Saying goodbye

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This is Faith’s mum, Cath here. Since Faith had a tummy upset a few weeks ago she just hadn’t been right. A bit off her food. No longer wanting to sleep on the bed at our feet – she’d get up for a pat, then get down and roam the house during the night. Playing with her toys briefly, then lying down again.

Part of the problem was, having gone off her food, it was hard to get her medications down her. At 9 pills a day, forcing her to take them wasn’t an option. She used to like cream cheese but got sick of it. Then pate until this most recent tummy upset. Since then we’d had some luck with fancy cat treat paste but even then she was often only getting some of her meds. The more doses she missed, the worse she felt, the less likely she was to eat.

Earlier this week she asked to get up on Tony’s knee a number of times and stayed for a few minutes, which is rare – she’s never been a cuddly dog in that sense.

On Monday she refused dinner and therefor meds, and I woke in the night and could hear her roaming the house endlessly. I let her outside and she was gone ages, and when she came back she wouldn’t settle. She roamed endlessly all night. She refused her breakfast and just wasn’t right. I rang the vet and got an afternoon appointment.

New Zealand is in total lockdown so we had to explain to the vet in the carpark what was happening and he took her in to examine. Basically nothing new was wrong, but her heart failure and Cushing’s disease were slowly getting out of control because of the medications being missed. We felt she was sick of it, sick of the doctored food, and ready to go. The vet agreed and we made the decision to put her to sleep. We couldn’t even go with her, but she was used to the vets. He came back out and said she’d gone very peacefully to sleep.

We’ve had a lot of dogs over the years and, at 14, Faith outlived them all by a good margin. I’ve loved all my dogs but Faith was the baby I never had. I am pleased we were able to give her a good quality of life for so long, and able to let her go rather than living a poor-quality life. I know Mum will have greeted her on the other side. We loved you Faith; thank you for being the best pup we could have wished for.

 

 

Recovering

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I’ve been a very sick wee dog. I got a tummy bug. Because of my fragile health I  was so sick Dad said I was “sitting on the edge of the coffin” — whatever that means.

Dad went to Hawera one night to get me pain relief injections. They were supposed to be 2 a day max and I had 4 in 12 hours. In all the years I have been sick Mum says I have never ever cried like it; I kept whimpering and sort of squealing.

I spent a day at the vets on an IV. I gave up eating and for days refused all medication – even managing to cough it back up when Mum shoved it halfway down my throat. At 9 pills a day, forcing me wasn’t an option long-term.

I’ve always slept on the bed, at Mum’s feet, but didn’t want to anymore, and roamed the house all night because I felt so yuk. Mum and Dad were talking about me having a “really big sleep” and seemed really sad.

Anyway, one of Mum’s friends on Twitter suggested they offer me this fancy [expensive] cat treat stuff. Yum! It’s super smelly and tasty and I love it. Mum & Dad mix all my pills into it and put it on top of my food, and I pretend I don’t know about the pills.

I’m back to eating like a Labrador, chasing the cat and yapping randomly. Mum and Dad said I gave them a fright. Whatever! (this is me with my sort-of-friend Bruno)

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How I’m progressing

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My bad mother hasn’t updated my blog since since November! I know she’s busy but I’m important…

In November I was taking 120mg of Vetoryl twice a day for Cushings. My vet, Brendon, was worried because the dose needed to go up again to 160mg twice  day (from memory). I was taking 8 times the dose of another local dog literally 10x my weight! So he had a talk to a specialist in the USA who suggested feeding me more calories with my meds to increase absorption.

What a miracle! My dose has been dropped once, and was dropped again last week. I’m now on 100mg twice a day and it may go down more yet.

So how am I doing? I’m not a dog who plays wit other dogs, never have been. Yesterday Mum’s best friend Sandra came to stay for the night and took Dad out for the day. I got all excited when I saw her wee dog, Bruno, and actually instigated some play time, including doing the play bow which I have never done before. I also happily shared my sheepskin rub for an afternoon nap.

When I get up in the morning my tail is wagging and as we head to bed at night my tail is wagging. For most of the time in-between I’m sleeping, except for a quick play when Mum gets home from work. So, just like any pensioner, I sleep, eat and play (briefly) when I feel up to it. So, how am I doing? Pretty good thanks 🙂

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Health update – Cushing’s Disease

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It’s been a while since I told you how I’m doing. I’m having blood tests very regularly because Mum and Dad, and Brendon the vet, can’t get my Cushing’s Disease under control. I’ve just gone up to 120mg twice a day, which is a big dose. I’ll have blood tests again in a fortnight.

The Cushing’s makes me itchy, so I have an anti-itch injection once a month. Dad took me to get groomed last week, to help stop me itching as we head into summer. Now my coat is very short it’s much more obvious what a barrel I am – a round tummy is one of the side effects of Cushing’s. I’ve got tiny little legs though!

My pills cost a huge amount every month now; with blood tests, pills and so one, the bill is always $1,00+ a month. Mum and Dad say it’s a very good thing they love me.

I’m still happy and yappy and full of beans. I turned 14 in October so, like most pensioners I rest a lot but that’s ok. Here is a photo of my new look (the bare patches on my neck are from blood tests):

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My health & chicken chasing

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It’s been a while since Mum updated you, so here goes.

We’re having trouble keeping my Cushing’s under control, so my meds have more than doubled since last time we wrote. I’m having more blood tests on Tuesday and, if the amount I am drinking is any indication, the dose will be increasing again. Mum says it’s a very good thing we have pet insurance because all my pills now cost almost $500 a month, and that’s without other vet costs including al the blood tests. As the vet, Brendon, said “I’m a lucky girl!”.

“Not our chickens” are looking very grown up. The rooster is beautiful; at night he sleeps on the fence opposite the back door. The hens pull a branch down and sleep on the leaves and he sleeps just above them. Sometimes I catch them inside the gate and then I chase the rooster. He keeps just in front of me, and I run around yapping excitedly. Mum says he’s not scared of me. Whatever … it’s a fun game even if I do get a bit tired out and need a nap afterwards.

 

I’m doing well

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I’m doing well on my revised Cushing’s medication – yappy, happy and less sleepy than I was. My vet, Brendan, has tried me on a monthly injection instead of daily tablets for my super itchy skin – a side effect of Cushings – and that’s helped too.

My chickens are quite big now and I’m more relaxed about them, but still pretty fascinated.

It’s almost Easter so Dad is having a few Hot X Buns. I think they smell great but they’ve got sultanas in them. Yuk!! I won’t touch them…or anything like them.

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Cushing’s Disease update

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My appointment at the vets went ok. Turns out my Cushing’s was a bit out of control so my meds have been increased by 50%. Thank dog Mum and Dad have pet insurance for me because I cost a lot to run 😉

I’m a little less sleepy now, which is good, and not quite so itchy but we can’t tell if that s the meds or the super short haircut…

In the meantime “not our chickens” have got really big and one of the chooks is sitting on 9 eggs so chicken tv is set to continue for a couple of months yet.

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Looking out the car window at the vets

Chickens and vets

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I loved having the chooks from across the road visit and then a MAGIC thing happened – they had babies. Oh my!! I love the chickens and spend literally hours lying at the gate watching them. One came over the gate and, despite being ancient and creaky, I chased it all round the yard 😉

I’ve been doing ok, but the hot weather makes me super itchy and I scratch all the time. The itchiness is a side effect of my Cushing’s Disease. I have a vet appointment tomorrow and both Mum and Dad are coming with me. Something about “balancing quality of life versus quantity” because Mum thinks I need more anti-itch medicine even if it makes my Cushings deteriorate faster. On Friday I am getting a full groom to cool me off so hopefully I itch less.

I sleep heaps now, and sometimes I’m a bit hard to wake. My bad eye is cloudier than it used to be and I have trouble seeing so I won’t go pee at night unless the security light is on because I can’t judge the back steps properly. But I can still yap excitedly when the fancy takes me, so life’s pretty good really.

 

Doing well

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I have settled on the higher dose of medicine for my Cushings and seem much better. I play hard some of the time, yap at the chooks when they come to visit from the neighbours, and have a great appetite. I do sleep a lot but I’m old with lots of things wrong with me, so that’s ok. Yay for the vets 🙂

Mum took my photo while I was yawning – very rude of her…

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My latest blood tests

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I had routine blood tests last week. It’s a few months since the vet wanted them done because my Cushing’s Disease has been well controlled. It’s not well controlled any more so Mum & Dad have agreed with the vet that my medication has to be doubled. Vetoryl does have some risks, but so does the Cushings.

I’m 12 years old and have Cushing’s Disease, heart disease, a dodgy liver and pancreas, two luxating patella and one eye that has age-related issues. Depsite all that, the vet commented I’m remarkably healthy and perky. So it’s well worth increasing the medication and seeing how things go.

When Mum comes home at night I play hard for a while, I bark to keep the street under control, and my tail is always wagging – so life’s pretty good!

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