Monday, May 23, 2011

Reyna and Rally

This was a stressful weekend, but it ended up a lot better than I expected.

Reyna is definitely feeling much better than she did last week. The vet said we should see a significant improvement from the medication in a very short time and he was right. She was able to eat (and keep down) dinner Friday night and breakfast Saturday morning. She seemed a bit annoyed at how little food I gave her, but I was just following doctor's orders. John came to check on her while I was at the rally trial with the boys, and he said she was relatively energetic and didn't seem to feel too bad. Saturday evening, she actually had more pep than the boys or I did. Sunday morning, she was definitely disgruntled by the bland diet and small portions, which I took to be a sign of returning good health. By Sunday evening, she was acting as though she'd never had tummy troubles. She still has some meds to finish and I'm not taking her off the bland diet (its rice and stewed rabbit tonight) until the vet says its okay. I'll probably chat with him later this afternoon or early tomorrow.

The rally trial was a complete success for the boys. I'm so glad I made the decision to go (although I'm not thrilled that I'm still finding small ticks embedded in various parts of my anatomy).

Duncan ran four Level 1 courses and four Level 2 courses over the weekend. He already has his RL1 title, so the level 1 courses are for earning his RL1X championship, as well as earning points towards his ARCH title. He had very nice scores of 203, 199, 199 and 204 (out of 210 possible points). Duncan was also working on his RL2 title. He NQ'd his first run Saturday morning because he decided to refuse the jump at the last second. Silly boy. He redeemed himself that afternoon, though, with no hesitation at the jump at all. He took 1st place in his group for his remaining three level 2 runs, with scores of 201, 197 and 207, and earned his title.

He also earned quite a lot of loot during the trial - 7 qualifying ribbons, 3 first place ribbons, and 4 toys.

Here's Duncan's Level 1 run from Sunday morning:

And his Level 2 run, also from Sunday morning:

As proud as I am of Duncan, I have to admit that I've come to expect good things from him. Poor guy, he had no idea what he was getting himself into when he did so well at his first rally trial...

Kodiak, on the other paw, didn't have quite the same pressure on him (my hopes were high, but my expectations were low). I was very pleased with how well he handled all the people at the trial. He was quick to remember that those folks usually have food in their pockets. He didn't become great friends with anyone, but he did let several people pet him (with a bribe, of course). Thankfully, both judges were good about not scaring him in the ring, staying far enough back that they didn't freak him out too badly. Kodiak was entered in Puppy Level, which meant I got to treat him at any point during the course. Believe me, he needed it. Saturday he did better than I expected, although he wasn't able to focus on me as well as I'd hoped. He ended up with a 180 and a 192, both very respectable scores (lowest qualifying score is a 170). Sunday morning, he started out fairly well but went downhill rapidly. He broke a sit/stay when I accidentally brushed his tail with my foot, and then he completely lost it when a dog in the room started barking and just would not shut up. I barely got him back to finish that course, and not surprisingly, he NQ'd. Sunday afternoon was a different story. A lot of the people were gone, which I'm sure helped. That run was the best one of the weekend. He was focused (for the most part), I didn't have to repeat commands, and he even wagged his tail a few times. We finished that run with a 202 and Kodiak's Puppy title! Since we were able to qualify this weekend, Kodiak can stay in Puppy until he's 18 months old, which gives him time to practice and gain more confidence before he has to go into Level 1. 

Kodiak even relaxed enough to have his picture taken with the judge that gave him his title leg.

Kodiak also came away from the trial with a lot of goodies - 3 qualifying ribbons, 3 first place ribbons (he was the only puppy competing, so 1st place was a given, but still cool), and 4 toys.

The run that I had recorded just happened to be the best of the weekend, Sunday afternoon:

I'm so proud of both of my boys, and I'm so happy that Reyna's feeling like herself again. This was just a great weekend all the way around.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Reyna still looks like she feels awful, but she's managed to eat and keep down the small amounts of rice and ground bison that I gave her for dinner and breakfast. I feel guilty about it already, but I'm taking the boys to the rally trial today. Tomorrow will depend on how Reyna does. John is coming over today to check on Reyna, thank goodness, so at least I'll get an update while I'm gone. A friend offered to provide an extra crate for Reyna at the trial, but I really think she'll be happier snoozing on her own bed than hanging out in a crate all day.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Its never a good sign when Reyna wipes out my checking account during a vet visit. Granted, its not like there was a lot in there to begin with, but still...

The vet is definitely concerned about Reyna. He's hoping this is nothing more than a mild gastrointestinal upset, but its possible its connected to the high protein levels in her urine. Her temp was normal, which is good. Vet said she didn't appear very dehydrated, but he's worried that her kidneys are working too hard at keeping her hydrated and therefore not doing everything else they should. He was also disturbed by her rough/heavy breathing and her lethargic behavior during the visit. Vet gave her anti-nausea meds and another med that will coat her stomach and intestines. If she has an ulcer or other irritation, the med should essentially create a bandage over that spot. Reyna's stuck on a bland diet for a few days (assuming she'll even eat) and I'm not to give her very much. Basically, she'll get a bit of food, we'll see if she eats it, and then make sure she keeps it down. Vet said he's not worried about her losing weight nearly as much as he's worried about her eating at all. Vet also said that these meds should result in a significant improvement in a very short time (like tomorrow), so he wants an update tomorrow afternoon. If she's still having trouble after a couple of days, he said x-rays and/or ultrasounds to pinpoint the problem are a possibility. Of course, I also need to make sure she's getting enough water.

Now, to make this whole thing just that much more fun, Duncan and Kodiak have a rally trial this weekend and we won't be here during the day Saturday and Sunday. If I withdraw the boys, I lose all of the entry fees, along with the time and effort we've put in to getting ready for the trial. And Kodiak loses the chance to compete at Puppy Level for the rest of the year. I don't have an extra crate so I can't take Reyna with me (she would hate spending the day there, anyway). I hate to leave her home alone, but I also hate to cancel the trial. We'll see how she does tonight, and I'll make a decision in the morning.

Posting Delays

I had planned to get a few posts done this morning, but instead I'm heading to the vet in a bit. Reyna's thrown up multiple times in the last couple of days and now she's refusing to eat.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not Ehrlichia

Finally got the results of Reyna's tick titer. Not only does she not have an active ehrlichia infection, her titer is actually lower than it was last year. Thankfully, this means we don't have to suffer through a month of Reyna on antibiotics (and I'm so glad I insisted on the test, rather than just starting the meds as the vet suggested). The downside of this is that we still don't know what's causing the high protein levels. Vet wants us to come back around June 6 (one month after the first test) for a follow-up UPC. If the number has increased, we're possibly looking at ultrasounds and biopsies. If its decreased, we count ourselves lucky and just keep a close eye on things.

More Reyna

Chatted with the vet again. He thinks the lab has enough blood to run the tick test, but he'll confirm tonight. We talked a bit about what we'll do if the titer doesn't indicate an active infection. We can treat with doxy anyway, if I'm willing to put Reyna (and the rest of us) through a month of her being sick every day. If I choose to not do that, she'll go back in a month and have another UPC test done to see if/how the results change. There really aren't any other easy-to-test options; most everything else requires ultrasounds and/or biopsies. So, if the titer comes back positive, we treat for a month and then retest. If it comes back negative, we could treat anyway, but we still wait a month before we retest.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


When I took the pups out last night for their pre-bedtime potty, I looked over at the catiary and saw that Khar'pern was playing with something. At first, I thought a bug had gotten inside and she was tormenting it. Or maybe even a toad. When I walked over to see what it was, I realized she was hissing and pouncing at this:

I firmly believe that snakes have a place in the world. I just as firmly believe that that place is not in my yard, in my catiary, in my house, or anywhere near me, my dogs, or my cats. I don't know what kind of snake it was (waiting on my snake expert to get back to me on that), and it was a little thing, thank goodness, but I still didn't want it in the catiary. You can't really tell from the picture (I was focused more on getting the color than I was the position), but it was holding about half of its body off the ground while it hissed and snapped at Khar. After throwing gently encouraging Khar back into the house, I took a couple of photos for identification purposes, and then I proceeded to hack the snake into multiple pieces with my (what else?) hacksaw. I felt much better after tossing the pieces over the fence into the woods. Now I just have to figure out how the thing slithered into the catiary. I'm thinking there may be a small hole that needs patching...


Got the call from the vet a little bit ago. The Urine Protein:Creatinine Ratio (UPC) test shows that the level of protein in Reyna's urine is definitely higher than it should be; high enough that we need to start looking for the cause, but not quite high enough to put us in a panic. Apparently, there are a lot of things that could cause the abnormality (of course, because nothing can be simple). One possibility is ehrlichia, a tick-borne illness. Reyna had a low positive for ehrlichia last year but wasn't showing any symptoms, so we didn't worry about it since a low positive can indicate an old exposure/inactive infection. The vet thinks its possible that Reyna has been re-exposed and is reacting to that exposure. His recommendation was to put her on doxycycline for a month and then retest her urine. The problem with that plan is that Reyna always gets sick on antibiotics, so I don't want to give them to her unless we know there's a good reason. The vet is checking with the lab to see if they have enough blood for one more test. If not, we'll go by tomorrow so they can take some from Reyna. The lab will run a tick titer to see if her ehrlichia number has changed and become high enough to indicate an active infection. If yes, we'll treat. If no, I'm not sure what we'll do.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Not Good News

The vet called this afternoon with the results of Reyna's blood test. Her amylase was a little off, but that's apparently not a big deal. What is potentially a big deal is that her protein levels were abnormal. She has a low albumin level, a high globulin level, and very high protein levels in her urine. The vet said this could be caused by any number of things, from very minor to very major. He has the lab running another test (should have the results tomorrow) to give him some specific numbers that will tell him if this is just something we need to monitor as time passes (minor) or if its something that we need to identify the cause of immediately (major). Cross your paws for her.

Belated Birthdays

My slackness in posting means I have a couple of belated birthdays to mention.

Mirabelle turned 14 in April. I can't believe we've been together so many years!

The kittens all turned 6 in April. Khar'pern, Parm and Per'la have certainly made life in the clowder a little more interesting.

Happy belated birthdays, Belle and Kittens!

Mother's Day

The kids gave me a great present – they let me sleep until 7:30 Sunday morning! The cats usually wake me up at least once before 6am, and the puppy normally forces me to get up absolutely no later than 6:30, so 7:30 felt downright decadent.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Medical Update

Reyna saw the vet yesterday for her senior wellness exam. It was a good thing we booked extra time because we used every minute of it. Overall, Reyna is very healthy (ignoring her mental issues, of course). As always, her hips are the main concern. She yelped several times when the vet checked her left hip, and was a little fussy when he checked her right. The right hip is the bionic hip, so it should be better than the left. What neither of us really expected was just how bad her left hip has become. The vet said there's absolutely no cushioning (cartilage) on the joint anymore - its nothing but bone crunching on bone. Since surgery is completely out of the question at this point, the only thing we can do is try to manage her pain. The vet gave me a couple of weeks worth of Tramadol for Reyna, and if it helps, he'll prescribe a nice big bottle for her. If not, we'll add another med or try something else. She'll also keep getting her full dose of Rimadyl, as well as her regular supplements. The vet also wants Reyna to do her cavaletti exercises three times a week for the next two weeks to see if she'll start lifting her back feet. That's the other problem - she's dragging her back feet (along with falling a lot) and we can't tell if its the start of a neurological problem or just the result of really painful hips. If she's picking up her feet to get over the cavaletti bars within two weeks, then we can assume its just the orthopedic issue of bad hips. If she's still dragging after two weeks, though, we're most likely looking at the onset of a neurological deficiency. My poor little girl. She's had such a rough time of it with her hips. I'd really like to find the people who bred her parents and slap them several times.

In other medical news, Duncan is now being treated for whipworms. The vet checked with several specialists about what might be causing Duncan's issues, and the general consensus is that there's a low-level intestinal irritation (there's a shocker), and whipworms are a potential cause. So Duncan's on meds for three days, and then we'll see what happens (or doesn't happen) after that.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Catching Up

Yes, I know, its been over a month since my last post. There's been a lot going on, but I just haven't felt like getting on here and writing about any of it. I'm starting to feel motivated again, so I will catch up on most of the goings on, but it'll probably take me a few days. I guess its a good thing I don't have any plans for the weekend....

To get things started, here's a quick sum-up:

We survived the tornadoes that came through the area on the 16th. We were very lucky, because there was significant damage pretty close to our neighborhood. Thanks so much to everyone who checked on us!

The cats are...well, they're the cats. Not a lot going on with them. Five of the six are using the catiary on a regular basis, which is good (Belle prefers to spend her time on the love seat in the library).

Reyna has been having a lot of bad days lately. She's started falling a lot and needs help getting into the truck every time now. She's shown a few other odd behaviors, but she still occasionally acts like her old self. She sees the vet this Friday for her annual exam, and the nice receptionist booked us some extra time to make sure we're not rushed.

Duncan's butt is still having difficulties. He's been back on his old kibble for more than a month with no significant change. His fecal exam came back negative for parasites, so the vet's still scratching his head over this one.

Kodiak is doing really nicely. He's gaining more confidence every day and I think he actually stands a chance of Q'ing at the upcoming rally trial. My Great German Chow finally has his official name: ReyDunc's Wiley Little Bear.

Here's how Kodiak likes to ride in the truck. Notice the nose sticking out the window behind him? That's how Reyna likes to ride...

Mary and I took Kodiak to Crowder Park for a Doggy Easter Egg Hunt on the 23rd. He wasn't the least bit interested in the kibble-filled eggs, but he did a great job of interacting with the other dogs and people. He even managed to relax enough to pose a few times.