The test results are in: Those stones in Ace’s bladder — the ones that clogged him up and made for a scary weekend — are of the struvite variety.
That’s good news. Struvite stones, unlike calcium oxalate stones, are commonly treated by switching to a prescription diet — rather than surgery.
With a little luck, things will continue to flow through his bladder as freely as Niagara Falls (pictured above), which he visited a few years back.
He seems to like it anyway.
I am to continue monitoring his urine stream (given I have nothing better to do), make sure he drinks plenty of water, and hope that the stones remaining in his bladder decompose and exit his body smoothly and without incident.
Struvite stones are often the result of infections, but most experts say one’s choice of dog food — particularly choosing a dry food that’s high in grain — can also be the culprit.
I don’t want to blame the Beneful he has been eating for the past four years, even though the Purina product is being blamed for far worse these days — so much so that I was contemplating a switch already.
I’m hoping he doesn’t have to stay on the Urinary SO for too long. The vet’s office recommended four cans a day for a dog of his size. It costs more than $3 per can. That amounts to more than I spend at the grocery to feed my own self.
In a compromise, the vet’s office said I could mix in some Urinary SO dry food, which costs slightly less.
Maybe, in the future — once we’re done with Urinary SO — I’ll return him to a raw diet. The years he was on that seemed to be his healthiest.
Since his Saturday emergency, when a catheter was used to get things flowing again, he has been peeing freely and abundantly. You might see it differently, but to me that, like the falls, is a glorious sight to behold.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bladder stones, diet, dog, dog food, dogs, health, pets, prescription, prescription diet, struvite, urinary, veterinary
Held this year at Tanglewood Park, outside Winston-Salem, the two-day event featured dock diving, agility contests, flying disc competitions, dachshund races and flyball and agility demonstrations.
The event raises money for The Sergei Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to families needing help to pay for their pets veterinary care.
The dock-diving dogs were drawing the biggest crowd. Some of the dogs entered into the competition — run by Ultimate Air Dogs! — were seasoned leapers, while others were newcomers who seemed content just to cool off.
Then there was Petunia, a bulldog who wasn’t part of the diving competition, but managed to find some relief from the heat all the same.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 19th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agility, animals, bulldog, care, clemmons, dock-diving, dogs, event, expenses, flyball, flying disc, north carolina, pets, petunia, sergei foundation, tanglewood park, triad dog games, veterinary, winston-salem
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
Time was of the essence after a Massachusetts dog consumed three wristwatches — almost in their entirety.
The owners of Mocha said they rushed the dog to MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston after finding a few remaining pieces of the watches — which had been inside a drawer the dog somehow opened — on the floor.
Mocha was admitted on April 16, the hospital said in a press release, and endured a three-hour endoscopic procedure which allowed the medical team to determine how much material was in her belly — and the best way to remove it.
The team was able to remove some of the leather from Mocha’s stomach using the endoscopy instruments.
As for the rest, they decided to let nature take its course, which nature did.
Over a period of several days, Mocha eliminated another pound of broken leather straps, buckles and various other metal pieces, said Dr. Zachary Crouse.
“We were especially cautious and wanted to avoid surgery—given her history,” he said.
Mocha was admitted to the animal hospital in August of 2014 after swallowing a plastic juice container lid. It obstructed her intestine and had to be surgically removed.
Angell doctors credited the quick thinking of Mocha’s owners, Michele Parkinson and Jeff Courcelle of Salem, who rushed the dog to the animal ER immediately after discovering bits and pieces of the watches on the floor of their home.
“Mocha dodged a bullet for sure and I credit her owners for getting her straight to the hospital,” said Dr. Crouse. “This could easily have turned into a life-threatening situation if they had delayed.”
“We brought her to Angell as soon as my husband saw the broken watch pieces, even though she was showing no symptoms whatsoever,” said Parkinson, who works as a nurse in the hematology department of a major area hospital.
Mocha stayed at the medical center for two days, and returned last Monday for a follow-up exam. An x-ray showed that six small pieces remain inside her, but should pass without surgical intervention.
“One thing’s for sure: we’re going to do everything we can to keep anything remotely ingestible out of her reach,” said Parkinson.
(Photos: Angell Animal Medical Center)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angell, angell animal medical center, animals, ate, boston, consumed, doberman, dog, dogs, health, medicine, mocha, mspca, pets, safety, salem, surgery, swallowed, veterinary, watch, watches, wristwatch
Why do some dogs seem so obsessed with chasing their tails?
Researchers at Bristol University in the UK have entered the second phase of a study aimed at finding the answer.
Scientists from the two-year “Bristol Spinning Dog Project” will visit the homes of the 50 non-spinning dogs to collect urine samples and cheek swabs, and complete training tasks aimed at assessing the pet’s personality and ability to learn, The Independent reports.
In the first phase of the study, the researchers examined spinning dogs, delving into everything from their DNA to their environments to their personalities.
After examining dogs that chase their tails, the researchers will use the non-spinners to act as a control group.
Tail-chasing, while the topic of many a YouTube video, is likely something we shouldn’t be laughing about — out loud or otherwise — at least in those cases where the behavior is obsessive.
The researchers say reasons for the behavior aren’t fully understood — some spinning dogs may be merely seeking attention or expressing a desire to play, but spinning frequently or while alone could be a sign of frustration or a more serious disorder.
“There isn’t much information in the research literature about why dogs spin,” said Beth Loftus, one of the lead researchers. “We think this behavior develops because of personality and genetics, as well as the environment during a dog’s first 16 weeks and learning throughout life. But we don’t really know what it means for dogs’ welfare.”
“We hope to be able to identify dogs that are starting to spin and stop it from developing to the point where they are doing it almost to the complete exclusion of other, more normal types of behavior,” she added.
The research is being funded by the Dogs Trust charity.
(Photo : Flickr Commons / Tim Mowrer)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anticipation, behavior, boredom, bristol university, chasing, chasing tails, disorder, dog, dogs, frustration, research, science, spin, spinning, study, tail chasing, uk, veterinary, why dogs chase their tails
Julius, a 10-year-old Maltese, was chewing on a treat when he began to choke inside of his Jersey City home on Easter Sunday.
His owners, Michael and Lindsay Torres, after unsuccessfully trying to dislodge the treat, borrowed their building concierge’s car to rush to Manhattan in hopes of finding a vet’s office that might be open on the holiday.
But traffic on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel was barely moving, and Julius’ tongue was turning blue. As their car crept toward the toll booth they told Port Authority police officer Thomas Feuker about their plight.
“I really need your help. He’s choking. We need to go to an animal hospital,” Lindsay Torres says she told the officer.
Feuker tried to clear the dog’s airway. Unable to do that, he let the couple and their dog into his car and drove them seven miles to an emergency veterinary clinic.
“It definitely made it faster. He knew the easiest way to go and they were actually blocking off some roads (on the route),” she told the New York Daily News. A motorcycle cop from Rutherford, N.J., also joined the emergency motorcade.
A vet was able to clear the treat from the dog’s esophagus, and Julius is back home.
“He’s doing great. He’s eating, he’s drinking, he’s really looking good,” Lindsay Torres said Monday.
She said she was grateful for the officer’s assistance.
“Without him, I don’t know if Julius would be here.”
(Photo: Provided by Lindsay Torres)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 8th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, choking, dog, dogs, emergency, escort, health, jersey city, julius, law enforcement, maltese, new jersey, new york, officer, pets, police, port authority, safety, thomas feuker, treat, veterinary, veterinary clinic
She was a truck stop dog — or at least that’s where she seemed to spend most of her time.
Having no real home, and no official owner, she could most often be found at a truck stop in Moses Lake, Wash., taking advantage of the kindness of truckers and others who would pat her on the head and toss some food her way.
Sometime in February, she appeared to have met the fate of many a wandering stray. She was hit by a car on the highway and injured so severely that someone thought it best to put her out of her misery.
She was struck on the head with a hammer and left in a ditch.
A few days later the white pit bull mix — dirty, limping and emaciated — showed up at a farm outside of town, with her tail wagging.
A farmhand took her to Moses Lake Veterinary Hospital, and the owner-less dog’s plight ended up being posted on Facebook.
When Sara Mellado, a Mose Lake resident, read the post, she offered to provide the dog a temporary home. Mellado, whose German shepherd had died just two weeks earlier, named the dog Theia.
“Considering everything that she’s been through, she’s incredibly gentle and loving,” Mellado said. “She’s a true miracle dog, and she deserves a good life.”
Since then, Mellado has made several trips to Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman, where Theia has been treated for leg injuries, a dislocated jaw, and multiple fractures in her nasal bones that are believed to be a result of the hammer blows.
“When I brought her home, she hardly slept because breathing was such a chore,” said Mellado.
The veterinary hospital’s Good Samaritan Fund committee awarded $700 to help pay for Theia’s treatment, and a GoFundMe campaign started by Mellado has, as of today, raised $12,000 — $2,000 more than its goal.
The money will be used to pay for Theia’s nasal passage surgery which will inolve installing a stent to help reopen her nasal passages.
The surgery is scheduled for April 22, according to Washington State University News.
(Photo: Washington State University News)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 2nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animals, breathing, campaign, car, dog, dogs, expense, foster, fractures, fundraising, hammer, head, highway, hit, killing, mercy, misery, moses lake, nasal, passages, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, sara mellado, sinus, stray, surgery, survival, survivor, theia, truck stop, veterinary, veterinary hospital, washington, washington state university