Water is Sweet But Blood is Thicker

Where to begin?

Dogbean was supposed to go to the vet tomorrow morning, be done with his antibiotics and the cone, but no. That would be too easy. So this morning he got up from my lap and there was a thick line of blood all down my leg! Yesterday I noted that his scab seemed like it was going to come off, and when I got a closer look I realized the scab was nearly being popped off because the area was swollen. We went to the vet this morning, got an additional week of antibiotics, and now steroids for two weeks.

The biggest reason I am irritated about this is that it’s nearly impossible to feed him treats while walking when he has this cone. That in addition to him being not very willing to walk at all, means my opportunities for counter conditioning are severely restricted. Yesterday I looked into force-free trainers in the area because I was starting to feel so stumped and overwhelmed, like I am not making any progress with him. It really does feel like I am not making any progress with him. And this summer was supposed to be my chance to turn everything around for us, so that we could have a wonderful next year at school, hanging out with all our dog and people friends.

However, I took him out for a walk tonight because he was rather hyper, and it didn’t feel quite as bad. This makes me think that perhaps one shorter walk at a less busy time would be most beneficial; maybe I have been overwhelming him with so many triggers in a day.

He has been eating only duck and sweet potato (and pills) for a couple of days now, and the potential of undiagnosed food allergies is so incredibly stressful. I don’t know what to do, and I really do not want this anal sac issue to continue/return. If I continue feeding sweet potato and duck, I have to add a specialized supplement, and keep it up for 2 to 3 months before I can begin adding in anything. I don’t know if he even has allergies at all to anything – he did do a fair bit of licking (before the cone), but his skin and coat are generally quite nice and he doesn’t itch particularly much. I am considering trying out a new kibble – limited and novel ingredient, and high fat. Limited novel ingredient basis obviously in case of food allergies, and high fat so that they are delicious and therefore motivating enough to use for training. I am confused and I hate decisions. I have three dog nutrition books screaming at me, one I ordered, one from the public library and one on lend from the vet. It must be nice to be not scientifically minded, and just believe anything you hear on TV or read on the internet. I have trouble trusting “experts”, I am so skeptical!

Are you supposed to conclude these things somehow? I hated essays in high school.

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Energy

At various points today, PNUT has been a flaming bouncing ball of energy. He has also been more vocal in general lately. I am not a fan of this. Right now he is whining and staring at me from his “bedroom” aka the bathroom, as he does every night since getting the cone. I’m not quite sure how to reward quiet, since he is normally quiet, and the only way I can reward him is if I go over there, but if I went over there, he would stop whining anyway.

*20 minutes later*

I told him to go into his crate, and stay, as I went to retrieve some freeze dried sweet potato chips. I rewarded him immediately upon returning because he had stayed and not vocalized; I then continued rewarding him at short but random intervals as he remained quiet, as well as rewarding for relaxed behaviours such as lying down, putting down his head, and turning away from me. For fear that he may actually be expressing a need to pee and not just dissatisfaction with his location, we then left the room to go outside. Of course, he did not pee. He spent maybe 10 seconds sniffing the grass and then sat at the doorway. Now he is begging for food from my sister. This allows me to sit quietly and not half focus on clicking and treating every few seconds.

I have to put in a conscious effort to use short sentences. When I reread what I have typed, it seems like a lot of non sequiturs. Feel free to leave comments on my writing style; I used to love semi colons until a TA in a music course made me get rid of every single one in my 10 page essay and exclaimed “Ugh, what’s up with all the semi-colons everywhere! You kids these days are obsessed with them!”. Hmph, I thought. I like them. Also, I used to produce a sewing blog, and I loved the writing I did for it. It was so…advanced, yet humourous. It makes me look like a simpleton here in comparison.

On the topic of energy, I like to live on the edge and plug in my laptop to charge at the very last second when it gives me the about to die warning. Because I don’t have enough stress in my life.

Moving on, Peanut dragged his rear on the ground today and his scab rubbed off, leaving a red raw wound which hopefully will heal nicely and not be half skin and half dirt/grass as his previous scab was. I just realized the chlorhexidine label recommends only using it for 7 days. The painkillers were also provided for 7 days. My personal almost entirely uneducated opinion is that he needed at most 4 days of painkiller, but the chlorhexidine should continue to be applied for more than 7 days. I simply can’t wait until he is back to normal!

Speaking of normal, he had the cone off for half an hour this morning (don’t fret dear readers, he was being held to prevent wound access) and spent the entire time licking his legs and paws. This is an activity consistent with the diagnosis of a food allergy, which was suggested by the vet in response to his anal sac abscess. I never considered his licking particularly abnormal before, but now that I think about it, he does spend a significant amount of time licking himself. The book “Dog Food Logic”* suggests that beef, soy, and dairy are the most common allergens for dogs. Time for more research!

Oh yes, this post was to be about nutnut’s energy level. Yes, today I was trying to plan my course schedule for next term when I was lovingly attacked by a jumping, spinning, and panting dog who would not leave me alone! I’m not sure where his sudden burst of glee originated, but it merited immediate attention in the form of a nice walk. He continued to be jumpy and stretchy and loving all day.

And we saw a skunk in the neighbourhood for the second day in a row! Or, to be specific, I saw it and pnut did not. Thankfully. Also an Eagle in the field, with crows dive bombing it and cawing like mad! As pnut and I entered the park, the grand and majestic Eagle took off with a carcass firmly gripped in its claws. Good riddance! I have heard stories of Eagles (do I need to be capitalizing “Eagle”? whatever) stealing small dogs for lunchtime snacks, and I like my small dog please and thank you very much.

Getting away from scary ol' P-NUT as fast as he can

Getting away from scary ol’ P-NUT as fast as he can

* “Dog Food Logic : Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices” by Linda P. Case, M.S., published by Dogwise. I purchased a copy for myself and one for a friend after reading this review by Eileen of eileenanddogs. She runs a fantastic blog and highly recommends the book (God forbid I think for myself)!

Cheese & Hot Dogs

I’m not sure why I was so brain dead the first couple of days when I had to clean dog’s wounds and didn’t use food at all. I mean, he may never like it, but it can at least be a little more tolerable when yummies are involved! So today I grabbed the hot dogs and stuffed a couple in his face when I had a spare hand. My kind Mother holds him every day for the cleaning (terrible that he has to be forcibly restrained, I know 😦 ) and this morning he scratched her arms up good in his efforts to escape. But by the evening cleaning, he was much calmer about it. That is only three short trials using food, after two days of not, and already results are obvious! Note to self: don’t be a dummy; use food!

But where does the cheese come in? Every time he gets his 3 half pills of antibiotic, which is twice a day, I wrap each half in a bit of cheese. Yum! Cheese! And what a perfect time to train, when he is already getting delicious cheese. So yesterday and today, when I have given him the cheese in private, I preceded it with a tissue near the cone in order to counter condition to paper near his face. However, when other people were around, I felt terribly stupid doing so. Instead I settled for saying his name. In conclusion, I did not do what I said I was going to, which was do sessions to counter condition him to tissues near the cone. I felt an odd sense of responsibility, like I ought to do what I wrote on my blog that I was going to do. Really though, who is keeping track?! Obligation to a blog is not a source of stress I need to add to my life.

In happy news, the dog took a couple of cheerful walks today, finally pooped, and had a great time trying to get his ball while wearing the cone. It was so funny! He gets the ball between his paws, but can’t reach it with his mouth. He ends up trying to bite it through the cone, or pawing it until it is batted away and then runs and pounces on it. Endless hours of entertainment and I didn’t even have to chase him around to steal the ball! * And when I took him out for the first walk, he was so cheery, he practically bounced along the street! We ran into my Dad at the park (who was literally running). We had seen him maybe 5 minutes prior but Peanut jumped right up on him in a joyful greeting stretch. What a cutie.

In 100% not dog news, I painted a postcard today. I am proud.

*If I wanted to/was smart, I could use clicker training/shaping/positive reinforcement to teach him to bring me the ball and drop it at my feet or in my hand. I prefer to suffer.

 

the CONE of SHAME

I wish I had a picture uploaded…mi pobrecito is wearing his second cone of shame of the day. Que terrible! He could reach around the first e-collar but by the time I realized, the vet’s office was closed so I had to go somewhere else and pay for a second one. Urgh. He won’t walk anywhere and still has only peed once today, early this morning. It is now almost 11pm!

Long story short, he had an abcessed anal sac (sometimes referred to as an anal gland) which burst, and he was bloody and licking it like crazy. I called first thing this morning and we got in for 3pm; I was so incredibly nervous. It took a lot of effort and recalling of happy memories to not cry on the way there. Treatment in the vet’s office involved a shot of painkiller and some weird jelly stuff rubbed on his bum. Also, a muzzle, and lots of vomit on the floor. Vomit is apparently normal after getting the painkiller. He began panting (also related to the painkiller), and had hugely dilated pupils and stress wrinkles around his mouth (is “stress smile” a term commonly in use? ’cause that’s what he had), both of which I had never seen on him before. He seemed…spaced out. What a terribly stressful day for him 😦

Home treatment includes two weeks of 24/7 cone, painkiller 1X a day and antibiotic + bum bath 2X a day. I had to have my Mom restrain him while I did the bum bath. Oh it was so awful; I could never be a vet, or pediatric medical personnel. But my Mom reminded me that she had to restrain a screaming a kicking me for eye drops as a child, and that I quickly forgave her. I still hate eye drops. I think eye doctors probably hate me. What were we talking about?

Oh, dog. He wouldn’t eat for most of the day, until around 8 he allowed me to hand feed him kibble one by one. The worst part of this whole thing is clearly going to be applying the chemical laden cloth to his wound every morning and night. I cannot believe how incredibly squirmy he is and how tightly he can hold his tail down. I feel like such a cruel ash hat, but I think it is probably really important. I want to get some kind of heating pad that can stay heated all the time that he could have access to, to sit on/press his own rear end against instead of me having to forcibly apply it.

Definitely going to get them expressed by a vet tech if I ever ever see him scooting again…I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, just tried to get him to stop. Ah how I regret this! 😦 Not only did I screw myself over this time by letting it get so far, but I have effectively punished bum dragging such that he does not often engage in it anymore.

In other news, I was super pleased with the vet I saw. In fact, I was so impressed that I wrote reviews for two websites promoting her! I am going to copy some of that here because I want y’all to hear ye hear ye.

“Dr. Jodie Wilson was just incredible! I was so amazed at how understanding and knowledgeable she was about interacting with fearful dogs.
She suggested that we muzzle him but did not insist; I respected that very much. I agreed that though he has never bitten, I would feel more comfortable with him wearing it.
Dr. Jodie Wilson explained what she wanted to do as a treatment plan, why each of the elements were useful, and how much it would cost. [I have been to vet and doctor visits where I just feel like an idiot and like I am getting sent home with some magical pixie dust that cost an arm and a leg and I would never have agreed to purchase, had I known what I was getting into. So this was amazing.]
She also said that any time I want to come in and get a couple of treats so that he can begin to change his mind, I should feel free to do so! (And she was understanding when I said that he wasn’t there yet. Wow!)[Also, I have read so many times that this should be done. Also, Debbie Jacobs of Fearful Dogs Blog fame has managed to make the vet a not 100% awful place for her extremely fearful dog, Sunny; I am at a loss as to how she managed this. Also, also also.]”

Things in square brackets were not in my published reviews. I can’t explain how validated I felt when the vet commended me for knowing so much about fear reactivity in dogs. She said something along the lines of “It’s so great, it sounds like you’ve really spent a lot of time and dedicated yourself to learning about behaviour and helping this dog.” I just wanted to melt in satisfaction for finally having found someone who thinks what I know is useful and correct!! WOO! To my amazement, she offered to refer me to a veterinary behaviourist who could help me make a plan and carry it out. I declined because I don’t want to spend $250+tax (estimated) to hear someone explain counter conditioning to me. Not that I want to insult veterinary behaviourists. Although I did hear that a bunch of them banded together to write a really crappy uncoordinated inaccurate book full of contradictions (hint hint to anyone out there who hears of this book and considers buying it…don’t).

The cherry that broke the camel’s back – pnut has gained 1.6kg since his weigh-in last year. That is a whopping 32% increase in body weight. Appalling! I always obsess about whether he is getting too fat or too skinny. I thought he was so handsome – I guess not! Overweight-ity can be a contributor to anal sac problems, so we need to fix this right away. No more table scraps, fatty!

Totally unrelated: I never watch soccer, but being friends with all the Colombians has encouraged me to follow the World Cup. After watching a couple of soccer matches, the NHL play-off game paled in comparison! Surprising. I thought I was married to hockey. I guess this makes me a bad Canadian eh?