Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dog cookies, Iditarod and other things

In an effort to ensure our and our dogs' diets are more healthy, we've been pretty busy around here.  So far we have baked up eight dozen dog cookies (frugally, they are half the cost of store bought and we know what is and isn't in them), 40lbs of homecooked dog food, 10lbs of chicken jerky, 5lbs of dried fruits, planted 22 sweatpea plants and have a dozen tomatoes almost ready to plant.  I also have two dozen carrot clusters ready to plant in a week or so.  Of the things, we probably still have about 3lbs chicken jerky, no fruit, two dozen cookies because we baked more last night, and 10lbs of homecooked dog food.  The plants are doing well, and my orchard is beginning to bud.  Of the 9 fruit trees I've planted, 7 are still looking good, so I'm hoping we might actually get a couple of fruits this year.  Spreading diatomaceous earth and planting natural deterrants around the orchard for wild animals, so hopefully the fruit will last long enough to harvest.

Been trying to get the dogs out at least every other day for walks, and spending at least an hour a day in the dog yard playing and running with them besides them being able to spend the rest of the days and nights in the house if they so please.  My bond with the pack is stronger than ever and it is fun and amazing to be a part of their social interaction.  They never cease to amaze me with their devotion and loving natures.

Ghost is growing by the day and his adult coat is almost in.  He has the most beautiful pattern, and it accents his lines well.  He is going to be one striking boy!

Bandit has been doing well, and we hope he will continue to do well now that we know exactly what level of medication he has to be at.  So though we are busy with spring planting, cleaning and repairs, at least we are not in a state of emergency.

On the mushing front, I have been very happy to follow the Iditarod with an insider package.  Just wish I had more time to use it.  However, today has been very riviting, and I hope to watch the live finish in just a few hours.  Aliy has given Dallas Seavy a run for his money, but unless he has a mishap, it looks like Dallas will take the win.  It is still a running game between Aliy and Ramey Smythe for second though, but she's staying a constant mileage ahead of him.  This has been one of the most exciting races in years!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Puppy Love

Ghost has been doing very well with us, and has quickly become a beloved member of the pack.  Each of the dogs have taken turns playing with him and making him feel welcome.  He has two surrogate moms, Moony and Ace.  Both girls dote on him as if he were their own. 
Lately he and Princess have become playmates, and she plays with him quite a bit.  I even caught him playing with Samantha and even Demon.  Yukon will play by running at him with his roar then jump over him as he cowers.  He'll also let Ghost chase him around.  Bandit and Ghost play constantly, and we have to keep an eye on them as Bandit sometimes doesn't know when to stop (meds impair his judgement).  Bucky too will get a little rough, but generally backs off when Ghost whines.

This morning (March 9) Ghost outgrew his puppy pen, he learned how to jump out of it.  Since he was big enough to get out on his own, we figured it was time he was allowed to go in and out on his own.  This morning I took down the pen. 
He is growing so fast!  He is becoming a beautiful dark gray along his back, but his neck is light white still with a line of gray on either side of it up to the top of his head around his mask.  He is getting to be one gorgeous boy!

Bandit and Ghost

Monday night the 20th, Bandit seemed to be clingy and have 'auras' where he would appear to be in ictal with no noticed seizure.  I began to worry and watch him very carefully.

Tuesday evening the 21st Bandit began having a cluster seizure event.  It started around 6:30pm.  He experienced head shaking, progressing in to stiffness and paddling and loss of bladder control.  The whole episode lasted about 30 seconds and his post ictal was a little less than a minute.  We gave him an extra 60mg pheno, and some Ice Cream to help cool his core temperature and give him back some calories (each GM is like running a marathon).  He came out of ictal, but was exhibiting strong 'auras' like being in half ictal much like the first cluster event, and I knew we were going to be in for a long night, but hoped we could keep it under control.

He had another seizure at 9:40, so we gave him the 2ml of valium we had on hand, some ice cream, and he made it another 4 hours before he had another seizure. 

At 1:30 am he started the head shaking and chomping.  I administered what is referred to as Occular Compression (the idea is to press lightly inward on the eyes which have a very direct connection to the brain in order to spark perhaps an instinctive avoidance reaction enough to bring a dog out of the nerve storm caused by the seizure).  This seemed to work and stopped his progression from head shaking (normally he goes stiff then starts paddling, loses bladder, then reverts in to post ictal) and brought him directly back instead of ictal.  We gave him ice cream again, and 1cc of the 250mg Kbr.

At 2:45 he had a GM while standing!  This was very unusual, as Bandit normally has them from sleeping.  Administered Occular Compression, but this time did not seem to help although he came out of the GM and post ictal very quickly.  We decided to wait and see if the 250mg Kbr would make a difference so decided we wouldn't take him to emergency unless he had another GM.
At 4:10am he had another GM while standing.  I administered Occular Compression, and he came out of the stiffness and did not go in to paddling.  There was no post ictal.  We decided to rush him to the emergency vet, so packed him up, and I held on to him and held his attention for the hour trip down.

We arrived shortly after 5am at BVS, and thankfully the Dr that watched over Bandit last time and knew his history was there.  He's an internal med specialist, so was very knowledgeable and very interested in Bandit's condition.  They put in a catheter and administered 10mg of valium.

At 6am Bandit had another GM while standing, I was unable to bring him out of it using OC, and the Dr seemed interested in my effort to try to bring him out of it.  The GM progressed from head shaking, chomping, stiffness, paddling and loss of bladder.  I held him down while the Vet tech administered 10mg valium into the catheter they had put in his left foreleg.

Bandit was back on his feet in less than 10 mins, and acted as if he needed to go out, so I took him for a walk outside, and at 6:49 he began seizing in the parking lot!  I administered OC while pulling him desperately towards the clinic and pleading with him to come out of it and not seize in the parking lot!  He came out of it, and I rushed him back inside.

At 7:05 he had another full GM where OC did not work.  During ictal he pood out some very nasty smelling poo, not his normal smell.  They administered another 10mg of valium, and we packed him up to go to our normal vet.

At 1030 Bandit had another GM at the normal vet's office, but they did not observe any other incidents, and told us we could pick him up in the afternoon.  At 16:30 we picked him up and brought him home, though he was still exhibiting strong auras

At 1908 he had another seizure, OC did not help, but GM was mild and ictal was very short.  We gave him the Valium we had on hand (10mg), but he was still exhibiting auras.

Sure enough at 2109 he had another GM, so we rushed him back to the ER vet and left him in their care (we were both exhausted and needed sleep)

Bandit had another seizure at 2am according to the ER vet, but that was apparently the last one they witnessed.  We picked him up around 10am, but he was still exhibiting auras, and I was afraid we would have to take him back again.  By 2pm he appeared to have a petit mal, lots of suspicious eye activity and appeared to be ictal, but I called his name and scratched his ears and he came out of it.  By 4pm his auras began to fade and I started hoping we had seen the last of the S monster for now.  I fed him 1.5 cups of moistened kibble, waited 4 hours and fed him another 1.5 cups of moistened kibble to help re-hydrate him and get some calories in to him.  He had a minor spit up around 11am, and still had the shakes, but they gradually faded.

By Friday morning he was back to his cheeful self and was full of play.

Due to the expense and worry over Bandit, we decided not to attend the Kalkaska Winterfest.