Monday, February 27, 2006

Jim Leaves Us...

The "Head Kitty in Charge of All Things Feline" passed away last night. Though he had lost quite a bit of weight during his battle with intestinal lymphoma, he continued to eat pretty well and still spent his days watching "his boys" (Rocky and HotRod) play in the yard. On Saturday, he was even outside taking a dirt bath.

Sunday found him spending his entire day inside at the top of the cat tree, still purring but only licking at the Fancy Feast juice. That night, I gave him the usual medications and some subcutaneous fluids, as I had been doing daily to keep him hydrated. In my heart I knew that he was nearing the final hours of his time here with us, so he and I used HTA (Healing Touch For Animals) and flower essences from Shining Spirits to keep him comfortable. He passed away surrounded by our love and in his favorite place, with his friends. I wouldn't have it any other way for him....

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Super-Duper Scooter Neuter!

Today was the big surgery day for Scooter ~ known around here as the "Super-Duper Scooter Neuter" Day (try saying that 3 times fast!) Scooter is finally 6lbs and as healthy as he can be. He only had one testicle drop like it was supposed to, and the other one is up in his abdomen. We waited a long time to see if the second one would also drop, so he could have a normal surgery, but it wasn't to be. In the perfect world, he would have an abdominal exploratory to locate the second one, but concerns about his anesthesia tolerance dictate that's not to be. We have to wait and see for sure if the remaining one is producing hormones, but for now, we're willing to take that chance when the alternative could have serious consequences.

Tonight, Scooter's running laps through the house like nothing ever happened, though he is careful not to jump up on anything. I'm sure that with some extra treats, he will heal in no time!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Eye Surgery For Luna

Luna had minor surgery today to remove a tumor on her eyelid. She had one in the past which was removed from the same location ~ her left upper eyelid. They're benign growths, but annoying, because once there's one, more seem to follow. This particular growth really bothered her ~ she's rubbed the hair out around that eye entirely. The change in her body condition over the last few months allowed the eyelid to roll in, so it and the growth rubbed on her eye itself. She had immediate relief as it was removed under a local anesthetic.

I'm happy to report that she's doing great in spite of having to wear an Elizabethan collar for a couple of days so she leaves it alone. I'm not sure that she absolutely hates the collar, as it makes it easier for her to carry several toys at once ~ she uses it as a big scoop!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Morning Conference

I couldn't resist the opportunity to share a rare moment when both Aussie staff members are quietly hanging out together. Maverick (in the foreground) and Buddy help keep things running here ~ they're in charge of the dogs (Fidelity's in charge of cats). They make sure daily exercise, including wrestling matches are carried out, and team up to make sure meals are fed in a timely manner. Buddy has been training Maverick to uphold his high standards, as he's slowed down considerably these days. Maverick has so much energy, I hope Buddy encourages him to switch to decaf so I can keep up with him!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thinking "Outside the Box"...

Can be a daily occurance when dealing with special needs animals. Creativity is always helpful when deciding many things. There's everything from the "how best to move an 80lb. dog with back trouble" situation, to the "I think the cat ate the bedsheet" situation.

Today brought the need for creative thinking for Marci. She seemed to be having more difficulty breathing than ususal. We're always watching her, looking for distress that signals an emergency, but today's episode wasn't critical, just different. Our daily routine includes twice daily litter box cleaning, and I noticed in the afternoon the box was empty. As I started thinking about her and her condition, many of her organs (including her colon) are sitting in her chest. If her colon's a little full, there's that much less room for her lungs to expand.

So what's our remedy for breathing difficulty for Marci? Adding more canned pumpkin (for fiber) and a drug called Lactulose to her diet. It draws moisture into the stool so it's softer and easier to pass. I'm happy to report that a few doses of Lactulose remedied the situation, and Marci is back to her old self. She will remain on it life-long, along with Scooter, so everything continues to work well.

The Verdict Is In

Luna's lab work is all finally back. The titer that checks for Myasthenia Gravis was negative (we decided it's good to double-check). Her CBC showed that she's anemic and her chemistry panel shows she's hypothyroid.

Hypothyroidism in dogs can cause many symptoms ranging from weight gain and sluggishness to poor hair coat to, in some cases, anemia.

After consulting with both our regular vet Dr. Booman and our internist Dr. Slusser, Luna will be starting on Soloxine, a thyroid medication, then we'll recheck her blood values in a couple of weeks to see if they've improved. Lucky girl, pills mean extra treats!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Hot Dog(s)...

What do you do when is February and 85 degrees outside? Nap of course. I couldn't resist a chance to photograph some of our Goldies in "action." Quincy is on his back in the background, with Melody right beside him. Fidelity, the sanctuary matriarch (and almost 16) is lying on the Canine Cooler beds. They'll be well-rested for dinnertime!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Luna's Vet Day

Luna got to pay a visit to our internist Dr. Slusser in San Diego today. She's lost energy and body condition recently, and has had two episodes of regurgitating food after going to sleep at night.

We did a chest x-ray to make sure nothing had changed with her heart as she has a slight murmur. The x-ray was also used to check for a megesophagus (an enlarged esophagus) which is a tell-tale sign of myasthenia gravis, a condition that causes overall muscular weakness.

The x-ray looked great! No change in the size or shape of her heart, and no megesophagus. So now we've ruled out a couple of potential causes, leaving many more to check for. Next up ~ lab work!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


It's birthday time at the sanctuary! The day an animal comes to live here becomes his or her birthday, and we celebrate with tuna for the kitties and chicken for the dogs (diets permitting!) We sing "Happy Birthday" and all critters get a treat!
This week, we celebrate two birthdays. Quincy (the Golden) is one of our canine "staff." He helps greet all new dogs and cats and makes sure they know where the tennis balls and nylabones are located. Quincy turned 5, and we're happy to have him with us, as he suffers from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which affects dogs in very much the same way it does people. He takes Chinese herbs in addition to vitamin supplements, Prednisone, and Imuran to keep his disease in check. Happy Birthday Quincy!

The two-legged staff member who also earns a verse of "Happy Birthday" is my husband and chief handyman, Steve. He is in charge of many things, from construction projects to handing out treats. Happy Birthday Honey!