Monday, December 27, 2010

Too Bad I Didn't Buy One For Him.

Dinglehopper likes Pickles' new bed...

It was only $20 at Winter Woofstock! My boyfriend tried to convince me to get Dingle a pink car bed. I think it was a Cadillac. I didn't get him it because everyone tells me that people confuse Dingle for a girl so I need to avoid buying anything that would make it even easier for them to think he is a girl.

I hope they have them dog beds at the summer Woofstock.

(Well, I'm off to go and buy Dingle a pink dog bowl online. Ha ha)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas with the Dogs

I meant to send Christmas wishes yesterday, but fell asleep on the couch before I could.

So Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it and Happy Holidays to those who celebrate other holidays...

We celebrate Christmas - and the dogs (Sasso, Pickles and Dinglehopper) love Christmas.

They love it so much so that on December 21st, while my boyfriend and I were at work, they took it upon themselves to open most of the presents that were under the tree...

When I came home I said "oh shit" out loud as I didn't know what my boyfriend had under the tree and instantly had images of myself lugging 3 dogs to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic if they had gotten into something toxic.

After I realized that they had not gotten into anything toxic (as they had mainly opened their presents) the situation was kind of funny... for a few, brief, moments.

I swept up the wrapping paper and as I went to get a dust pan Dinglehopper went over, lifted his leg and pissed all over my newly formed mountain of wrapping paper.

Then I was somewhat mad - though I knew Dingle was on Vanectyl P which makes him pee A LOT - so I should have took the dogs out for a pee before cleaning up the mess.

On Christmas Day prior to opening presents the dogs posed for a few pictures.

Dingle had his Christmas party collar on, Sasso had his tie on for the special occasion, but Pickles had nothing.

To ensure Pickles didn't feel left out my boyfriend dug through the dog drawers in search of an outfit.

However all he could come up with was boots and a Hallowe'en hood.

You can tell he was miserable:

As I just mentioned the dogs opened most of their presents before Christmas. I re-wrapped most of Dingle's presents... my boyfriend did not re-wrap the stuff for his dogs... so in the mountain of presents for the dogs...

...Dingle had the most (including one of the large ones):

For Christmas Dingle got: lots of dental treats, Old Mother Hubbard Cookies, A skunk ball, a toy that doesn't have stuffing (they seem to last best with our dogs), and a bed.

The dogs open their own presents. It was cute and funny until Sasso got carried away and ripped open Dingle's new bed while taking off the wrapping paper. A video of this may follow, if I review it and determine I did not swear my head off when I watched Sasso rip into the bed.

Due to the unfortunate event of Sasso ripping Dingle's new bed he didn't actually get the bed until today, after I repaired it as best as possible.

Luckily it only cost me $9 at Winter Woofstock... and it wasn't so much of a bed as it was a mat... that matches his other new bed (see entry below).

My boyfriend bought a light up ball for his dogs.

Dingle loved it - I couldn't believe how interested he was in it.

Dingle has no use for toys (and yet I continue to buy them), but he was mesmerized by the ball.

After thinking about it for a bit I have come to the conclusion that he likes it because it's really bright and he, with his eyesight deteriorating from Progressive Retinal Atrophy, can see it very well.

My boyfriend bought that ball at Woofstock... I am going to look into getting another one for Dingle... and if any other light up toys exist I would be interested in those as well. I'll check EBay but if you know of any other place to get light up toys please let me know!

Dingle spent quite some time guarding that ball from the other dogs.

Or shall I say he was guarding it from Pickles (Dingle hates Pickles...)

At one point he sat on it like it was his egg:

The boys had their doggy friend Lexi over to help them celebrate Christmas:

After dinner when Lexi (and her owner) left the dogs zonked out...

Here's Sasso the sleepy old man (he's 10)...

And as I mentioned I fell asleep as well... far earlier than I normally do.

That was our Christmas...

Friday, December 24, 2010

After the liver issues came... a bunch of drama with Dingle's crotch and GI tract (Warning this is quite descriptive)

Just days after I had thought we were finished with the vet visits for the year, and sent a Christmas/Holiday card to the vet thanking them for all they have done for us in 2010, we started a series of vet visits.

December 12:

On December 12th I took Dingle out for a pee in the morning. Dingle's hair was really long and I was looking forward to him being groomed on the 14th. Since his hair was long he sometimes got urine in it. So after going out to pee I used a Pampers wipe to clean off his belly fur. While wiping him off I noticed that his 'thing' appeared to be swollen.

At least I thought it was swollen - I barely ever look at his crotch and even though I wasn't totally sure there was something going on I made an appointment (for that day) at Downtown Animal Hospital. I figured that if they told me there wasn't anything wrong maybe we could do his shots/check-up a month early.

We got to the vet and it was confirmed that Dingle's penis and 'sheath' was swollen and irritated. The vet wondered if perhaps Dingle had a urinary tract infection that was causing the redness and irritation and so she wanted to get a urine sample. That meant he would need to be catheterized. Poor Dingle.

I waited about 40 minutes while they got a urine sample and tested it and the results showed that there was no UTI. We have two other dogs in the house and on occasion Dingle likes to try and hump the other dogs to try and establish some sort of dominance. Yeah, sure Dingle - you the dominant one? We *think* that the humping could have irritated him... and I also think that the long hair may have meant that urine stayed on his penis, irritating it. In the end we don't really know for sure.

The vet trimmed the hair around his crotch area, gave him a shot of Metacam for the inflammation, and sent us on our way.

Diagnosis on the pet insurance form: "Penile Inflammation"

We had talked about going home with Metacam, but I mentioned that I was concerned about him having anything that could harm his liver, seeing as we had just gotten over liver issues. The vet decided that we'd stick with him receiving 1 injection of it and then re-evaluate things the next day - if I thought he needed Metacam at home I could pick it up.

When I got home Dingle was mighty pissed off. He didn't want to walk - he would take a few steps and sit right down and stare at me. If he did take more than a few steps it was on 3 legs - and he used one of the rear legs to scratch his crotch. I figured maybe they had shaved (as opposed to trimmed) his crotch hair and that's why the area was itchy...

Do you know how dogs go crazy after a bath - rolling around on furniture, making crazy noises? Well Dingle was doing that most of the night - you could tell he was frustrated... probably from having a tube shoved up his penis into his bladder.

About 4 hours after we got home Dingle needed to pee. I was initially shocked to see that he had urinated blood. I could see it in the snow and on the Pampers wipe when I wiped his fur.

By this time the vet clinic was closed and I made the decision to call the Veterinary Emergency Clinic. I figured the blood was probably from being catherized, but wanted to get some reassurance. By reassurance I meant have someone besides my boyfriend tell me that I didn't need to go to the emergency clinic and drop $500 at the door.

I was glad I called the VEC and shocked as the receptionist was nice. We've been to the VEC several times over the last 5 years - for both ER appointments and for all of his luxating patella surgeries. 99% of the time the receptionists (one in particular) have been awful. The lady that ngiht was very nice and said that it didn't sound like I needed to bring him in - that the bleeding could have been from being catheterized and to watch him and follow-up with our clinic in the morning if there was still blood in his urine.

December 13th

The next day there was no blood in his urine. However Dingle was still extremely pissed.

In addition to scratching his crotch he was trying to chew "it" off. He was making it even more red and swollen than before.

I called the Downtown Animal Hospital and the vet said to bring him in. Now he was scheduled to be groomed the next day and so we arranged for him to be boarded after the visit until his grooming - so I didn't have to make 4 trips in a 3 day period.

When we went in the vet checked Dingle's 'dingle' and agreed that he seemed frustrated and that he was making things worse. She said she'd give Dingle an injection to help calm things down. Not Metacam, but Dexamethasone.

December 14th

I picked Dinglehopper up the following day, the 14th, after his grooming... and he had an E-Collar on. Story of his life.

The vet techs said that he hadn't been scratching himself, but he was trying to lick it - hence the need for the E-Collar. I thought that we had made progress, seeing as he apparently wasn't scratching himself, but as soon as we got home (and I set him down) his foot seemed to be glued to his 'thing'... unless he was sleeping:

Then the next issue started...

December 15th

That night Dingle pooped around midnight. I noticed it was a bit runny, but chalked that up to the fact that he had been given canned food while at the vet. I told them to give him wet food because I knew he'd eat it - and he needed to eat because he wouldn't eat the night before.

Well didn't I wake up at 5:55am, after going to bed at 4am, to the smell of poop. Before climbing out of bed I used my Blackberry to light up the room and saw diarrhea all over the floor. My boyfriend was sleeping and so I didn't turn on the light - I cleaned it up in the dark.

Dingle got a brand new bed at Woofstock:

When cleaning up the floor I discovered that the bed was covered in crap.

Which meant that Dingle had stepped in it and tracked it into his bed.

Which also meant that Dingle had laid in the crap that he tracked into his bed... like 12 hours after I picked him up from his grooming appointment that set me back $50 plus HST. FML!

But wait that's not it...

At 7:35am Dingle starts whining to go out.

We made it downstairs to our livingroom and Dingle had explosive diarrhea all over the place.

But wait again, it wasn't just diarrhea - it was BLOODY diarrhea.

I just about had a heart attack.

I cleaned him and the floor up and waited 30 minutes until the vet opened and instantly called them. The vet returned my call at 10:49am. He said that it was possible that the bloody diarrhea was a reaction to the meds he received the day before. After reading up on the Dexamethasone I learned that Cyclosporine can make the side effects worse. I figured that they probably meant oral Cyclo and not the eye medication Dingle gets, but I suppose the bloody diarrhea could be attributed to a reaction? *shrug* I don't know.

The vet told me to hold off on feeding Dingle for the whole day and to give him a dose (1/4 of a tablet) of Pepcid AC. That wouldn't help the diarrhea, but it would help his tummy seeing as he wasn't going to have anything in it. He said based on my description he didn't need to come in right away, that we'd hope he was done with the diarrhea. I would later learn that he was no finished with the diarrhea.

As for the penis - he asked if I had any Surolan. I did - because Dingle has had many ear infections. He said to put the Surolan on his crotch as it is also a topical anti-inflammatory. So I think "Hm... okay".

After getting off the phone at 11am Dingle got his Pepcid AC and at 11:20am he got his crotch Surolan-ed up. Then I laid down on the couch.

I managed to go back to sleep (with Dingle on the floor by me) until 12:14pm and then Dingle got bloody diarrhea again. By this point I'd given up on trying to get him outside and put puppy pads down.

At 5:35pm, long after I had given up trying to sleep, he had a really bad episode.

It was more solid than earlier, but at the end it was straight blood. It was all over his bum (again, after the grooming, but that was not my concern at the time) and when I wiped him with the Pampers wipes they were covered in blood. I had to go to work and I was so scared to leave him alone - my boyfriend was at his staff Christmas party. Luckily the neighbour agreed to check in on him.

Dingle got more Pepcid AC at 5:45pm and more Surolan at 6:05pm. I left at 7pm for work.

Dingle made it through the night and into the next day with no more diarrhea.

December 16th

He was very hungry when I got home from work at 6:30am and he was ready for breakfast.

I fed him a small amount - 1/4 of a cup - with the Pepcid AC.

I took him outside wondering if there'd be diarrhea - there wasn't. While out there I saw the area/snow pile that he had pooped on at midnight on the 15th. Lo' and behold there were signs (remember it wasn't totally solid, so there was a bit of a mess left behind) of blood in that poop. That meant the blood didn't start at 7:35am on the 15th - it started the night before. The diarrhea I cleaned up in the dark at 5:55am on the 15th was also likely bloody - I just didn't see it.

At 7:26am he got Surolan on his crotch and I headed for bed... expecting to be woken up to diarrhea.

I was not woken up by Dingle...

All that day (when I was awake) I waited and hoped for a normal poop.

Nothing... but at least there was no diarrhea.

I continued with the small meals and Pepcid AC for the rest of the day

At this point it had been 5 days after our initial crotch vet visit.

Dingle still had not crapped. I thought about being worried, but figured he hadn't eaten for a 36 hour period and so of course his pooping would be off.

I spoke to the vet (not the original female vet, but the male that we usually see) and said Dingle's crotch still looked irritated. We decided that Dingle would be given Vanectyl-P - to help with the itchy crotch.

The vet said it *shouldn't* (and it didn't) contribute to bloody diarrhea.

The vet said when I came to pick up the meds the following day I could bring Dingle and he's take a peek at his crotch free of charge. Yay.

There were no poop episodes - irregular or regular, that night.

December 17th

On the way down to the vet Dingle started turning in circles - doing his 'pooh dance' and I was relieved to see a firm, poop, free of blood.

When we got in the vet saw that Dingle was preoccupied with his penis and agreed that the Vanectyl-P would be a good option. Sasso, my boyfriend's pug/beagle, was on Vanectyl-P - and one of the side effects is excessive thirst and urination. I knew the puppy pads would be sticking around for a while.

While at that appointment the vet pointed out that Dingle's penis was sticking out (of the sheath) a bit. The vet said I was to go to the drug store, buy "lube" (yeah, that kind of lube) and lube 'it' up. (Awkward). If 'it' was dry and sticking to the sheath that could contribute to the irritation.

December 18th

On December 18th we started the lube and the Vanectyl-P... he got 1/2 a pill twice a day on the 18th, 19th and 20th. On the 21st he got 1/2 a pill once a day... same with the 22nd and yesterday. Today he doesn't get any - he will get 1/2 a pill every other day until we are finished.

December 18th was also the day when my mom came to Toronto to celebrate Christmas with me - as once again this year I work all the holidays because they fall on my scheduled days of the week.

We decided to make Dingle's E-Collar a little more festive... we have a million E-Collars and this one will remain his winter themed ones:

December 19th until today, the 24th

Dingle was using the puppy pads for the diarrhea - probably because I ran him over and planted him on them. Do you think Dingle seemed to remember what they were for when he started peeing every few hours? Nope. I'd bring him over to it and he'd lay on it, thinking he was supposed to sleep there. Finally after several attempts and lots of "Dingle go pee on your pad" (with me tapping it) he peed on it. He won't do it on his own... only with coaching, but at least I don't have to go outside every 2 hours, which is a relief when I'm sleeping.

Dingle has been free of the E-Collar since Monday and is less occupied with his crotch - likely because the meds are reducing the itchiness.

Dingle's 'thing' is no longer as red and swollen as it was. I think it still looks a bit abnormal, but I'm not sure if it is - I feel like I've spent the last 6 days with my eyes glued to his crotch area and don't even remember (or know) what it used to look like before all of this. I guess we will wait until he's off the Vanectyl-P and see if it still causes him irritation. If it does, we'll go back to the vet and have them decide if Dingle is back to normal.

Oh the life of Dingle...

Dingle's Liver Concerns - September and October

Okay - so once again it's been a long time since I've updated.

I thought about updating many times since my last entry, but when it came down to it I didn't feel up to it because Dingle's liver problems were really stressing me out and upsetting me to the point where I didn't want to write about it. It's not that I was in denial abut the liver problems - far from it - just that I didn't feel like sitting down and putting it all out there.

Now that those concerns seem to be behind us (*fingers crossed*) I do feel like I can write about the drama over the last few months.

Dingle's Liver Issues

As I wrote in my last entry Dinglehopper had a dental cleaning on September 8th - his 5th birthday. When doing the pre-surgical it was discovered that Dingle's ALT levels were high... the ALT was 265. Normal is between 5 and 95.

Dingle was put on medication (Zentonil) for 3 weeks and when we re-checked his ALT on September 28th it was 143... which showed that there had been an improvement, though the levels were still not within normal range.

I was happy to see that his levels were going down.

I believed that Orijin, the high protein food that Dingle had been eating for years, may have played a part in his liver issues. So I switched him to another food. Unfortunately we didn't stay on that food long as I believe Dingle may have had an allergy to it... or it didn't agree with him. Now we're on Performatrin... but anyways....

When Dingle started having liver problems I started doing research on high ALT levels.

My research led me to a Yahoo Group for dogs with liver problems.

I joined the group and upon reading the information provided and other people's experiences I learned that many of the members gave their dogs foods such as watermelon and plain yogurt.

I started giving Dingle some yogurt on his food - he loved it. He got pieces of watermelon on occasion, as a treat.

In addition to the food change and the yogurt/watermelon Dingle continued on the Zentonil until November.

On October 31st, about a week before his Zentonil was to run out, Dingle had an appointment at the Downtown Animal Hospital to have a full liver profile. The previous blood tests were just ALT tests - they didn't check bile acids (which were also high on September 8th's liver profile).

To do the full liver profile he had to be fasted for at least 12 hours prior to his appointment.

Our intentions were to get the liver profile prior to him eating then feed him a full meal.

After the meal they were going to draw his blood again and re-run the profile to see his ALT and bile acid levels after eating.

The vet decided to draw the blood both before and after the food... but to hold off on sending the second one (after eating) until we got the results from the first.

The plan was to not run the second test if the first came back normal.

I was excited to hear that on October 31st his ALT levels were 57 - within normal ranges. His bile acids and ever other level included in the liver profile test was normal.

So the vet decided to just throw the second vile of blood out and not run the second test.

When I posted my 'good news' on the Yahoo Group I was told that it wasn't actually good news - someone said that we needed to run that second blood test (after eating) and compare the numbers to get a true sense of how his liver was. Hm.

I decided to not ask the vet about what the group member said.

Our plan was to do another liver profile in January when he was in for his shots... to see if his ALT levels remained normal after being off of the Zentonil.

Our plan has changed as Dingle has had problems since the liver stuff (I will write about that later) and we have to postpone the liver profile until February.

In February I think I am going to ask them to take blood after fasting and after eating and to send both in, even if the first is normal.

Okay, now that I write all of this out it doesn't sound so stressful as the experience actually was.

I gues in waiting so long to write this blog entry I have missed a lot of details. That and I know he's okay and therefore I'm unable to fully articulate just how worried I was at the time.

Since October 31st I've thought about this ordeal and in one of the many conversations I had with the vets it was mentioned that Dingle's blood test wasn't actually drawn on September 8th as I thought it was. It was drawn on the 7th when he was admitted to the clinic the night before his dental... as the blood results take a while and they wanted them by the morning when he had his surgery.

Before I took him to the clinic on September 7th I fed him.

He ate right before we left.

I wonder if it's possible that his ALT of 256 was that high because he had just eaten.

I don't know the 'normal' range for ALT after eating...

Our September 28th ALT test was also done without fasting...

Did we get a true picture of his ALT levels from the beginning?

Was all the stress I put myself through actually necessary?


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday Dinglehopper!

Oh my - yesterday when I wrote I totally forgot to mention that not only was Wednesday September 8th the day of Dingle's dental cleaning, but it was also his 5th birthday (yeah, vet schedules made it unavoidable - I tried to book a different day)


There were times when Dingle was dealing with so many challenges that I sometimes doubted that Dingle would make it to his 5th birthday - but he did!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

All Dingle wants for Christmas is his two front teeth?

If so... it's not happening.

Poor Dingle - this past Wednesday Dingle had his annual dental.

Yes, annual.

Dingle has had a dental cleaning every September for the past 3 years as despite dental food, dental treats, dental toys, teeth brushing, dental stuff for his water, $90 Leeba spray etc. Dingle's teeth are disgusting and his breath smells like he's got road kill trapped in his throat.

Every year it's been routine - just a cleaning and he's finished - no teeth extractions or anything like that.

Well, not this year.

When I called the vet to ask how Dingle was they told me that they needed to pull his two front incisors - the bottom ones. The vet said that the x-ray they showed that they detached from the bone, were loose and a pocket had formed under the gums.

That's not all I was told...

I was also told that when they ran the pre-anesthetic blood panel his ALT liver enzymes were high - 250 (normal is around 50). The vet said that while this could be related to those teeth that were pulled (the pockets forming under the gums could have been a breeding ground for infection), but it most often incidates that a dog has 'gotten into something' toxic.

Dingle has not eating anything he shouldn't have - at least that I have seen - and he had not shown any signs of having gotten into anything - no nausea, vomiting, etc.... absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. She said that perhaps Dingle had walked through something, licked his paws and ingested it that way.

I asked if perhaps it could be related to Dingle eating Orijin, a food very high in protein, but she didn't think it would be - said that would affect kidneys as well? At least that is what I think she said.

It's a mystery as to why his kidney enzymes are elevated.

I was told not to worry too much now - that all of the other liver levls are fine.

So the plan is for him to be on liver detoxifyer (Zentonil Advanced 200) for the next few weeks and then we'll check his levels then. Hopefully they have returned to normal.

Dingle is doing alright now. When I first brought him home he was high as a kite though and could barely stand. I guess that was from the hydromorphone pain injection more so than the anesthesia because he's been under anesthesia... ugh... at least 8 times now... and has recovered quickly.

Up until last night Dingle was getting Codeine gel rubbed into his ear for pain - but he's now finished that.

He is still on antibiotics (Antirobe aquadrops) and will be on them for a total of 10 days. They taste like crap and Dingle's face is pricess when I give them to him... but he takes them well.

So since Wednesday I've been busy with meds... which isn't all that uncommon as there's always something up with Dingle.

After his walk and feeding at 6:30am (on days I work nights) he'd get his Tears Natural II eye drops, the Cyclosporine eye gel, the antibiotics and for those 3 days the codeine.

Then later I'd sleep for a few hours and get up and give him the liver pills, which have to be given on an empty stomach.

The pamphlet in the pills said that they are 'palatable' - meaning they should taste good. But Dingle spit today's pill out 9 times - even when after I covered in peanut butter. This I found very, very strange. Dingle has been on pills so often that I could shake a pill bottle and he'd come running with excitement. So for him to not want one it must be repulsive.

After the liver pill I'd go back to bed for a few more hours and before work we'd start the morning routine again - eye drops, codeine and antibiotics.

The morning after the dental he was feeling well enough to eat. I think it was mainly because I allowed him to have Little Cesar wet food - he doesn't get wet food and so he scarfs it when he sees it... that and he hadn't eaten for such a long time since he couldn't eat after midnight the night before his surgery.

The night after the dental I was adding water to his kibble so that by the time my boyfriend fed him the food would be mush but Dingle spun in circles indicating he wanted the food right then and there - and he ate the hard kibbles fine.

He seems to be himself again - my usual Dingle... now with a gap in his front teeth.

In addition to being worried about his liver levels I'm (for some reason) absolutely devestated that Dingle had to have his teeth removed.

I once met a pom owner before I had Dingle and she made a point of saying "my dog has only 4 teeth left" (like that's something to brag about) and I said "oh, how old is your dog?". I expected her to say he was really old, but her response: "4". Holy shit lady - he's only 4 and only had 4 teeth left? Ugh.

I vowed to take care of Dingle's teeth so that he didn't end up like that pom and I know I've done everything I could have to help his dental health and I know that little dogs can be prone to bad teeth. Despite that I feel absolutely horrible that Dingle had 2 teeth pulled. Extremely terrible.

He's still got stitches in his mouth and I know losing two teeth doesn't seem to affect him, but for the last few days whenever I've seen him with his mouth open my eyes are drawn to the gap and I feel like shit.

Perhaps it's just a matter of adjusting to the fact he had teeth pulled?

All I know is I'm more concerned that Dingle just lost two teeth than I am affected by the damage to my bank account on Wednesday.

The damage? $1,063.32.

Yup - and not covered by insurance (well the liver meds may - I need to discuss this with the vet at our follow-up).

Oh Dingle.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Swimming Dingle? Nope.

If there's one thing I miss about living in the small town I grew up in it's the beach. My mom moved away when I went to University, but is still in the same general area, right on the lake.

Though it's never really nice beach weather when I come up to my mom's. Dingle and I did manage to get to the beach briefly yesterday night.

He surprised me by running right up to the water - and in slightly:

But then he decided he was in too far and left:

So I "helped" him:

Poor little ratty:

There were other families with dogs down there and they were going crazy swimming - swimming far out into the beach for sticks, toys, etc. Then there was me trying to get Dingle into the water... I think they thought he was pathetic.

One thing that did irritate me is that when we first got down there Dingle (on a leash) was heading over to another dog and she was like "oh, keep him away, my dog has kennel cough". Cool lady, excellent idea to bring your sick dog to the dog area.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dingle is on vacation!

Really, when is he not on vacation? He's a dog.

That said, a freshly groomed Dingle and I are on a vacation from the city.

We are up at my mom's house - in a small town in Huron County.

We got here last night and will be staying for 8 days.

We have come up every year for the last 3 years I believe.

I'm hoping the weather will be nice (today it is not and every other year it's been somewhat crappy weather) so that Dingle can go swimming at the beach.

Though we haven't done much of anything today aside from going for a fairly long walk Dingle is exhausted.

He's taken upon himself to patrol my mom's house - going room to room checking on her Conure and Love Birds (really looking for dropped seeds) and watching the door for intruders.

Yesterday on the way up we stopped at my dad's place in the country and Dingle was exploring the wide open fields... running around like crazy until I heard/saw an eagle (or was it a hawk... I don't remember) and got all paranoid it was going to fly down and snatch him up and ended his free roaming time.

He was really tired when we finally got here - sitting in a car is exhausting, apparently.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Corneal Ulcer is GONE!

Yay - Dingle had his 3rd vet appointent in an 8 day span and although we got a bill for $111.42 we also got the good news that his corneal ulcer is gone!

That meant that Dinglehopper was free of the e-collar. He seemed so happy to be able to scratch his neck and face (luckily not his eyes).

We're keeping up with the corneal ulcer solution for a few more days just for good measure, though.

Dingle will be back at the vet on Saturday morning, but this time it's for a grooming appointment before Dingle and I go on vacation (well, up to my mom's) for a week.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

$406.44 later and we're still not free of the ulcer...

... I should clarify that $87.76 of that is not related to the corneal ulcer treatment... but the rest is.

We had our follow-up on Tuesday. Dingle got the anesthetic and florescein eye stain and the vet confirmed that his ulcer is still there.

She confirmed that it is superficial and that it had gotten smaller since Saturday. I could even see that it was smaller as Saturday when they brought him back downstairs after staining his eye I could see the big yellow spot where the dye had stuck. On Tuesday that dye was barely visable - if I hadn't know where the spot was (from Saturday), I likely wouldn't have noticed it.

Dingle continues to get the eye ulcer solution every 4-5 hours.

We've stopped the Tobrex so we're down to 3 different drops.

He's supposed to get the ulcer drops for the next 10 days and continue to wear the e-collar.

We have another re-check on Sunday... and those instructions may change... hopefully it has healed enough to stop the drops that night.

Dingle really needs to be groomed and I was hoping to do it early this week... but I guess we will have to hold off for now.

The $87.76 plus taxes was for Leeba III dental spray.

When I went in on Saturday when he first hurt his eye the vet commented that he needed a dental. She seemed shocked that I had said he had one last September... and every September before that for quite a few years. She recommended I try the Leeba dental spray. She said that a lot of people had success with it... and though it is expensive it is cheaper than a dental every year. So I'm going to try it and will post an entry about it with our 'review'. I hope it works... so I can save $500-ish this September.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Drops, drops and more drops!

Today was our first full day of corneal ulcer eye drops. He got them every 4 hours or so.

I kind of felt trapped in my house today - as I couldn't really venture far from home because I needed to be able to do his meds. The ulcer meds are every 4 hours and 4 hours is a fair amount of time to run errands, etc... but I had the Cyclosporine, Tobrex and Tears Natural II also - and those were spread out throughout the day.

Despie the constant drops Dingle remains in good spirits.

Our re-check is tomorrow (Tuesday).

*Fingers crossed for good news*

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just When I Thought Things Were Going Well...

We may have made it a year between eye vet appointments... but in the last week we've sure made up for it.

On Tuesday I noticed that Dingle had green discharge from both of his eyes so I knew Dingle had eye infections.

The eye vet was closed at this point so I called his regular vet.

Luckily they were able to 'prescribe' Tobrex for the eye infections, without seeing him (thus saving me like $75). They did this because Dingle has had eye infections (and Tobrex) in the past... so they knew I was aware of what was an eye infection.

So he's been getting Tobrex since Tuesday night and the green discharge had almost went away when today's issue came up.

I went to bed at about 9am (I work nights). Dingle was fine, eyes looking good.

When I woke up at 3pm I discovered Dingle would not open his right eye. At first I thought it may be because of the eye infections - perhaps some discharge had 'glued' his eye shut. I washed it with warm water and gave him his Tears Natural II meds to see if I could flush the eye out incase there was something in it. That didn't help.

After I had showered he still wouldn't open his eye so I called Downtown Animal Hospital. Luckily they were able to fit us right in. They stained his eye and when they did it was very obvious that Dingle had a 2mm (ish) ulcer on his cornea. This was caused by trauma - perhaps Dingle scratched at his eye or he bumped it.

I don't think it was because he scratched - as his eye infections weren't bothering him and ever since we started treatment to the KCS/PRA almost 2 years ago he hasn't really been bothered by his eyes.

I think that he did bump into something in our bedroom. He doesn't see all that well in low-light situations and I do have room darkening blinds so it's quite dark during the day.

I feel really bad for him because it's clear that his eye is bothering him. After reading up on corneal ulcers online I learned that they apparently hurt like hell.

Hours after we got home from the vet he was still keeping his eye shut. The corneal ulcer solution we have for him is supposed to help with pain... and hopefully it will.

He has to get that special solution (that they mixed up at the vet) 6x a day, roughly. It has an antibiotic in it as well so we can discontinue the Tobrex... in that eye at least.

I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed by the amount of drops he will have to get for the next few days.

Dingle will get Tears Natural II and Cyclosporine in both eyes twice a day.

Then he will be getting Tobrex in his left eye 3 times a day.

Finally he will get the corneal ulcer meds in his right eye 6 times a day.

I will be busy.

He has a re-check on Tuesday evening. Hopefully it will have healed or have shown improvement... and not be a situation where he ends up needing surgery.

Dingle's back to being a cone head dog again... so that he doesn't make his eye worse by scratching.

Poor little guy.

It was weird because after we saw the vet I pulled out my bank card and the vet suggested I just wait and pay it all on one bill on Tuesday. I found this odd because I've always paid after each appointment... even if they have known I'll be back. I had a moment of "they obviously trust me to show back up and pay my bill" but at the same time I also thought "maybe I am being spared the shock of the cost of this visit". Ha ha.

Whatever the cost may be it won't compare to the leg surgeries.

Plus that's what pet insurance is for. It was funny because while at the vet my Blackberry buzzed and 3 Emails from Trupanion (formerly Vet Insurance) came through saying that they had processed our claims for Cyclosporine, tear tests and the Tobrex.

Now I'll have another for them next week.

Trupanion is so worth the $50-ish a month.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lots of Stuff, Including Eye Vet Visit

It goes without saying that I'm very crappy at updating this damn blog. 99% of the time I forget it exists.

But anyways, let's say lots in this entry to make up for lack of regular updates.

Eye Visit:

(This update copied from Dingle's website):

On May 31st Dingle had his appointment at Forest Hill. Yes, we made it a whole year without any eye issues. I couldn't believe it.

The vet said that Dingle's vision probably has decreased slightly.

I feel like that statement was based largely on what I said about how I had noticed Dingle struggling at night (or low light places) in unfamiliar 'territory'.

For example, we moved our bedroom furniture around a few weeks ago and one afternoon I decided to take a nap with Dingle and seemed to just stand in the spot I put him, unsure of where to go. We have room darkening blinds (I work overnights) and so it is quite dark in our room during the day. At first I was confused about why he wasn't going under the bed (where he likes to sleep) or to his dog bed and then I clued in that it was likely because he couldn't see where he was going. I felt really, really bad for him and decided to not have him nap with me. When I woke up I brought Dingle into the room, turned the lights on and let him familiarize himself with the new layout. Now he's fine.

Anyways... I told the vet that I had noticed some difficulty lately and I'm not so sure that Dingle's vision is necessarily all that worse... I think that going off my description of Dingle is sort of problematic. Why? Well, I'd say that up until recently I was still in denial about Dingle's PRA and the fact that he's going blind. So relying on me suddenly admitting he has difficulty wouldn't be entirely accurate in determining how well he can see.

But of course they didn't rely totally on me - he was examined and Dingle does still have his limited blood flow to the retina... which means that he still can see (I knew that... and that's not denial talking).

The vet said that the rest of his eye looks good... healthy, etc. And he said that maybe we will get lucky and only the rods (and not the cones) will stop functioning... and maybe he will retain vision in the day.

I'd like to say I'll cross my fingers, but then again I don't want to get my hopes up and then start all over again with the whole denial thing if I notice him having difficulty in the day also.

As things are Dingle continues to get the Tears Natural II and Cyclosporine twice a day... and we were told to check back in the winter.

Overall a pretty positive appointment. We don't get many of those. It was actually vet strange... but appreciated.


We went to Woofstock again this year - both days, like usual.

Dingle really doesn't care much about all of the dogs - he's more interested in getting attention from people.

Saturday we managed to get a few hours in before the downpour. We ran into another pom owner and her pom (that I 'know' through Facebook), which was nice.

Dingle, my boyfriend, his 2 dogs and I looked at the booths but I didn't buy anything, surprisingly. I was mainly focused on getting coupons for pet products. For the last year and a bit I've been coupon obsessed... this started after my legal battle with the pet store (and settling and having to give up being very vocal about how I hate that damn company)... it's like I needed something to fill the spare time I now had. It's amazing how much free crap you get can with coupons... but that's a whole other topic, not for this blog.

While looking for coupons and freebies I was very disappointed to discover that the Ceaser booths weren't there this year. I would always collect the food and treats for local shelters. When it did start raining that's when we decided it was time to get the heck out of there.

Sunday the weather was a lot nicer... which meant Woofstock was packed. I think a lot of people stayed away on Saturday because of the poor weather forecast and then came Sunday. The crowds were so bad we had difficulty walking and seeing the booths. Despite the crowds we were able to find 2 other Facebook friends and their poms. I felt like the only person who didn't have 2 poms. Damn.

I had hoped to buy Dingle a new dog bed... I decided it is time to throw out Dingle's strawberry bed because it's pretty much destroyed and Dingle no longer uses it. I had my eye on a pink and brown striped pillow bed. Then I was told that because Dingle's a boy I should go for the brown and blue. Hm. It was $60 and my sister told me not to buy it... but then of course when I left Woofstock I regretted it... and can't remember the name of the store/company that was selling it. Damn. Oh well - maybe we will see it at Winter Woofstock. Yay - I don't have to wait an entire year between Woofstocks. Speaking of which, I need to figure out the dates for that and book time off.

I really didn't take many pics this year at Woofstock. I did, however, get a lot of photos at booths... like the Beneful booths. Dingle doesn't eat Beneful... and I don't have a whole lot of positive things to say about Purina, but I wanted the photo anyways.

One of the first booths we walked past was the Kijiji one and they were doing free dog photos. I hate the Kijiji pets section - they allow for dog sales and puppy millers to post, unlike Craig's List. But I gave in and allowed them to take his photo.

Here's 2 random photos of Dingle from Woofstock... the only 2 that didn't include me (and isn't the Kijiji one so it doesn't seem like I'm supporting them by posting a pic with their logo on it):

Wouldn't Dingle make a great doggy star in The Grinch?

Dingle amongst the crowd, similing

Vet Insurance:

While at Woofstock I saw a Trupanion booth. Vet Insurance became Trupanion or something like that... I don't pay attention to specifics, like merges, name changes, etc.... all I care about is that I have a company that covers Dingle's bills.

Anyways, I was talking to the guy about how their insurance has been a life saviour for me, but I was worried about reaching the $20,000 maximum.

He said that very few pets do, but I'd be happy to know that they had recently changed their policies and there is now NO lifetime limit.

He told me that they were just waiting for the company merge (is that what he said, I dunno...) to take place and then they'd be informing original Vet Insurance customers of this new policy.

A few days after Woofstock I got the Email confirming that the $20,000 lifetime limit is gone. Woo hoo!

I really, really recommend Vet Insurnace (Trupanion). They have covered every single 'issue' that Dingle has had... surgeries, meds, eye infections, parasites, coughs, colds, everything. Their company doesn't penalize you for making claims like other companies do - they always cover the 90%. 2 of my neighbours have different companies and their coverage was cut to like 50% for making claims. I'm glad VI doesn't do that or I'd be screwed.

If you sign up for Trupanion please say that Dinglehopper's owner referred you!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dog or Baby?

I swear I have a dog... and not a child.

However looking at some of the things around my place you might think otherwise... until you hear the loud, shrill barking.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dingle and His Pitbull Friend

Dingle and one of his bestest friends, Lexi.

Unfortunately they can not be boyfriend and girlfriend as Sasso, my boyfriend's pug/beagle, has already spoken for her.

Dingle is content with being friend's only.

Lexi is one of the nicest, most well behaved dogs I know and it's awful that people sometimes judge her instantly because of the fact that she is a pitbull.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Think Dingle's Eyesight is Getting Worse

As much as I'd like to be in denial (still, a year and a half after the Progressive Retainal Atrophy diagnosis) about Dinglehopper going blind, I can't.

The last little while I have noticed things that incidate he can't see very well... luckily I think it is still only in low-light situations.

Take this for example:

I work overnights and this morning I went into the bedroom at 6:30am to get Dingle to take him outside. We have room darkening blinds on our windows and so it is quite dark in there... not pitch black, though.

I only open the door a crack, in an effort to not wake up my boyfriend and usually this is no problem. However today I guess Dingle could see how far the door was open (despite there being a nightlight in the hall outside our door) and he ended up walking into the door. He wasn't phased or hurt and so he tried again - but was actually trapped behind the door (between the door and the wall) and couldn't figure his way out... and kept on trying. Of course I went in and grabbed him and then I just sat at the top of the stairs holding him, feeling sorry for him and wondering what the future has in store for him...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dog Food Donations

I was cleaning up my computer tonight and found some photos from last year, when I made a donation (of dog/puppy food) to the Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue in Hamilton.

Dingle sure seemed happy to sit in the picture - perhaps he thought this food was for him. Ha ha.

The actual donations to the PSBR was more than 3x what you see in the picture and it cost me under $0.99 a bag - thanks to awesome sales at PetSmart and coupons. If only that sale would come back.

Since then I have made regular donations of pet food - to the SPCA, Humane Society, etc. and will continue to do so.

I really screwed up in getting Dingle from a pet store. By getting him from a pet store I supported a puppy mill and contributed to the suffering of dogs and puppies. Now I want to do anything I can to better the lives of dogs/pups... and sort of 'right' that 'wrong'.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dingle has chipped a tooth.

Tonight I was brushing Dinglehopper's teeth and noticed that he chipped a tooth. It's one of his pro-molars and the tip/point of it has broken off.

Immediately after seeing that I was tempted to call the vet and book an appointment... but the 5 people that were over at my house stopped me.

They said it doesn't look that bad, compared to the other one.

Dingle is eating okay and I don't even know when it would have happened.

He had a dental in September... so sometime between September and now.

He had a check-up a few weeks ago and the vet looked at his teeth quickly (as his mouth is gross again already)... but not in the back.

Hm... do I spent $70 to have the vet likely tell me it's alright... or do I wait? My sister says to only go in about it if he stops eating.

Dingle has an eye vet appointment in May. That vet can't see us for problems that are not eye related (something about a contract or by-law or something) because it was a referral from my vet, but I'm hoping if we don't go in before then he'll at least look at the tooth and tell me if we should go in for an appointment specifically about that.

Ugh... I'm stressed... but I know I tend to jump the gun and make sometimes unnecessary vet appointments.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dingle's Annual Check-Up

Dingle had his annual check-up on Tuesday evening.

About 15 minutes and $200.02 later, Dingle was given a clean bill of health... well, aside from all his 'pre-existing issues'... like the PRA, KCS, Luxating Patellas. So, I guess we'll just say he has no new problems, currently.

The vet actually commented on how good he was looking - his eyes especially - no tear stains, ick, etc. Yay (maybe we will make it a year between Forest Hill appointments).
Dingle is 4.3kg.
4.3kg x 2.2 = 9.46 pounds.
Sorry Dingle, you won't be in any CKC or AKC shows... you don't meet the standards for the weight class... plus you're neutered... plus you are a genetic mess, overall. But I love you.

The vet also said that for whatever reason Dingle seemed to look younger that night.

Maybe because he had a haircut the same day.

My boyfriend always says that Dinglehopper looks like a shrub after his haircuts... does this look like a shrub:

That picture isn't from his most recent haircut, but essentially he looks like same.
Shrub? Maybe (yeah, I can kind of see it), maybe not. But he's definitely a tired dog that prefers the hardwood floor over his beds.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dingle's Annual Check-Up is Approaching...

In just over 2 week's Dingle has his annual vet check-up at the Downtown Animal Hospital.

Yup, time for his shots - he's due for all of them this year.

Any guesses on what ailment, condition, diagnosis will pop up at this appointment?

My fingers are crossed that there is nothing, but given his track record... well, yeah.

Random Dingle picture: him sleeping in my bed, on my boyfriend's pillow, while my boyfriend was out of town visiting family: