This is a mostly selfish post — aimed at getting all of Ace’s friends and fans to think positive thoughts today as he goes under surgery for bladder stones.
Yes, they are back.
Never really went away, apparently, since his last X-ray a couple of months ago — despite the obscenely-priced special dog food I kept him on for a couple of months.
Instead, they’ve only increased — to the point where it now appears a good portion of the real estate in his bladder is occupied by them.
After his catheterization in May, everything appeared, on the outside, to be fine. Things were flowing nicely. But over the weekend, his urine stream slowed to a dribble, like a coffee maker, and he was, while otherwise in good spirits, straining to pee.
On Sunday I took him to an emergency vet. They were getting ready to catheterize him, when he peed on his own and passed a stone.
By Tuesday though, his stream had slowed to a drip again, and he was lethargic. I took him to his regular vet, where X-rays showed stones filling his bladder and cluttering his urethra — so many that surgery appeared the only choice.
They catheterized him again and sent him home with me for the night before returning him for surgery this morning.
This morning, Ace, who is 10, woke me up early, with the clicking of his claws on the hardwood floor as he trotted from room to room, as he does when he needs to go out. This time he was dripping blood, or bloody urine, in every room of the house.
He eagerly hopped in the car for the trip to the vet, but balked a little about going inside. Either he knew something was up, or didn’t want to face another catheterization. He balked again when it came time to say goodbye and walk off with the vet tech.
Now I am back home, cleaning up blood and waiting for the phone call. The vet’s biggest concern is the stones that may or may not remain in his urethra after yesterday’s catheterization — the urethra, in boy dogs, being a circuitous tube that is prone to problems. He hopes to be able to flush any of those out without having to slice into that area.
Those are the gory details.
Here’s what you can do. Send some positive vibes our way, as many of you have before when my aging dog or my aging self have faced medical uncertainties. I, in exchange, will keep you posted.
No need to write. No need to call. Just think a good thought. I’m not sure I telepathically receive those, but I’m pretty sure Ace does.
Update 1: Ace is out of surgery, which his vet described as the most difficult such operation he has done in his career, due to the amount of stones, particularly those in Ace’s urethra. He managed to clear them all out. Ace is still under the influence of general anesthesia, and it’s not clear yet whether he will be coming home tonight. We’ll be making that call in a couple of hours. Deepest thanks to Dr. Raymond Morrison at Ard-Vista Animal Hospital, to all those who commented here and on my Facebook page, and everyone else who has kept my big ol’ dog in their thoughts.
Update 2: Ace isn’t getting up and around, so he’ll be staying at the animal hospital tonight. Plans are to pick him up tomorrow.
Update 3: Ace is still at the animal hospital, as of Thursday. Vets say they want to monitor him throughout the day, but that I can pick him up this evening.
Citing 75 incidents of animal cruelty and a “systemic failure to care for animals,” the N.C. Department of Agriculture on Monday yanked the United Animal Coalition’s license to run animal shelters in Davidson and Guilford counties.
The non-profit organization has been running Guilford County’s animal shelter since 1998, when it was hired by the county to improve conditions.
Seventeen years later, the same sort of allegations have resurfaced during continuing investigations by state and county officials as well as the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Department of Agriculture reports mention more than 100 cases of animals receiving inadequate medical care, including a cat with a broken leg and internal bleeding that went seven days without being seen by a vet and a dog with a gunshot wound to the face who went 12 days without medical attention before being euthanized.
The former shelter director in Guilford County, Marsha Williams, was suspended with pay earlier this month. As of yesterday, that pay was halted and Williams was officially terminated under the orders of the county commissioners.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners convened an emergency meeting Monday, voting unanimously to revoke the United Animal Coalition’s contract and to place the shelter under the county’s control on an interim basis.
A letter of revocation was delivered by hand to the shelter yesterday.
“The things we’ve learned are very disturbing and unacceptable, as I know it is for the community as a whole,” Commissioner Hank Henning, the board’s chairman, said at a press conference after the county commissioner’s meeting. “Our goal is to put transparency and a culture of efficiency back into the shelter, so the community at large can get the services and the shelter that it wants and deserves.”
The N.C. Department of Agriculture has been investigating both shelters for about a month following complaints about animal care and conditions, according to the Greensboro News & Record
The Davidson County investigation began after the state agency received a complaint that a dog had arrived at the shelter with a broken back but received no veterinary care.
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency continues to investigate potential unspecified violations at both facilities.
Also still investigating are the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the Lexington Police Department.
“To be quite frank with you, I expect to see criminal charges come out of this,” said Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes.
Deputy County Manager Clarence Grier will serve as interim director of the Guilford County shelter, which will remain closed the rest of the week.
The facility is expected to reopen Aug. 22.
(Photo: Former Guilford County Animal Shelter director Marsha Williams; by Lynn Hey / Greensboro News & Record)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animal cruelty, animals, care, cats, closed, contract, contracted, davidson county, director, dogs, greensboro, guilford county, inadequate, lexington, license, marsha williams, medical, non-profit, north carolina, pets, revoked, shelters, terminated, united animal coalition, veterinary
A Jack Russell terrier who was taken to a Utah vet to get her teeth cleaned ended up getting what would have been spay surgery — had she not already been spayed.
“Somewhere along the line maybe we made a mistake,” Terry Emmons, the owner of Heartsong Clinic in Clearfield admitted in an interview with KSL.
Maria Jones of Utah County took her 4-year-old Jack Russell, Pepper to the clinic last week after calling earlier to schedule a teeth cleaning.
“That’s what I wanted. That’s what she needed,” Jones said.
But somehow, on the intake form for Pepper, the spay box was checked.
“She signed the paperwork and we took the dog back,” Emmons said.
“The doctor went in to spay her and the parts that you take out … weren’t there.”
Jones said she doesn’t know how that box got checked. She remembers seeing the checked box on the form, but says she assumed it was checked because Pepper had been spayed in the past.
Whether the mix-up occurred when Jones booked the appointment, or upon checking in, isn’t clear.
Said Emmons, “I’m not sure it was our error, but at least somewhere along the line, maybe we made a mistake.”
That mistake will leave a scar atop the scar Pepper already had.
Jones said she didn’t have to pay for the spay surgery, but the clinic did charge her $35 to cover the cost of the anesthesia.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 6th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cleaning, dog, dogs, heartsong clinic, jack russell terrier, maria jones, mistake, misunderstanding, pepper, pets, spay, spayed, surgery, teeth, tooth, utah, veterinarian, veterinary, vets
The potentially deadly strain of the dog flu that has sickened thousands of dogs nationwide has made its way to North Carolina.
Two dogs in Asheville and one dog in Winston-Salem were confirmed to have the H3N2 virus at the end of last week, and state officials suspect more than 200 dogs in the state may also be infected.
The confirmed case in Winston-Salem is that of a 10-year-old German shepherd that belongs to Dr. Sandra McAvoy of Abri Veterinary Hospital, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.
McAvoy believes Zalea might have gotten the virus from a dog she was fostering for the Forsyth County Humane Society.
The humane society closed its doors Thursday due to concerns about the virus and expects to remain closed for at least 10 days.
Most dogs recover from the sickness within two to three weeks, but secondary bacterial infections can develop and cause more severe illness and pneumonia.
Dog flu is not transmittable to humans, according to the Center for Disease Control. Humans can, however, spread it from an infected dog to an uninfected dog.
The symptoms include cough, runny nose and fever. Other signs can include lethargy, eye discharge, reduced appetite and low-grade fever, officials said.
The state is also testing samples from a cluster of dogs in Greensboro that are showing similar symptoms.
“All dogs are at risk because this is something new, they’ve never been exposed,” said McAvoy. “They don’t have any natural immunity to it. So it’s probably going to run a course and then down the road we’re going to have immune dogs, down the road we’re going to have vaccines so the dogs will be vaccinated and they won’t get it.”
As for Zalea, she’s recovering from pneumonia and McAvoy is hopeful she’ll to pull through.
Two percent of the dogs that have contracted the virus have died.
A state Agriculture Department website is tracking the cases, and features more information and resources for pet owners.
(Photo: Zalea, the German shepherd who was one of the first dogs in North Carolina to be diagnosed with the H3N2 virus; from 13NewsNow.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, asheville, dog flu, dogs, flu, forsyth humane society, h3n2, health, north carolina, pets, safety, shelter, symptoms, vet, veterinary, winston-salem, zalea
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