Saturday, July 31, 2010

Catching Up

The most important news is that Duncan is getting worse. His pasterns (wrists) are collapsing, possibly due to the way he’s compensating for the changes in his back end. We went herding Thursday night, and its obvious that his pain during activity is increasing. After a short session (less than 10 minutes), he was doing a very awkward bunny hop (not a normal running bunny hop) anytime I needed him to move faster than a walk. I’m going to start wrapping his pasterns to provide some extra support, but I really don’t know what else to do for him. I emailed the ortho vet, and he wants Duncan to be re-evaluated by the neurology department. His thoughts are that its possibly Degenerative Myelopathy or a problem with a disc in the lower lumbar area. Still waiting for neuro to call me back.

The most fun news is that Duncan has finally learned to swim! One of the women I herd with told me about a nice, quiet spot where she takes her dogs, so Duncan and I went out this morning for a swimming lesson. I had to drag coax Duncan into the water once it hit his belly, and then I had to support him for a few minutes while he settled down. His original idea of swimming was to flail about in a panicked fashion, which didn’t do much more than soak both of us. He eventually got the idea, though. He still starts paddling with a frantic leap, but then actually swims. And he is fast. I would swim away from the bank to get him to swim farther, and he would overtake me so easily. The downside of the swimming lesson was that he tried to drown me more than once. For some reason, he thinks getting his paws on my shoulders is the goal, when all that really does is leave deep red marks on various parts of my body and shove me under the water. I learned quickly that the way to handle that is to push him away as soon as he gets close – redirect him, and he’ll paddle off with no problems. I’m not saying he loves to swim, but by the time we were done, I think he’d figured out he wasn’t going to drown. I’m going to try and get him out there a couple of times a week for exercise, since walking doesn’t seem to be the best choice these days. Oh, and I’d like to point out that I was actually in the water when I took these photos…

Here's Duncan launching himself towards me.

He may not look thrilled, but at least he's swimming.

Shortly before he got close enough to shove me under...

Not to be outdone, Reyna got a little swim time in the Suite Paws pool after she had her nails trimmed. This was after our 2.5 mile walk, so she was actually ready for a little rest after her outing.

A couple of days before we had those nasty hot temps, I bought the pups cooling vests. They have inserts of a solid that melts into a gel and keeps the pups cool for about two hours before the inserts need to be replaced. Duncan loves his vest and will keep his belly as flat on the floor as possible to get all the coolness.

Reyna, on the other paw, has decided that the vest is some sort of torture device I’ve created just to make her life utterly miserable. She’ll actually leave the house if I even pick up a vest. If I make her wear it, she keeps her ears down, looks depressed, and tries to shake the thing off for about 20 minutes. Then she gives up, lays down, and proceeds to look like I’ve kicked her repeatedly. But I don’t care, because the vest keeps her cool.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stormy Weather Girl

Reyna’s been stressy about storms for a while now. Rain showers don’t bother her, but thunder storms and electrical storms make her very anxious. She doesn’t pace or whine, she just follows me around and when I stop moving she tries to break the laws of physics and make the two of us occupy the same space at the same time. We’ve had a few nasty storms over the last couple of weeks and Reyna has decided that she’s tired of the whole thing. Every time she tries to relax during a storm, lightening strikes nearby or we get a particularly loud clap of thunder. During one storm, she even went outside to rest under the deck (she does enjoy the much cooler air that comes with a storm). Lightening hit something very close, and I’d swear she was out from under the deck and practically in my lap before the air quit sizzling. Not a happy puppy.

Very recently, Reyna has decided the best place to wait out a storm is under the end table. I don’t remember her going under the end table even as a puppy (unless it was to hide while she chewed on something inappropriate). Unfortunately for Reyna, she’s too long, or the table is too short. Either way, it doesn’t cover much of her at all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bootie Boy

Because Duncan is walking low on his hocks these days, he’s started getting sores on parts of his feet that aren’t supposed to be touching the ground. He’s also tearing up his pads pretty badly when we go for walks. To keep that from happening, I bought him a pair of booties to wear on his back feet.

Duncan is, as always, very tolerant of his mother’s abuses. He sits quietly when I put the booties on him and doesn’t fuss about them at all. He walks funny for the first couple of steps, but then he settles down. I discovered last week that they aren’t good for sheep herding – he loses them fairly quickly. They’re great for walks in the neighborhood, though. An unexpected benefit of the booties is that I can hear whether or not he’s picking up his back feet or just shuffling along – he tends to scuff quite a bit, hence the sores and damage to his pads. I can also tell when he’s scraping his toes, which happens mostly on his left foot and becomes more frequent the longer we walk.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Birthday Boy

Duncan is 5 years old today! To celebrate, I got him a pup cake from Gourmutt’s Bakery. The very talented Alexa did an excellent job of decorating the cake, making it perfect for my Super Duncan!

As always, Duncan was very tolerant during the pre-cake birthday shoot.

Reyna certainly enjoyed her participation in Duncan’s birthday celebration.

I couldn’t resist getting a shot of Duncan’s tongue. Yellow and blue really do make green.

Happy birthday, Duncan! May you have many, many more!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Baffling Boy

Well. Today’s visit to the vet school wasn’t all I’d hoped. Duncan took the family trait of making the vets work for a diagnosis a bit too far. He was examined by an ortho and a neurologist, and had blood work done and x-rays taken. After all that, the vets agree there is definitely a problem – Duncan’s rear end is slowly collapsing. They just don’t know what’s causing it. Thank goodness we had the video from May, because that meant they didn’t have to take my word for it. The vets could see a difference between May and today. They found some evidence of what might be a possible CCL (ACL for humans) tear in his right knee, but the x-ray didn’t show anything significant. They didn’t find anything wrong with his spine, and the vet said that the protruding vertebra is due to the sinking of Duncan’s rear end. One good thing they discovered is that Duncan’s really not in any pain from the sinking. He does have some pain with the right knee, but as we already knew, that’s intermittent.

So, the results are as follows:

Regarding his knee, the vets aren’t concerned about it at this time. If Duncan starts to have prolonged trouble, lasting a week or more, I’m to bring him back in for reevaluation.

Regarding his back end, the vets are concerned, but baffled. The neuro feels that its possibly a myelopathy or chronic disc lesion, but they can’t find real evidence of either at this time. If Duncan continues to sink but doesn’t have any other related symptoms, they would likely do a muscle biopsy, which I took to be a rather unpleasant procedure. If he starts showing other neurological signs, like dragging his feet or wobbling (actual back end wobbling, not his normal sashaying), they want to see him.

Which means we wait.

While we're waiting, Duncan is allowed to continue herding and going for walks. Poor boy. He’s had such a hard day and the sedation is still making him groggy, but we still don’t have the answers we need. I bought him a cookie at Gourmutt’s today – I’ll give it to him tomorrow when he’s awake enough to appreciate it (and keep Reyna from stealing it).

Saturday, July 03, 2010

No Walkies

This morning, I woke up planning to take the pups for a romp through the woods. Did we get to go? Of course not. When we went outside for our morning routine, I discovered that Reyna had acquired a rather nasty limp. I don't know what caused it, but I do know its bothering her - she hasn't wanted to play at all today. I doubt we'll walk tomorrow, either. Even if the limp is gone by morning, I don't want to exacerbate the problem. Never a dull moment around here...

Friday, July 02, 2010

More Updates

Yes, I know I usually do individual posts for different topics, but I haven’t been particularly motivated lately, so here’s another cluster update.

Onyx went to his new home this past Saturday. I have a good feeling about this family, and I’m sure he won’t be returned again. Of course, even if he is, he won’t be coming back here. Duncan is so happy Onyx is gone. I have to admit, I am, too. Its nice to not wake up at 5:15am every morning to the shrieking of an overly dramatic puppy. The house has been so calm and peaceful since he left…

Speaking of Duncan, he is getting steadily worse. I’m so glad he finally gets to see the ortho vet this coming Tuesday. Duncan is no longer standing properly most of the time, and his back end is sinking. He’s walking much lower on his hocks than he should be, and he’s walking lower today than he was even two weeks ago. Paws crossed that the ortho can figure out what the problem is, and that the solution is something that won’t cost a small fortune.

Still no news on the job front, which means still no A/C. The last couple of days have been really nice, but we had several days when Reyna and I were fighting over who got to sit in front of the box fan. Not fighting too hard, mind you, because it was much too hot for anything more than some halfhearted snarling.

In the Good News category, I’ll be getting a new roof later this summer. The insurance company did an inspection and determined that there’s been enough damage to warrant a complete replacement. And the best part is that insurance will pay for the whole thing. That should add some value to the house if I end up putting it on the market.

The last tidbit - Mikey and Per'la finally made up. I caught them cuddling and grooming each other a couple of days ago. Its good to have peace in the clowder.

Unless something particularly interesting happens between now and then, I’ll post a Duncan update Tuesday.