweiler fatally mauling the 5-year-old granddaughter of his owners has been the subject of much online and offline discussion among rottweiler enthusiasts this week.

Any accidental death of a child would be a tragic loss. To those of us who share their homes with beloved rottweilers of our own, this particular mauling is even more disturbing than some of the other fatal incidents that have occurred. This one, unlike so many others, didn't involve a drug lord's attack dog, or a junkyard dog, or a dog chained to a broken down doghouse in a crappy neighborhood. This one involved a dog who apparently was loved, shown to a championship, received some training, had a decent home... in short, a dog much like ours.

The news article from the Monterey County Herald is supposedly accurate as far as it goes; it leaves out information regarding the dog's pedigree, titles and training, as well as the health and physical strength of the owner. Points relating to which we "psycho dog people" will discuss infinitely, and stuff that I am sure doesn't matter to most of the public. The one thing that can't be gotten away from is that a rottweiler killed a child well known to him.

Update... quick pet status update

Missy's ACTH test results will probably be available today; I'll talk about those as soon as I hear from the vet. Random seems to be coughing more than usual, even though he has been taking his usual dose of aminophylline for asthma. I am not too concerned yet as he is still breathing well, and also because my own allergies are definitely worse this week too. But I am keeping a closer eye on him. And while I am delighted that Charlie gets stronger and healthier by the day, I cannot wait until she is off her oral medication as she is strong enough to fight me now :) . I do count my blessings that it was not Spot that got sick. Cockatiel beak and claws aren't so bad compared to Amazon parrot beak and claws!

Have I mentioned that I sometimes volunteer for rottweiler breed rescue? I may have a young male found as a stray in the Chicago area northwest suburbs to transport to rescue in Madison, WI, next week. The volunteer I spoke with from the all breed rescue, and the vet they use, were both impressed with his temperament. And as always... we all wondered why this nice dog was found roaming free... and why no one came to claim him during the holding period :(

Side trip... shameless promotion


I'm not much for checking my webstats regularly... or at all, as long as things are going well :) so I'm not sure who's out there. But I'm going to plug a couple of things anyway!

Vomviersen's Bar & Grill is a web forum started primarily with former O21G'ers in mind, but open to all who are able to have friendly discussions, fun or serious, without needless dramatics. Come visit, if you'd like!

2002 LV/DVG America National Championship: most of those who read this blog are interested in dogs and other pets (you'd kind of have to be :) )... but I don't know how many of you are also interested in dog sports. Schutzhund was the sport of choice for me and Jake when we were both able to participate, so I want to plug this upcoming national championship on behalf of my club!

Happy 13th Birthday, Random!


(I have GOT to get better about changing my entries from DRAFT to PUBLISH, or else change the default settings! Sorry, Random, that this entry appears LATE!)

Random the talking tabby cat turned 13 today! Of our three cats, he's the "middle child" and the most social with people of the group. He's not a talking cat like some of the ones you see on animal TV shows... he doesn't say things that sound like English words. But if you tell him something, then pause for a bit, he'll almost always answer. He's the only one of my cats that I can kind of hold a conversation with :)

Happy birthday, Random... and many more!

Things look good for Charlie :D !

Charlie went to the avian vet this morning for a recheck. She has been home from the hospital for two weeks and was receiving oral antibiotics and eye ointment twice daily.

A mouth smear and white blood cell count were done, and they showed that the infection is well on its way to being cleared up. The vet switched her to a different antibiotic at a lower dosage and to eyedrops instead of the ointment. Details in MORE... if you are interested.

One thing I really like about this vet practice's procedures is that clients automatically receive a full copy of all test results (not just "positive" or "negative" or "normal") along with the receipt and patient care instructions when checking out; and if the pet was hospitalized, copies of all of the doctor's and technician's notes from the hospital stay are given to you as well.

Don't get me wrong, though; it's not that my primary vet has ever given me any problems about giving me copies of any information that I've asked for. But I do have to ask for it. It was just very cool to have complete copies of all records given to me as a routine normal checkout procedure.

Charlie will go back for another recheck in two weeks; it's expected she'll be able to discontinue the antibiotics at that time. She's looking darn good for a 20-year-old bird and I'm happy she's recovering so well for her illness.

Update... Missy's test results


I got a call this morning from Missy's vet at the specialty clinic. The results of the blood tests are in. Results for thyroid and immune system are normal. However, her liver enzyme and cholesterol levels are elevated, and they would like to do another specialized test to rule out Cushing's Disease.

Cushing's Disease is a condition where the body produces excess amounts of cortisol. The causes are generally either an adrenal tumor, a pituitary tumor, or overuse of corticosteroid medications.

There's MORE... if you are interested... otherwise, you can wait here with us for the call from the clinic where we schedule Missy's next appointment :) . She is in good spirits and now that the last few unseasonably hot days have passed, she seems more comfortable doing what old dogs do best... napping while their people do stuff.

UPDATE noon: Missy's appointment has been scheduled as a Monday drop-off; I'll drop her off before 9:00am and pick her up after work. You can read more about the ACTH stimulation test they are doing in the link under MORE...

We're waiting for test results from Missy's visit to the veterinary neurologist yesterday. In addition to a general physical examination and a lengthy review of Missy's medical history, the neurologist also repeated the tests for proprioception, or body position.

These tests were done with Missy standing. One test involves bending the rear paw back so that the weight would be supported on the back of the paw; a normal response would be for the dog to immediately reposition the paw, properly oriented with pads down. Another one is to move one of the back legs to cross over the other; again, a normal response would be for the dog to immediately uncross the legs to stand normally. Missy's response was quite delayed on both of these tests.

Blood was drawn for a complete blood count, an immune system profile, a Lyme Disease titre, and a thyroid panel. One of the practice's board certified orthopedic surgeons (actually, the same one who did Heidi's anterior cruciate ligament repairs!) did a physical exam and had x-rays taken for possible hip, joint, or spinal problems.

The exam, time taken reviewing her history, and the time taken with tests and procedures was well over an hour. I was quite pleased with the thoroughness exhibited and the time given to answering my questions.

This did come at a rather high monetary cost, though, especially as compared to what the costs probably would have been at the veterinary teaching hospital that we used for Jake's neurological consults following the accident and preceding the amputation (when we were still hoping he would regain the use of his right front leg). I'm still in a bit of shock from that. This practice is excellent but quite expensive.

I'm expecting to hear test results this evening or Friday morning, as well as a suggested plan for how to proceed with Missy's care. I'll update you all when I know more!

Just a quick note...

...to say THANK YOU!! Jake and I appreciate the wonderful comments, wishes and thoughts we received for his birthday on Sunday. You all are the BEST!

Coming up this week as time permits... Charlie progress report (looks good), Missy update (consult appointment is tomorrow) and Jake update (it's time to schedule a follow-up as it is 6 weeks post-surgery).

Happy 10th Birthday, Jake!!!


Jake's 10th birthday is TODAY!! We are truly blessed to be celebrating his 10th birthday... 10 years is a good long life for a rottweiler and I hope he still has several more ahead.

Jake has gone through a lot in those 10 years and some of those things, like the accident and subsequent right front leg amputation in 1998, and the bladder cancer diagnosis and surgery this year, really gave us some bad moments. But he's doing well and hanging in there, and if attitude is everything, he will live forever.

There's MORE... if you want to see a couple of photos and a bit of history.

Happy birthday, Jake!

Side trip... update, five movies

If you missed the original column and follow-ups by Bob Greene in the Chicago Tribune, check out my 4/9/02 entry. The series of columns will be wrapping up this week and today's column has some interesting insights.

I still haven't come up with my five picks. I've gotten four definites but I'm having a tough time picking #5 (and unlike some... apparently MANY... of the other readers of Greene's column, I'm NOT picking a porno flick :p)

There's MORE... if you're interested, especially to those who commented last week...

Looks like the spring allergy season has started... not only am I getting the usual lovely symptoms, our "puppy" Oscar (7.5 year old rottweiler) is showing some irritation around his eyes and they are kind of weepy as well. One more thing to keep an eye on! Weather is supposed to be warm enough to do dog baths outdoors tomorrow... if it doesn't rain, that will be one of the activities of the day. Oh, boy! :p

Side trip... YAQSFBA


Yet Another Quiz Suitable For Blogging About, of course :)

Cyn blogged about Get to know yourself better! ... most of it is frighteningly true but still way off base in regards to my views on education and success.

Update... just a really quick one

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(Note to self: if you don't change from Draft to Publish, no one gets to see what you wrote :) )

Just wanted to post a very brief update for now.

Cockatiel Charlie is getting stronger and more obnoxious by the day. I need to schedule her recheck for this weekend or early next week.

I left a message for Heidi's "boss" since we would like to resume therapy visits soon. She was on hiatus following cruciate ligament repair surgery in January. I need to get her veterinarian's health statement form and finish renewing her certification with Therapy Dogs International too. You can see already that Heidi's stories will take a few days' worth of blogs :)

We have two birthdays coming up this month! You will find out whose the first one is very, very soon.

Rottweiler Missy's appetite is still a little picky, but nothing that warrants another vet visit before her scheduled neurology consult next week. Hopefully she will be up for her share of frozen yogurt at the upcoming birthday parties.

Finally took some time to adapt the Greymatter smilies mod to add clickable smilies to the Movable Type comments forms! If you go to leave a comment you'll see what I mean... and if you go to MORE... you can get more details on how it was done.

Side trip... five movies


Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene asked this question in a column a couple of weeks ago: If you were stranded on a desert island for the rest of your life, and you could choose five -- and only five -- movies to watch forever, what would they be? and invited his readers to e-mail (and only e-mail, no snail mail!) him their answers.

His own five picks, and reader's responses, started running in his column on Sunday... I've really enjoyed reading these columns, though I haven't come up with five picks of my own. Look under MORE... for my picks so far. I'll update and give my reasons when I figure out the rest. Update 4/14/02: added one more pick; one more to go.

I don't know whether Bob Greene is still accepting responses to his question, but if you wanted to tell me your picks in the comments section, I'd love to hear!

Update... Yuki is honeymooning

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It's official ... Yuki cat is honeymooning :) . In the world of feline diabetes, a honeymoon is a brief (or sometimes not-so-brief) period when the diabetes disappears and insulin injections are not required. Yuki's insulin injections were stopped on Friday, and her blood glucose reading today was still within to slightly above the normal range for cats (80-120 mg/dl). So we will discontinue her insulin for now.

However, as you know from Saturday's entry, we are now dealing with the early signs of renal failure. A change in diet to a low protein senior formulation of the same commercial dry and canned food she has been eating is the only change we will make at this point. We will continue to keep a close eye on her and if all seems well, she will go back for a recheck and another blood test and urinalysis next month.

Here's the website I've picked to begin my background reading: Feline CRF Information Center

Charlie the cockatiel is starting to feel better and seems to be settling back in to life at home. This article sounds a lot like our life right now :lol:

Yuki cat goes in tomorrow for another blood glucose curve to see if she can remain off the insulin injections.

The first available appointment at the neurologist for Missy the rottweiler isn't until next Wednesday; hopefully all will be well till then.

Random cat's asthma seems to be well under control at this time with 1/4 of a 100mg aminophylline tab, 3x per day.

And it's been nearly a week and I still haven't been able to introduce you to the rest of the crew: rottweilers Heidi, Oscar and Jake ... Annie cat ... and green cheeked Amazon parrot Spot. All in due time, I am sure!

For any ex-O21G'ers out there...

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The final Yahoo Summary is out there.

Thanks, Sandy, for posting about it in your blog, and thanks to you and Shelley for a wonderful job on this, and all of the previous, O21G Yahoo Summaries.

We went to the vet yesterday for a recheck as almost-11 year old rottweiler Missy was experiencing some of the same Lyme Disease symptoms she was exhibiting prior to her last 4-week course of doxycycline.

After an examination and a review of Missy's latest labwork, her vet suggested it was time to see a neurology specialist. Although some of Missy's symptoms (such as the fever) were alleviated by the antibiotics, the weakness in her rear does not seem to be improving. Proprioception response on both of her rear legs is somewhat delayed (this test involves bending the paw back so that the weight would be supported on the back of the paw; a normal response would be for the dog to immediately reposition the paw, properly oriented with pads down).

We got the name of the board certified neurologist at the local specialty clinic; Jake has also seen a neurologist who we may call instead. We'll think about which practice we would rather use over the rest of the weekend, and call for an appointment on Monday.

Although Missy is wobbly, she's actually in pretty good spirits. Her loss of appetite on Wednesday and Thursday must have been minor and unrelated as she's pretty much back to normal on that front. I still need to give you her background and I'll try to find some time to write that up yet this weekend.

On the bright side, Yuki (16 year old cat) may be on a honeymoon period where she will not require insulin injections for a while. On the basis of her blood glucose level readings on Friday, her vet thought we should take her off her already very low dose of insulin and do another blood glucose curve on Tuesday and see what her levels are like.

On the bad side, her good blood glucose level readings means that her increased thirst and urination are probably due to the early stages of renal failure. The results of her blood and urine tests suggested that all we should do at this point is change her diet. The choice there would be between appropriate choices of regular commercial foods, prepared prescription diets (probably Science Diet) available through the vet's office, or a home prepared diet. I'll talk to the vet in more detail about it on Tuesday and update you all then.

I picked up Charlie (20 year old cockatiel) from the avian vet this afternoon. She looked much, much better than when she went in... the conjunctivitis has improved greatly and the swelling is way down. Her attitude seems happier as well. I think it made a positive difference for her to have hospital care for a week longer than originally planned. The kinds of treatment they could give her there, such as the nebulizing cage and the injectable antibiotics, would have been difficult or impossible to give her here at home.

She still needs some special at-home care: a heating pad or other warmth source; 10 days of twice-daily antibiotic ointment applied around her eyes, and 10 days of twice-daily oral antibiotics administered with a syringe. Although I have had her since she was young, this has been her first real illness. Administering the medications is going to be an experience for both of us. She was pretty cooperative for this evening's medications, but she is still pretty tired. Things will get more interesting towards the end of the week, I think!

I just peeked in on her (it's late, she is supposed to be sleeping and getting good rest) and all seems well. I'll add some of the specifics from her hospital notes to the extended entry soon.

Before introducing you to Missy I want to post a quick update on Heather's guinea pig Gaby... we are all glad to find that Gaby is NOT diabetic after all!! Also, please send out hugs and healing thoughts to Cyn's asthmatic cat BooBoo. My cat Random is asthmatic also and wants to share a feline asthma website with everyone. I didn't know about it when he was first diagnosed, but there is also a Yahoo Group for asthmatic cats.

Now back to Missy. She is an approximately 11 year old rottweiler; we're not sure of her exact age since she was rescued as a stray. Occasionally she has recurrences of Lyme Disease symptoms, such as fever, apparent joint pain, and weakness in the rear. Since she is still a bit weak in the rear following her last four-week course of antibiotics, and her appetite has been off for the last several days, she'll be visiting the vet tomorrow. I'll provide some more background on Missy, plus a report on her vet visit, tomorrow evening.

It seems strange to think that I've had Charlie in my life for as long as I have. When I checked the band on her leg to confirm her year of birth, I almost thought I was reading it wrong... 1981?? How time does fly.

I didn't know much about birds in general or cockatiels specifically when I bought her. I apparently stumbled upon a good bird shop and got a healthy young bird in Charlie. The shop is still in business and still well regarded, although I haven't been by there in a long time. I remember bringing her home in a heavy cardboard box with little holes punched in it... carefully strapped down to the luggage rack of my first very small Honda motorcycle.

I still don't know all that much about cockatiels. I don't know for sure if she is indeed a "she". We never had her surgically or chemically sexed as it wasn't very important to know for sure. I've always assumed she is a she because of her coloration. After the first molt, grey males would generally have bright yellow feathers on the face, as well as bright orange cheek patches, neither of which she has. I also know she is not show quality because her long flight feathers cross over her back, which I guess is conformationally incorrect.

She's a good bird but never did bond to me as well as I once hoped. She's been in very good health up until a couple of weeks ago, when my husband noticed that her eye appeared to be irritated. Because she's been a generally healthy bird, I didn't think it was anything very serious; certainly nothing that a quick trip to the avian vet for medications wouldn't take care of.

I failed to take into consideration that once a bird starts acting noticeably ill... it's usually very ill. I was shocked to hear she would benefit from hospitalization, as the eye irritation was only a part of what turned out to include nasal irritation and a possible respiratory infection. The hospital was shocked to hear she was 20 years old and that this was her first real illness of any sort. Apparently the usual lifespan of a cockatiel is somewhere from 15-17 years.

Being in the hospital would allow her to receive injectable antibiotics and treatments in a nebulizing cage, neither of which she could receive easily at home. Now her eye irritation is almost entirely cleared up and she is breathing and eating much better, so it's time for her to come home. I'm not sure yet what kind of extra home care she will be needing at first. I'm going to call the vet in a few minutes to confirm her pick up time for tomorrow, and I'll have an update here on Saturday once she's back home.

Charlie, my 20-year-old cockatiel (yes, that's right, 20 years old) will be coming home from the bird hospital on Saturday! She has been there for not quite two weeks with some respiratory problems and accompanying nasal irritation and conjunctivitis. Now that she is doing better and eating well once again, it's time for her to come home.

Since we've just started things going here I haven't had a chance to write up her background; I'll put that in in today's extended entry if I get some time later. Or maybe I'll let her be tomorrow's topic.

Yuki has an appointment for a blood glucose curve tomorrow. She will be at the vet all day, from 8:00am until I pick her up after work. She will get her daily insulin shot this evening, and be fed as usual tonight. We leave some dry food out for her overnight (yes, it is unusual to free feed a diabetic pet, but it has worked well for her up until now). Tomorrow her blood glucose level will be measured every couple of hours through the day. By the time of the last blood draw she is pretty cranky, but we will have a better idea of how to adjust her insulin dosage as it appears to be too low at this time.

You can read a little bit more about blood glucose curves and how they are interpreted here and here. And come back here on Saturday morning for an update on Yuki!

Cool or geeky, you tell me!


We now have smilies!

:) ;) :D :lol: :blush: :p :rolleyes: :O :( :mad:

Not just for me to use in the main and extended entries... for YOU all to use in your comments, too!

Look in MORE... for the credits and particulars. I'll add a link over by there (points left) with the info on what to type in to get the smilies. It's pretty standard so the usual stuff you would normally use should work.

Now on to our main focus... the critters!

I thought I'd start off with a little bit about Yuki, my diabetic cat. She is ecstatic about knocking the dogs out of the main spotlight on the dog:blog with her entry. She gets the first one partly because it looks like she needs to have her insulin dosage adjusted, and partly because Heather (fellow Chicagoan and former O21G'er) is facing a recent diabetes diagnosis for her guinea pig Gaby.

Yuki turned 16 years old in February; I've had her since she was 8 weeks old. She's been an indoor cat her whole life and has been in pretty good health for most of that time. I can't remember any vet visits for her other than annual checkups, spaying and declawing (if you were planning to comment on the cruelty of declawing, spare me... I have gone back and forth on that issue many, many times on my own).

Last spring I took her in to the vet as her water consumption and urine output had increased quite noticeably over the period of a couple of weeks. Sometimes in a multiple cat household it's hard to tell what a cat is really taking in and putting out; that is why it took us a little while to determine there really was a problem. She was diagnosed with diabetes on March 10, 2001.

Once the correct dosage of insulin is determined, it's pretty easy to keep up with the daily routine. And in our case, we were fortunate that it took only a few tests to get her dosage adjusted. I found out sometime later that it is not always that quick or easy to determine the correct dosage, timing of injections, or type of insulin to use. We really were lucky, not only with the relative speed of determining her correct dosage, but with the fact that she did well for an entire year on only one injection per day (that is uncommon; most pets do best on two per day).

Lately we've noticed Yuki's water consumption increasing again, so it is definitely time to have her back to the vet to do another glucose curve and have her insulin dosage re-evaluated. More soon after that happens. It's almost 8:00am here so I'd better get this wrapped up so I can call for her appointment!

Check under MORE... for some informative pet diabetes links and a picture of Yuki taken this past summer.

The pull is just tooooo strong... I cannot resist the Blog Force any longer!! Aaaaaggghhhhh...

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2002 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2002 is the next archive.

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