Saturday, May 31, 2008

He Has A Name...

And it's Charlie! He's adjusting well to life filled with treats, nylabones, and tennis balls. His x-rays we had done last Friday took a few days to have our general practitioner Dr. Booman and our internist Dr. Slusser review them. We also asked our favorite surgeon Dr. Lenehan to take a peek at them too. He has a fuzzy area on one rib which may be the start of osteosarcoma, but no one wants to call it cancer yet, since it doesn't fit the classic presentation. We all collectively agreed to re-xray him in a month to see if there are any changes.

In the meantime, Charlie has gained 5lbs in a week, loving any form of food at any time! He has started a cough ~ probably kennel cough, so for now his activities are limited; no trips out shopping or to the beach until he heals! He's starting to play with toys a little and has even taken Tess' tennis ball away from her once or twice, leaving her I'm sure to wonder why he didn't bring his own!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A New Grey-Muzzled Guy...

Came to us this afternoon from the SD county central shelter, where he had been turned in as a stray. He's had a rough last few days. The folks who took him into the shelter said he was wandering as a stray, but that he was unable to stand. At the shelter, they never saw him up, although he moved around in his kennel. He only ate when hand-fed, had a cough and brown urine too so the story goes. Oh yeah, then there's the testicular tumor - he's unneutered too.

When I picked him up, they wheeled a gurney out to the van so we could load him up. He reeked of urine, and just lay on his bed, pretty oblivious to the world. Our next stop was to our internist, where we took some x-rays and drew some blood, and weighed him in - at a whopping 53 lbs!

This "old dog" who was written off as too old and unable to walk, was standing up in the car and took a long potty walk all under his own power, and inhaled 1 can of dog food and 2 jars of baby food before he even got home. He had a bath and more food, then it was time for sleep, which he did fitfully until about 3am, when his tummy alarm went off again - so early morning breakfast it was!

He's a real love-sponge, and he gets around just fine thank you! He gets along with all of the other dogs, who really enjoy the extra treats they get now. He will have vet visits during the week to make sure that everything checks out okay; our main concern is that his heart/lungs are okay - they are a little fuzzy on x-ray, but his bloodwork looks pretty good.

Please keep your fingers crossed for this handsome boy!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh Leonard...

Leonard went back to the internist today since it seemed he was just a little 'off'. Reweighing him, I found that he lost a few more ounces since his last 'trip to work with mom.' We rechecked bloodwork, and his kidney values are stable since starting Azodyl. Nothing explained his continued weight loss. So off to ultrasound we went.

The above picture is his pre-ultrasound shaved tummy. Now he's sporting a naked tummy just in time for his summer swimsuit! His kidneys were small on ultrasound, but everything else looked pretty normal for a fur-man his age. Until we got to his GI tract. Leonard has a mass in his intestine, at the ileocolic junction, a prime location for GI cancers to grow. At this point, stool can still pass, but the opening's smaller than normal. We were unsuccessful in obtaining a needle aspirate of the growth in spite of Leonard's good nature about the whole procedure.

The best option to treat this tumor is surgery. And we would in a heartbeat if he had one less medical problem. But his cardiomyopathy and kidney disease are 2 major strikes against doing such a major surgery. And there's a strong possibility that this is much worse that what we can see on ultrasound. We've opted to medically manage him at this point, placing him on antibiotics, and reserving the possibility of using steriods and a diuretic for a later date. We will also incorporate our Eastern medicine as well, so herbs and homeopathics will be used too.

I'm still working out the logistics of feeding him several small meals a day because everyone needs to eat if he does ~ just ask them!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dinner Anyone?

Waldo was the keeper of the food bowls tonight. He began campaigning about 2:00 this afternoon, and wasn't successful until sometime after 5:00. I've given in early before, only to have the kitties complaining when the regular mealtime came and went. Someday I might forget, you never know!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Leonard Update

Leonard is doing very well in his "golden years" but he needed his annual check-up anyway. He had a physical exam and a cardiac ultrasound with our internist Dr. Slusser at Animal Internal Medicine this past week.

He has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the walls of his heart are enlarged, so its not performing optimally for him. He takes a medication called Atenolol, which is a beta blocker used for humans. We're very happy that his heart is stable!

He has lost a pound in body weight over the last 18 months, which isn't surprising given that he's about 18 years old! He also had a little labwork done too, and his BUN and Creatinine are elevated which are signs of renal failure. It's normally managed with supportive care, generally with subcutaneous fluid therapy, sometimes a diet change, and nutriceuticals such as Azodyl and Epakitin. With Leonard's heart disease, the fluid therapy is out ~ we could put him in heart failure very quickly. So we've opted to use Azodyl, a twice daily capsule which binds to the toxins the kidneys can't filter out properly. We will also continue a good quality diet, and add in Epakitin when his blood phosphorus levels rise.

Leonard doesn't know there's anything wrong with his kidneys or his heart. He's not very fond of his new twice daily medication regime, but takes it in stride and is still purring when we're done!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sanctuary Updates!

It's been quite a while since this blog's been updated, so here goes. Please enjoy the following series of stories about life with our Golden Hearts critters!

The Girl Scouts Finished Their Projects...

for the Sanctuary animals and they are beautiful! Troop 1230 in Carlsbad earned their Bronze Star Award through helping the animals over this past year. The final big projects were created on the hottest day we've had in Valley Center all year, with temperatures in the upper 90's!
A beautiful play area for the goats, allowing them to jump and climb and nap up high was created, which Bob dutifully helped construct. He then tried it out first, got stuck underneath it, and came out looking for someone to take pity on him. When that didn't work, he just asked for the spaces between the steps to be blocked off!

The second project was the beginnings of a dream we've had here for years - a Memorial Garden to honor those we have loved in their Golden Years. It's beautiful! The building in the background on the right is the Cabana, so the kitties get to enjoy it too!

These girls have learned about the beauty in all creatures, old or young, normal or disfigured. We hope that they continue to spread the message of compassion, and the critters ask that they return for visits anytime. Thank you Troop 1230, you've made all of us smile!

Haircut Day!

A streak of warm weather prompted a little haircut for Austin - and check out the pile of hair left behind! His long, beautiful hair is gorgeous, but tangles as he sheds, and catches every sticker in the yard; brushing is not his favorite form of attention either! I was concerned that a haircut would be a stress to his heart, so this was a decision not taken lightly! However, I crated and carried him in to the bathroom in the house (the unofficial 'salon') and pulled out the clippers. I turned them on cautiously, fully expecting him to freak out. Imagine my surprise when he began purring and leaning in to them! His cheeks got a little more trimmed than I had planned because he wouldn't quit rubbing on them! Of course, this prompted a change in weather, so he needed some clothes. His blue t-shirt really brings out his eyes (although he doesn't appreciate that fact!)

Marci & MeiLi

MeiLi has had trouble off and on with her snotty nose, and what seems to be some asthma too. She has an appointment so see our holistic veterinarian Dr. Laflin at Cardiff Animal Hospital coming soon. She suggested a homeopathic remedy which is working pretty well so far and it, coupled with an albuterol inhaler, seem to be helping. She's gained back some of the weight she lost (it's pretty noticeable when you're only 5lbs) because she couldn't smell her food. And she's back to her crabby self! She's in the picture with Poppy enjoying a little sunshine!

Marci had some breathing problems which after a few days on hairball medication had resolved. She surprised us this weekend with a little abscess on her cheek - probably from playing too rough with claws. She's doing well, it's healing nicely!

Xanadu Left Us...

This handsome boy had such little time with us, but I believe he had a great time while he was here! Xanadu suffered from problems related to old injuries to his spinal cord, giving him upper motor neuron damage. It inhibited his ability to know when he had to urinate or defecate, or for the bladder and bowel to just empty on their own when full - a 'reflex' bladder or bowel. Thanks to his fan club at the Grayson County Humane Society , he had a colectomy and had been deobstipated more than once before he came to us. It had kept him going until he could get here for better veterinary care.

He had trouble off and on with his colon upon his arrival in late January, but then began having trouble with bladder infections also. We fixed one problem, then the other would crop back up. And then he began to have trouble with back pain too. He became unable to empty his bladder on his own, so I would have to express him daily, most of the time with some sedation in an attempt to keep my fingers. Unfortunately, at his last recheck exam (of course with sedation) we emptied his bladder and actually it was improving, but once it was empty, we discovered that his colon had became static too. Big uh oh. Into an emergency laparotomy to see what was going on.

One of the hardest decisions we ever make is that of euthanasia. Are there more bad days than good days? Is this condition painful? Is there quality of life? These are the questions we ask and then tearfully answer. I painfully made the decision that Xan shouldn't wake up from anesthesia. He peacefully crossed the Bridge with lots of love on April 11. His spunky dog-like personality touched everyone who met him.
Rest in peace, sweet prince!