Thursday, October 21, 2010

Injured List

Reyna’s still on antibiotics (17 days to go!), and we’ve figured out a way to keep the tummy troubles to a minimum. She gets yogurt an hour before and two hours after her meal and meds. If we vary from that too much, it shows. She’s also gotten to where she can walk with me again, as long as its no more than 2 miles round trip, its been at least 8 hours since her meds, and its not too hot. Sigh.

Duncan’s finally off the injured list. Since Reyna’s not able to walk with me as much, Duncan was volunteered to fill in. He walked 4 miles Saturday and another 4 Sunday, which was a bit too much for him. His knee started bothering him Sunday evening, and then his annual exam at the vet Monday morning didn’t help. He had several days off, though, and was able to do an easy 2 miles with me this morning.

Gus is to blame for Duncan’s excessive walking over the weekend. Gus is a GSD we’ve been fostering, and he’s a bit under a year old. He’d gone to a potential home, but was returned this past Saturday. Based on what the person described, I think we know why Gus was found as a stray… At any rate, I decided the easiest way to burn some of his puppy energy was a nice long walk. He has awful leash manners, though, so I needed one of the dogs to go with us. Reyna wasn’t really an option, so that stuck Duncan with the task. Duncan did a wonderful job of correcting several of Gus’ bad behaviors, and by the end of the 4 miles each day, Gus was walking very nicely. We’ve not been able to walk since Sunday, though, because Gus decided to launch himself off my porch rather than walk down the steps, and in doing so he injured his front leg. He seems to be moving more easily today, so I’m hoping he’ll be ready to go walking by the weekend.

I’m not actually on the injured list these days. I’m on the ho-hum list, instead. I’ll admit I’ve been feeling a bit blue lately. This week is 1 year since my last day at work (I’m not counting the kennel as work, since its part time, doesn’t pay the bills, etc). I can’t believe I’m still unemployed after a year. I’ve even had some people tell me they just assumed I wasn’t bothering to look, since I was getting paid by the government – because I enjoy living off of unemployment and worrying about when I’ll lose the house?? Sigh, again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Then The Duckies

Duncan seems to enjoy herding ducks, although he also finds it a bit frustrating (or maybe thats just me). Ducks don't herd like sheep at all, so we're both having to learn new techniques.

First The Sheepies...

Duncan and I had a nice long herding session on the 1st of the month. While we were there, I asked our trainer to get a few photos of Duncan working. Turns out that Claire not only does a wonderful job of training dogs and their people, she also takes some great photos.

Duncan is in every one of these pictures, although you might have to really look for him in a couple of them. Even when he appears to be relaxing, he's actually working pretty hard. He's either watching the sheep to make sure they don't wander off, patrolling the borders, moving the sheep back inside the graze, or herding them exactly where I need them to go. The last picture is of something very hard for him - he had to wait while I put the sheep back in the arena. The poor guy, its stressful for him when he thinks he's not doing his job, but he really was - he was making sure the sheep didn't bolt back into the yard. Still, I knew Duncan wanted to be right on the sheep, pushing them into the arena, but being the good boy he is, he waited...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beach Puppy

A couple of weeks ago, Duncan and I went to Topsail Island with Renee and Zeke. We had a blast. The really great thing about Topsail is that dogs are allowed off-leash in the water and can be off-leash on the beach if they're under voice control.

Duncan had absolutely no understanding of the concept "don't walk on the spread." Oh, well. He was still really cute, especially when he was hiding under the towel.

Just relaxin' in the shade...

I love this shot. I was resting on the spread with Duncan snuggled up next to me. He was so alert, watching everyone go by, and really keeping an eye on a group of young guys that kept walking back and forth. After a while, his eyes started to droop, but he perked up when he noticed I was taking his picture.

Duncan had a lot of fun in the water. He even figured out pretty quickly that the best way to deal with the breakers was to turn his back to them.

Zeke didn't particularly want to play with Duncan - he was more interested in chasing his tennis ball. Duncan wasn't bothered by Zeke's attitude, though. He was perfectly happy to just chase after Zeke.

Pups and people alike had a lot of fun, and we were all pooped by the time we made it home. I don't know that I'd want to do a day at the beach very often, but I'm very glad we went.

Medical Updates

Yesterday, Reyna did our regular 4 mile walk with no trouble. I’m sure that’s because we walked before she had her morning antibiotics. Since today was a school day, walking before breakfast would have meant being out by 6am and home by shortly after 7 so that we wouldn’t have to fight the school traffic. I wasn’t really in the mood for that, so I decided we’d walk after she ate, but before it got too hot (it’s a fine line, especially when you have to work around traffic, too).

This morning went as follows: 6am yogurt, 7am breakfast and meds, 9am yogurt, 9:15 grocery store for more yogurt, and 9:45 out for our walk. Reyna made it just over a mile before she quit on me. She didn’t lay down like she did Saturday, but she was clearly miserable – lagging behind, stopping frequently, and frothing at the mouth (I swear, she’s not rabid). She wasn’t even going after passing vehicles with her usual enthusiasm. I'm going to give her the next few days off and see how she does. We'll try walking again when the temps cool off enough for us to go out later in the afternoon. I’d hate for her to take a full three weeks (or more) with no exercise, but I’m certainly not going to make her walk when she’s so uncomfortable.

On the upside, Duncan is definitely doing better. Even though Reyna didn’t want to walk, I still needed the exercise, so I took him out after bringing her home. Duncan and I walked a little over two miles, which is the farthest he's gone since he started having problems earlier this year. I kept him on the grassy shoulder and off the pavement for most of the walk, since his twist still causes damage to his pads when he’s on a hard surface. I did let him walk on the pavement some, mostly because I wanted to hear how he was hitting the ground. Even after the two miles, he wasn't dragging his rear feet. That’s a huge improvement.

The vet school called today with the results of Duncan’s blood test. His Ehrlichia titer is exactly the same as it was the first time, which means the month of Doxy was pretty much useless. Since the titer was the same, it means we didn’t treat an active infection, but we have no way of knowing if he had a low exposure years ago, or if he was fighting an active infection before we did the original test. I guess it doesn’t matter, really, since he’s doing so much better now. I was tickled at the vet, though, because he kept chattering on about what the titer might or might not mean, and how it does or doesn’t impact what type of future treatment they might or might not consider for Duncan. He went on like that for a good five minutes, and then he finally asked about Duncan.

The vet: Blah blah blah, titer, blah blah, no real way of knowing, blah blah, can’t treat what we can’t find, blah blah blah, keep an eye on him as he gets worse, blah blah blah. By the way, how is Duncan these days?

Me: Oh, he’s doing great. He’s higher on his hocks than he’s been in months, folks at our last herding session were talking about how good he looked, and he walked two miles this morning without dragging his feet.

The vet: Oh.

Me: I wish we knew what caused his troubles, but I’m just really happy that he’s doing so well.

The vet: Well, yes.

Me: Don’t worry, I’ll keep an eye on him, and if he starts to have problems again, I’ll bring him back in for a follow up.

The vet: Um, okay. Oh, do you have to give him Rimadyl very often?

Me: Nope. He hasn’t indicated that he’s having any trouble moving around, so I’ve not bothered with the Rimdayl.

The vet:
Oh. Well. Good.

I like the neuro vet, but it really was funny to hear the bewilderment in his voice.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


So the good news is that (up until today) Reyna and I have been walking about 4 miles a day, 4-5 days a week. Occasionally, we walk farther. The cooler weather has been a wonderful thing, because it means we don’t have to be out before daylight, and that means we can walk farther because we don’t have to be home before the morning traffic gets really bad.

The bad news is that Reyna's obsessive licking has set off a nasty infection in her right front leg. Her tail isn’t looking so great, either, but at least it’s not infected. Yet. I took her to the vet yesterday and he put her on antibiotics. He wants her to do a course of about 3 weeks, but since she’s always had trouble with antibiotics, he only gave us about 10 days worth so we could see how she does. She’s also taking Pepcid and a lot of yogurt (probiotics) to help reduce any stomach troubles. I’m thinking she’s not going to do well. She had a dose last night and again this morning. When we went out for our walk, we got less than half a mile before she decided to just lay down on the side of the road. It took me several minutes to convince her to get back up. I didn’t want to push the issue, so we just headed home. As soon as we walked in the door, she went to her bed. I’m not really sure what we’re going to do, other than wait and see for a few more days. If she just can’t take the meds without getting sick, there’s apparently a shot she could get that’s supposed to be very effective. The problem is that it’s also very expensive (for example, the shot for a cat costs about $50, and the amount of med needed is based on weight, so imagine the cost difference between a 10lb cat and a 75lb dog). That may be the route we have to go, but let’s hope not. Cross your paws…