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