Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Zodiac's illness persisted all weekend.  He perked up a little and begged for table food but did not eat dog food at all.  I had him on Cerenia and metronidazole and decided on sunday to add omeprazole (Prilosec) to the regimen. This, along with the addition of canned i/d to his food seemed to help some. By monday morning he was eating better than he had all weekend.  Then yesterday he didn't eat dry food at all and didn't finish his food even after adding canned.  So, naturally I panicked and brought him to work.  I did a test for pancreatitis (he has not been vomiting, or having diarrhea though) and it was negative.  I repeated the other bloodwork and the only change (if I believe our machine which is sometimes a little iffy) is a mild anemia. So this could go along with a bleeding ulcer (which makes sense, especially since he has been on Rimadyl long term) or of course (using my traditional worst case scenario thoughts) a bleeding tumor.  Anyway, he really isn't acting terribly ill. He's not himself, but not bad.  So I decided to add sucralfate into the regimen.  I've never been totally convinced of the benefits of this, always considered it a "can't hurt, might help" kind of thing but he did seem to feel better last night.  He actually chewed on  nylabone, played with a toy, and was making the rounds licking the floors and other kitchen appliances.  And today he seemed more interested in eating than he has all week.  So I'm still hoping for just an ulcer or other curable GI problem.  That would be more likely than something else, but I will of course continue to worry until he's better.  That's just me.

And we already got an application on Holli!  It looks good but still needs to have a vet check and home visit, so not a sure thing yet.

Also I got projectile pooped on today.  We were anesthetizing a rescue kitten for a neuter when he started to vomit.  I held him over the trash can to limit clean up and during the abdominal contractions he blew diarrhea out the back end-all over my pants and shoe.  What a glamorous life I lead.  He never did actually vomit either.

I did the math on Legend's year in AKC.  She did get 13 QQ's and 520 points.  That's almost double what she got last year.  I know we went to more trials but I'm still pretty impressed with her.  That total includes all those NQ's from contact issues and some of those not-so-successful outings like the ill-fated summer trip to Tulsa.  Lyric has done pretty good too.  Really compared to my other dogs she's had a great first 18 months of trialing.  When all the points have been recorded I will get to see where she ranked among all Poms this year.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


But not this weekend. After a nail-biting, very ugly, by the skin of our teeth Q in standard Legend was just one nice jumpers course away from MACh. But it was not to be. The course was set up to make a 90 degree turn to the right after the weave poles but there was an off course jump right ahead of the poles. She ended up somehow bobbling the last few poles and coming out on the wrong side. It was so subtle several people couldn't even tell what happened. I'm sure that somehow my anxiety over making sure she finished her poles AND turned away from the off course threw off her rhythm. Probably if I had just relaxed and let her go we would have been fine. I mean how often do we NQ a jumpers course-and a pretty easy one at that!

I'm a little disappointed but only because we were so close and should have had it. And because we are not (despite all the trials that are available) running AKC again until March.

But, in reality, I'll enjoy it a lot more when Zodiac is not sick and when more of our friends can be there. And if we are really lucky it won't be Sunday afternoon when everyone is packing up and we can go party!

Little red dog still had an incredible year. She earned somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 QQ's, 500 MACh points and qualified for 2 nationals. And all that while being diagnosed with epilepsy. It has been five years ago this month that she came from rescue to live with us. In that time she has become the most titled dog I have owned and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Bring on 2012!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nineteen down

One to go.  Pretty unreal looking back at where we were 8 days ago-a third seizure, new meds, not even knowing if she would compete this weekend.  But you would have never known that today!  Started out with a great standard run and then a nice jumpers run.  I felt like I ran the jumpers course very cautiously and somewhat in a state of panic!  Seriously though, whatever happens it will be an exciting rest of the weekend.  Oh and today is Legend's "birthday" but we haven't really celebrated yet, actually it was more like she gave me a present.

Lyric ran great in standard (even did the teeter) until the weave poles and then apparently all her concentration was blown.  We used all three of our attempts and never made it through.  She did  Q in jumpers but was not very fast-guess she used up all her energy running around the weave poles in standard. 

Meanwhile, Zodiac has been sick.  He vomited a few times last night and then early this morning was acting nauseous.  I have him some cerenia but a few hours later he vomited again and wouldn't eat anything.  He was a little lethargic but otherwise not too sick.  But I decided to be on the safe side.  I have a friend from school who owns a clinic a few miles from the trial site so I left him there for the day to have some tests run. Bloodwork was all normal and x-rays only showed a mildly distended intestine.  We did barium to be on the safe side and although it was slow to pass through one part of the small intestine it did pass.  So we presume he just have some gastroenteritis (upset tummy) and started him on metronidazole and more cerenia.  He has not vomited but it still lethargic and not eating.  Although he did show interest in licking the dessert plates after dinner.  Hopefully by morning he will be a lot better-I mean we might have a lot to celebrate tomorrow and we want everyone to enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why buy new?

MOKAN Border Collie Rescue is pleased to offer these quality "pre-owned" dogs for adoption! 

I picked up both of these dogs today from local shelters.  Holli is an approximately 8 month old female.  She is very sweet and seems playful although she isn't sure what toys are just yet.  She was a stray and we don't know much about her but she loves people and seems to like other dogs.  She is a little girl-only 25 lbs.  She will by my new foster dog so you will be learning more about he soon I'm sure.  She is staying with a friend for the weekend while we are out of town.  Her pictures don't do her justice, they were taken right after a much needed bath.  She reminds me of Josie-a puppy we fostered a few years back.

This amazingly handsome boy is Utah.  I'm not a huge fans of tri-colors but I really like this one!  He's so pretty and photogenic-I'm a sucker for prick ears!  And he's full of energy and playful.  He loves to RUN and loves toys.  If the way he ate his dinner is any indication he will also be very food motivated.  Utah was a stray picked up when he was about 4 months old and adopted out by the shelter.  The new owners left him in the backyard 24/7 and returned him when he was digging under the fence.  He's been going crazy living at the shelter ever since.  He's now about 10 months old and 34 lbs and also a very sweet boy.  He is going to a new foster home this weekend (actually Trip's mom offered to foster him-won't those two boys have fun together!).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Training updates

I'm so proud of myself.  I've gone out at least 4 days this week and worked dogs despite the weather being windy, chilly, wet or some combination of the above. I'm also pleased to report that Legend has had no side effects from the medication.  She has been as full of herself as usual and sharp as a tack in practice.  So, as of right now, I'm planning on letting her run at the trial this weekend.

So what have we been working on?  We've been working really hard at sending out ahead of me-over multiple obstacles or just a single jump from increasing distances.  Also sending on from a contact or tunnel while I remain stationary (as in "behind the line").  They are both doing well but Lyric is having a little trouble understanding what to do as I fade the manners minder out (no target). 

They are also working on discriminations and getting much better, even at a distance and with speed.  This is a big deal for Lyric-she patterns train really easy (as in I got the cookie for the tunnel last time!)

I'm also working Legend on "back" meaning to turn away from me.  She only sort of knows this and isn't reliable enough yet to do it all the time on those far away chances courses.  I will start Lyric on this eventually.  I want her to get a little more comfortable with the other skills first.  She's also been proofing her teeter, weaves and table. 

I've been super pleased with how both of them are running.  Should be interesting to see how things go this weekend and then at NADAC in December.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cancer Part 4: Hemangiosarcoma

While there are plenty of bad tumors/cancers to have this one is probably the worst and is the last of what I consider the big, bad, three (lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma).

Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is a malignant tumor of blood vessel cells.  This means two things.  First-it can arise from almost any organ because most organs, of course, have blood vessels.  Second-it is traditionally very quick to metastasize because obviously, it's already near the blood stream-one of the portals for spread of tumor cells. 

That said the three most common places for a pet to develop HSA is the spleen (28-50%), the right atrium (a chamber of the heart), and the subcutaneous tissue (under the skin).  There is also a dermal (skin) form but it can commonly be cured with surgery alone as only 1/3 of these ever spread internally. Dermal HSA is most common in Whippets, Salukis, Bloodhounds, and English pointers.  Breeds predisposed to more traditional forms of HSA include German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Portuguese Water dogs..  I don't know if there are statistics on this but in my experience I don't remember ever seeing this in a small breed dog-most seem to be medium to large dogs.  HSA accounts for 5-7% of all tumors in dogs.

HSA of subcutaneous tissue has a 60% metastatic rate.  Radiographs of the chest, and ultrasound of the heart and abdomen are recommended to check for metastatic disease.  Although prognosis is better if none are found, chemo is still recommended due to the aggressive nature.  Surgery alone is associated with an average survival rate of 6 months.

Heart-based HSA often goes undetected until it ruptures and bleeds and can cause sudden collapse.  At this point the pericardium-the sac surrounding the heart must be drained of the excess fluid.  63% of cardiac HSA have evidence of metastasis at the time of diagnosis.  Survival time for surgery alone is approximately 4 months while survival with chemo is only slightly longer. 

Splenic is the most classic form of HSA and can present in a number of ways. An enlarged spleen may be an incidental finding on routine exam, the dog may present as feeling sick as the enlarged organ may be pressing on stomach, diaphragm or intestines, the dog may be lethargic and weak because the tumor in slowly bleeding causing an anemia, or the dog may have suddenly collapsed due to an acute rupture and bleed of the tumor.  Depending on the situation and the owner's goals or finances additional diagnostics may be performed prior to surgery to help determine if this is a benign mass or a HSA.  For the purpose of this post we will assume we talking only about HSA.  An estimated 25% of dogs with splenic HSA also have cardiac HSA and most have some form of metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis.  Survival times for splenectomy alone (removal of the spleen) is19-86 days with a 1 year survival rate of only 6%.  With chemo survival times can increase to 6-9 months.

Clearly this is a terrible disease that warrants a lot of thought about whether or not treatment should be attempted and how aggressive you want to be.  There is not a right or wrong answer but instead it should be tailored to what is right for each individual pet and family.

Additional research about cause, early detection and more successful treatment options are going on as we speak.  Maybe someday we can take this one of the "bad" list.

This is not a common disease of cats but certainly can occur.  There are four forms-dermal, subcutaneous, visceral (involving internal organs), and oral.  Dermal and subcutaneous are the most common and are dermal is usually cured with surgery, whereas subcutaneous may have a 60% recurrence rate after surgery.  The visceral form accounts for 30% and is the most aggressive, frequently warranting euthanasia at the time of diagnosis.   Chemo protocols are available for cats but there are very little statistics regarding their usefulness.  I have only diagnosed HSA once in a cat.  It was on the tongue-an incidental finding during a dental cleaning.  We removed it and as far as I know the cat never had any additional problems.  Radiographs were clear of metastatic disease at that time. 

On a lighter note

It's that time of year again!


For new readers this year, I always print my Grandma a book of my blog every year at Christmas so she can read about everything we have been doing and see all of our pictures since we don't live nearby.  And it's about time I get to work on that!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My agility dog has epilepsy

You wouldn't know if from looking at her now-waiting anxiously by the door to go outside and play and bark at the neighbor's dog.  And for that I am thankful.  But that wasn't the scene just 4 hours ago when Legend had her third seizure.  I was putting down food bowls (like usual) when she ran out of the kitchen into the living room.  That is not a normal behavior for her.  She knew what was coming and so did I.  When I got around the corner to look she was already starting to twitch.  Before I could get there she fell and hit her head on the brick fireplace and then knocked the fire screen over on her.  I wonder if she has a headache today?  But it seemed very short and she had a much shorter post-ictal phase this time.  She looked worried for a few minutes but did not spend 20 minutes growling at me and hiding in the bedroom.  Actually within a few minutes she was trying to get her food bowl down from the counter where I had left her uneaten breakfast. 

Obviously I'm disappointed.  This was not what I was hoping for.  I was still clinging to the hope that there would be no more, but certainly hadn't planned on another one just 3 weeks from the last one.  So we are starting on Phenobarbital today.  Some people have asked me if I have considered other drugs but to be honest Phenobarb is cheap (not that that really matters), easily available and reliable.  All drugs can have side effects, some are just different.  So that's where we are starting.  If we don't like the side effects or the results we always have the option to switch to something else. 

We have a trial next weekend so I'm not sure if she will get to run or not.  I was hoping we wouldn't have to start medication until later but that's the way the cookie crumbles.   I know I could probably wait another week to start but with only 3 weeks in between I felt it was better to start her on something now.  Time will tell. 

I could spend a lot of time moping around doing the whole "why me, why my dog, why now" thing but I guess that doesn't really change anything does it?  And Legend clearly isn't spending any time feeling sorry for herself.  So if she's ok, I am too. I guess.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This is why

I sometimes come home with the strong desire to beat my head against a wall.

First appointment of the afternoon-boxer for check ears and itching/licking feet.  Background information on this case is that the dog was seen in April for check ears and mild generalized itchiness.  At that time we treated the ears, I recommended trying Benadryl and mentioned a food trial in case of food allergy. She was also supposed to come in for a recheck in 2 weeks and didn't.  Now the client reports the itching, licking, and head shaking is driving them crazy (never mind how the dog feels) to the point they are considering getting rid of the dog. The conversation went as follows.

Me: So the benadryl didn't work at all?
Client: We didn't try any benadryl
Me: So I see we discussed a food trial at the last visit.  Is that something you want to do or have already done?
Client: We tried the food for a few days but she kept eating our other dogs food and we didn't really see much difference.
Me: Well you would need to feed the special food exclusively for 6-8 weeks to notice a difference.
Client: Oh.

So basically what you are saying is you didn't come for the recheck, didn't try any of the recommendations and have let your dog itch to the point of making everyone miserable for 6 months and now you want it "fixed?"  And you want to get rid of the dog because "magic" didn't make it better?  How hard was it to just try the benadryl?

Appointment number two-young adult dog with urinary tract signs and some lethargy and decreased appetite (but is of course grossly overweight).

Me: So how long has the urinary problem been going on
Client: Probably a couple of months (oh, nice-have you ever had a UTI sir?). We thought she just learned marking from another dog we were visiting.  Can they do that?
Me: Well, not very likely. And how long has the decreased appetite been going on?
Client: Well...probably a couple of months as well.
Me: We need to check a urine sample for infection and probably an x-ray for stones. Is that ok?
Client: Can stones cause these symptoms?
Me: Yes

So we do the urinalysis and x-ray and of course find...wait for it...

infection and bladder stones!

So I explain the options to him.  Today we will start on antibiotics and then we have two choices for the stones.  You can try to dissolve them with diet or just skip to surgery.  If they are not the kind that dissolve with diet then we will have wasted two months feeding special food and then still need surgery.  I pointed out that since she was obviously already so uncomfortable that surgery was the way I would go if it were my dog.

So I got the antibiotics and the estimate and told him we could schedule him as soon as possible.  He declared that in 2 weeks he had to go pick up his son in another state and so would need to wait until January or February?  Excuse me?  Did you not just tell me your dog had been sick for 2 months?  Did I not point out the need for surgery instead of dietary treatment because your dog is so uncomfortable?  And now you want to not do either of those things for 2-3 months?  I advised him we could get her in next week so it would all be taken care of before he left. No comment.  Well, you can call us.  Really? What is wrong with people?

Later in the afternoon was a nice elderly woman with a cat to check eyes.  All went well but there was a note in the file that a follow-up Feline leukemia/FIV test had been recommended since he had been in a fight several months ago.  I asked if she wanted to do that today and she responded with well he never gets into any big fights.  Ok, well it only takes a little bite to spread diseases.  We did the test.

Lastly was the woman with the cat she thought was not eating as much and having diarrhea.  Turns out she really doesn't know how much he eats because she leaves food out for both cats overnight and she just thinks there has been more left lately.  And the stool sample she brought us was hard as a rock.

What do you do?  Find wall.  Bang head.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Never before seen video

Ok.  That's not entirely true.  Some of these have been on facebook but I just now figured out how to get iphone video to my blog.

The first three are the young dog trainer in action. Be sure to turn the sound up to get the full effect. 

This one is Vixen making her ugly face.  She's not really mean but she's got her bluff in on Legend.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Inching closer

Legend started off the weekend with a bang getting QQ #18 right off the bat on Friday-no contact issues at all!  And better times than she's run in a while to boot...MACh 2 points maybe?  Our quest for the perfect weekend continued into Saturday where she picked up yet another standard Q!  QQ #19 was in the works but she went wide at one tunnel in jumpers and into the weaves instead of turning into the jump-one wrong course away!  And it went downhill (relatively speaking anyway) from there.  This morning she trotted around the first jump-stress? lack of attention? distraction?  I don't really know.  After that she was not still not clean but did do all her contacts nicely.  So no contact refusals all weekend!  Yippee!

Lyric was the queen of jumpers this weekend having three beautiful runs for two thirds and one first place.  Good times too.  She ran halfway up the teeter every day, turned around and came back down though.  Poor girl-she runs up with so much confidence, like she's going to do it, then chickens out and comes down.  More teeter work in the next few weeks.  She also had one jump refusal and one table refusal this weekend.  But she  nailed all six sets of weaves!  Overall I'm pretty proud of them and I have video this time!

The first two (if YouTube works correctly) should be from Legend's QQ.  The next one is Lyric's jumpers from Friday and the last one is Lyric's best standard run of the weekend-only fault is, of course the teeter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Champs Collages

One of the reason we bought the whole CD of our dogs at champs was because we wanted collages to commemorate the event.  But the ones the photographer was selling were very expensive.  So, we figured this way we could have all the pictures and make collages since I had Photoshop at home. 

Anyway, here they are...

I think they look pretty good!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stars of the stage

When we lived in Columbia, the dog training club we were in held an open house every year. There were drill team performances, obedience demonstrations and obedience "games" such as musical chairs with dogs on stays, tic-tac-toe with dogs, etc. Over the years both Oreo and Zodiac participated in these but for the life of me I can't find any pictures of the year Zodiac was in the show.

Oreo and Bear doing the "double broad jump." Neither of these handsome and talented fellows are with us anymore.

Oreo's curtain call
Showing off stays during musical chairs
This is a little hard to see but it's an agility drill set to music-the dogs wore lighted collars and we decorated the equipment with lights as well.

Of course there is a hand painted set creating a backdrop of a doggie winter wonderland. All of the dogs that have participated in the show are painted on the set and when they cross the Rainbow Bridge a halo is painted over them. While I was in Columbia this weekend I visited the old dog school and since the set was up in preparation for the show I was able to get pictures of the boys' portraits.

Oreo was painted on the teeter since it took him a year to learn to do it on his own!

Zodiac is in the UKC hoop tunnel even though we
never compete in UKC.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Legend's magic number

Three.  Yep, she was able to complete all the contacts yesterday and picked up QQ number 17.  Friday she also had a Q in jumpers.  In standard the a-frame was the second obstacle netting us a refusal.  I abandoned my plan (at least for the day) to re-do the obstacle, leave and reward because there was a really cool layering opportunity I wanted to try if we had NQ'd by that point.  Coming off the dogwalk I was able to flip her 180 degrees away from me over a jump and then into the weave poles with the dogwalk/tunnel ensemble between us.  She popped out of the poles early but essentially did the the layering!  I was happy and several people noticed-this is not commonly attempted in AKC.  Today she took a bar down in a clean jumpers run and had a teeter refusal (obstacle number 3).  Into my "get her over the stress of contact obstacles" regimen we are adding doing a low a-frame or teeter anytime she wants the ball thrown for her outside.  No free fetching for awhile. 

And my new cookie strategy for Lyric worked great.  She got no cookies before running and was heavily rewarded as close to the ring as possible.  Which makes sense really-she's a pretty simple dog to figure out, unlike her sister!  Anyway, it worked great and she ran much faster this weekend than she has been.  She picked up two jumpers Q's and 3 of her 4 NQ's were strictly due to not finishing the weave poles.  She did bail off the teeter today as well.  But I'm happy with her weekend and think she's on the right track again. And she is doing lovely rear crosses in both directions and into tunnels!

Now it's four days to get ready for the next trial!