Last fall we determined that the gait problem that Justice Marie had been experiencing was osteo-arthritis. She has it in her shoulders and elbows. I still get her adjusted periodically to help with the compensation problems that can develop as a dog tries to learn to move with as little pain as possible. She is also on a pain regime that includes SOD Boswelia, a holistic natural pain reliever and Novox, the generic Rimadyl, an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflamatory drug). Rimadyl can be a very mean drug, and it is necessary that you test your dogs liver functions prior to starting it, and then monitor with regular liver functions tests periodically. She is the second dog that I have had on long-term Rimadyl for joint and bone problems and both of them have handled them very well. We also make sure she gets plenty of exercise in the form of two walks daily. The vet just told me that she believes that Justice may be older than we originally thought - and puts her at 10+ years - but we don't really know since we got her as an older dog 3-1/2 years ago. She feels good, is happy, and by all accounts is handling old age very, very well. Some days better than I do.
Jebadiah Boone, Justice Marie, and Sophia Suzanne
Last week on the way to Springfield, we stopped at a park just north of Springfield. It is a good place to let your dogs walk off leash (but you have to keep watch because they don't allow it) but it is secluded and you rarely see anyone else there during the week. It used to be part of the old land fill and they have really done a good job in turning it into a nice place to get into the woods. It has paved walks, lots of trees and seclusion and bugs, and even snakes. My three found a snake and were all darting around it. It was in a strike position, but thank God, it never bit them. I got them to come away from it. I don't know snakes but I doubt if it was poisonous - most likely it was a bull snake. In any event, I don't want to meet another one.
And, the park provides great photo ops.
Well, last week, on Tuesday evening, we were walking the dogs about 4:00 in the afternoon. Justice was feeling fine, scratching her back on the new grass. She loves to do that. We will be walking along and all of a sudden she will throw herself onto her back and start kicking all fours up in the air. I swear the first time she did that, I thought she was having a seizure and I about had a heart attack.
At 7:00 in the evening she vomited for the first time. By 6:00 the next morning, she had vomited nine times, had four episodes of diarrhea and by 3:00 in the morning, both had blood in them. We had her at the vet by 8:00 Wed. morning. The diagnosis was hemorragic gastroenteritis which means it was affecting everything from her stomach through her colon and it was bloody. She was so dehydrated that the vet said if she had lost 10% more of her fluids she probably would not have survived. She had 3 liters of fluids and a pint of blood. She was there for two days. We brought her home Friday morning and have continued the anti-biotics started at the vets, have her on Prescription ID food, but I am weaning her back to her regular diet, and I have been slowly re-introducing her thyroid medicine and pain pills.
We don't know what caused it. My vet suggested a couple of possibilities given that we walk them so much in a neighborhood where people are beginning to prepare their yards for summer which can include fertilizers and other chemicals that she most likely ingested eating grass. She loves to eat grass, in fact all three of them do, but she is the worst. She also has a funny habit of just using her mouth to scoop up dirt for no good reason. The vet also said that she may have ingested a bug that puts off a chemical that causes stomach upset and vomiting as a survival mechanism. Once it started, it just got worse and worse.
And, now, we have reason to believe that Jeb may be going through some sort of upset. Not as bad as Justice, but I started him on anti-biotics today to try to ward off it getting worse. Man, as any parent (of humans or pets) knows, there seems to be no end. *Note of Update: After a couple of days of anti-biotics Jebadiah has also returned to normal. Today, all is well in the Well's household. (05-09-13)
As Justice came home the same day that Karla and Todd lost Shelby, I am just so thankful for every healthy day we have together.
Anyway, as I told you in an earlier post, this is for those of you who are interested, but mostly it is for my own purpose of getting this into writing.