Brandy's World

May 29th 2010 7:46 am
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May 2010 Update
Brandy has got to be the sweetest dog that ever lived. She went to obedience training but had evidently already been trained as she knew everything so only went once and has been wonderfully behaved ever since. Her cataracts took over and she is totally blind but as I learned with blind Goldie that doesn't make much difference to a dog as they don't see well anyway and operate practically totally by smell. Brandy does everything that the other dogs do - the only difference is that she can only go outside the yard on leash as cactus are low growing and she cannot sense when she is going to run into one so has to be on leash to protect her from cactus. Inside the 3/4 acres yard she runs totally free so gets plenty of good exercise. Her diabetes is well controlled with insulin. We did find out that she had been blood tested so much that we could not get blood out of her to check her glucose level so I test her urine at home with Diastix and don't take her to the vet any more except for an annual checkup. She has a bed on the couch at home (the only spoiled one in that respect) but it gives her a quiet place to rest when she gets tired.

 

Correction for Brandy

September 10th 2009 8:41 am
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I notice in my April posting I said that when Brandy's glucose reading was low I skipped her insulin shot. That only happened for a short time as I learned from a doggie diabetic group I belong to that at least a half shot should be given with a low glucose reading (actually makes sense when you think about it as the half shot will cover her glucose coming back up as she eats food throughout the day). I have been doing that and it works wonderfully. She is doing very well and is a very happy doggie. She is always amazing as she is the second blind doggie I have had and you would never know they are blind because they operate from sense of smell and run around like the wind and very, very seldom run into anything. Usually my fault when Brandy does run into something as I have usually left a pail or something sitting somewhere in one of her usual paths. Her sense of smell is pretty long distance - I am about a quarter of a mile from the road and she is always first to know someone is walking along that road and runs to bark at them.

 

Brandy is Doing Well

April 1st 2009 8:26 am
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Brandy had a spate of trouble with her diabetes - testing negative for glucose both at the vet and at home (urine testing). Since in the current economy we can't really afford the vet testing anymore I took her home and started testing with Diastyxx. I stopped the insulin for a day and her glucose came back up and have since monitored the amount of glucose daily and give her insulin doses as suggested by the urine tests. She is pretty stable now and on the occasion where she tests very low I skip an insulin shot and she comes right back on schedule. So, so far, so good. Will make a visit to the vet this month to report how it is going and see what the vet says but won't have them do a day long test. My vet is very good - she is fresh out of vet school but seems to know a lot about diabetes.

I have suspected that extra exercise has triggered the low glucose and need to follow up on that more. Don't think I had mentioned below that Brandy had gone blind shortly after I got her (a side effect of diabetes) but I have been teaching her to play ball. My Goldie had played ball during the last two years of her life while she was blind but of course she had learned while still sighted. I use one of the balls that has a rope through it as I can put a bit of liverwurst where the hole for the rope is. Brandy hears the ball hit the ground and runs to the area where it fell and then quickly finds it from the smell of the liverwurst. She hasn't learned to bring it back to me yet but I'm sure she will. We have postponed ball playing for the time being but after I talk to the vet will continue again.

 

Update on Brandy

February 9th 2009 1:35 pm
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Somewhere along the way a new vet came to our animal clinic. She is fresh out of school and very good with the diabetes. Brandy is very well regulated and doing very well - she has gained nearly 30 pounds and has a beautiful shiny coat. She does pretty well with the shots as she gets a piece of liverwurst after her shot so after she squeaks about the shot she runs for the refrig for the treat. I can wrap a benadryl in the treat too which she desperately needs as she has terrible itching from the diabetes but the vet says she can have all the benadryl she needs. I am having a glucose curve done at the vets as we haven't managed to do it at home yet but we are down to three months between curves so the expense is not too bad. Brandy has also had cysts develop on her stomach and those get drained when she goes in for the glucose curve. All in all she is doing fine and the doggies are all getting along just fine.

 

Brandy has diabetes

August 31st 2008 3:45 pm
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Poor Brandy was losing weight and looking very sad so I knew something was wrong and took her to the vet. They took blood samples for a battery of tests and yesterday my vet called to tell me that she has diabetes and a very high blood sugar level and needs immediate treatment. He was at home but called in an insulin prescription for me and told me to go by the doggie hospital and get someone to show me how to give a shot. I did all that and this morning gave her her first shot. Didn't think I could do it and cried for an hour as I waited for the insulin to come up to room temperature. A good online site on canine diabetes had a slide show on how to give the shots as well and told me not to use the cold insulin as it would be painful. I was super sure I wouldn't be able to give a shot but actually there was nothing to it. Brandy didn't even wince so it is not going to be so bad after all. Sure made her feel better within a couple of hours - her eyes were bright and shiny and she was up and about. In ten days she will go in for a glucose curve (blood sugar readings taken hourly all day) to see if the dosage is correct or needs correcting. She is going to be fine I think. She got a bad bite from Sasha yesterday on her nose and was spouting blood everywhere while I ran for disinfectant and a cloth to put pressure on the wound. The bleeding stopped and she is fine from that though it looks pretty dreadful. So she is doing fine today. Of course as is usually the case it was my fault she got bitten. Whenever I drive my truck into the yard the dogs have a barking fit and so I usually tie up Brandy so she won't participate in the free for all but I was lazy and didn't do it and Sasha went to correct Brandy for barking by grabbing her muzzle and just bit her too hard.

 

More Tussles and Brandy Graduates Obedience Training

July 18th 2008 11:17 am
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Well we had another big tussle with some damage. I was walking Patches and Brandy on 16 foot lead lines for their morning walk. Sasha and Alli were running free as they always do and started a barking and growling match with the neighboring Border Collie through the fence. Brandy heard the barking and took off running and the lead snapped - she arrived at the brooha site and Sasha and Alli immediately attacked her - I was about 1/4 mile away so it took me a few seconds to arrive at the battle. It was just a whirling pile of fur with teeth hanging out in various places. I reached in to try to get hold of Brandy's collar to pull her out and got a number of bites on my right arm - not clear from who as it was all a blur. In the meantime my neighbor had arrived and turned on his garden hose and turned it on the whirling dog mass. It slowed them down enough I was able to pull Brandy out and then get Sasha and Alli quieted down. As the web site says it was mostly noise and I was the main one who got bit. Sasha and Alli each had a bite on their face and Brandy had nothing so it was not so bad for them. The odd effect was that there were no hard feelings at all and the dogs have gotten along fine since. It seemed to settle the pecking order or something. Brandy and Alli have become hang out pals - not necessarily a good thing as Alli has a few bad habits which she is rapidly teaching Brandy!

Brandy graduated obedience training - doing all her commands just fine in her final exam. I am starting Alli on retraining now to see if we can weed out some of the bad habits. She was teaching Brandy to eat red ants, for heavens sake! Who needs that. The technique was interesting and evidently came from Alli's coyote background - they were laying beside an ant trail and creating puddles of drool - whenever an ant got caught in a puddle it got eaten! Fortunately Brandy has showed no further interest in repeating the exercise. I hadn't paid too much attention to Alli's interest in ants but she apparently does it on a regular basis.

 

All is quiet on the Western Front

May 29th 2008 3:25 pm
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Well there has been a remarkable amount of quiet here. Yesterday when I had a short training session with Brandy and Alli (the "combatants") a piece of turkey frank bounced out of Alli's mouth and landed on Brandy's back as she lay in a down position - I held my breath as I watched Alli reach over and gently remove it from Brandy's back with no reaction at all from Brandy. I have taken to scratching Alli's back every time Brandy comes near her and she has relaxed a great deal as she now associates Brandy's appearance with a nice back rub.

Was at the vet today with Sasha as she suddenly had symptoms similar to Brandy's of choking and retching. Learned that the disease was kennel cough and that there is quite a bit around now - it is air borne and the high winds we have had have contributed to the spread. So as Brandy finishes up her antibiotics and is feeling a great deal better, now Sasha has started a course of them. Asked the vet if it might spread to the other two dogs and he said it might or might not, will have to wait and see.

I do not vacinate my dogs except for rabies as I have read all the nasty side effects from vaccinations. Since my dogs are never in contact with any other dogs - have a fenced yard in the center of my fenced four acres so there is no contact at all. However Brandy came in from outside as a stranger and brought the kennel cough.

 

Brandy is Better

May 28th 2008 9:40 am
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Brandy is doing fine - she is feeling much better -
poor little thing - I just kept thinking how awful to
have to go to a new home and having been so
mistreated physically at the vet. I have to take her
to the vet tomorrow for a Bortadella (sp?) shot that the new
trainer requires so if it is the same vet I may have
to bite my tongue to keep from giving her a tongue
lashing - vet or not!

Brandy and Alli had a real knock down drag out the
other day and I got bitten in trying to separate them
- nothing serious. There is a great web site on
cattle dog training and rehoming at
http://www.newhopecattledogs.com/training.htm . They are so helpful - and
gave me a lot of suggestions there for handling
situations. I was so hopeful things would continue
peaceably but evidently Brandy just felt too poorly
to try a challenge. It happened so fast I didn't
know which dog was the agressor but just gave them
both a scolding, and separated them physically for
the rest of the day. Brandy was probably the
agressor as she growled at Alli this morning. I gave
her the muzzle squeeze and a "leave it" as
recommended by the site. This is supposed to work
with puppies but evidently worked fine with Brandy as
the two have been fine the rest of the morning.

I will continue to separate them when I am away from
home as recommended by the site until things settle
down. Brandy can't get out of the house and has done
minimal damage when left alone in the house so that
works. I laugh at her not getting out as my little
six pound cat can open the doors no problem! Just
have to make sure cat is not in the house when I
leave Brandy in.

The web site says it should be fairly easy to
incorporate a cattle dog into a new home with dogs as
they are pack dogs. Says there may be some issues
until the pecking order is sorted out. Says the
battles sound horrible, but little damage is done and
with either a muzzle squeeze or a scruff shake
afterwards and banishing to corners for awhile as
punishment should work things out. I'm really not
too surprised as Alli is still convinced she should
be pack leader and challenges Sasha and Patches every
single morning and they tussle it out. Their tussle
is more like play and not the noisy and wild attack
that Alli and Brandy had. So I have been paying a
lot of attention to Alli so she understands she is
still important and of course Brandy stays glued to
me anyway so gets lots of attention. I don't think
Brandy is really challenging her position - it is
more like she is protecting me from Alli getting too
close to me. We'll see, but things are peaceful
right now and with the suggestions I have gotten from
the site it should work. I would just be heartbroken
to have to return one of the dogs - had thought
briefly that Alli might be the one I take back if it
comes to that. Brandy and Patches have totally
bonded and lay out in the sun together and Sasha just
couldn't care less about the newbie so it is just an
Alli/Brandy workout.

 

Brandy is Ill

May 23rd 2008 8:13 am
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5/21/2008 Poor Brandy was feeling terrible - choking and retching and her belly was all red where they had shaved her for spaying. Took her to the vet first thing when they opened. The vet checked her throat and said she likely had not swallowed anything making a problem and it was probably from the tube down her throat when she was spayed (she was able to eat and it seemed to be only water that set off the choking and retching.. Her belly was a mess as when she was shaved for the operation they cut way too deep and had removed a lot of skin as well as hair and it was infected. We took home two new antibiotics that were stronger. 5/23/2008 Brandy is choking nearly nonstop but not so severe - the air is very damp today so that may be what is choking her. Her nose is cool again (she was burning hot at the vet on the 21st - vet said her temperature was normal - guess she was psychic as no one had taken Brandy's temperature! ). She has a bit more energy today so is doing better. I'm going to stop by the vet today and ask about the continued choking. Still can't get over how smart she is. As is often the case with cattle dogs she seems to understand hand signals very well. She does come and wait with hand signals and if I want her to go in a certain direction a hand signal does the trick. My dogs all come in about midday for a chicken slice treat and they come and sit and wait patiently by the refrigerator. The first time Brandy came with them she did not sit but I showed her how to sit and now when she comes in with them she sits nicely as well.

 

Reality Sets In

May 19th 2008 8:56 am
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This is the fourth day with Brandy. Last evening she and Alli had a vicious tussle over a single piece of dog food lying on the floor. The fight broke up with the "leave it" command and no hard feelings afterward. But food is definitely going to be an issue. I don't really know Brandy's history except she was rescued from someone. She is really overinterested in food so suspect she may have been starved a bit (or a lot!). So have emptied all the dog bowls of leftovers and put them away and will only set them out at mealtime and will watch things being dropped.

Poor Brandy really had a hard time with her spaying - fortunately as I walked out the door at the vet the girl called after me "Oh, she may throw up, but that is normal." I never saw a critter throw up so much - my entire living room is dog throwup remains even after much cleaning yesterday. She was fine the next morning though. Her stitches itch but we are using Benadryl cream on them which seems to help a lot. She has to take antibiotics for awhile but is very good with them - she spit the first one (wrapped in chicken) but just wolfs them down now.

She is sure a good doggie and follows me everywhere - yesterday she went outside the yard with me and back and forth. Today I made her stay inside with the other dogs. Alli is very attached to me too so didn't want to start a jealousy issue if Brandy gets to do things Alli doesn't. Right now they are both sleeping at my feet.

 
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Annie (in
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