Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Not so good news for Win...

I've been delaying writing about this for a while, since it feels more real written down.  But, as of a few months ago, Winry came up with a random limp, at first in her back legs. We took her to the vet and did comprehensive x-rays to, as always with greyhounds, rule out bone cancer first and foremost.

The x-ray came back clean, and Win went on Rimadyl for a few weeks and her limp went away, though she stayed on mostly bed rest (no real exercise). Unfortunately, during this time, she very suddenly came up with another limp, this time in her shoulder.  She seemed in pain, despite being on the Rimadyl.  Off to the vet we went again for more x-rays of that area, and oddly enough, they again came up clean.  During her examination though, we found a small mass on her leg that we decided to aspirate and send to the lab, just in case.

The results came back and indicate a type of malignant cancer that manifests itself in the joints. Because the source of her pain looks to be deep within the joint in her shoulder, we aren't able to very well identify it.  It is tissue based and not showing up on the x-ray, and would require surgery to thoroughly evaluate it, and even then, the vet said not much else could really be done. It's possible (and likely, since the mass we found was lower on her leg on the opposite side), that the tumors have spread to other locations, so trying to treat it is essentially not possible due to its gelatinous and spread out nature.

Because we can't identify how large existent tumors are or how aggressive they're being (or if she's had this her whole life and it just gradually takes over?), we don't even have a timeline of things.  For now, basically all we can do is manage her pain. Currently, Winry is on the steroid prednisone that has actually been somewhat helpful; she still limps, but she limps faster and doesn't seem as hindered. She gets 15mg once a day in the morning, so unfortunately, mornings before her medication is roughest for her, where she struggles to get up and moving. But, afterwards, seems more or less normal, despite her limps. She loves to eat, she loves to chew bones and over all still seems pretty happy. We're doing all we can to keep her that way.

So far, it looks like we'll enjoy the holidays with her, and hopefully for a good amount of time after that. It will just be a matter of managing her pain, and of course, not letting her existence be more about suffering vs enjoyment.

We love you, Win <3

Monday, September 21, 2015

Camping Trip to Sylvan Lake, Eagle CO

We were overdue for a trip to the mountains, and wanted to try out some of our camping gear we got from our registry!  Winry, unfortunately, was unable to join us as she had recently recovered from a sprained leg from playing too hard with Ahri, so she spent the weekend at their favorite dog boarding facility and also seemed to have a good time :).

As always, waiting for him to wake up. 

Ferguson enjoyed himself and caught some good Zs. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Birthday Daycare

"Are we almost there?"

Ahri already looks a lot different from when I last posted photos!  She has fully recovered (as far as can be detected) from her parasites, and thankfully just in time.  Arik had required meetings this week, causing his hours to be far too long for a growing pup.  He was able to stop for lunch at home for the greyhounds, but as anyone with greyhounds knows, they are far easier to tire out in short time periods than any other dog and don't tend to do much during the day besides sleep anyway. But as Ahri is still young and needs to be crated during the day (the greyhounds are free roam downstairs with muzzles), we thought it best that she go to daycare during his meeting days.

So today is her third day in a row of daycare, with the staff constantly commenting on how grateful they are to see her.  She is described as "the best player we've ever had" because she will play with any dog, any size, any age, any play-style.  She is also tireless, and will literally play all day, while most dogs go full speed and are done in a few hours, if that. But Ahri's energy level is interesting to me; she is perpetually a 3-4 out of 10 on the energy scale. She is never insane or "hyper" and is very mellow in temperament.  But while she remains low key, she has the endurance of a husky.  Whether she runs ten miles or none at all, there won't be much difference in her general demeanor.  I'll notice her being more "busy", but the speed in which she does anything is still the same. I think this ties back to the "Livestock Guardian" breed though, as they must be very even tempered to not startle their flock, but also must travel many miles in a day's work as they roam the fields.

In any case, she impresses me that she can tire out the daycare's most active dogs, but is also compliant and mellow enough to get along swimmingly with my lazy older greyhounds!  She does have a sense of charm about her in that every dog likes her.  Ferguson, who is often so grumpy and impatient with younger dogs, actively invites her to play with him, lets her lick his ears, and genuinely seems to enjoy having her around.  I think he plays with her 3x more than Winry does!

It is true that daycare does tire Ahri, but I suspect she is not as good at monitoring her energy levels as an adult dog.  She will often seem restless when she comes home in that she still wants to be a part of everything and follow everyone around to see what they're up to.  In the evenings we've had to ask her to kennel-up (which she can do from across the house, by the way...such a smart pup!), to convince her to hang out in one place, and within 5 minutes she's dead asleep.  But without this prompting, she'll keep going like the energizer bunny...unbelievable.

For my birthday this evening, my parents are flying in from out of town and we're headed to dinner with friends, so I will appreciate Ahri being a living stuffed animal for majority of the evening. By morning though, she'll be up and ready for our 1-2 mile long walk with the greyhounds...;).

Monday, July 6, 2015

One Sick Pup.

It's been quite a week for all of us.

Poor Ahri is really taking advantage of her 30 day pet insurance...and thank goodness we have it.  After going to the vet in regards to my concern of her odd urinary habits, she was seen, and a urinalysis was submitted along with blood-work to rule out anything major.  As it turns out, she has two types of crystals in her urine that point to a UTI, though no bacteria was yet observed. The vet felt confident a UTI was likely the cause though, and put her on 2 weeks of amoxicillan in hopes of that clearing things up.

Little did we know, that was actually the least of her problems.  After another several days, I noticed Ahri itching uncontrollably, and saw little red bumps on her, along with little black spots. WONDERFUL.  I immediately guessed fleas, and treated her (and the other two dogs) with frontline I happily had on hand.  Fortunately, this seemed to do the trick and most itching stopped within another day or so. We also started a cleaning/sanitizing regiment that should keep them at bay. So, problems over?

Not even close.

I took Ahri to daycare, only to get a call an hour after leaving her that she had pooed, and that multiple segmented worm bits were found in her stool, indicating a likely tapeworm.  She of course needed to be removed asap from daycare, and was away from all the other dogs.  I had to leave work early to get both her and the sample to the vet (this vet, whom I've unfortunately lost all faith in over this processes since they are apparently incapable of doing ANYTHING in-house...urine, fecal, heart worm test, or otherwise).  I explained the situation to them, but they refused to give any medication until the fecal results came back from the lab two days later.

TWO DAYS?! It was quite clear to me that the dog has a tapeworm, and would make sense with my flea analysis.  SO, for Ahri's sake of comfort, I stopped at the petstore and grabbed OTC fenbenzole (sp?), and paid a ridiculous $25 for what would give me two doses (it's $10 on amazon >:( ) just to get her started.  Two days later, we get her results back, and apparently the tech decided to only swab the sample and ignored my indication of BIG WORM BITS were in that sample.  Just the same, she came back positive for Giardia.  OH, GREAT. THAT THING THAT'S INSANELY CONTAGIOUS?! LOVELY.

It even has an evil face.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), Ahri pooed again at home with more worm bits showing up, so we were able to convince the vet staff that she also needed treatment for tapeworm, in addition to the giardia.  We get medication for both and start her right away on a 5 day regiment (which is actually 7, since I gave her two doses of the same stuff (fenbenzole)over the weekend...I've learned you usually can't overly de-worm).

Naturally, a day later, Ferguson EXPLODES overnight, all over the kitchen and laundry room.  So, since Giardia is so ridiculously contagious, we're assuming he's got it too.  Only since our wallets are wiped from spending nearly $500 on Ahri and her treatment (since we should in theory get reimbursed for her treatments, per the fine print of her 30 day pet insurance trial), we just go ahead and order 4 rounds (two rounds for each greyhound) of fenbenzole in the assumption that this is his issue, and will likely treat Winry as well as soon as it arrives tomorrow.  Getting it overnighted from amazon is only $60, when Ahri's was $50 alone for one dog.  So, at least there is some savings in there, somewhere.

In any case, the greyhounds' treatment arrives tomorrow, and Ahri finishes her treatment tomorrow evening.  The dogs are being ultimately confined to downstairs (where the hard, easy to sanitize floor is), all poo in the yard has been cleaned with the area dowsed in a vinegar/detergent/hot water solution.  All poo is being removed immediately, and the subsequent spot sprayed down with ammonia.  All toys and bowls are being washed daily with hot water and detergent, or run in a high temp dishwasher for those that can handle it.  Ahri's crate is being wiped down with disinfectant every day.  High end probiotic is arriving Friday, along with diatomaceous earth that can be sprinkled in all of the areas, on dogs, in their water, and fed with food to keep away any future infestations of any parasites.  The dogs are getting baths on their last days of treatment, and behinds wiped with babywipes after use in the meantime.  Floors are to be swiftered every evening for the next two weeks.


The worst part is, I have no idea when Ahri can go back to daycare.  Her fecal won't be re-checked for three weeks, as it can supposedly take quite a long time for giardia to no longer show up in stools, even if none of it is "live"...or sometimes it can come up negative even when still present.  It sounds like a huge headache, but I resent the fact that my pup can't use her valuable time as an adolescent to socialize with others like her :'(.  Perhaps I can call the vet and ask, but I'm thinking the answer will be no sooner than that "cleared" stool sample, despite all our treatments.

It's all been such a headache.  I just can't wait for it to be over -_-.

And to think, our biggest concern was originally just her abnormal peeing, or then just a tapeworm.  I only WISH it was just a tapeworm.  *Sighs*.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ahri the Amazing...?

"Who, me?"
It's only been a few days, and while we know she may continue to change as she becomes more adjusted, we really like our Ahri so far :).

We don't know what she is.  As mentioned before, she was labeled as a Maremma Sheepdog.  Last night, we briefly went to a training facility, and they called her a Kuvasz.  I guess she looks like either. I'd be interested to do a breed DNA test on her one day, but what's interesting are the number of people who refer to her like she's a mogwai and going to one day transform into this aggressive, extremely difficult beast.  Yet at 6 months old, Ahri is compliant, quiet, sensitive, submissive, friendly, gentle, and mostly low key (last night when I got home, I could tell for instance that she'd been confined much of the day while we were at work, as she played fetch with me for around 15 minutes in the yard and we went for a walk later that night, but I'd never describe her as "active" necessarily...just puppyish).  She loves people and dogs, and wags her tail and gets a bit bouncy whenever she sees them, which I'd consider a bit unusual for a dog that supposedly is "aloof with strangers," as the Maremma and Kuvasz apparently are.

People are so odd with dogs, it seems.  After reading a study I'd found where 5,000 canine "professionals" (vet's, trainers, etc), were asked to visually identify the breeds in 100 mixes, they only had about 25% accuracy, which leaves me feeling a little less than confident that Ahri is what anyone visually thinks she is.

Can't she just be our dog? The paranoia about her makes me feel a bit nervous, that one day I'll wake up and my sweet marshmallow puppy will be a barky, disobedient, aggressive monster to everyone outside of the household.  I'm sure she'll test some boundaries as she gets older, but after having already been spayed at 5 months, I'm hoping her hormones don't get THAT out of wack to where she acts like a different dog.  I'm also hoping that our firm, yet gentle consistency with her, daily exercise routines, and frequent exposure to new people and situations will prevent many of these issues and keep her amiable.  For now, she just reminds me of a more mellow golden retriever!

We're planning on bringing Ahri to daycare every other week or so to keep up her socialization with other dogs and people while she's young, and plan to enroll in a basic obedience course to help her stay obedient and responsive even in distracted situations.  I think she'll really enjoy daycare, since she loves everyone and has a submissive demeanor that is apparently very likable.

Lounging in the yard together.

Even Ferguson seems to enjoy her, and I was expecting much more aloofness and annoyance on his end.  Normally he is quick to growl and snap at unfamiliar dogs, but thus far it's only happened once, when she was really pushing him to the edge and I was actually HOPING he'd tell her to stop so she'd stay in check with canine etiquette (she was jumping all over him and nibbling on his ears). And, with a very low growl and quick showing of teeth, she stopped immediately and backed away. I'm amazed at her intuition and sensitivity with other dogs, so long as the other dog gives her any indication.

Only time will tell what happens I guess with Ahri's breed tendencies. But for now, she is responsive and mostly quiet when confined, doesn't pull on the leash (I can actually walk all three dogs with relative ease! We've been doing 2 miles each morning before work), fetches, is non-confrontational, loves everyone, and is non-destructive.  So...what could go wrong? I guess we'll find out if anything does...!