Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back on Track

I did some tracking with Zodiac today so yes, pun intended. I just laid a few short tracks in the yard to see how he did. I even put a turn in one, which probably wasn't needed on the first day back after months off, but I thought we'd give it a try. He did great. Hardly got off the track at all and handled the turn quite well.

Lyric did weave poles with almost no help today! I'm so excited to start running her at trials. For local people who want to spectate, our upcoming NADAC trial will be the Lake Country Soccer Arena on Pythian (off Chestnut) June 19-20. For non-locals who compete in NADAC this will be indoors on soccer turf and air-conditioned. I can get you a premium!

I caught Moses napping today and decided to try and get some pictures. He actually let me come all the way up to him without getting up or running off. Which is a little odd. He's usually all about eating the fresh grass when he's turned out. Hopefully he's feeling ok. He's been napping quite a bit today.

So sleepy!

And here is Lyric, just because she is cute.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nothing much

Not much going on here. The day started out cool and rainy. It's still a hair cool, but it's sunny and not too breezy so I finally drug myself outside to set up the agility equipment. It was in a pile still from mowing the yard. I was glad I did, Lyric and Legend were both super today. Zodiac had an average obedience practice. Sometimes I think we should just focus on tracking, but we've already gotten this far...

I managed to take a few photos today too. I didn't do anything special to them. Too lazy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Training Updates

Zodiac's utility has been up and down. The other day we had an absolutely disastrous article practice. I don't know what was wrong. Today we worked on signals and directed jumping outside. It was so-so. Then we did articles inside. Much better than the other day. It's been about 9 months since last summer when we did a "practice" trial. I wish I could say there has been a lot of improvement in consistency and understanding but I don't think it's as much as I'd hoped for. And we haven't done tracking since fall. I need to get on that again. So many dogs, so little time.

Legend is doing fine. She's back up to getting her weave poles most of the time. I forgot to mention she nailed all of them at the trial. She's also doing well with open obedience exercises. If she could get over all her trial stress everything would be great!

Lyric is doing different sequences-pinwheels, serpentines, 180s, etc. We are also working on rear crosses and sending to obstacles. She's a trooper!

Trip is doing soooo much better on house breaking. I can actually get away with not watching him like a hawk and taking him out every 15 minutes. Which is great because since he's out of his crate a lot, he is tired more! Just a little while ago, he laid down on the living room floor to take a nap! We are however having a problem with him in the morning. He wakes up and wants to potty around 5:30, which is fine, but he won't go back to sleep. He wants to bark for an hour and then he finally goes back to sleep until the rest of us are ready to get up. Some mornings I put him outside. He still barks some but we can't hear it as much and eventually he goes off to play or just hangs out on the deck. He likes to sit in the lawn chairs as you can see in the picture! Next week he gets neutered-all ready to adopt! Any takers? He's a great dog, but he needs his own home where someone has lots of time for him. All his cute puppy days are getting wasted on us!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunny Day Photos

These are from yesterday. My phlox look great this year! They purple have really taken off.

My lilac bush-blooming and it smells great too
Squirt-looking handsome as usual

Monday, April 19, 2010

NADAC Run4Rescue Trial

We (Legend, Trip, Lyric, Cheri, Vixen, Xena, and I!!) headed to Wichita this weekend for a NADAC trial. Other than multiple mishaps with the driving portion (wrong turns, closed roads, and a dead battery) it went pretty well.

Legend started out with 3Qs right off the bat in Novice Weavers, Open Jumpers, and Open Chances. It was her first time in Open Chances so I was really happy about that one. And the Jumpers finished her Open Jumpers title. Then she seemed a little pokey in Elite regular, and something caused us to NQ but I don't remember what. I let Cheri run her in the next round to see if it perked her up, and it did. She ran great for Cheri-but she lost time either looking for me or thinking she was done and headed for the exit. So they NQ'd on time faults. Then I ran her in Novice Touch and GO where she took an off course tunnel.

Sunday started out with Elite regular-first round we struggled with the hoops, she'd rather go to the jumps. Round two was a Q, Elite jumpers was clean but over time. She started out a little slow and got faster, but not fast enough for Elite NADAC courses! The chances course was hard, but she tried and then we finished up with a Q in open Tunnelers which finished her title.

Trip did great on his first big trip. He was really good in the car, hotel, and at the trial. A lot of people really liked him but they all seemed to think they had enough dogs already!

And check out this magnet I bought. Right now it's on the fridge, but I will move it to the car once it's cleaned. Remind you of anyone?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

As Promised

Here are some new pictures. These are the cats trying to stay out of reach of a certain young puppy! Icy is hiding in a laundry basket in case you can't tell. Jelly is on top of the wardrobe in our bedroom.

I took Lyric to the agility field today to practice the chute again and she did great. She's not going through on her own but I only have to lift it a little bit for her to see and comes right on through. We are also working on sending to obstacles and rear crosses. She's a champ at front crosses but working ahead of me is harder-I don't anticipate needing it that much but NADAC requires all that silly distance work!
Legend nailed 3 sets of weave poles right off the bat today so we quit on that note. Don't want to mess her up before the trial this weekend.
That's about all I know today. Off to Wichita tomorrow for a weekend of NADAC!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Squirt Update

Squirt's lameness has improved slowly, but he still wasn't normal. And he really objected to having his leg bent. So I had the horse vet come out again. She injected some steroids into his joint. He seems to be moving around better now. She said I could ride him, just not overdo it. Since I don't ride much anyway, that seemed fair enough.

My lilac bush is blooming this year. I'll post a picture when it's more fully bloomed out. I've been waiting for it to bloom a long time. It was going to last year, then it froze.

I've been lazy about taking pictures lately. But maybe I'll get some new ones up soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Twelve poles forward, two steps back

Legend was doing great at her weave pole performance. Until this week. She's starting to pop out at pole 10 again. Today wasn't as bad as her last session but it wasn't as good as before. Oh well, I hadn't expected it to be that easy anyway.

Lyric continues to improve by leaps and bounds. Her understanding of weave poles seems to come and go, but she's getting there. I need to get her out to the field to work on the chute more, or fix mine.

Zodiac has ups and downs with utility. His articles have been a little better, although we have not worked them much. Right now we are struggling the most with gloves. I tried to practice his turns separately from actually getting the gloves. I needed to improve his turns for one, and two, he wasn't being that accurate on the glove retrieval. Well, his turns are a lot better, but not so much his accuracy. He seems fixated on glove number two.

I spent the weekend helping at a MOKAN booth at a local herding trial. We brought Trip, but no one showed much interest. No one we would approve anyway. This weekend though he's going to a NADAC trial with us, so hopefully better luck there.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Take two

Several years ago, when we bought our first house, we decided having a vegetable garden would be a good idea. We found a nice spot, dug up all the grass, and planted several nice rows of seeds. The next day the rainstorm of the century (all right, that might be an exageration) came and washed all the little seeds out of their rows. After that we couldn't tell which plants were weeds and what were our plants so we let everything grow. Then the whole thing became such a mess that we just quit taking care of it. We ended up with like one tomato and two tiny cucumbers. We decided not to try gardening again.

This year I thought enough time had passed that I was brave enough to try again. After three days of back breaking digging I had a nice spot dug up. This time I bought mostly started plants instead of seeds. I have terrible luck growing anything from seed. Once I realized how big some of them will get I realized I had purchased toomany. So I had to plant some things in an alternate location.

In a couple months we will see if I have any produce! I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Endocrine Disease

Endocrine diseases are some of my least favorite topics. They can be confusing and complicated and hard for clients (and often veterinarians) to understand. Today I thought I would do an overview of some of the more common endocrine diseases in dogs in hopes that it might help someone better understand them, or what to be watching for in their own pet.

Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland and is the most common endocrine disorder of the dog. Fortunately it is also the simplest! The thyroid gland can be thought of as the metabolic control center of the body. So, in simple terms, everything slows down when the thyroid gland is not working enough (not producing enough thyroid hormone). The most common cause of this is idiopathic atrophy, meaning that the thyroid tissue is replaced by fatty tissue for unknown reasons, and lymphocytic thyroiditis, which is an inflammatory condition that allows the thyroid tissue to be replaced other kinds of cells. Neither of these conditions is a cancer or systemic disease. It is limited to the thyroid gland and all the effects are secondary to the lack of hormone production.

Common signs of hypothyroidism include lethargy, weight gain with a normal to decreased appetite, dull, dry coat including hair loss, seeking warm places to sleep, and decreased heart rate. There are other, less frequent signs, including seizures, which can occur if left untreated.

Diagnosis is made by simple blood testing. The most common test and usually the first one run is total T4 level. If this is low, then there will likely be some follow up testing to confirm the diagnosis. Usually this is active or unbound T4. Most thyroid hormone circulating is bound to a protein which makes it inactive. The total T4 tests the bound (inactive) hormone plus the unbound (active ) hormone. It's only the active we really care about. So the second test will give us that result and confirm the diagnosis. If your vet strongly suspects your dog is hypothyroid then they may run both tests at the same time, or some other thyroid panel, depending on their lab. The second test is relatively expensive, so the T4 is usually done first as a screening test.

Treatment for hypothyroidism is simple and involves giving your dog a small pill of synthetic thyroid hormone. This is usually given twice daily and is life long. There will be some follow up testing to make sure the dose is correct but once stable testing will only need to be done once or twice a year.

Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes Mellitus is a lack of insulin production which subsequently decreases uptake of glucose from the blood stream into the cells. The initial cause of the decreased insulin production is not well understood but could include pancreatic disease, obesity, genetics, infection, immune-mediated, or rarely neoplasia.

Hallmark signs of diabetes are increased urination and thirst along with weight loss with a normal to increased appetite. Cataracts are another common finding. Left untreated, pets with diabetes can develop a severe condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis. Dogs with this advanced problem will often have decreased appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. These dogs typically require hospitalization and intensive care.

Diagnosis can be as simple as a blood glucose test and urinalysis (excess glucose spills into the urine). It is advisable, however, to have a more thorough blood testing done to screen for other concurrent or underlying problems. Abdominal radiographs or ultrasound are a good idea as well, although they are normal in most cases.

Treatment is aimed at controlling the clinical signs and regulating the blood glucose levels. This is typically done with a special diet and insulin administration. Usually the insulin is given twice daily (yes, you will have to give your dog an injection but the needle is very small!). Your veterinarian will likely have you do some monitoring at home and adjust the insulin dose based on these results. Usually this is with urine testing but some people purchase a glucose meter and do blood testing at home. Your vet will also likely do some blood glucose testing in the clinic, frequently at first, and then less as your pet become regulated and the correct dose of insulin is found.

Diabetic cataracts can be removed in most cases by an ophthalmologist. Dogs with diabetes are predisposed to urinary tract infections and doing a urinalysis or culture 1-2 times a year is frequently recommended.

Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing's Disease
Cushing's disease is production of too much cortisol hormone by the adrenal gland. Most cases of Cushing's disease are caused by a benign tumor in the pituitary gland. The tumor causes an increase in an intermediate hormone that subsequently causes the adrenal gland to work overtime. A few dogs with Cushing's disease will have a tumor in the adrenal gland itself.

The most common signs are increased urination and thirst, increased appetite, a pot-bellied appearance, increased panting, hair loss, and muscle weakness.

Diagnosis can be complicated and expensive. Results of basic bloodwork and clinical signs can often give your vet a suspicion of Cushing's disease. The degree of suspicion often dictates which test will be run next. Frequently it takes multiple tests to finally arrive at the diagnosis.

There are currently several drugs that have been tried in the treatment of Cushing's disease. Unfortunately most (or all, I have not priced them all) are relatively expensive and some can have significant side effects if given inappropriately. Follow up tests (again, expensive) are then done to make sure dosing is at the desired level. Control of clinical signs is also a primary treatment goal. Some dogs have blood tests that indicate early Cushing's disease but no clinical signs. These dogs are usually just monitored and not treated until more abnormalities develop. Radiation therapy can be used in dogs with large pituitary tumors and removal of the adrenal gland is the recommended treatment for dogs with adrenal tumors.

Generally speaking these are all disease of middle-aged to older dogs. Hope this had been informative!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Here is the other picture of the sky. That's a fake sun. I just thought it looked cool when I added it in. It's cloudy and windy here today, but warm. I've been pretty lazy this afternoon-probably because I had to get up early. But Trip was nice enough to sleep until I did have to get up! Plus he didn't pee in his crate while I was gone.

Legend is excited that agility classes start tomorrow. Actually both of us are! Hopefully it won't rain.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

We didn't travel anywhere this Easter, but there was no shortage of activity this weekend. Jerry's friend Aaron was in town so on Saturday we all went to Silver Dollar City and were joined by Kristen and Kennedy. It was a perfect day to go-not too hot, not too cold, and not too busy. Some of the ride lines were a bit long but we still got to get in quite a few of them before closing time. Here are Kennedy and I riding the bouncy frogs.

Kennedy in the lady bug at the baby playground

The big kids riding the little kid roller coaster
Kennedy on the butterfly ride.
Kennedy and Kristen on the butterfly ride.

Yesterday we went to church and then worked in the yard. Jerry got the tractors ready for mowing and I decided to start digging up ground for a vegetable garden. I only got it about 25% done and today my back is killing me. Not a good sign. Who knows when that will get done. Then we put together our fire pit and bench and had a little fire when it got dark.
In the afternoon there were some clouds gathering behind the neighbor's bradford pears and I thought it made some good photos. I have another one but I'll post it later. I thought I had it up but turned out I had this one posted twice. Anyway, you get the idea.
The dogs had a great day yesterday-they got to play in the yard all afternoon and use the pool whenever they wanted. They were all quite tired when we got in for the evening. Oh, and Trip's ears are now up if anyone is interested.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Life with dogs

This is what happens when Jerry tries to do his stretches for his arms when the dogs are loose.
By the way, Trip's urine sample was normal. So it's just back to lots of supervision and trips outside.

Today I took Lyric out to the training field to do some agility in a new environment and expose her to equipment that wasn't ours. She has very little hesitation about anything and was not bothered by being in a new place at all. And we got to get started on learning the chute. A good day!