Sunday, October 17, 2010

Make a plan for your pet with liver disease

No one really wants to face this fact. God knows I didn't! But a dog with liver disease will eventually die. All the tips I have given you are tried and true. But you are only buying time at best. I got cocky when Macy recovered. I thought I had the whole world in the palm of my hand. Well guess what...I didn't. When Macy blood tests started showing Kidney problems, I thought it was a temporary glitch. Truth be known, once the liver fails the other organs aren't far behind and it is just a matter of time. I am telling you this because I don't want you to go through the scenario I did. Watching your dog gasp it's last breath on your lap. Have a plan in place. How much is enough and when it is time to pull the plug. Maintain a regular schedule of blood tests to keep track of the situation. But prepare yourself because it will happen. Macy was eight so it happened after two years of battle. A younger dog might get 5 or 6 good years. But have a plan in place for when enough is enough. My vet told me that three days before she died. I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but I promise you it is much more comforting to watch a dog be put to sleep than to die because their organs fail. I am haunted by that vision and will never get over it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Macy Gray April 5,2002-July 3, 2010

Rest in peace my sweet, sweet girl! You were my love, my life, the breath in my lungs, my reason for waking up in the morning and my best friend. You are in your favorite place now, Lake Michigan. I hope there are plenty of waves to jump, plenty of stinky fish to roll in and plenty friends to play with. I know I will see you again, my lovely lady. And when we do we will body surf Lake Michigan. I am sure it will be a choppy day. You made everyday extraordinary and every night comfy. I miss you terribly but I am so glad you are out of your pain and enjoying the lake. I knew that was where you wanted to be. I love you!!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Macy Gray

Well I was all set to put Macy down yesterday. Had the appointment made when she started to eat. Looked longingly at my sandwich so I gave her some sliced roast beef. She ate half the package and half of my sandwich. Ate the rest of the package at dinner. Breakfast today she ate squash, turkey and steamed potatos. I think she is on the mend. Only difference in her regimen was I took her off the meds. She has been hospitalized for a week. She refused to eat the first day. I made the decision and took her off meds. I didn't see the point. She was wolfing down food the next day. Second time she has started to eat without medication. Hmmm!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Macy Gray

Well Macy is back in the hospital and I don't know if she is going to make it. I am beyond broken hearted. They told me she managed some food and drink today. But I also know she is on predisone. So do I put her down or accept that she might be on prednisone for the rest of her life? With pred she will eat but her liver will continue to get worse. I don't know what to do.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Draw the dog

This is a great site. Tons of charming and funny cartoons on dogs and their owners. You can send in pictures of your dogs and their antics and get a funny cartoon. You can even order a print. The coolest bit is you get to watch it being drawn online. Bruce has a huge archive of cartoons so you have plenty to peruse. He also sells product and donates the money to animal rescue. Animal rescue sites can order tee's with one of his cartoons for fundraising. Bruce is one good egg, so give him a little biz.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Answering your searches

Well I have had quite a few, from lemon water to ice cubes. Ice,ice water or chilled water is bad. Do not do it. Their systems are so similar to ours, but their digestive system will not allow. Causes bloat which is similar to colic. Denamarin and Denosyl? Both are the same. I would not double up without the advice of your vet. Both are a combination of SamE and milk thistle. Whereas milk thistle is completely safe in high amounts, I can't speak to SamE. It can cause nausea and diarrhea in some dogs. You can give them additional Milk thistle with vitamin B (full range, make sure it has a good dose of B12), vitamin C and E. The B, C and E enhance the effects of the milk thistle. Lemons? Never! Dogs don't deal well with acidic vegetables or fruits. Give them berries, steer clear of apples and grapes. Grapes are like chocolate and apples can cause severe allegic reactions in some dogs. I gave Macey homemade apple treats once. Her muzzle swelled up and her lips scabbed. Bailey had no problem. But I researched it later and dogs do have a problem with apples. Some more than others clearly. Does cortizone make a bladder weak? You better believe it! Use it only in small dosages. Look at my posts on flea and tick control. I had to put my dog down because of cortizone. Had to take a train from Virginia to do it. I wasn't about to put Natasha down without being by her side. Still hurts! I took her to the mountains for a last hurrah. Then I had to take her in and put her to sleep. Tasha was on cortizone most of the year. I do think that the advances in dog food have helped dogs with allergies, which is what cortizone is primarily used for. I still shudder when I walk into someone's home and see a bag of Beneful or Alpo. I had this conversation with my neighbor a few days ago. She asked me why I thought it was a bad food. Well first it is a corn based food. I could eat corn for the rest of my life and sustain myself. But I probably wouldn't be healthy. Food coloring is my second issue. It is entirely for us, the consumer, I guarantee you your dog could care less. A little food 101. Meat weighs more than grain. The ingredients are listed by weight.If you aren't seeing meat or meal as two of the three on the top of the list, steer clear. If corn is on the top of the list run, don't walk, away. You would be better off feeding your dogs table scraps. One thing I think does work is vitamin E. I give my guys 400 IU once daily. Started that when Macy got sick. Their coats are gorgeous and the shedding has reduced as well. Normally I need a U haul and Stanley Steamer to get all the hair out of here. They never blew their coats this spring. They thinned out, that's to be expected. But what used to be a giant heap of hair has reduced to something vastly more managable. The dander is better too. Not to mention the dandruff or ecxema. Macy was a flaky girl. No longer!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dogs of the week. Buster and Kerby from Houston.

Buster has been a good friend of mine since 2005. He is owned by Toby and Gwen, who used to be my clients in Chicago. Buster was found wandering the streets. Toby and Gwen took him in when they found him on a walk, with their Australian Shepherd mix Kerby, and got him to a vet. He was riddled with heartworm. They took him in and nursed him through his illness. Buster is a loving dog, just full of personality! Loves to be on your lap but, because that is not allowed by the family, he will sit on the floor with a paw or his head on your knee and look at you intently until he gets the attention he so rightly deserves. One of my favorite quirks about Buster was taking him to Lake Michigan. He loved the waves. Not a big swimmer, he preferred to chase them and bite them. He would race up and down the beach telling those waves they needed to pay attention! Kerby on the other hand is a nut. You don't get that on the first meeting, but he really is. Bit aloof with humans on the first meeting but loves to play. My friend Loretta had a Lab/Newfoundland mix named Mackie. We introduced the boys at the tennis courts and spent the next hour in laughing fits. Both were a bit over weight which both owners were trying to address. But these boys took to each other in a WWF smackdown, only play style. We continue to call it the dance of the fatties. Kerby was right in his element in Chicago. All the left over chicken bones and bits of pizza he could cram in his mouth. But Kerb is a beautiful and loving dog, who I adore to this day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

10 ways dogs have helped to advance medicine

All I can say is wow! A friend found my site and asked me if I would share. I told her I would have to peruse the article, but it sounded like just the thing I like to share. Well it certainly is! A few are no brainers, but a few might just surprise you. Editors note: One asset to a dog's ability to assistance, that was not mentioned, is their ability to watch over autistic children. Dogs have an innate ability, to not only calm autistic children, but to alert their parents to a problem. There is a wonderful group here, in Greenville SC, called Dogs for Autism. Such an amazing group that trains dogs to be of service to autistic children! I have learned so much from my dogs about how to live life. How to be in the moment,how to let the past go, how to be happy with a toy, how to snuggle at night, how to go through an illness with dignity, how to enjoy green grass or blue water and, most important, how to be a good friend. I owe my kids so much, perhaps a bit more!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nupro and an interesting incident

Nupro is a nutritional supplement I highly recommend. Lots of vitamins, kelp, flax seed and other stuff your regular kibble might be missing. Smells great and the dogs love it. You can make it into a gravy and I strongly suggest you do so. Case in point, my 5 yr old Aussie got a cake of the powder stuck on the roof of his mouth. He went positiveley beserk, Tried to claw it out to no avail. I tried to intervene, but he was so terrified he would not allow me in his mouth. I know he didn't mean to but he kept clamping down on my hand. Having been badly bitten in the past, I wasn't keen on reliving the experience. It finally occured to me that I could get a dinner knife between his front teeth and back molars. Worked like a charm. Was able to scrape enough of the cake off to ease his distress. Then he allowed me to open his mouth and remove what was left behind. Lesson learned the hard way. But I will never feed the dogs a straight powder again. The girls would likely be more patient with me. Syd was found at 6 months and had been barely handled in that time. He gets better over time, but bathing,tooth and nail care and grooming were a challenge when I found him. Not to mention prostrate exams! There is a funny story there! The point is a dog in panic is never a good situation. And clearly having something on the roof of the mouth puts them in panic, some more than others. So just be cautious if you give them any kind of powdered supplement. You just don't know how they are going to react to that kind of stress. Mix it in a bit of water.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Health food

A friend of mine forwarded an article from "Mens Health" on french fries. What was interesting about that was an advert from Alpo. Don't know if you have ever taken the time to read the ingredients from Alpo, but they are at least as harmful as the chili fries "Mens Health" deemed most dangerous. Just as family parents need to quit taking the manufacturers word that the food is healthful, dog owners need to do the same! Read the bloody label folks! You would be better off giving them the left overs from the kitchen table, than giving them commercial food. There is a good assortment of kibble that is good food! Few easily purchased at any Petco or Petsmart. Blue Buffalo organic is one, Dick Van Patton's Natural Balance, any variety, is another.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

So sorry

So sorry to my regular readers. I have not posted lately. Truth is I have been busy trying to find a home for my foster dog and job hunting myself. But I hate to leave you high and dry. I am working on a story on heartworm, which should be up in the next day or so. In the meantime, thank you for your support, patronage and the few comments that come my way. The comments really mean alot. Got one yesterday that broke me into tears, in a good way. It was from the owner of an 11 yr. old cairn terrier, who was diagnosed with liver disease. The owner had been searching desperately for food choices, much as I did less than a year ago. She thanked me for the food suggestions I posted. I am not a pioneer, the woman who is lives in Texas and her name is Cyndi Smasal. I am merely trying to sift through the internet and give you answers. Opinionated, yes! My sisters vehemently disagree with me on several issues. Vaccines are one issue that I have had countless arguements over. My parents actually called me over that issue. Took a bit of explaining to get past that call. But I want to give you common sense answers to dog health. Feed them well, exercise them, don't spray "Deep Woods Off" down their throat and give them lots of love. You either agree or you don't. But most of you clearly have questions that guide you to my site. To all of you, I say welcome. Feel free to peruse, question or debate. I am open to all as I am open to comments. Please let me know what you think!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Predisone and boosters

I have gotten a ton of hits on this subject in the past few days. I am not a vet, but my research would suggest you should avoid steroid use for a week after boosters. Boosters are a live or dead virus introduced into the dogs body to develop antibodies. This introduction is going to cause physical stress. Steroids release energy in the time of physical stress, but if the animal is suffering from other symptoms or stressors, you may be tapping an animals natural reserve. I think regular steroid use should be accompanied with great caution. Predisone is primarily used to get chronic body processes under control. While in use, the body recognizes the hormone and does not produce it's own. So adding additional stress could be dangerous. Prednisone also conserves salt in an animals kidney leading to excessive thirst and urination. Vaccinations are important, but most vaccines last for 3 to 5 years. See my article on pet vaccinations. I, personally, would avoid boosters on an animal under regular steroid intake. As always, have these discussions with your vet, but do your research.

Friday, January 15, 2010

FDA issues salmonella warning for Merrick dog treats

FDA NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release: January 14, 2010 Media Inquiries: Ira Allen 301-796-5349, Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA FDA Health Alert for Merrick Beef Filet Squares Dog Treats Packaged and Distributed by Merrick Pet Care Products may be contaminated with Salmonella The U. S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to use Merrick Beef Filet Squares for dogs distributed by Merrick Pet Care with a package date of “Best By 111911” because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella. The product was distributed nationwide through retail stores and Internet sales. Although no illnesses associated with these products have been reported, the FDA is advising consumers in possession of these products not to handle or feed them to their pets. In December 2009, the FDA conducted routine testing of Merrick Beef Filet Squares and detected a positive finding for Salmonella. A follow-up inspection found deficiencies in the packaging and manufacturing processes. The affected Merrick Beef Filet Squares were packaged in a 10-ounce green, red and tan re-sealable plastic bag. The “best by” date is imprinted on the top portion of the bag, which is torn off when the bag is opened. The FDA recommends that consumers who are unable to determine the “best by” date discontinue use of the product. For the entire report, read on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Humane Society publishes press release on Haiti rescue

From the Humane Society of the United States: Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, for the trauma and loss they’ve already experienced since Tuesday night’s calamitous 7.0 earthquake hit, with its epicenter not far from the densely populated capital of Port-au-Prince. News agencies report that thousands have perished, many are still trapped in the rubble of buildings, and hundreds of thousands of others are without shelter, medical care, or other life necessities. Governments and relief agencies are deploying to deal with what amounts to one of the worst disasters of modern times, with its impact compounded by the chronic poverty, deficient infrastructure, bare-bones medical care, and other problems that afflict the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Damage from the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti Logan Abass/United Nations / CC BY 2.0 Damage from the Jan. 12 earthquake. When people suffer in this terrible way, so do animals. The HSUS, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and our global affiliate Humane Society International are working on a preliminary assessment of Haiti’s animal-care needs, taking into account the security, transportation, housing, and supply challenges that we would face in deployment. Fortunately, one of our veterinary teams had been conducting a program at a veterinary school in the neighboring Dominican Republic when the quake struck. We are looking to determine if they can get into Haiti to conduct an on-the-ground assessment. We are also communicating with human relief agencies, and looking to cooperate with them. One difficulty is that there are no organized animal welfare groups anywhere in the country, and no animal shelters or veterinary schools. This lack of infrastructure will complicate any response. If you would like to support our disaster response work around the world, you can give here. Please stay tuned to the blog, and to for continuing updates. The World Society for the Protection of Animals posts the following: Joining forces to help animals As I followed news about Haiti for the last two days, I was struck by how many people from around the world have started coming together, offering to help in any way they can. And animal welfare groups have shown that it is equally possible to work together to help the animal victims of this disaster – who are equally distressed by the destruction all around them, and equally in need of emergency aid – with a similar show of solidarity amongst groups. Together, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) will be working on the ground to help the animals in Haiti. We have come together to form the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) so that all animal welfare organizations involved in response efforts can work together and make sure we get aid to as many animals, and in as short a time, as possible. Our teams will be working out of a mobile clinic which has been donated to us by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society. WSPA and IFAW have pledged funds to fully outfit this mobile clinic, and it will be shipped from Antigua to our member society, Sociedad Dominicana Para la Protección de Animales (SODOPRECA) in the Dominican Republic for them to drive across the border into Haiti. We are inviting other animal welfare groups to join ARCH and direct their support to the coalition. Once again, this proves a simple but powerful truth: when people join together, amazing things can happen. Please, join us now and donate to help animals in disasters.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Help find a home for Susie the Terrier mix

Susie is a Terrier mix a little over a year old. I think she is part Chihuahua as well. Those ears are a dead giveaway. She weighs 15 pounds and is spayed, chipped and fully vaccinated. Susie is good with other dogs, people and children. She comes with food, leash, bowls and all vet records. Susie was owned by a good friend of mine who can no longer keep her. He accepted a contract job that moves him to Afghanistan at the end of this week. There is also the issue that Susie played just too rough with his wife's miniature Schnauzer. Apparently she grabbed the Schnauzer's beard and tried to play tug of war with it. Susie is very friendly and playful with dogs, but I can see that small dog might find her play style a bit too rough. My brood have no problem with her and love playing with Susie. Susie is loving, affectionate and cute as a button! Loves to lie in your lap and have her belly scratched. But like all terriers, she has a lot of energy. She is not a good choice for someone looking for a low maintenance dog. Without good exercise, Susie will pace nervously. Susie is also very submissive, which combined with her energy can make training a challenge. But smart as a whip and wants to please, if she can only hold still long enough to do it. She has learned so much in her weeks stay, but it takes a soft voice, time and patience. I think she would be happiest with an experienced owner and would turn out to be a wonderful companion animal. Susie is living in Greenville, South Carolina. If you or anyone you know would be interested in Susie, please contact Margot at or call (864)248-0525.