Archive for the ‘Health Tip’ Category

Breakfast for Champions

My full-blooded 11-year-old basset hound Carrie has mast-cell cancer. We chose to let her live out her days in comfort and dignity. We give her prednisone to slow down the tumor’s growth, anti-histamine pills twice a day to help her with the histamines the cancerous cells release, and antacids for stomach issues she may have digesting prednisone. I also feed her twice a day a grain-free dog food with a tiny bit of grain-free canned food to make it more appetizing. On top of it all, Carrie gets a midmorning or midday snack, which consists of a berry-type of fruit (in the photo I’m providing, she’s fed 1 strawberry and 6-10 blueberries), plain yogurt, and a raw egg. Carrie was given 3-months to live on November 2015. Today is January 3, 2016, and she’s quite healthy. I am hoping that my she will have many more birthdays to celebrate on April 15 (he birthdate). And I am hoping that my food choices for her and her younger brothers (the black-and-white dogs also in the photo) are responsible for her longevity.

Cancer Kills—Cancer Sucks

I intended to write about my adventures with two dogs with cancer. Today, I’m just pouring my sadness to you.

One of my dogs who had cancer (Dudley) died. He died on New Year’s Day in my arms while we were driving to the vet to euthanize him. He was a great dog. He had an annoying and demanding bark, but he didn’t’ have a mean bone on his body. He got along with everyone. He was my Velcro dog (so is Carrie, by the way). Everywhere I went, he was there with me.

Dudley (January 14, 2004—January 1, 2016)

Single Doghood

Now, my other dog, who also suffers from cancer, is a single dog for the first time since she came to live with us 2005 when she was she was 9 weeks old. For the first time since 1990, I have a single dog and not a pack.

The Bridge and Gasping for Air

I’ll never forget Dudley’s last struggle for air and how limp and relaxed he felt when he died. It took me a few minutes to realize that he was gone. At first, I just thought that he was struggling because he wasn’t comfortable. He had so many tumors and many were so big. Then when he relaxed, I thought that he found a comfortable spot in my arms. But, actually, he was gone.

I hope that there is a Bridge, and I hope he met with Bailey, the dog that preceded him in death. Dudley and Bailey were adopted together. They were a bonded pair that I heard through BROOD. We had a open adoption with their former “slaves.” Their former slaves and us became friends and consider ourselves family.

Life and Sorrow Is for the Living

Life goes on for the living. But there’s definitely a big difference, and we feel that his presence is gone. The house is quieter. There are no demanding barks for food. I now have to look at the clock to make sure I don’t miss the 5 p.m. meal. He never let me forget it. Carrie is quieter. She doesn’t demand. Dudley, on the other hand,  was on my heels at 4:30 p.m., reminding me to not forgetto give them food.

And Dogs Mourn,Too

But let’s not forget that the surviving dog is also mourning. Carrie is morose. Her snout is longer, and looks unhappier than most of the time (bassets always look sad). Yesterday, when I called out for food, she barked and ran in every room, looking for and calling Dudley to come and eat.

Also, the finality came to me at yesterday’s 5 p.m. feeding. Every day, just before each meal, each dog got their own medications for their illness. I covered the meds in peanut butter. One dog got the right hand “treat,” the other dog got the left hand treat. Yesterday, only one hand was needed. I cried. I missed him.

Also, every day, after the meds were distributed, I would pick their bowls to insert their meals. Yesterday, I absently picked Dudley’s bowl as well.

What Dogs Will to Us

Sadly, dogs leave very few properties when they leave: a bowl, a collar, a leash, a bed, etc. However, they also leave a big empty hole in your heart.

I went through so many losses in the 33 years of dog loving and dog rescuing. Nonetheless, I go ahead and open my heart to break again and again. There’s always a needy dog waiting for your love. My heart has an empty hole. A new dog, will come and fill that hole by giving a piece of his or her heart. It’s just like this saying:

Dogs will us their heart. One day, my heart will be all dog, and I’ll be so proud!

Living with Dogs with Cancer

I currently live with two basset hounds. Living with Bassets hound is nothing new for me. I have been sharing my home with the breed for over 30 years. In the past 30 years, I’ve lived with about 8 bassets (and many other mixed breeds, as well). I’ve had single, as well as packs of dogs. So, I encountered all sorts of health problems. This time, I have something new to conquer. I now have two bassets suffering with cancer. I did have two dogs that were euthanized because they were suffering with the final and debilitating stages of cancer. But their cancer was discovered late and there was no longer time for life. This time, my dogs are terminal, but still having time to live out a little bit longer with their disease. I will try to describe our journey together.

Dudley—Spleen and Lymphoma

Meet Dudley. He’s soon 12 years old. He’s his adopted. We have an open-adoption arrangement with his former family. It’s a win–win arrangement. Dudley and his family get to see his each other fairly often. We get so see his puppy pictures and get to know his temperament. And, to boot, a great friendship developed among the humans.

In June 2015, Dudley was diagnosed with lymphoma. His illness started with various blood tests demonstrating anemia and an enlarged spleen. When his spleen was removed, it was a bloody mess and weighed 4 pounds. The lab work came back positive for cancer. Dudley was extremely sick after his surgery. It took him 2 weeks to recover. He had no interest in food, water, and life. Lucky for all of us, on the day we were going to have him euthanized, he perked up. In fact, he was wheeled into the ER hospital for euthanasia, and on the way to the building from the car, his sweet face perked up. He was not ready to go to the Bridge. He received care in the hospital, and 24 hours later he came home to slowly recover.

We chose not to administer chemotherapy. He was so sick just with the surgery. We didn’t want to add more to his misery. We currently give him prednisone for comfort and some homeopathy medicine. We figured that at this stage of his life, it can’t do him much harm. In October, we were told, he didn’t have much longer to go. It would be a matter of a few weeks. Today it’s December 14. He’s still here. We are blessed.

Carrie—Mast Cell Tumor

Meet Carrie. Carrie came to live with us when she was 9 weeks old. Her father was of champion lines. Carrie was going to be trained to be a therapy dog. Life intervened, and she remained a pet. One day, in October 2015, my daughter noticed a hard growth on Carrie’s genitalia. As Carrie loves to sleep outside near the bushes where we had a nest for wasps, we thought that she may have been stung by them and was having an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, once she was checked out by the veterinarian, she was diagnosed with mastocytoma (mast cell tumor). According to PetMD

Mast cells are cells that reside in the connective tissues, especially those vessels and nerves that are closest to the external surfaces (e.g., skin, lungs, nose, mouth). Their primary functions include defense against parasitic infestations, tissue repair, and the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). They are also associated with allergic reactions, since they contain several types of dark granules made up of various chemicals, including histamine and heparin, serving biologically to modify immune reactions and inflammation. Mast cells are derived from the bone marrow, and can be found in various tissues throughout the body.

We chose not to do any surgery on Carrie because the procedure would be from her vaginal area to her thigh, across her belly button, down back to her vagina. The recuperation period was 2 weeks. (Horrors of what Dudley went through crossed our mind). She was given 6 months to live without any intervention, 10 months with surgery only, 14–18 months with surgery and chemotherapy. She was not going to be comfortable during the process. I’m not even discussing the cost ($10,000), which we were willing to meet had she been promised a better outcome and better conditions.

Currently, Carrie is on prednisone. We take each day one at time.

Next entry will be how dogs on steroids behave.

A deadly virus that may kill your dog

There’s a deadly virus that has jumped species (from pigs and birds to dogs) and can be deadly to dogs. There are no vaccines as of yet. Dog owners should be aware of the symptoms:

1. Lethargy
2. Diarrhea
3. Vomiting

If you dog experiences any or all of the symptoms, take it immediately to see a veterinarian. The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the better chances your dog has for survival. Although this disease has not spread to many states (currently only 3 states—California, Ohio, and Michigan—have seen cases of this round-shaped, single-stranded DNA genome virus, known as circoviurus), one cannot ever be overly cautious. So, if you are about to board your dog or visit dog parks, just err on the side of caution if your dog experiences any symptoms.

When You Are Sick, There’s Nothing Like a Dog for Comfort

I have a bad, bad cold. Unfortunately for me, it’s a viral cold and not bacterial. Why do I say unfortunately? Because if it were bacterial, I’d be given antibiotics and the excruciating pain that I feel in my throat, Eustachian tube, and ears would be gone within a day. Swallowing is awful. I feel like a knife is slicing my throat as I swallow. My ears feel like they are ready to burst. The Eustachian tube is pounding when I swallow. I’m just miserable.

Last night, I tried to sleep. I would dose off for a few minutes, only to awaken when I swallowed and my throat began to hurt, the Eustachian tube began to pound, and the ears felt like they were about to burst. Not wanting to wake my husband up, I’d lay quietly in bed with tears flowing down my eyes. By 3 am, I’ve had it. I ran into the bathroom, put the shower on full heat and basked in the comfortable humid warmth emanating in the room. But sitting in the bathroom in the middle of the night is not a comfortable situation, so I went back to the bedroom.

The idea of going to bed and suffer again was very uninviting. I decided to sit on one of our chairs in the room that we use when we are watching TV, put my basset hound designed blanket for warmth, and tried to sleep in a sitting position.

As I fall asleep, I hear a thud coming from my bed. My youngest basset hound, Caraway (AKA Carrie), jumped off the bed. Carrie always sleeps by my feet. As soon as she found out that I was sleeping on the chair, she came and joined me there. I was amazed at her faithfulness. She’d rather sleep on the floor next to me than to continue to sleep on the comfortable bed without me. Who else would give this degree of love to you?

I am partial to basset hounds. I’ve been owned by one or more for almost 30 years. However, I will say this, there are so many dogs out there from purebreds to Heinz 57s who would make great faithful companions just like my Carrie.

In the United States, thousands of dogs are euthanized because they are no longer wanted. But all they need is a person willing to take them into their homes. I urge you to save a poor dog who is facing death in a shelter. Just follow this link, to view the numerous cats and dogs looking to get out of death row.

Marley’s Successor Died of Complications of Lyme Disease

Josh Grogan, who wrote the best seller  book Marley and Me, just announced in his blog that Gracie, the Labrador he brought home nine months after losing Marley, died from complications of Lyme disease. Gracie, unlike her predecessor, was quiet and totally the opposite of the rambunctious Marley.

RIP Gracie Grogan

Josh Grogran wrote the following in his blog about Gracie: “For the past six and a half years, she has been our sweet girl. We brought her home in September 2004, nine months after losing Marley. Even though she, like Marley, was a Labrador retriever, it was hard to believe they were the same breed. They couldn’t have had more different personalities. While he was wild and untrainable, hopelessly incapable of containing his unbridled energy, she was calm, sedate, and shy. He was big and powerful; she was delicate and petite. He was a bull in a china closet; she could daintily tiptoe through the most crowded glasswares shop without disturbing a single teacup. We called her the anti-Marley.”

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Winter—Keeping Your Dog Warm Can Actually Be Fun

When temperatures are dipping close to, around to, or below freezing, we need to protect our pipes, plants, and pets. We wrap the pipes, cover the plants, and make sure our pets are indoors as much as possible.

If keeping them indoors is not a possibility, please keep them in a garage, preferably in kennels, away from harmful chemicals. If possible, provide them with extra bedding. Never use electrical devices that can be chewed. Chewed wires can lead to electrocution or fire.

Many dogs (younger, smaller, and older), are just like us. If we need a sweater to keep warm, so do they. Older dogs, like us, suffer from arthritis and may suffer some stiffness on cold mornings. Do visit your veterinarian to get your pet evaluated for some proper joint supplements or pain management medications to ease his or her suffering.

On, Nohema Escamilla, better known as Kaelta has some delightful photos of her basset and the progress that she made while knitting his sweater. You can see the finished product here:

So keep your pet warm. Many already knitted sweaters are available through Etsy. But, if you feel so inclined, you can knit the same sweater Kaelta made for her dog.  Kaelta very generously shares her Ravelry account with us. (Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.) However, if you are looking for the actual pattern, you can purchase the Summer 2007  issue of Interweave Knits Magazine , where the pattern is featured by clicking here.

Keeping your dog warm can actually be fun.

Dangers to Dogs Lurk During Thanksgiving

ASPCA warns of certain holiday accompaniments harmful to dogs and cats.

Posted: November 17, 2010, 2 a.m. EST

 Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. And while that means family, food and festivities for us humans, it could mean increased risk of injury or illness for our pets.

 “Many of our winter holiday traditions can pose a threat to our companion animals,” says Tina Wismer, D.V.M., senior director of veterinary outreach and education for the ASPCA. The most frequent offender? Chocolate, which can cause a variety of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rate and occasionally seizures, Wismer says.

 “Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are more damaging to pets, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep all chocolate out of reach,” she says. Pet owners should also be wary of sweeteners, such as xylitol, which cause a sudden drop in blood glucose.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Do Dogs Mourn?

Canine Grief

When one dog dies, owners will often notice some changes in the pets that are left behind. They may become aloof or lethargic. Some may stop eating or become clingy. Based on these outward signs, it appears that dogs do grieve when their canine companion dies.

Because our pets cannot speak, we don’t really know what is going through their minds or what they are thinking. We must base our interpretations of their emotional state on their behavior – what they do in certain situations and under specific circumstances.

When a person experiences the death of a human loved one, we may know he feels grief based on what he says. Very often, however, it is how he reacts or what he does that tells us he is suffering. He loses his focus, becomes listless and disoriented, doesn’t eat and becomes disinterested in what is happening around him. The person may cry or go without sleep or sleep more than usual.

Read the rest of this entry »

Itchy-Skin Diseases in Dogs

My dog Dudley Dill has an allergic skin condition. The only way we can relieve his misery is with medicine and a once-a-month medicinal bath. I’d like to share with you other causes of skin conditions that dogs may experience.—Admin

The itchy skin diseases in this table are characterized by constant scratching, biting at the skin, and rubbing up against objects to relieve the itch.

Basset Hound

Dudley Dill—Itchy-skin sufferer

  • Allergic contact dermatitis: Same as contact dermatitis, but rash may spread beyond the area of contact. Requires repeated or continuous exposure to allergen (such as wearing a flea collar).
  • Canine atopy: Severe itching that occurs in young dogs and begins in late summer and fall. Caused by seasonal pollens. Occurs in mixed breeds as well as purebreds. Common. Tends to get worse each year. May start with face rubbing and foot chewing.
  • Chiggers: Itching and severe skin irritation between the toes and around the ears and mouth. Look for barely visible red, yellow, or orange chiggers. Read the rest of this entry »
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