Cautiously Optimistic

Since Shadow’s visit to the emergency vet back on Labor Day weekend, she has been a very picky eater again.

Even though in the past she has gotten used to the nasty taste left in her mouth by Metronidazole, this time has been different. Getting her to eat her food was a frustrating, sometimes unsuccessful experience for the week she was taking it and the week since she’s been off it.

BUT…. 

This morning – with a little coaxing – she ate her breakfast. And about three hours later she ate her lunch with less coaxing than this morning.

(I don’t really worry too much if she doesn’t finish her breakfast – or if I have to coax her a bit – because I know the Denamarin she’s on for her liver makes her tummy feel “weird” for a few hours after she takes it.)

So, with her having eaten her meals today without much coaxing, I’m thinking (hopeful) that maybe the nasty taste of the Metronidazole is finally gone.


And by the way, the Treatibles 10-mg. CBD oil gel caps I’ve been giving her with breakfast are definitely helping manage her arthritis discomfort/pain. It also seems to have reduced some of the weakness in her back legs. She hasn’t stumbled on the steps in over a week! (Until just two minutes ago. I jinxed her. 😢)

We’re Still Here

The girls and I are still here. We’ve been busy. Well, their daddy and I have been busy. I won’t go into details, but my mind has been focused on more pressing things.

I’ve been on FB, Twitter, and Instagram sporadically trying to keep up with everyone. But writing and reading blog posts has gone by the wayside. And it looks like it’ll be at least another month or two before I can get back to the blog. Other than this post that is.

I will tell you this much: Ducky’s snarky attitude toward Shadow continues to diminish. She has her moments, but they’ve been fewer and further between. And, Shadow’s arthritis is an on again/off again issue. It’s not too bad this week, despite the cooler, wetter days. But that could change just like my own arthritis.

So I’ll leave you with these photos of the girls and say “til then…”

Shadow Update

Happy to say I have GOOD news to report!


Shadow had her follow-up ultrasound two weeks ago. The abscesses in her liver that I told you about last month are gone. The nodule on her spleen remains the same, unchanged. 

So, the vet said we’re going to leave Shadow on the Denamarin long term. The Denamarin makes her tummy feel “weird” for a few hours, so she eats very little – if any – breakfast.  I’ve had to resign myself to that fact and just give her lunch instead of breakfast. 

Unrelated, she’s been shaking her head off and on for the past couple of weeks. Her right ear seems to have an excessive wax buildup on the inner flap and close to the canal. I clean it up with a warm, wet gauze pad every few days. Tomorrow morning I’m taking her to see Doc, just to be sure there’s no infection causing that waxy mess. I don’t think there is – it doesn’t smell bad, just “waxy” – but want to be sure. Shadow’s ears have always been clean, and free of infection since she was a puppy. I want to keep it that way as she gets older.  

Serene Saturday

It has been such a beautiful weekend so far … sunshine, blue skies, puffy white clouds … 

In between games with the ball or Bounzer, the girls have been like this …


Or wanting to run the fence line with the neighbors’ bulldog, Jupiter. A quick hello is all they need, in my opinion.

There’s a nice breeze out here right now. Ducky is looking around her – nose twitching and ears moving to catch every sound. Shadow just changes position a little to get comfortable.


TGIF 

It has been a busy week around here and I’m glad it’s about over.

As I started writing the draft of this post on Tuesday morning, my sweet, loving Golden Shadow was in a kennel at the vet’s office. 

She was awaiting her turn with Dr. Steve, and for me to return for her.

Last Friday, we did a re-check of her liver enzyme levels after 30 days on the Denosyl.

The Denosyl did not work. Those enzyme levels which were elevated 36 days ago were even more elevated this time. And other levels were also elevated that had been in the normal range. 

So, on Tuesday afternoon – at the vet’s recommendation – we did an ultrasound on her liver and abdominal region.  

Turns out she has some old-age abscesses in her liver which we will be treating with Ampicillin and Denamarin for a month. She also has a small nodule in her spleen that does NOT appear to have any worrisome characteristics. But just to be on the safe side we will do another ultrasound in a month to check on it.

Meanwhile, Ducky had the first of two CIV (Canine Influenza Virus) vaccinations on Tuesday morning as well. It doesn’t reach its full efficacy until two weeks after the second “shot”. So, our little girl will not be going back to daycare until some time in July. I’m not taking any unnecessary chances of her being infected and passing it on to Shadow. Especially now. She seems happy enough to stay home…

So today – as always – I am thankful that we have a great relationship with a wonderful vet. And, by the way, his hospital/practice is now accredited by the #AAHA.

I’m also thankful for – among so many other blessings – our wonderful pet-loving community. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without y’all!  (I meant to join the Thankful Thursday blog hop but didn’t have time.)

Creatures of Habit, Part 2

Well, I’ve given up on changing the girls’ breakfast time. Temporarily.

Last week Shadow had to get a re-check of her liver enzyme levels. 

Back in January when she had her annual exam, they were slightly elevated, but the vet wasn’t all that concerned. “We’ll re-check them in three months and take it from there.”

Well, they were still a little elevated last week, so the vet decided to try Denosyl – a nutritional supplement, not a prescription drug – to help “clean out” her “system”. That’s when her appetite really went south.

I started her on the Denosyl on Wednesday morning – on an empty stomach – and about two hours later put her food bowl down for her. (Instructions call for waiting at least an hour before feeding meals.) 

Shadow sniffed at the food and walked away. Would not even take a small bite. “Oh ****!” I said to hubby. “Between my routine change and now this, all that hard work of getting her weight and daily calories back up is going to be for naught.”

I spent the day worrying about her food intake. Stupid me. I should have just called the vet. But she was otherwise fine. She and Ducky played well together in the yard.
Well, to be honest, they played separately – Shadow with her ball, Ducky with her Bounzer – but there was no arguing between them. I worked with Ducky on her “place” and loose-leash walking and threw in some sit-stay-come work. And I threw Shadow’s ball back and forth across the yard. 

Thursday morning? Same scenario. Denosyl at 7 am, food bowl down at 9:30, a brief sniff and then refusal to eat. So, when I got to the vet’s office to do my externship hours, I mentioned the food issue to the vet tech who’s mentoring me. She immediately put my mind at ease.

“It’s a temporary thing. The Denosyl has a habit of making their stomachs feel weird the first two or three days until they’re used to it. If she’s still refusing to eat over the weekend, we’ll figure something else out on Monday. But my guess is she’ll be back to normal tomorrow.” So, I stopped worrying and sure enough, Shadow ate her regular breakfast and then some yesterday. 

Maybe, at some point, I’ll go back to changing the girls’ meal times. But for now at least, all’s well. And the teensy bit of extra attention that I’m giving Ducky each day is keeping her jealousy under control. Even yesterday when the guys were here putting the new roof on the house she was good. (Of course, being at daycare all day and taking her “chill pill” before we left to come home probably helped. Along with the 3/4-mile walk around the ball field.)​​

Here’s hoping that you’re all having a good weekend!

Creatures of Habit

Never has it been more obvious to me than the last few days….

Shadow needs to eat more food than what she had been eating. Things were going great until the other day.

I started my externship for my Vet Assistant course on Tuesday so my routine changed.

Shadow definitely does not like change. Ducky? She couldn’t care less. As long as she gets fed, loved, and played with, she’s happy.  

Back to Shadow. Tuesday, while I brought Ducky to daycare, I had hubby put Shadow’s breakfast bowl down for her. She ate some – well, most – of it but not all. Later, she barely touched her lunch. She did eat her dinner but only because she was hungry. And even then she picked and poked at it first. Wednesday she was even less willing to eat. And Thursday morning she left part of her breakfast again. 

I’m trying to change their meal times to make it easier on all of us. Ducky’s being very cooperative. Shadow is not. She is a creature of habit – like her mama – and doesn’t like having her applecart upset. 

Routine change is hard on me, too. Normally, I hate it. So, I feel for Shadow. And like with Ducky’s attitude changes last week, I had an “ah-ha!” moment with Shadow Thursday morning. I’ll just keep feeding her at the new times – picking up the bowl if she doesn’t eat within 15 minutes – until she gets used to the new routine. 

The changes due to my externship will only last nine or ten, maybe twelve, weeks. Hubby will give Shadow her chest and neck rubs in the afternoons, and let both girls play out in the yard, while I’m working at the vet’s office the three afternoons a week. 

All that said, I’m thankful that Shadow is healthy and that her body can tolerate the upheaval of her routine. 

Dog Mom Shames Self

You would think that after watching and writing about Ducky’s interactions – good, bad, or neutral – with Shadow since Callie got her angel wings that I would realize when something is amiss.

But noooooo. DUHHH! After nearly 16 months it finally sunk in on Wednesday morning. 

I made an appointment with the vet on Monday thinking Ducky had somehow ended up with another UTI, despite the surgery in late February. She had been licking back there – almost constantly – all day Sunday. 

Ducky had been increasingly bratty toward Shadow (again!) since the previous Thursday night. She was snarky almost every waking moment; and hubby was getting snarky with her and me. Talk about stress overload! But we all survived.

Wednesday morning while Ducky and I waited in the exam room, it hit me like a smack upside the head. 🙄

Since Callie 😇 went to Heaven/the Rainbow Bridge/ in late August 2015, Ducky had been acting sweeter, more considerate/respectful of Shadow. EXCEPT when she wasn’t feeling well. 

Every. Single. Time. Ducky isn’t feeling well, she takes it out on poor Shadow. Because Shadow won’t “tell her off” like Callie used to, or like hubby and I do. Shadow just isn’t built that way.  

Anyway, Ducky’s medical issue this time was a slightly impacted, somewhat inflamed right anal gland. How she ended up with that is beyond me. But the vet cleaned her out, gave her some loving, and sent some Carprofen and antibiotics home with us. She started feeling better almost immediately afterward. And having a spa treatment at daycare a few hours later? Well, she was just in doggie heaven that night! ☺️

During the exam, I mentioned to the vet how hubby and I were seriously considering consulting a veterinary behaviorist about Ducky’s bratitude. 

And how it had finally dawned on me that it’s only really problematic when she isn’t feeling well. So, since we really can’t afford a behaviorist anyway, the vet suggested I start keeping track of Ducky’s worst days/nights and obsessive behaviors.  He feels I’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head, but the only way to be sure is to keep a written record of it. So, that’s what I’m going to do from this point forward. 

Anyway, things are pretty much back to normal. We spent most of the day Thursday in the yard without a peep out of Ducky. Even when Shadow sniffed at “her” toy for a moment. (I was so stunned by Ducky’s lack of reaction that I couldn’t even say “good girl!” in time for her to know why I’d said it.)

Just Me and My Shadow

To look at Shadow today, you would never know she was feeling a bit under the weather this past weekend.

Poor Shadow had a slightly upset digestive tract this past weekend. Thankfully, it only manifested itself via the back end so I didn’t have to call the vet via his smartphone. A few Imodium tablets – broken in half – and a slight change of diet had her feeling better by Sunday night. 

I did take her to the vet on Monday morning, though, as a precautionary measure. After all, next Sunday is her half-year birthday. (And Callie’s second birthday in Heaven.) My sweet girl isn’t getting any younger. 

We decided to keep her on the blander diet for a while, just to help her system stabilize. We’ll keep track of her weight, too, because the vet feels she lost a little too much weight since her annual exam in January. He did a thorough hands-on exam of her abdominal area and everything felt fine, no change. So we’re increasing her daily calories a bit. We don’t want her losing any more muscle mass than an aging dog normally would lose.

After taking Ducky to daycare and having breakfast with hubby this morning, I put Shadow’s harness on her and we went to the ballfield across the road for a walk. Just the two of us. We walked around the field twice and came home. Then we came out to the back yard to play. 

Again. Just me and my Shadow. I love this sweet Golden Girl. She lights up my days and sweetens my nights. My sunshine comes from the love light in her eyes.