Goldie turned 12

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My fursister Goldie turned 12 three days ago, which means I am 11. For her birthday Mum and Dad got her a big checkup at the vets. I don’t think she liked her present because she scratched Brendan and had to be sedated before he could do anything with her. Brendan said she was purring and looking cute in her cage … and he fell for it … she really isn’t trustworthy.

She has a cracked tooth that needs removing, and arthritis in her back hips which is why she doesn’t always want to jump onto the bench to get her food. Mind you, if they put her food on the floor, I try to eat it and it makes my tummy hurt. Other than that, she’s in great shape. And in fine voice; she has done nothng but yell and eat since she got home. Oh, and I’m still scared of her!

goldie lookin

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Pain relief and decisions

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Faith’s not doing well and it doesn’t seem to be any one thing. The harsh reality is she has eye problems, luxating patella, pancreas & liver issues, heart disease and Cushing’s Disease. Some days she feels unwell. We met with Brendan a week ago and agreed to start her on Glucosamine for the knees, which takes 4-6 weeks to have a decent impact, but also give her codeine as needed. This is the third day in a row she has looked miserable and ended up having codeine with her breakfast; she even had some after dinner last night. I’m not sure how sustainable this is because our decisions have to be about her quality of life. As we approach her 11th birthday this just feels so sad.

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Back to the vets

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Last week Mum was away for 5 days at a conference for her work, so it was just Dad and me. I was a bit miserable, and Dad was worried about me – why was I in pain, was my tummy sore, my knees, what? I made awful coughing/choking noises when Mum got home after I ran really fast, so perhaps my heart medication wasn’t working properly.  He made an appointment for me to see our new vet, Brendan, yesterday.

Brendan checked me out pretty thoroughly. The coughing is just small dog tracheal problems, which we already knew about. My heart congestion is about the same as it was. We agree surgery on my knees is not an option because of my heart, so I am going to start on Glucosamine but it takes 4-6 weeks to have an impact. We came to the conclusion that, with my multiple health issues, I just feel yuk some days.  When I’m having a bad day Mum or Dad will give me a teensy dose of codeine so I feel better.

In the meantime, the heater is on, and life is good.

faith heater 20170930

 

It’s the eyes again

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Over the years Faith has had a lot of eye issues. When she was a pup we were nursing Mum so she grew up keeping out of the way – she always walked slightly behind and to the side of Mum to avoid getting trodden on. She walks closer to Tony, but is cautious of me because of my walking stick. She never ever gets under our feet. Until now…

About a week ago I walked into her in the evening, and thought nothing of it. It happened again, and I still didn’t connect the dots. Then Tony walked into her in broad daylight and I suddenly clicked that we have a problem.

I hopped on Google and looked up her illnesses and medications and found a potential link between Cushing’s Disease and SARDS (sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome). I rang the vet and asked for an urgent appointment, and got in the same day.

Brendan checked her over thoroughly and agreed there’s a problem, additional to her existing eye problem which we saw Craig Irving about a couple of years ago. He referred us to Anna at their Hawera branch, as she specialises in eyes. Faith has three appointments in a row on Tuesday so Anna can really spend some time checking her out.

Now we are paying more attention, we can see other signs all is not right with her vison, so it’ll be interesting to see what Anna finds. Poor wee Faith, it’s all a bit endless, but most of the time she is her normal perky self so I guess we’re ok for now.

Doggles Sept 15

 

 

Me and my dogsitter

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If Mum and Dad have to go away all day Mum’s art friend Sharon, and her son Lucas, dogsit me. They let me out at lunchtime for a pee and give me my medication at tea time, and another pee break of course. They play with me and rub my tummy too.

This week Mum and Dad went on a shopping trip to celebrate Dad’s 71st birthday and a year since Mum has weight loss surgery. Even Goldie, my cat-sister, was pleased to see them both. We shared Sharon’s knee for a cuddle but I don’t really like sitting with Goldie because she’s often mean to me.

a sharon and faith

I had a friend come to stay

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Mum’s best friend of 48 years, Sandra, came to visit with her puppy Bruno, a 10 month old Malshi. I’ve never really played with Sandra’s Miniature Schnauzers over the years. I sort of tolerated them and hide a bit. Mum and Dad admit they never socialised me. Anyway…

Bruno and I weigh the same, 4.6kg, but he’s much longer than me and fluffier so looks bigger. I didn’t hide at all, made a few attempts at playing, and even told him off a couple of times. I never had the confidence to be the boss dog with Max or Zak despite being older than them. I seemed to know Bruno is just a pup.

So, we sat together, went outside together, and generally hung round. It was great! I may have made a friend…

 

 

Doing well on her new meds

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Faith is doing well on her new meds, and so she at $250 worth of pills in the last month, plus the cost of tests etc! She’s perky and yappy, and playing with her toys every night, which she hadn’t been doing. We let her set the pace (always have really but Massey wanted to make sure we don’t push her heart)  and she stops when she’s had enough.

She’s now been on Vetoryl for Cushing’s Disease for 9 days so tomorrow she has the first of a series of blood tests to ensure the levels are right. So it’ll be some time with Brendon at the vets for her.

I sent off a pet insurance claim for $1100 yesterday, and that doesn’t include the July account for $550 we just received – Southern Cross Pet Insurance must love us 😉faith dry 2016-03

Starting Cushing’s treatment

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Faith starts treatment today for Cushing’s Disease, using a drug called Vetoryl.  According to one UK website:

Cushing’s syndrome is a disorder that seriously affects your dog’s health, vitality and apperance. Also known as hyperadrenocorticism, it is one of the most common endocrine disorders, occurring mostly in middle aged and older dogs.

Dogs with Cushing’s syndrome produce excessive amounts of cortisol, an important hormone that helps regulate the body’s metabolism. This can have harmful effects on other organs and on the ability of the body to regulate itself.

The vet said to start the meds today because she needs monitoring bloods in 10 days, and it needs to fit with his schedule as he’s only here a couple of days a week. The Vetoryl needs to be taken with food, but the Vetmedin for her heart on an empty stomach. She gets Vetmedin in a little cream cheese first, then wait an hour and give her some dog food and the Vetoryl in cream cheese. Tricky!

The Vetoryl has some serious risks but we know what to watch for, and the Cushing’s needs to be treated, so fingers crossed…

 

 

 

All Faith’s new meds!

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We spoke to Laura at Massey on Thursday, and had a meeting with Brendon at Patea Vets Friday. All the tests have confirmed Faith has Endocardiosis (degenerative heart disease common in smaller breeds, in her case left Mitral Valve) and Cushing’s Disease which is caused by a benign tumour of the pituitary gland which causes an increase on Cortisol.

We had a good chat with Brendon about the medication benefits and risks, life expectancy and all the terrible detail. The Vetmedin for Endocardiosis was a simple decision, but meds for Cushing’s less so as there are some real risks. On the other hand, so has the Cushing’s Disease and we’d rather be proactive. She has also started on anti-itch meds today as there’s a tangential impact from the Cushing’s to do with her skin, so the itching is chronic!

Over the years Faith  as had a lot of medication and, despite Brendon’s rather hopeful suggestion, she won’t consider Vetmedin a treat. (For Kiwi readers – Tui moment) It’s meant to be taken on an empty stomach but that ain’t gonna happen!! Last night I shoved it down her neck in two bits as it’s quite big for a small dog, and one bit came back out. This morning I tried it, in two bits again, in Brie and she sniffed the cheese to see if it was medicated then ate carefully round it. I got it down her latter on by speed feeding her a cheese slice, some of which had tablet mashed into it. I can see this is going to be quite a trial at 5 or 6 pills a day…

She’s her normal happy self. Massey said to let her set the pace in terms of exercise, but we never exercise her. She chooses to go outside and wander round, and also when to play, how hard, and how long – easy! We’re fine. It’s worrying that she is unwell yet again but we have good vets, good insurance and Tony is with her al day to keep an eye on things. So really, we’re in a very fortunate position.

FAith blood tests july 2017

My medical (mis)adventures

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This week Dad took me for a 2 hour drive to Massey Veterinary Teaching Hospital for some tests because, well, lots of things really. I travelled in my doggie car seat so I could see out the window and it makes me a much happier passenger. No shaking or anything!

They did an ultrasound of my heart and tummy, and  blood tests, and I peed on Dad while I was still woozy from the sedation. I got spoilt all day by the staff, who think I am cute.

I have an enlarged heart, enlarged liver, a gallstone, collapsing trachea and infected anal glands. Mum and Dad already knew some of this; it goes with my dodgy left eye and two Luxating Patella. The Drs are not sure of the right diagnosis for my heart so have sent for a second opinion from Australia before starting any medication.

Despite all this, I’m my usual happy self so we’re just continuing on as usual. I sleep a lot, play hard in short bursts, and watch food like a hawk. #SituationNormal

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