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My Happy Ever After

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one less black button eye

October 30th 2012 4:33 pm
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Dixie came through fine, no problems. Some trouble when we got home, but she's resting comfortably now.


Surgery & Blood Cancer

October 29th 2012 11:44 am
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Dixie will have Enucleation of her left eye tomorrow morning at Veterinary Vision in Glendale Heights. The pressure in the eye keeps increasing and the pain is increasing. Removing the eye will instantly ease her pain.

Dr. Vernot believes when the University of Wisconsin biopsies Dixie's left eye they will probably find cancer, specifically cells from some sort of blood cancer. We will have a path to follow for treatment going forward.

Dixie has something starting in her right eye. Dr. Jacqueline Vernot started to treat that eye today. I said "to save her sight" and Dr. Vernot corrected me: "No, to save her life". Truth.


A second opinion couldn't hurt...

October 26th 2012 9:55 am
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One thing we learned as dog/cat pawrents is to trust your gut. You, not your vet, or the vet tech, or the specialist, live with your pet. We found things with the Chicago Crew that might not have been discovered for months if we'd waited for their next semi-annual physicals.

Dixie developed Glaucoma around Oct 10th, while we were away in Arizona. A trip to see Dr. Mullings the morning after we got back resulted in some human-grade Glaucoma drops & an appointment with an ophthalmologist several days later.

The ophthalmologist decided it was Secondary Glaucoma. More tests, two more drops, but four days later, even higher eye pressure found at the recheck appointment. But, do we have another appointment with them? Nope. They want us to go on a fishing trip with our vet to try and find the root cause of the secondary Glaucoma-systemic disease or neoplasia-before they act on the eye. Covering their butts? Or just being thorough? Who knows...

Dixie isn't eating well, Dixie isn't sleeping well. Eye pressure in the 40s is said to cause pain that is likened to a human migraine. Vision hasn't returned. Enough is enough. We are going to get a second opinion Monday. This ophthalmologist treated a dear friend's blind dog and has seen several dogs adopted from Chicago English Bulldog Rescue.

Pawrents, do what YOU think is right for your dogs/cats. Don't wait on others to make those hard decisions for you.


we saw want we wanted to see...

October 22nd 2012 9:37 am
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Well, Dixie had her follow-up with the ophthalmologist this morning. Apparently we saw what we wanted to see the other day when we thought we saw reaction in her eye.

Even though Dixie's eye is less swollen and is more comfortable, her eye is still non-visual and her pressure is actually slightly worse. So, the meds helped with the Uveitis, but did nothing for the Glaucoma.

We've added another medicine to the mix, having Urine Blasto Antigen testing done, and are going to have the abdominal & thoracic xrays and ultrasound repeated, looking for the systemic disease or neoplasia that's causing the Glaucoma.

And so it goes...


nekked bellies

September 5th 2012 9:55 pm
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Dixie and Burt came back from their trip to the vet today with shaved bellies! I don't know why we were surprised--it stands to reason when you think of how they do ultrasounds on humans. Stripped down, bare skin, gooey gel between the skin and the scan-head. So, the fur had to go.

The techs and Doc saw no signs of shrunken adrenal glands, no obvious tumors, no malformations of the liver. Burt's liver did look a little large to the technicians, but as Doc put it, that could be because he's just chunky. We will have a specialist "read" the ultrasounds, just in case something was missed. It's looking more and more like D&B may have ingested something that damaged the liver. So far, great news (in a twisted sort of way).

How's that great news, you might ask? The liver is a most wonderful organ. Given time and supplements, it can heal and be almost back to normal within four to six months.

That's our hope. Paws crossed.


Mixed Results

August 29th 2012 6:10 pm
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So, the good news is the Bile Acid was normal, which means the Enterohepatic Circulation-gall bladder to small intestine to liver bloodstream to liver to gall bladder-is functioning well. The bad news is some odd readings on the ACTH Stimulation Test. So, even though Cushing's is still possible, it's moved down on the list. Yeah?

So, instead of going with the Low Dose or High Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test (another blood test), we're going to have ultrasound done to look at the liver and the adrenal glands. Actually, it will be a full internal organs screening. Doc will have to get it scheduled with the specialists, possibly for Wednesday of next week or the week after.

Staying calm. Never thought I'd say this, but I hope it ends up being something that they ate that did some damage, but has now flushed out of their system. The liver, over time and with supplements, can heal without any invasive surgery. Marvelous organ, the liver.

Paws crossed.


Liver Testing - Round Two

August 23rd 2012 8:47 pm
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So, excitement abounds in our household. After going three years with fairly healthy dogs (knock on my wooden head) Burt's last bloodwork showed he had two elevated Liver enzymes. That, along with a couple of other factors, made us suspect Cushing's disease for Burt, but now with Dixie also showing one elevated Liver enzyme, who knows?

Today Burt and Dixie visited Doc for the Bile Acid Test and the ACTH Stimulation Test. Both involved multiple blood draws which, according to D&B's "Report Card" from the vet tech, they tolerated fairly well.

The Bile Acid test will allow Doc to see how well the liver, bile ducts and blood flow to the liver are functioning. The ACTH Stimulation Test is considered diagnostic for Cushing's 80-95% of the time. But, it won't tell us if the Cushing's is adrenal or pituitary based. That would be the next step. The results will be back on Monday, but we're going to wait until Doc is back in the office to talk with her--Wednesday 8/29--so we can ask our questions.

So we start yet again on the merry-go-round of Vet visits. We are blessed with a Doc who saved WINston's life when he was poisoned by Nutro/Menu Foods back in 2007. If anyone can help us give Dixie and Burt a good quality of life for the longest possible span, it's her.

Paws crossed (and a little POP wouldn't hurt). We're going forward, thinking positive thoughts and doing what needs to be done--step by step. No time to worry. No time to grieve. They're both still here, taking up most of the king-sized bed and bringing joy to our lives. We'll take that any day.


2 Black Setters

September 1st 2010 6:32 pm
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2 Black Setters. That's what the caption read underneath the picture of one of the only black dogs on the Adoption Event poster that I saw today.

2 Black Setters didn't have one of the several 5x7 photos and chatty descriptions about how Barkley loved his chew bone and knew how to roll over.

2 Black Setters didn't have a prime spot on the Adoption Event poster covered with pictures of Wilson, Bobo, Hurley, Belle, Maggie, Duke, Nellie, Beau... 2 Black Setters was tacked to the bottom left corner, held on by a staple.

2 Black Setters didn't even have a name... and one wonders what happened to the other Black Setter cut out of the picture?

I saw this Adoption Event poster in a well-known pet supply store in Chicago's trendy and posh North Loop area. So sad. You think they'd know better...

Black Dogs DO face deadly discrimination because of their coloring. Find out more at Save a life. Make your next furry friend a Black Pearl dog.


Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs

August 14th 2010 4:21 pm
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We can't wait to get this book!!!! The Mom ordered it today, plus a couple extras for our Black Pearl friends. And the purchase benefits the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George's County in Maryland. What a sweet deal!

From the press release:

Proving that basic black never goes out of style, and beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, now a new book is shining a well-deserved, long-overdue spotlight on the enduring beauty of the black dog. Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs is a photographic tribute to these underappreciated gems. The author, writer-photographer Pam Townsend, is a volunteer with the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County in Maryland.

By her count, Townsend has lived with black dogs for 17 years. “Of course, I’ve always thought my dogs were beautiful,” she says, “and it never occurred to me that other people wouldn’t think so.” But when she learned of the tragic plight of black dogs at animal shelters, she decided to create a special tribute to them. That was black dogs’ lucky day: Her book is an 8-inch-square, 72-page tome guaranteed to bring beauty and elegance to any coffee table. Remember, basic black goes with everything!

“My goal is to get people to look at black dogs differently…to appreciate their attractiveness and diversity and to give more thought to adopting a black dog if they’re looking for a new fur friend,” the author concludes.


Of course, WE know that Black IS Beautiful. Preachin' to the choir here... BOL


Inquiring minds want to know...

July 20th 2010 7:48 pm
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We recently found that Dixie and Burt like to chew bully sticks. It gives them something to do that seems captivating, and helps with their dental hygiene. But, in the 30+ years we've had dogs, we've never given rawhide because of the possible obstruction danger if too big a piece is chewed off and swallowed. It seems that bully sticks are different in that dogs can gnaw on them with only little passable bits coming off at any time.

The question is, when do you take the bully stick away? When they've chewed it down to a couple of inches? Dixie and Burt seem to enjoy rolling the smaller pieces in, out, and around their mouths as they chew on it. Our concern is they might swallow a solid piece 1 or 2 inches long.

So, when should a bully stick be taken away? Or is a 1" solid piece swallowed nothing to be concerned about? Is it a good rule of thumb to take the bully stick away once they no longer have to hold onto it with their paws to chew it?

Inquiring minds want to know...

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