Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shay is one tough old dog

Shay is 12 and her hips haven't been good for a while. But she gets around pretty well. Until about 10 days ago. She started having a harder and harder time standing. Sometimes one of us had to help her and then she would hobble along, more and more often stopping to lie down before she could continue. Finally, one evening I had to use a towel for a sling under her belly to help her go to bed.

Sue had Shay on pain meds but they weren't working. That next morning she got Rimadyl from the vet and started Shay on three a day. We saw a difference almost immediately and within 36 hours Shay was much more comfortable and able to walk from the house to the backyard without stopping. Although she isn't exactly waking up each day with a spring in her step, she moves pretty darned efficiently everywhere she needs to go. And she still has her wag.

And then ... going into the weekend, we realized the skin tag low on Shay's hind leg had somehow gotten rubbed raw. Instead of it's usual black, it was now blood red. Now mind you, this skin tag is the size of a walnut. Big. And it started oozing. Yuck. And Shay was licking it and biting on it and it just got grosser. Fortunately, we made it through to Monday morning without her chewing it off. We were at the vet's office bright and early.

The skin tag has to be removed surgically but that can't happen until Wednesday. So the vet bandaged Shay's leg. If left to her own devices, the old gal would chew that bandage off in a heartbeat. Since we don't use the cone of shame on these old dogs (I'm afraid the response to it would cause far too much stress on their old bodies), we're using the watchful eye technique combined with a good number of leave its and a sock over the bandage. So far so good. And tomorrow is surgery. Estimate: $700. After which she should be as good as new. Well, as good as old maybe.

Like I said up top, Shay is one tough old lady. And just in case she or any of our other oldsters need walking assistance, Sue ordered a belly sling. Should be here any day. I always wanted handles for my dogs.

This post was originally published on the 5 Old Dogs blog, 8/28/13. Shay is 13 now and still has her wag. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What does it mean if your dog is registered?

And why does it matter? It matters because there are claims made by lots of people about the quality of purebred dogs. Before you decide to buy a purebred, thinking that registration guarantees something you won't get with a mixed breed or rescue dog, watch this video. In it Dr. Karen Becker, an integrative veterinarian and Wayne Cavanaugh, president of the United Kennel Club talk about it.

Here's a synopsis from Dr. Becker:
“Registration papers, whether from the AKC, the UKC or another registry, do not guarantee the health of a dog. This is a fact too many dog owners overlook. In today’s world of puppy mills and online puppy storefronts, a ‘papered’ dog means nothing in terms of how the animal was bred, it’s health, talents, or temperament.”
If you are interested in scientific study relating to inherited canine disorders, an article was published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on this subject. Entitled "Prevalence of inherited disorders among mixed-breed and purebred dogs: 27,254 cases (1995–2010)", the abstract is available here. Another interesting paper is about breed-specific inherited diseases. It comes to us from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and is called a "Guide to congenital and heritable disorders in dogs" (includes genetic predisposition to diseases). Here's the link.

The bottom line: before you decide to get any dog, do your homework. Get a dog based on what really matters to you and your family.