Fiona the doxie

June 24, 2014

If you follow us, I’m sure you are aware that our Princess Fiona is sick with some sort of a mystery illness. We’ve gone to our regular vet, a specialty vet and even a teaching hospital. We are headed back to the teaching hospital this Thursday for an MRI with spinal tap. I certainly learned a lot from our previous visit so I thought I’d share with all of you. In all the years, I’ve owned animals, I’ve never been to a teaching hospital. I had read their FAQs but I still feel like I wasn’t adequately prepared for the experience. Here are my tips to make your trip(and my next one)much smoother.

  • If you and your vet are even “thinking” your pet might need to go to a teaching hospital, do it. Don’t waste your time and money on having other tests done at your vet or even a specialty hospital. I was concerned about the stress on her if we went to Purdue so I took her to the specialty hospital and had a total cardiac work up done by a vet that is in the process of being certified in cardiology. Purdue wouldn’t accept the cardiac ultrasound since she wasn’t certified and they said that everyone apparently measures just a little differently. So basically the $900 that I spent at the specialty hospital was a waste as they only used the chest X-rays. They were also able to use blood work from my regular vet but wanted to repeat the abdominal ultrasound that she had done, again because she wasn’t certified. I declined that as we really needed to spend money as wisely as possible. I’m still kicking myself over this although I thought I was doing the right thing at that time.
  • If you are there to get a diagnosis, it’s most likely an all day process. Their FAQs said to expect that but I guess I didn’t really think it would take that long. Our appointment was at 9 AM and they took her to the back and away from me about 10 AM. Although I talked to the vets and saw them, I didn’t see Fiona again until after 4 PM. I know she was very stressed as she had tried to bite them and she’s not a biter.
  • To put your pet at ease, take their favorite blanket to keep them company. I meant to take her pink bag she rides in but forgot it and didn’t want to turn around. I think if she’d had it, she wouldn’t have been nearly as stressed.
  • Take snacks and drinks for yourself. Depending on how long it will take, you can probably leave the hospital. They told me it would take several hours so I decided I would go look for the lakes that I had seen listed on a sign. I drove for quite some time and never found them.  I ended up stopping at a cute shop and sat there reading my book but didn’t realize that I didn’t have cell reception so I missed a call from the hospital. This time I’ll pack a cooler and just got outside and enjoy the weather within cell phone range.
  • Make sure you electronic devices are fully charged. If you’re going to be there most of the day, you want to be able to use your phone or read from your Kindle.  Sometimes your battery gets drained quickly in those conditions so make sure you have at least a car charger with you.
  • Take a pad of paper and pen with you. If you have questions ahead of time, take the list with you. If you didn’t have any before, chances are that you’ll think of them while you’re there so write them down. The vets have been great to deal with but it’s much quicker to get an answer while you’re there than to have to call back. Don’t forget questions about their care at home, test results and follow up visits.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time to get there and check in. I had directions that seemed pretty simple but I still got lost. If you can take someone with you to navigate, even better. Plus it’s great to have someone to talk to and they can help you with your list of questions/concerns for the vet.
  • Make sure  you know what the payment policy is and get an estimate before you go. This is not your hometown vet so you won’t be allowed to run a tab. They were really great about informing about other testing that they wanted to do and what the cost would be. Take some extra money for yourself especially if you forget snacks. Don’t hesitate to tell them what your spending limit is so you can make the most of the money that you have. They can help prioritize and get the most bang for your buck. If you think you will need more money, you can apply for Care Credit ahead of time so you’ll have an idea what your limit is with them. Some teaching hospitals will let you apply while you’re there but it’s better to know ahead of time what your financial limitations are. The really cool thing about Care Credit is that you can use it for your own medical bills.
  • Most of all , remember to breathe and ask questions. The veterinarians are there for you and your pet so make the most of their knowledge and skills. They want to find out what’s wrong with your pet and make them better but they can’t do it without your input. I actually printed up a time line of her illness and gave it to them so they could glance at that to start with. It helped me remember dates and tests as well. Make sure you know your financial limits and discuss it with your family ahead of time so that your emotions don’t take over. It helps to know exactly what you will and won’t do for your pet before being asked to make that decision.

Hopefully these tips will help you if your pet needs care beyond what your regular vet can offer. I’m hopeful that our next visit with go more smoothly and that we’ll finally have some answers for our sweet girl. Thanks for reading and as always, thanks for opting to adopt.

Long Live the Queen of the Wiener Palace

It’s not an easy job being Queen but somebody’s got to do it. Somehow we managed to run the Wiener Palace with just a Princess for a few years and everything was fine. About a year and a half ago, I saw a post on Facebook that pulled on my heart. It was a scruffy looking pup with basically only an underbite showing from underneath a mess of hair. tatianna 4-2012  She was posted on Ruby Ranch Rescue’s page and it said she had mammary cancer that had spread and was in need of a hospice home. We have done some hospice care including our sweet foster Flora who had a big tumor on her back and Cocoa Puff who also had mammary cancer. She needed a quiet house to live out her days which were estimated to be six to twelve months. We have a fairly quiet home full of soft dog beds, were experienced with mammary cancer and thought she was adorable. The biggest problem was that she was in Arizona and we live in Indiana. Through the magic of social media, someone agreed to let her fly with them to Chicago and another person picked her up there and kept her for several days until we could drive up to meet them. Her name was Tatianna and there was no denying that she was meant to be Queen.  The rescue made a video showing her story up until the time she headed out to meet us http://youtu.be/4mkjLfO-fWA .

We met two of her guardian angels just South of Chicago.  They had picked her up at the airport and pampered the heck out of her while she was there. She even came with a swag bag full of goodies including this T-shirt that has a sparkly heart on the back of it. Doesn’t she look like such a happy pup?tatianna 6-10-12 011   So we brought her home essentially to die. But Tatianna had other bigger plans. She wanted to experience the world and live life to the fullest. We took her with us to a few pet events and discovered that she loved people and loved attention. I thought that maybe she could be a therapy dog like Pebbles and Fiona. So even though they say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, we decided to try. I didn’t tell anyone what we were doing because I wasn’t sure it would even work. But she was a quick learner even at 15 and learned basic obedience and passed her therapy dog tests with flying colors.  She loves going to the nursing home and the middle school. She does a great job of sitting still while the kids read to her. She thrives on attention and loves to go anywhere in the car.

She’s done great healthwise since we adopted her. She needed a dental desperately so about a year ago so we had that done and her mammary tumor taken off. The margins were clear and her bloodwork was great so we thought we got it all. About a month ago, she decided to take off on a little journey and the day after that I noticed that one of her little skin tags had come off. The next day, it looked worse so off to the vet with her. The vet commented on the place where she had the mammary tumor removed and thought that it seemed firmer and larger. We wanted to let her back heal before poking around in her belly so I took her back to the vet yesterday to get both checked. Our vet determined that it was not scar tissue as I had hoped. It appears to be more mammary tumors and they are on both sides of her chest now. She did an X-ray and there are also nodules in her chest. Given her age and medical history, we are going to treat conservatively at this time as she does not appear to be in pain and is not having any side effects from them. She will go back in three weeks for a re-check to see if we’ve slowed their growth. As long as she feels good, she will continue to do her therapy dog visits. She gets so much joy out of visiting and the people love her so much. Her 17th birthday will be on Valentine’s Day 2014 so that’s my goal for her. She had such a great Sweet 16 party at the retirement village and had 40-50 people stop by to wish her a Happy Birthday and there were two birthday cakes!

I want to leave you with this-please spay and neuter your pets. There are so many unwanted animals in shelters and rescues out there and it’s healthier for your pets to be altered. Tatianna’s mom loved her very much but didn’t have her spayed. If she had been spayed at a young age, her chances of getting mammary cancer would have been almost zero. Here’s a link to low cost spay/neuter clinics in your area. Hugs your pups tight and remember to Opt to Adopt. Long Live Queen Tatianna!

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Don’t Bite My Booty

I swear we have the oddest things happen here at the Wiener Palace. We live up by a major city park that is very wooded and full of wildlife so we often have them run through our back yard. We’ve seen deer, raccoons, ducks, geese, all sorts of birds and even a coyote out there. It’s kind of scary because all the dogs here are under 14 pounds and could easily be seriously injured or even killed by some of these animals. I am always very careful to stay at the door and watch them while they are out back but sometimes even that isn’t enough. We have some resident black snakes that hang around our house. I’m glad they are here since they help keep the rodent population down but they’ve also bit our dogs twice. We were able to treat them at home and the dogs didn’t have any severe reactions. Now the spiders, that’s a whole ‘nother story. Apparently our little blind Princess Fiona McSnuggles got bit by a spider sometime late Tuesday night. We were at the retirement village that evening and everything seemed fine. It was really warm because they were having problems with their air conditioning but the girls and residents had a blast.

Everything seemed fine but the next morning Jerry told me that Fiona was “nervous” and shaking. I could tell she was in pain but I thought she had twisted her back the night before. I headed straight to the vet and figured they would do some laser or acupuncture and she would be fine. I was astonished when Dr. Cindy called and said she had an area on her booty that looked like a spider bite. They lasered it and put her on some pain pills, steroids and antibiotics. The next morning it took off and began swelling and getting redder. From the time I got up to the time we got back to the vet, it was so much nastier looking. This time it was full of pus and she was running a fever. They ended up putting in a drain and adding a pain patch and another antibiotic. The poor little thing was wiped out by the whole experience but she did end up with a cute camo bandage on her pain patch. DSCF0174Due to her blindness, she does not tolerate the “cone of shame”. She ends up getting so anxious and frothing at the mouth. So when we had to leave for a bit on Saturday, we left after her pain meds had kicked in. When we got back, I could see that she had been licking at that area and the next day, the drain was almost all the way out. I went ahead and removed it and the sutures and it was healing up great. She had her re-check on Tuesday and everything is healing wonderfully and just as quickly as it came up. She was growing some nasty things in that pus but her antibiotics worked on those. She’s still a little run down from the whole experience but she looks great. She hasn’t gone back to work just yet and she is sporting a big bald patch on her booty and the back of her neck. I bought her a pretty flower to cover her neck so once she feels up to it, we’ll head back to the nursing home for our weekly visits. Now I’m paranoid any time I see a spider and that’s pretty often around here. I’m so glad that I took her to the vet on Wednesday rather than just assuming it was her back and waiting. I think it resolved so quickly since we caught it early on. Sometimes I feel like I am a nervous dog mom and am overthinking their every movement but in this case I’m very glad we caught it so quickly. I would say to listen to your inner voice. They can’t tell us what’s going on or where they hurt. We are their advocate adn have to speak up for them since they are unable to. I would also warn you- Beware the spiders!

 

 

 

Time to Wash the Wieners

As a multidog household, we have to learn to do many things ourselves. This includes grooming the wiener herd. Lucky for me, we had a girl in our Dachshund Meetup group who showed Dachshunds and she taught me how to groom our dogs.  Once a month, everybody in the house gets their hair cut(except me). I used to use the same clippers on Jerry and the dogs but thought I would be nice and let him have his own. Now I have a grooming table with arm and some good dog clippers, thinning shears and high quality nail clippers. This has saved us a ton of money over the years. I think Dachshunds are some of the easiest dogs to maintain and best of all-no doggy smell! I didn’t really appreciate that until we adopted Tatianna last year. She is maybe a Lhasa/Chinese Crested mix and is definitely the Queen of the Wiener Palace. She was 15 when we adopted her and we thought she was going to be a hospice dog. This is what she looked like when she got to the shelter. tatianna 4-2012She was shaved down and this is her when she came to live with us. tatianna 6-10-12 011Well I had no idea how hard it was to keep a white fluffy dog like her looking and smelling clean. It’s been quite the job especially since she is not a fan of grooming and will attempt to bite you with those six or so teeth that are left in her head. I’ve put off having her groomed professionally even after we found out that her cancer had not spread and we removed the tumor she had. She gets so stressed that I didn’t want to risk her stroking our or worse during the grooming. Finally, we’ve had her over a year so I had to break down and do it. I found a groomer right outside my vet’s office and talked to them at length before making the appointment. Both the groomer and the vet knew my concerns and my vet even went over and picked her up after her grooming and took her back to their office so she could hang out with Pebbles the rest of the day. I have to tell you, that was the best $30 I think I’ve ever spent on the dogs! Usually I trim her face first then Jerry feeds her peanut butter while I do her body and avoid her nubby teeth. I’m guessing she was pretty good for them and this was the finished product DSCF0129I’m tickled that she looks so great and I didn’t have to fight with her. I’ve also told her that I will NEVER have another white fluffy dog like her with such fine hair that tangles so easy. Or if I do, I’ll make sure that dog is good with grooming. Now it’s the end of the month so time to groom the Doxies. Everybody gets nails, paws trimmed, ears cleaned and body trims if needed once a month. Here’s how my poor wieners get washed when they need a bath.

Clean wieners

Clean wieners

I want to give a shout out to Barx Boutique, you can maintain the Queen’s look and save me some grief. They also have a bakery so I picked up some treats for the wiener herd while I was down there. DSCF0133They also have some really cute clothes. I bought the girls an outfit to wear to the retirement facility next week. DSCF0123You can check out their shop by clicking on their name above. They also do photography but I think Tati had enough stress for that day. Do you groom your own dogs or pay someone to do it? This was my first experience having a dog groomed but it was well worth it!  Dog Bless the groomers who battle with our dogs so we can enjoy clean pups. You have my endless appreciation for the work you do. P.S. About an hour after getting her home, Jerry went to feed the dogs. He wrapped one of her supplements in cheese which then got stuck in her ears. She was sucking on her ear, trying to get the cheese out. So much for the nice clean fluffy dog!