Monday, January 31, 2011

A blizzard? Really?

For days the weather forecasters have been predicting a significant winter weather event, for lack of a better term, since no one can decide exactly what we will be getting and how much. I have heard everything from 0.25-0.75 inches of ice followed by anywhere from 3-20 inches of snow. But today when when I checked the weather channel I was surprised (shocked, really) to see a BLIZZARD warning for tomorrow.  Seriously?  In southwest Missouri?  Never, ever, have I seen a blizzard warning, much less an actual blizzard. Probably no big deal to my northern friends but here, it's a pretty big deal.  People are freaking out.  I have a house full of food and permission to stay home from work so all is good here.  So far. 

And of course when I came home and fed the dogs, Po promptly started puking multiple times with plastic and other toy pieces in it.  Sigh.  He seems to feel fine though, is playing with a non-edible, indestructible toy right now and has not vomited in a while.  Hopefully everything passes out one end or another.  I had already taken up the plastic floor runners I had under his pen days ago (part of the plastic vomitus) and have now taken all but the toughest plastic toys away from him.  So hopefully is we get through this there will be no other things he can ingest available to him.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back to agility

Scheduled agility break over, snow melted, four day weekend.  Must be time to get the girls back in shape for all the spring trials.  The first day back they seemed a bit rusty on their weaves but by day two they were running them quite well.  I was especially pleased with Lyric's poles-we were at a friend's house so it was a relatively new location, 12 poles (at 22 inches which is a spacing she's not used to) and after several weeks off and she did great.   I was also please with Legend's discrimination work.  Maybe it will be a good spring!

Of course now that we are getting back to training there is supposedly a huge storm coming.  No telling what will actually transpire but of course people are already freaking out buying up groceries like crazy.  We tend to just cross our fingers and hope it's not really going to be that bad.  Usually this works for us but someday I predict it may not!

We had a pretty productive weekend in addition to agility, I know what's more productive than agility?  I got some closets and cabinets cleaned and we got some shopping and errands done, plus cleaned up the barn and got a load of hay delivered.  No new pictures though, sorry.

Also, a request-as we continue along with our pet poisons series what toxins do you guys want to hear about?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Say Cheese...actually not just yet

After I finally had my wisdom teeth pulled last year my dentist told me about a new program they were offering called Six Month Smiles.  Basically it's a cosmetic braces system that straightens the teeth but does not correct your bite or align your jaw.  This makes it a simpler procedure with a shorter treatment time (average of 6 months) than conventional orthodontics.  This seemed like a fair enough deal to me so I got signed up and started yesterday.

Right now I only want to eat foods that don't need to be chewed and then only if I'm really hungry.  Fortunately it can only get better from here and in six months I should happily be saying "cheese!"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pet Poisons Part 5

Grapes and Raisins

By now, most people (well, most educated dog-loving people) are aware of the relatively recent realization that grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs.  The big questions are "why" and "how much?"

I know you are all excited about the answers to those questions and the truth is, so am I!  As soon as they figure it out I will let you know.  But so far it seems we still don't have a definitive answer.  So what do we know?  So far fungus, pesticides, and heavy metals have been ruled out as the culprit.  It also appears the toxicant is in the flesh of the fruit and not related to the seeds.  For this reason we presume grape seed extract (whatever that is used for) to be safe.

So what about how much is toxic?  The lowest recorded amount of grapes to cause acute renal failure is 0.7 oz per kilogram (about 9.5 ounces for a 30 lb dog).  The lowest recorded amount for raisins is 0.11 oz per kilogram (about 1.5 ounces for the same 30 lb dog).  However, smaller amounts may cause problems, we just don't know enough to be sure.  To complicate matters more, not all dogs appear susceptible to this toxin-some can tolerate large amounts with no problems.  Cats may be affected too but there is limited knowledge on this as most cats won't eat grapes or raisins.

Signs of grape or raisin toxicosis include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, abdominal pain and decreased urine production.

Treatment includes induction of vomiting, administration of activated charcoal and symptomatic treatment along with fluid therapy and appropriate monitoring to combat the renal failure associated with severe intoxication. 

If renal failure develops prognosis is guarded but with early and aggressive treatment many will recover.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The face of innocence


Po is hitting a naughty phase! At some point (no one saw or heard anything) we think he pestered the cat and got scratched in the eye. He could have poked it on a stick or something but my guess would be a cat. He's going to fine but probably with a scar.

Apparently he consumed an entire plastic toy this week without us knowing. I know now because I've been watching him poop out piles of rainbow colored tubing. At least he chewed it up small enough to pass through!

And he comes back to the door to be let in but then refuses to come in because he does not want to be kenneled.

Ahh puppies. Who wants to adopt him before he loses a limb? Also he's getting huge.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bags, bags, bags

When I got my laptop I wanted a bag/case to carry it in but I wanted one that was cuter than the boring black ones they sell in the store.  So of course I went to Etsy and found this great store Zoe's Bag Boutique.  I can't recommend it enough. There are lots of choices of bags, totes, purses and carrying cases with tons of cool fabrics.  If you don't find exactly what you want she will be happy to work with you on a custom order.  I had her make me this laptop case and messenger bag-so cute!  Way better than from Best Buy.
The laptop case will fit inside the other bag making the whole setup perfect for work, conferences, whatever.  Even with a custom order it was finished and shipped very fast and Karen was always super fast at getting back to me out finding out exactly what I wanted and updating  me on the status of my order.

While we are on the subject of bags I have to share some of the other shops on Etsy I found in case some of you have little ones in your life.  I bought a child's backpack from each of these shops as Christmas presents for the kids on our list.  Both turned out beyond cute and were very good quality.  Etsy is the place to shop!
All About You Design

Designs by Keri

Happy Shopping!

Friday, January 21, 2011


It finally snowed at our house. Only a few inches but naturally it was the day we were leaving for a continuing education conference. Fortunately the roads cleared quickly and I was able to leave work early so it was a decent trip.

So far the conference has not been very impressive but I didn't expect it to be so I guess that's ok. Unwound have rather gone to a bigger one but I have trips planned during the good ones that are close by this year. At least we got some new books and are looking at some new equipment for the clinic. I'm trying to modernize some things there.

And of course it's supposed to snow again Sunday on the way home. But maybe if we can get rid of this snow we can do some agility. If not we can play in the snow which we didn't have time for yet because we had to leave. Legend loves snow and Po seems to like it too. The others can take it or leave it I think.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Little things

We got an update from Leeloo's family-she's doing great and having lots of fun with her new brother.  She already started puppy classes and one of her classmates is her littermate Ranger-how cool is that.  Here are some pictures from her new family.

I got  a Toshiba netbook for Christmas and so far am loving the convenience.  Right now I'm blogging from the couch in front of the heater and the TV.  I also got a new video camera and can't wait to start getting some better footage of the girls doing agility.

Speaking of agility-their vacation is over and we should be back to training again this permitting.

Po is doing well here.  He's a really easy puppy, sleeps all night until I get up to take him out, always quiet and content in his kennel or x-pen and pretty well behaved in the house.  Only one accident so far-he really seems to get the potty outside idea.  He likes toys and other dogs and is not too over the top in energy although he can get pretty wound up at times.

My sister came down this weekend to do a Pampered Chef party for me this weekend.  We had a pretty good turnout and I think a decent show.  This morning we all went to Kohl's where we got a lot of good deals but spent way too much money, but isn't that always the case with Kohl's?

Lyric, when she's being bossy sometimes makes this really cute/funny growling barking noise.  I'm trying to teach her to do it on the command "sing" but I think it will be a long process.  So far it involves a lot of me carrying cookies around at all times saying" sing" hoping that it will coincide with the noise and then I shove a treat in her face.  She has gotten to the point that if I say "sing" she gets excited and knows I want something but she's not sure what yet.  I get a lot of begging and barking.  But I will be sure to get in on video when we finally get it mastered!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pet Poisons Part 4


It's typically common knowledge that chocolate is toxic to pets, but how much and what kind makes a big difference on how toxic.

The toxic compound in chocolate is Theobromine which is a methylxanthine.  Methylxanthines cause an increase in circulating catecholamines (such as epinephrine) and also cause problems with the uptake and storage of calcium.  And of course most chocolate products contain a large amount of fat which further disrupts the GI tract.  Caffeine is also present in most cocoas and can cause similar signs as theobromine.

So what are the signs?  At low to moderate doses chocolate ingestions causes vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness and hyperexcitability and increased heart rate.  At high doses irregular heart beats and seizures can be present. 

Now, the big question is how much is too much?  First we need to evaluate which products are the most dangerous.  The following list ranks the most common kinds of chocolate from the lowest (least toxic) amount of theobromine to the highest (most toxic).

Milk Chocolate
Dark Chocolate
Semisweet Chocolate
Baking Chocolate
Dry Cocoa Powder
Cocoa Beans

So to put it in perspective a regular sized Hershey bar is 1.5 ounces.  For a 30 lb dog to consume the whole bar would not likely even cause mild signs.  But for a 10 lb dog the same bar will just put you into the mildly toxic range.  Three Hershey bars however would put said 10 lb dog into the seizure level of chocolate exposure.  For another example suppose the 30 lb dog ate 1.5 ounces of baking chocolate-this puts them into the mid range of toxicity where cardiac signs start to show up.  If our 10 lb dog eats 1.5 ounces of baking chocolate they are way past the seizure level!  Now for our big dogs our there could potentially eat 8 Hershey bars before reaching the mildly toxic mark!  So hopefully that gives you some idea of the differences based on size and product type.  Also realize that no matter how small your dog is, don't panic if they eat a Hershey Kiss or three M&Ms-they will be ok!

So, what if they do eat a suspected toxic amount of chocolate.  Try to evaluate how much they ate and what kind, then call your vet.  If  they think your pet is in danger of becoming ill they will likely have you come in to induce vomiting if the exposure has been in the last four hours.  They may also administer activated charcoal to absorb some of the toxin from the GI tract.  Additional therapy includes IV fluids, EKG monitoring, and seizure control.  Most dogs fully recover although some may develop pancreatitis as a consequence of all the fat ingested!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Round 2

Meet Po. He is one of Leeloo's (Ribbon) littermates. His foster home needed to move him somewhere else as one of their dog's did not like him too well so at least for now, he is staying with us. He's a bit more rambunctious than his sister but equally as cute and sweet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The example

He seemed like a nice enough guy, maybe not that smart, but was still wanting to know what was wrong with his dog.  The dog, for his part, was a friendly, if not so attractive yellow lab, 5 years old, intact, no vaccine history on file, with a distended abdomen and history of not eating well and vomiting with some weight loss.  A little too young to suspect cancer or organ failure I thought immediately of heartworm disease and asked if the dog was on prevention.  No, he wasn't.  Has he ever been on prevention or just not recently?  No, not ever, we get "wormer" from the feed store. 

I know you're thinking this post is about heartworms but it really isn't (remarkably, he was heartworm negative).  We go on to pursue diagnostics and diagnose with dog with heart failure secondary to a dilated cardiomyopathy.  While the other doctor suggested to the owner he get his next dog from a different breeder due to the possible genetic components of this disease he comments that the dog has already fathered 33 puppies. 

Bang head against wall.  Repeat.  So you're telling me that the dog you can't be bothered to vaccinate or keep on heartworm prevention, much less pursue OFA or other genetic testing on you decided to breed.  Nice.

I sort of ceased to feel sorry for him at that point.  Sure money can be tight, maybe they didn't know about heartworms, whatever.  But to think it's ok to just randomly breed the dog for whatever pathetic reason they came up with?

And there are so many people like this.  How they can justify breeding their dog to try and make a quick buck in a country where millions of healthy dogs are put to sleep every year I just don't know.  Maybe they don't realize, or don't care but it still drives me insane.  I know I've been on this rant before but that's what you get for reading my blog!  Probably won't be the last time either. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The rest of the puppy pictures

Here are pictures of Ribbon, now "Leeloo" (cute huh) playing with Lyric before she left us.  Report from her new family is that she is doing great and having lots of fun!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pet Poisons Part 3

Plants:  What's toxic and what's not

To keep this relatively short I'm only going to focus on common houseplants.  There are a lot of trees, bushes, and outdoor plants that have some toxic principle but we could be here all day going through all of those and most pets are not wandering free in gardens munching plants-usually they find something better to check out like mole hills or dead stuff!

The good news is that while many common houseplants can make your pet mildly ill most are not "toxic" in the deadly sense.  Some of the plants that fall into this category are the Caladium spp, Colocasia spp, Dieffenbachia spp, Philodendron spp.  Some of the common names for these plants include Dumb Cane, Mother in Law's Tongue, and Elephant ear.

The toxic principle for these plants is that calcium oxalate crystals are released upon chewing which causes oral irritation (there may be drooling and swelling of mouth tissues.  Larger amounts can cause other GI sign such as vomiting and diarrhea.  Treatment is to rinse the mouth with milk or water and use other symptomatic treatment as needed. 

The following plants are frequently seen in homes around various holidays, although some may be present year round.

Shamrocks contain soluble oxalates that are absorbed from the gut once ingested.  These can then bind to the calcium in the blood and cause a variety of signs including diarrhea and vomiting, anorexia, and drooling in small amounts and more rarely renal failure, convulsions and other signs of low calcium in large amounts.  Treatment is to induce vomiting, withhold food and monitor for signs of more severe ingestion and treat appropriately if they develop. 

Flowering bulbs such as tulips, iris, hyacinths, daffodils.  While these are mostly outdoor plants they are often used as gifts or decor around Easter.  Primarily the bulb is toxic although it varies from plant to plant.  Signs include varying degrees of vomiting and diarrhea but can also include tremors, seizures and hypotension.  Iris bulbs can cause liver and pancreatic damage.  Treatment is to induce vomiting, give activated charcoal and perform other diagnostics and treatments as indicated by type and amount of ingestion.

Poinsettia's toxicity is actually very over rated.  Most of the plant is "toxic" but mostly the seeds.  The thick milky sap present if the toxin and causes vomiting, anorexia and diarrhea.  Treatment is to withhold food for a few hours. 

Christmas cactus causes similar signs as Poinsettia and the treatment is the same.

Mistletoe, while it has a low risk for causing illness can cause vomiting and depression.  Treatment is to induce vomiting and withhold food.

Castor bean is not a holiday related plant but is also toxic.  All parts of the plant are toxic but the seeds are the most toxic.  The seeds are often used in jewelry which serve as the source of exposure. 

For cats only...

Lilies (all parts of the plant) are extremely toxic to cats causing renal failure.  Clinical signs include vomiting, anorexia, depression and dehydration  Treatment involve aggressive IV fluid therapy for at least 48 hours and other symptomatic treatment.  Treatment needs to be performed early as a delay can result in death.  Although several species of Lily are toxic the Easter lily is the classic toxin as it a common decoration used in the home around Easter.

For more information on toxic plants visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

Friday, January 7, 2011

Another happy ending

Or actually another happy beginning!  Ribbon went to her new home today.  She was adopted by a very nice couple who seem like they will have her very spoiled in no time!  She has a big brother and was very excited to meet all of them today.  She left sporting a brand new pink collar and leash with some brand new toys waiting for her in the car.  We are very excited to get updates from her new family and see her grow up!

And don't worry, if you are missing all the cute puppy pics I still have some on my camera to post later!