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?