Seems like Ace and I, as we keep piling on the years, take turns these days experiencing health problems — from the pesky to the potentially fatal.
Saturday was his turn again.
He woke me up about 5:30 a.m. to be let outside, not all that unusual. But then he declined to come back in. He just wandered about the backyard, stopping here and there, straining to pee, but to no avail.
Once he did come back in, he wanted out again two minutes later, where he again attempted, unsuccessfully, to complete the task.
As I do with my own ailments, I got on the Internet to Google the possibilities — urinary tract infection, stones of some sort, or some other kind of obstruction that was blocking him from doing what he needed to do.
Given it was already 10 a.m. when I called his vet, and that they close at noon on Saturday, I wasn’t too surprised when I was told all slots were filled. But I was promised that a vet would call me back.
When he did, about 30 minutes later, I told him Ace was struggling to pee and that, to my knowledge, he hadn’t been able to all morning. Otherwise, he seemed fairly normal, and not in pain, not even when I pushed and prodded around his abdomen.
The vet — not the one I usually see at the practice — told me that, while I might have to wait around for an opening, I could bring Ace in. And he told me I probably should. If I waited until Monday, and Ace went all that time without peeing, he’d likely be dead by then.
After taking some X-rays, the vet showed me what he said were bladder stones — faint little circles, and some not so little, inside his bladder. He said it would take some testing to determine which kind of stones they were (some are more easily treated than others). The first priority though, was to get that obstruction cleared and that bladder drained, so he suggested a catheter.
I winced at the word. It has only been a few months since I was treated to that process while in the hospital for bypass surgery. Of all the highly intrusive things they did to me (okay, for me) the installation of the catheter remains my most traumatic memory. The mere word gives me shivers.
Why, I wondered then, and still do, would they install this device into a person without knocking him out — good and out — first?
I would not wish it on my worst enemy, much less my best friend.
Ace, his tail tucked between his legs rather than in its normal full and upright position, was ushered to a back room, and I stepped outside to pace and worry. I didn’t exactly “feel his pain,” but I did remember mine.
As soon as I stepped back into the office, only about five minutes later, the vet and a technician came into the waiting room with Ace and said things were flowing again. Ace, thanks to the catheter, had peed, and peed some more, and one little stone came out in the process.
The vet tech took Ace outside and he peed some more. His curled-up tail, which had been in the down position all day, was up — generally a sign that all is right with the world, or at least his world.
While the emergency was over, the ailment remains. Tests of his urine this week will determine whether the stones still inside his bladder are of the struvite variety, which can sometimes be treated with a therapeutic diet, or calcium oxalate stones, which require surgical removal to totally get rid of them.
Whatever the case, I’m sure Ace will handle what’s ahead in a far more classy and stoic manner than I would.
These days, we both grunt a bit now when settling down, or getting up. We’re both a little slower. We both have to shift around a bit to get comfortable, then stretch ourselves out when we get back up again.
But somehow he is better at this aging thing than me. It has been almost three years since he, now 10, surpassed me, now 61, according to most formulas for comparing dog years to human years. Now, as a large dog, he’s aging much more quickly than I am — even though you wouldn’t know it to look at us.
This week’s medical agenda includes the testing of his urine, whatever steps are deemed necessary for him after that, an echocardiogram on me to assess how my heart is working after quintuple bypass surgery, and another visit to my physical therapist for a continuing back and shoulder problem, now being treated by something called “dry needling.”
I’ll spare you the details of that. Suffice to say, for me — and even for my dog — getting old is getting old.
(A special thanks to Brian LeFevre at Winston-Salem’s Ard-Vista Animal Hospital for working Ace into his schedule and getting things flowing again.)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aging, animals, bladder stones, care, catheterization, catheters, dog, dogs, getting old, health, human, old dogs, pee, pets, stones, straining to pee, treatment, urine, veterinarian, veterinary
As was the case with our kudzu dogs, this one requires just a squirt of imagination.
Ace and I were walking the streets of downtown Missoula when we saw a chocolate Labrador stopping to pee — well, not really stopping at all, which was the interesting part.
For almost half a block, he zig-zagged along the sidewalk, leaving a squiggly trail behind him.
Perhaps he, or his owner, had no time to stop — maybe the human had an urgent appointment, or maybe the dog had a weak bladder; or maybe, just maybe, the dog was expressing himself in the other meaning of the phrase.
Maybe he’d discovered a way around not being able to speak human — and it’s just a case of no one having discovered his amazing ability yet.
Sure, it doesn’t look like much now, but let’s see what happens when we turn it sideways.
Don’t bother moving your computer; allow me:
If I’m not mistaken, it spells Missoula, Montana.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, bladder, chocolate labrador, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, downtown, missoula, montana, pee, pets, road trip, sidewalk, trail, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, urination, urine
A French study says dogs can sniff out signs of prostate cancer in human urine — a finding that could lead to better cancing-sensing technology, according to its lead author.
While some scientists have questioned similar reports of dogs with such diagnostic powers in recent years, French researcher Jean-Nicolas Cornu, who works at Hospital Tenon in Paris, said, “The dogs are certainly recognizing the odor of a molecule that is produced by cancer cells.”
Researchers don’t know what that molecule is, according to U.S. News & World Report, but the study’s findings could prove useful in the detection of cancer, which often goes undetected until it is too late to treat.
Urine tests can turn up signs of prostate cancer, Cornu said, but miss some cases.
In the study, two researchers spent a year training a Belgian Malinois, a breed already used to detect drugs and bombs.
The dog was trained to differentiate between urine samples from men with prostate cancer and men without. Ultimately, researchers placed groups of five urine samples in front of the dog to see if it could identify the sole sample from a man with prostate cancer. The dog correctly classified 63 out of 66 specimens.
If the findings hold up in other studies, they’ll be “pretty impressive,” said urologist Dr. Anthony Y. Smith, who was to moderate a discussion on the findings Tuesday at the American Urological Association annual meeting in San Francisco.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belgian malinois, cancer, detect, detecting, detection, diagnostic, disease, dogs, france, french, hospital tenon, jean-nicolas cornu, medicine, molecule, news, odor, ohmidog!, paris, pets, prostate, research, science, sniffing, study, urine
Robert Holloway went to a Virginia PetSmart to pick up some bird seed and dog food.
Instead, he slipped on a pile of dog poop in the pet-friendly store, hurting his back and knocking out four of his false teeth.
Now he wants $1 million, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. PetSmart and its employees “negligently allowed animals to enter the premises and deposit feces in such a manner as to create a dangerous and hazardous condition,” his lawsuit states.
PetSmart has filed an initial reply stating that the store and its manager that day were not negligent in the accident. Pet accidents are a fact of life in its stores, where leashed pets are welcome, a company spokeswoman told the Virginian-Pilot.
Holloway, of Poquoson, went to a Newport News PetSmart on Jan. 18, 2009. While he didn’t fall to the floor after slipping, his body twisted violently and he smacked his head against something nearby, his lawyer said. As a result, Holloway, 70, who already had back problems, had to have surgery.
A spokeswoman for PetSmart, the largest pet specialty retailer in the country, said employees are trained to clean up messes and customers are encouraged to clean up after their pets. Every store has “oops” stations, clearly marked, with clean-up supplies. “They’re animals. There’s always going to be accidents,” she said.
A similar suit was filed by a woman who slipped and fell in dog urine at the same store. The judge ruled against her, saying the woman failed to show that any store employee knew there was urine on the floor.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, court, dogs, fall, feces, federal, lawsuit, newport news, news, ohmidog!, one million dollars, pet, pets, petsmart, poop, retail, robert holloway, slip, slip and fall, slipped, store, sued, suing, urine, virginia, waste
The former owner of Almost Heaven Kennel in Pennsylvania, taking the stand in his trial on animal cruelty charges, portrayed himself as a savior of dogs in need of rescue.
Derbe “Skip” Eckhart took the stand Friday, describing his efforts to tend to the hundreds of animals at his Lehigh County kennel, the Associated Press reported.
Eckhart testified Friday that he rescued many dogs from breeders who no longer wanted them, saving animals that would otherwise have been destroyed. He disputed prosecution claims that he neglected dogs and cats in his care.
Breeders routinely called Eckhart and said that if he didn’t come for their unwanted dogs, they would simply shoot them, Eckhart testified.
“And that’s what I did,” he said. “I came for them.”
Prosecutors allege Eckhart kept hundreds of dogs in filthy conditions.
Witnesses from the Pennsylvania SPCA and the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement testified earlier in the trial that dogs at the kennel lived in their own urine and feces and suffered from a lack of routine veterinary care, contributing to their poor health.
Eckhart said he enjoyed a “very good working relationship” with animal welfare agencies until October, 2008, when agents from the Pennsylvania SPCA and the state dog law bureau raided the kennel, detaining Eckhart and his workers for hours while the media looked on.
Eckhart’s attorney, Jeff Conrad, has maintained his client was targeted by publicity-seeking animal-welfare officials.
Eckhart said he took in about 30 dogs from another breeder only a few weeks before the raid. He acknowledged that some of those dogs still needed to be bathed and groomed at the time of the raid, but insisted that he was getting to them.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 27th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: almost heaven, animals, breeders, conditions, cruelty to animals, derbe eckhart, dogs, feces, kennel, lehigh county, neglect, news, ohmidog!, pennsylvania, pets, rescues, savior, saviour, state dog law, urine
In light of the utterly ridiculous, yet strangely fascinating debate over yellow snow here in Baltimore, we thought it was time for Frank Zappa to weigh in on the subject.
Also, it gives me the opportunity to showcase my art along with the Baltimore-born legend. Call it a joint exhibit. As you listen (above) to Frank, you can view (below) my work, “Yellow Snow,” which, after being showcased here last week, met with rave review. I briefly considered turning it into a streaming video, but good taste (which Frank never let bother him) overruled:
What brought yellow snow to the forefront in Baltimore — in addition to three feet of snow and dogs having to relieve themselves — was an item in Jill Rosen’s Baltimore Sun blog, “Unleashed.”
It focused on the the complaint of one woman whose sensibilities were offended by the sight, and who suggested dog owners make some attempt to remove the yellow snow their dogs created.
More than 75 “Unleashed” readers have commented — some agreeing with her:
“The person who wrote this letter is absolutely right. The replys and comments also shows the stoopidity, selfishness and lazyness of the ignoramous dog owners in Baltimore. I cannot wait to move from my home town. This snowstorm has shown the worst in most of you.”
The majority considered it a fact of winter life, and pointed out the pee is always there; the snow just makes it visible. Others offered suggestions ranging from spray painting the yellow spots white, to requiring dog owners to cover up the yellow snow with clean white snow (something nature may be giving us a hand with by tomorrow.)
That’s right, more snow, which will lead to more yellow snow and, if it’s a large snowfall, more city residents setting out furniture (chairs, usually) to save the parking spaces they shoveled out.
The mayor has asked residents to stop doing that, but she hasn’t taken a stand on the issue of yellow snow yet (and I’m not saying she should). In a way, those who save their spaces with chairs are already paying a price, I’ve noticed. Dogs — though not mine, of course — tend to christen new vertical objects that appear on the street, and a lot of the parking place staker-outers will be lugging those objects back inside.
Among the many things worse than yellow snow, I’d think — and I’m sure Frank Zappa would agree — is yellow furniture.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, chairs, complaint, dog, dogs, feces, frank zappa, furniture, holders, parking, pee, pets, snow, space, unleashed, urine, waste, winter, yellow snow, zappa
There’s a heated debate going on about yellow snow over at “Unleashed,” the Baltimore Sun pets blog.
It all got started when a reader — seeing no art whatsover in what happens when hot yellow dog urine splashes onto cold and pure white snow — expressed her displeasure with befouled snow, and went so far as to suggest dog owners chisel, collect and dispose of the icy yellow matter.
“I’m not a dog owner, but I can’t be the only person to be grossed out while trying to walk in Baltimore right now,” wrote Eeda Wallbank. “After the snow last week there are still many areas where the sidewalk or street is the only cleared space for folks to take their dogs out for their business. Most people are still being polite and at least picking the poo up, but the urine is just disgusting.
“The dog goes in the only cleared walk space and urinates, then it freezes. So everyone else has to walk through or attempt to go around these ‘puddles.’ Heaven forbid someone actually slip on ice or snow and fall into greater contact. I shudder everytime I see the yellow snow and thank god I don’t have kids to worry about (my cats are my babies, but they stay firmly inside) … Dog owners carry around bags for poo, what would be so wrong with attempting to remove this frozen urine? Or at least have a small shovel to clear the walk space a little?”
That led to a flood/flurry of comments. Among those that poured in were some siding with Ms. Wallbank, a few suggesting she “get a life,” and many asking if society doesn’t have bigger things to worry about than yellow snow.
Scooping poop is one thing. But I don’t think we need yellow snow laws — even if it does offend the sensibilities of Ms. Wallbank and others. It’s a fact of life. It passes (twice, in fact). Until the snow melts, step around it, add it to the list of unavoidable wintertime inconveniences, or maybe even try and view it as modern art — a canine, working by instinct, on a vast blank canvas, provided by nature .
It’s a little like that, with one big difference. With yellow snow, everybody knows exactly what the artist was trying to express.
(Artwork: “Yellow Snow,” by John Woestendiek)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, blank, blizzard, canvas, dog owners, dogs, feces, hygeine, natural, nature, offended, offensive, ohmidog!, parks, pee, pets, sanitation, scoop, snow, snowfall, urine, waste, weather, white, winter, yellow, yellow snow