I Love Our Vet!

Yes, I know I’ve said before that I love our vet, but I’m saying it again. I Love Our Vet! 

Not just because he has always taken good care of our pets; but also because he has always been honest and forthright on all fronts.

Not just because he let me do my externship (for my vet assistant course) at his hospital; but also because he has always been there for us (just a call or text away) from the time Ducky started presenting IBD symptoms, throughout Callie’s lymphoma journey, and every day since.

You might recall in my last post, Happy 13th Birthday, Shadow, I mentioned that thanks to her little sister Shadow had taken a tumble a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to the hemp oil gel caps and elixir drops and daily walks on the treadmill, the tumble didn’t seem to bother her then.

Still, over the last 10 days, she seemed to be struggling more to stand up and stay up. And she hasn’t been eating as well or as much, plus her reflux seems to bother her more often again. So, I brought Shadow back to Dr. Steve for his professional opinion on Tuesday morning. I mentioned that with her increased struggling of late I was worried that maybe she was in more pain than she let on. He put my mind at ease. “No injury. Just her arthritis flaring a little.”

I sent Doc a video of Shadow walking on the treadmill yesterday morning; and when he called in the afternoon with the lab results he commented on the video. “She looks great. She walks like an older dog with some arthritis. Her range of motion isn’t what it used to be, but it’s pretty good for an old lady.” As for the blood work and urinalysis, everything is close to or at normal levels, which means the Denamarin is working. We talked about some other minor concerns; but all’s well. The Gabapentin, hemp oil, and treadmill – and outdoor playtime – is keeping her arthritis manageable. So, we’re sticking with what works.

Now it’s time to get back to working on my final exam. It’s due back to my program manager on the 30th, so I probably won’t publish another post before Halloween.

Happy Thankful Thursday!!!

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.  

Time Flies…

…when you’re having fun!

Friday is the last day of my externship for my Veterinary Assistant course. And I’m torn between remaining as a volunteer and getting back to my former life as a retired person. 

I have truly enjoyed the hands-on experience I’ve had throughout my time behind the scenes at our vet’s hospital. I know there are many things I need more practice with to become an even better vet assistant. But I also know it takes time to hone one’s skills. All the “girls” and both Dr. Steve and Dr. Simpson have been super-patient with my more-than-occasional lapses in concentration. And I appreciate it more than they could possibly know.  

From the start, my heart has cried for the pet parents whose furry “kids” have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses or been aided in their journeys to the Rainbow Bridge. And rejoiced with the pet parents who received good news.

Something I was afraid would “turn my stomach” – watching surgery on an animal – actually ended up fascinating me. I wouldn’t want to HAVE TO be the vet/surgeon performing the surgery. And I don’t know that I could handle watching surgery on my own dogs; but the surgery itself and the vet’s skill and devotion to his patients just blew me away.  So did the skill of the techs assisting with the surgeries. These gals are fantastic! 

While I am definitely looking forward to getting my former life back – to some degree at least – my life has been irrevocably changed by this experience. 

I am truly grateful to Dr. Steve for having agreed to let me do my externship under his tutelage. And I am grateful to Dr. Steve, Dr. Simpson, and the entire staff at Sunrise Animal Hospital for their mentoring, assistance, guidance, and unending patience as I watched, participated, fumbled, and learned my way through my externship.

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!

Why I Trust Our Vet

Early yesterday I noticed a response to a comment I made on a blog post about the differences between IBD and IBS. This response, while well-intentioned I’m sure, irked me a bit. So I was glad that my friend had already responded to it by the time I noticed it. And she did so in such a way that I didn’t have to add my own thoughts.

Still, that response from a stranger bothered me all afternoon. So I’ve decided to get it off my chest, per sé.

Why do some people feel the need to suggest to strangers that they should change a pet’s diet?  This person doesn’t know me, my hubby, or our dogs, from a hole in the wall.  She has no way of knowing what kind of relationship we have with our dogs’ veterinarian; nor his knowledge of pet nutrition. And this person is not even a veterinarian herself. So, whatever happened to the “I’m not a vet” disclaimer? 

First of all, our vet has been our vet for 16 years. He has treated all of our dogs – from Kissy, my poodle who was five years old when I first moved us down here from Long Island almost 23 years ago, to Ducky, who joined our family nearly four years ago.  Our vet has been there for us through Kissy’s final days and through our beloved Callie’s battle with cancer and everything before, during, and since those “events.”

Our vet is a good man. He’s honest, forthright, compassionate, and he truly cares about his patients. He sells the prescription diets at his hospital as a convenience for his clients whose pets need them, not as a way to make extra money. The profit he might make off the sale of a case – or bag – of these foods probably wouldn’t buy coffee and a pastry at Starbucks.

When Ducky was first suffering through her IBS issues, our vet gave me his personal mobile phone number in case something came up for which I needed advice. (I tried not to abuse the privilege since we do have an emergency animal clinic nearby staffed by wonderful, caring folks.)

And when Callie was so sick at the end from the lymphoma, our vet and his wife took time out of their busy Saturday to meet me at his hospital and hook her up to IV meds that got her feeling better for most of the rest of the weekend. 

I’m aware that not all vet schools have provided much pet nutrition education in the past. Aside from a very basic course in dog and cat nutrition, I don’t have any formal education in that area either. I mostly rely on my common sense and some research. And our vet. I have not always agreed with our vet’s suggestions about our dogs’ diets; however, I have always known that his suggestions are made in the dogs’ best interests. Over this past year, I have fully transitioned Shadow and Ducky to one of the diets our vet suggested. And both dogs have done well on them. Much better than on the premium foods that I’ve tried for them in the past. And raw diets are totally out of the question. I won’t even discuss them any more. The raw diets may be good for some dogs – and I don’t judge anyone who swears by them – but they aren’t for us or for our dogs. And our vet agrees with us. 

So, I’ll close by saying that even when our vet and I “agree to disagree” on certain things related to our dogs, in the long and short run I will follow his advice.

Okay, rant over.  #LettingItGo

#LoveOurVet