These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gio's New Pancreatitis Menu

Gio has gas. Not just normal toots, but "peel-the-paint-from-the-wall-run-for-your-life-clear-the-room-hangs-like-a-thick-fog-over-the-ground ass fumes of death"! Serious, not exaggerating even a teensy bit! It's to the point that Romeo won't even sleep on the bed with him anymore. If this keeps up Gio will be spending the nights in his crate, which he hasn't done at home since he was a wee pup.

He had another vet check today, it was time to get his phenobarbital levels tested to see how things are progressing there. I told the vet about the flatulence and she thought it was just him adjusting to the new food (ie. canned yuck). I guess that makes sense. He was on antibiotics for a week, so that probably killed off a good handful of his normal gut flora. Then he was abruptly switched from a home-made raw diet to a canned rice-y mush diet. So, if that is the case, why not switch him now while he is adjusting and just be done with it. His bloodwork has all indicated that he is making a good recovery, so I'm goint to start switching him to a better diet slowly.

I've done a good bit of research into home-made pancreatic diets, and there are three main diets that I have come across.
The basic idea behind all the diets is high veggie content and lean meat in small quantities (~25%). Dr. Dodds and Monica Segal strongly recommend a cooked diet in situations of pancreatitis. Dr. Billinghurst recommends raw. Since the proportions of veggie to meat are roughly the same in all three diets, I've adapted them a bit to form a diet that I can manage and maintain.

I've just started making my first batch, here is what I've done:
  • Pushed 4.5lb of raw cabbage, zucchini, white potato, sweet potato, carrot, spinach, apple, and broccoli through a juicer, collecting all the juice and pulp in a large bowl. Added 3 crushed digestive enzyme tablets. It's currently sitting in the fridge.
  • Thawing on the counter are 2lb of cod filets and about 1/4lb raw beef liver. I will poach the cod and braise the liver, chop and mix into the veggie slop.
  • Portion and freeze.
  • I've purchased a infant's liquid multivitamin which I will give once daily as per Dr. Dodds' Liver Cleansing Diet. Also a probiotic capsule twice a day to help him adjust after the antibiotics.
I have no idea how much Gio will have to eat. I'm guessing something like 2 cups per day, so this will likely last me a week or so. I'll have to measure it all out later to know for sure. I've got about 7 cans of the yuck left over, so I will be giving roughly half and half canned and home-made until the cans are all gone. Then hopefully we can just continue on with the home-made, gradually increasing the amount of meat in proportion to veggie over the next couple of months. I'm planning on taking this very slowly, probably sticking with at least a portion of the diet as veggie in the end though I would like to get the meat up to at least half of the diet over time, and eventually switch to raw again. But that may be a year or so from now before we switch. Told ya I was planning on going slowly! As severe as Gio's pancreatitis was, I don't want to take the risk of going too quickly in getting him back onto a carnivore's diet!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Snow Melt 2009

Okay, okay, I know it doesn't look all THAT different from a couple days ago. But it is currently 2C (about 35F) out there so things are melting like mad! I can't walk out my front door without getting rained on from all the snow melting off the roof. Correct, I do not have rain gutters. Once I can safely place a ladder on the ground without clearing snow and ice, I will be putting rain gutters up. But for now, I just have to dash quickly out the door between droplets.

Fun with Kongs

The good thing about Gio's canned yuck food, it squishes into a Kong quite nicely!

While Gio got his afternoon meal in his Kong, Romeo got good ol' peanut butter.

Further proof that Romeo is just plain weird ...

Ahh Spring!

Makes an old dog feel like a pup again.

Albeit, a barky gap-tooth pup with a bad Poodle-do. Look man, even Romeo is embarrassed to be seen with you. And Romeo is the one that never did figure out why the snowballs I threw for him got lost so easily.

Today was such a gorgeous day, that I couldn't just sit around like a lump, as was the initial plan. I did a bunch of spring cleaning and cranked all the windows open in the house to air it out a bit. It was beginning to smell a little doggy in here, so even though it was barely above freezing outside it was nice to get a breeze blowing all the cobwebs (read: hair balls) away.

Then the boys and I went to the park for a good run. Well, the boys ran, I don't do a whole lot of running.

I chucked snowballs for the guys because we are now officially out of tennis balls. They had a blast running and being fools in the big empty park.

I caught Gio mid-pounce onto what he thought was the snowball that I threw.
No idea if it actually was or not.

Chase games.

Something about the mounds of snow on either side of the path was just irresistible for the dogs! Romeo would run back and forth across the path from snow mound to snow mound.

Then Gio joined in ...
Then it was WAR!

Look guys, you BOTH fit on the snow mounds. Now isn't that better?

"Hey, with a lame-ass poodle-cut like this, you gotta do
SOMETHING to feel like a man again!"

I should also mention that today was the first day that I have gone outside with only a light fleece jacket instead of my big winter coat! YAY!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Volunteer Badge

We are currently in the process of dealing with all the red tape involved with becoming a therapy dog volunteer team with Saskatoon City Hospital. The Saskatoon Health Region has their own volunteer process, as does St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, so there are lots of required meetings and orientations, paperwork and the like. We are nearing the end, almost ready to start our official visitations.

Today I met with the volunteer coordinator at Saskatoon City Hospital to fill out some final paperwork and get a photo taken for my Saskatoon Health Region volunteer badge.

And something that totally made my day was that they wanted to make a volunteer badge for Romeo as well! Totally hilarious, I'm thrilled!!

And Romeo is quite proud to have his own badge as well ...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back in Action

Gio got to go back to "work" today. The vet said that as long as we keep things light and easy, he can go back to his normal training again. Thursday nights are drop-in nights for the group of people I do rally-o with, so I packed up the boys and headed over to the Hound Lounge for some practice.

Gio isn't allowed any food other than the icky canned slop that he is still getting 5 times a day, so instead of treats he got to work for a BALL!


I'm actually quite impressed with how the ball worked in some cases. It was very inconvenient for the basic things, but worked really well when we were practicing "moving down". (Either that, or he was just so excited to be back to work that he threw away his silly ideas regarding moving downs.) I might have to keep working with the ball instead of food for some things.

I did notice that he tired out quite quickly, so we kept his practice sessions nice and short, only about 10 minutes total.

I'm working Romeo on the finer points of rally-o versatility. He's got the "switch" position figured out (right heel position) and is getting to be really good at the various side changes. He's not very fluent with the right bum movements yet, but there is improvement. I have visions of Romeo being just as smooth at heeling on the right as he is on the left. It's a dream I have, and at the rate that he is progressing, it may actually be quite attainable! This year we are going to focus on CARO C Stream Bronze (CRB) and Silver (CRS), then maybe next year he will be smooth enough to start competing in CARO Versatility!

Of course, what is a drop-in practice session without some socializing?

Beg all you want, Gee. Everyone knows better than to give you any treats!

Snow Melt 2009

Oreo and Misty from Sara's Blog commented on our previous post with shock that we still have a lot of snow.

Yes, we still have a lot of snow!

While it is a little slower than normal to disappear this year, it isn't completely unusual for Saskatoon to still be covered in the white stuff in March. But today was a very nice day out, so we have quite a good melt started. As such, I've decided to document the melt in a little series I will call "Snow Melt 2009". This series could also be accurately called "The Revealing of My New Yard". I have no idea what my yard looks like, I've only ever seen it covered in snow. Will it all be mud? Will there be grass? Will there be copious amounts of weeds that have been mown to resemble grass from a distance? Who knows! SO EXCITING!!

Day 1 ...

We reached a high of -2C (roughly 26F) today, so things are really dripping outside and it's like the parting of the Red Sea when you try to drive down the road.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why do Shelties have long noses ...

... To keep their leashes up out of the snow while you unlock the car door.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Clean Bill of Health!

Gio had to go back to the vet college this morning for some follow-up blood work after his discharge last Thursday. The vets are very pleased with how he is recovering!

They ran a CBC, chem panel and pancreatic enzyme test, as well as a physical exam. His CBC is back to normal, with no indication of inflammation. His chem panel and pancreatic enzyme test are not completely back to normal, but are much closer to normal ranges than they were at the last check on March 17th. His pancreatic enzymes (amylase and lipase) are back into normal ranges and his cholesterol is back to acceptable levels as well. His bilirubin, ALP and GGT are still slightly elevated, but closer to normal than they were last time. The vet explained that this is because, when the pancreas swells up, it constricts around the bile duct causing a back-up of gall bladder-related enzymes into the bloodstream. As the swelling of the pancreas goes down, the pressure is relieved from the gall bladder and the levels gradually return to normal. So while the concentrations of these enzymes are not 100% normal yet, the decrease indicates that the swelling has decreased and the body is slowly reverting back to normal.

Gio is to remain on his special canned diet for the next while, gradually increasing the daily amount of food to recommended levels over the next week. He is currently eating about half of the recommended amount for a dog his size. He'll be happy to know he gets to eat MORE soon, even if it is goopy canned stuff.

The vets gave an all-clear to take him off the Tramadol (pain medication), but he is to remain on the antacid for the next couple of days still.

He needs to go back again in another week and a half to run a check on his phenobarbital levels to ensure that they are within range. At that point, hopefully we can say "fare well" to the vet clinic for a while longer!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Food Time

Gio would like to tell everyone that he is STARVING!

"Attention citizens of Earth. I regret to inform you that my stomach is very empty. I fear that I may expire due to starvation at any moment."

"You guys hungry?"

"When will you learn to STOP ASKING STUPID QUESTIONS?!"

Gio remains eager that he will get real food one of these days.

Exhibit A:
"Real food" that Romeo gets to eat.
Beef liver and boneless sheep.

Exhibit B:
Point of note, it looks very similar when it comes out the other end.
Did I mention, yuck?

Exhibit C:
Gio's medicine cabinet.
The fact that he HAS a medicine cabinet means he is not "well" yet,
so more "yuck food" for him for a while.
Note the bright orange sticker on bottle #3? That sticker warns about drowsiness, or more aptly termed "Drugged up Sheltie".

But Nurse Romeo knows how to deal with patients that are "Drugged up Shelties".
They just need a good cuddle.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Slightly Less Pathetic

Gio's pictures from yesterday looked really pathetic. Partly because he was soaking wet from his bath, and partly because he was probably shocked that he was finally home again!

Here are some more pictures from today, showing a much fluffier looking Gio. Underneath, he is still skin and bone, but at least the poofy hair hides it a bit better.

Here is the patent-pending "drugged up Sheltie" look ...

Note the gormless look of confusion.

But he is not so drugged up that he can't pester Romeo into playing tug with him.

And I think Gio likes having a bare belly ... he's a big fan of belly rubs now. Much moreso than before.

PS. I thought raw liver farts were bad! You ain't smelled NOTHING til you've smelled a "low fat high fiber veterinary canned food" fart. YIKES! And those poops are something else ... After the "Nuclear War That Ends The World" the only things left will be cockroaches and those God awful canned food poops! How is it that the volume of poop coming out of my dog is greater than the volume of food going into my dog? I can't wait until Gio is all back to normal health and we get the all-clear to switch back to a better diet.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gio Update - Thursday

Gio is back home where he belongs!!

I can't even say "thank you" enough to all of the people that have left messages, e-mailed, or just crossed their fingers and thought of Gio over the past week. It's been hell, and could have easily ended up much worse than it did. But after 7 nights in the ICU at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Gio is finally back home again!

First order of business, bath time. I love the dog more than anything in the world, but there was no way he was getting his grimy butt on the couch without a bath first. A week's worth if crusted on pee and vomit, plus that pungent "hospital smell", just had to go. So a quick hop in the tub fixed that issue, then time for a cuddle on the couch.

While neither Gio nor Romeo are overly lovey with each other, I could tell they were happy to see each other again. Romeo followed Gio around with his nose shoved in Gio's fluff, and Gio allowed Romeo to cuddle with him on the couch. That is how these guys express their brotherly love for each other.

Gio is sporting a very fashionable "hospi-do". Shaved right up his flanks, both front legs, a patch on his hind leg, and a patch on his throat (which you thankfully can't see). To add to his whole pathetic get-up, he has lost a LOT of weight. He wasn't chubby to begin with, so now he just looks emaciated. But nearly a week with no food will do that to a dog. And he won't be gaining it back all too quickly with the crazy diet they have him on for the next couple of months. He is getting 6 eeny weeny meals of Waltham's Low Fat a day for the next month or two, then the vet agreed to let me switch him onto something else for normal maintanance. As much as I hate commercial dog foods, "vet foods" in particular, I do agree that we need to take things super slow and extremely carefully. I won't be tossing him back on his regular raw diet any time soon, as the richness and fat content is just too much for his healing pancreas. So it will be Waltham's for a month or so, and then onto some other home-prepared diet. I am tossing around a couple of options, a cooked diet formulated by Dr. Dodds or a raw pancreatic diet from Dr. Billinghurst. I've got time to weigh the options, though.

In addition to the crazy diet, Gio was sent home with his own personal pharmacy. He's been taken off of potassium bromide completely, but because of that his phenobarbital has been more than doubled to make up for it. He is also getting Tramadol (a pain killer) 3 times a day and an antacid/gut motility drug 2 times a day. So with 6 small meals a day and three different medications that need to be given at different times of the day, I need a personal planner just to keep it all straight!

While the drugs will hopefully keep Gio painfree and not puking while his pancreas heals, they are also making him look like a druggie! He perpetually has a look on his face that is a cross between "deer in the headlights" and "oooh look, shiny!" He has brief moments where he appears nearly lucid, but then right back to the zoned out hippie state. Luckily, the Tramadol and antinausea drugs only need to be given for another week, and his phenobarbital should stabilize another week or two after that.

The vet says he needs to take it easy for the next week or so, but after that I can decide if he is able to go back to training. I explained that his "work" is what he loves and wakes up for in the morning. She said that he should be able to be back on therapy dog duty in a week or so, and then work up to obedience and rally-o again gradually after that.

Thank you again to everyone that has supported us over the past week and everyone that has tossed a little positive thought for Gio into the air. Thanks to my boss for being so understanding and for finding extra work for me to do that I can do from home tomorrow without losing any more pay. And a huge heartfelt thanks to Dr. Gaunt, Dr. Snead, senior vet student Hussein Keshwani, and all the wonderful staff at the WVCM for taking care of my boy and allowing me to bring him home again where he belongs!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gio Update - Wednesday

He's coming home tomorrow!!!

I can't even believe it. It was really scary there for a few days, and I nearly had myself convinced that Gio wouldn't be coming home again. But he's pulled through and toughed it out. Thanks, I'm sure, in part to all the amazing support that we have received from all of you! Thank you endlessly!

I was able to have a quick chat with the vet today. She said she is really happy with how he is doing and is confident that he will be able to come home tomorrow evening. He's off his IV fluids now and has been transferred out of ICU. They have cut out most of the drugs, and the ones he is getting still are being given orally. He's eating and keeping it all down, and really looking amazing!

He will have to be on a modified diet for quite a long time now, and go back for frequent blood work to monitor how thing are going. He is definitely not healed or completely back to normal by any stretch of the imagination. And he will be prone to relapses for a good long time, if not the rest of his life.

But none of that matters as long as he is home where he belongs!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gio Update - Tuesday Evening


All of your positive thoughts and healing vibes have reached Gio!

I went to visit him after work today and the vet was able to give me some fabulous news!

His bloodwork came back very positive. Pancreatic enzymes are down! Enzymes associated with the gall bladder are holding steady, but they are anticipating they will begin to drop now that the swelling of the pancreas is going down. Likewise with his WBC count. He's still holding down food, eating a tiny little bit every 3 hours.

The plan for tomorrow is to cut back on some of his medications. He is currently on two antacids and two anti-nausea drugs via IV. They are going to cut out the strongest of each, and attempt to administer the remaining antacid and anti-nausea drug orally. If that goes well then he can be transferred out of ICU and into the regular kennel room. Monitor again tomorrow and Thursday with a projected discharge of Thursday evening, assuming that he continues to improve as we have seen the past couple of days.

I would imagine that they will redo the bloodwork on Thursday before discharging him, but if all goes well then Gio may be coming home soon!

Gio Update - Tuesday Morning

I don't have time to write much right now, I will have a more thorough post this evening. But since so many people have been checking in regularly, hoping for an update, it is the least I can do.

Just got back to work from visiting with Gio this morning. He is looking REALLY GOOD! Much happier, wiggly bum and all. No puking while I was there, but I wasn't able to speak with the vet as she was busy so I don't know if he has kept his food down or not. Since he is looking so great, I'm assuming that the food stayed down.

They are re-running some blood work today to see if things are looking up internally as well. Hopefully the internal results will be as positive as the external improvements. The vet will likely get back to me about the results later, so hopefully I will have some more conclusive information to post this evening.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gio Update - Monday

Sorry for the delay in updates. I know some people have been wondering how Gio is today, but I just didn't have an opportunity at work to update the blog.

Some good and some bad news today.

First, the good. Gio looks FABULOUS! Compared to how he has been the past couple of days, he looks great! High spirits, happy wagging tail and kissy-facing. He's peeing like normal (but still just for me, not the kennel staff). They offered him a few bites of wet food today and not only did he eat it but he kept it down! No puking at all today! And when I went this evening for a visit, he had a tiny little healthy looking poop. The waiting room was nearly empty and he looked a little antsy, so I tried out some very informal loose heel patterns in the open areas. He was so keen to work, very sloppy in his performance, but the attitude was all there! Not reluctant to sit or do his fancy hind-end movements, so at least I know he is not uncomfortable or in pain. He looked so happy to work again, even just that little bit of heeling and sits in the waiting room!

The bad, or at least "not so good", is that some of the tests they ran today came back less than stellar. They redid the ultrasound to check out his pancreas, and the pancreas is more swollen than it was on Thursday. His stomach is also full of fluid, and it appears as if he has eaten a couple small pieces of his kennel pads. Because his pancreas is more swollen, it has actually constricted around his gall bladder, causing a bit of a back up and an overflow of bilirubin into his bloodstream. The vet says that this isn't a huge deal, and once the swelling goes down then it will all even itself out again.

Gio's case has been transfered to a different doctor as his original doctor had to leave town on a family emergency. This new doctor is much more scientific and "to the point" than the original doctor, but because of that she seems to be a little more pessimistic as well. So I think she may be wording things as if they are worse than they really are. Not trying to fool anyone (or myself) into thinking things are fine, of course. Gio is still a very sick puppy. But I find that the vets at the college here seem to project to the worst case scenario right away. Just a trend they all seem to follow.

I have a theory ... call me naive or stupid for trying to reason around this, but hear me out.

Gio had the initial ultrasound on Thrusday and they found minimal swelling. He went downhill over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, to the point that he looked like death warmed over on the weekend. Then today he looks great (comparatively), and when they do the ultrasound again they find that the pancreas is more swollen than it was on Thursday. My theory is that he was at his worst, so the most swollen, over the weekend, and that caused him to feel worse and look as bad as he did. But now, if the swelling is going down, maybe he is looking and feeling better because of it. So maybe (hopefully) his pancreas was at its worst on the weekend, but they didn't catch it because they didn't redo the ultrasound until today. If it is starting to trend to the positive again now, then he would naturally be feeling and acting better, right?

Like I say, maybe I am just naive and fooling myself here. But I have to have hope. Everyone that has been following this has been so supportive and optimistic, that I cannot be otherwise. I have to have hope.

They are going to redo some bloodwork tomorrow, and hopefully it will prove my theory and show that the swelling is going back down again as compared to the last bloodwork done on Saturday.

So fingers crossed for more eating, less puking, lower bilirubin scores, and decreased pancreatic enzymes in the blood work compared to Saturday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gio Update - Sunday Evening

I am so overwhelmed by all the support and well-wishes that Gio and I have received over the past few days. Thank you everyone for your thoughts, stories, and words of kindness. They mean so much to me, and I'm passing every one of them on to Gio.

I just got home from our Sunday evening visit. I would like to think that he is looking up a little bit. I hope I am not deluding myself. But he was more responsive than this morning at least. This morning he was very depressed looking, tonight wasn't so bad. He seems comfortable, cuddled up for a nice rest with me on the floor of the waiting room. He seems to be more drool-y than puke-y now, a better sign as it probably means that his stomach is still upset but he is at least able to hold it down. At one point we were walking through the waiting room and there was a cookie on the floor. He took a lunge for it, and would have got to it had he not been so doped up on drugs. So at least it appears as if his appetite is coming back.

He still looks really pathetic, and definitely is far from "healthy", but I'd like to think he is better than he was this morning. Maybe, bit by bit, he will continue to improve. I sure hope so anyways!

Thanks again for all the support. It means the world to me and Gio, and I truly believe that the power of positive thoughts is strong and amazing in what it can accomplish. I'm remaining hopeful that we can all pull him through this.

Gio Update - Sunday Morning

Things aren't looking as positive as they were yesterday. I just got back from the vet college for a visit with Gio and a talk with the vet.

They have re-run some bloodwork and it looks as if the swelling in his pancreas has gotten a little bit worse. The vet said that while some things are looking up, others are not as good as they were. They've given him a 50% chance of making it through this.

They have started plasma transfusions to try and bring the swelling down and bind up the loose pancreatic enzymes. And put him on more potent anti-nausea medication. He was offered a little bit of food this morning, which he only grudgingly ate ... mind you, it was probably Science Diet so I can't really blame the guy for snubbing it. But he is continuing to throw up, so they can't really offer him anything more than the tiniest of bits to judge whether he has an appetite back or not.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gio Update - Saturday Evening

He's still puking.

It's obvious to me that he is FEELING better, his spirits are higher now and he is much more alert. But still puking a little bit now and then. He is now actively seeking out bum scratches, and leaning with force when you rub his hips. So that is back to normal. Now if only he would quit with the nausea.

The vets weren't in when I went to visit, so I will have to catch them tomorrow for an update to the plan. They mentioned something about plasma treatment in the beginning, but said that it wouldn't really be an option unless things didn't get better. I don't know if he is "better enough" to still not warrant the plasma infusions, or what the deal is. But it just feels so useless sitting back and waiting, not really doing anything other than pumping him full of fluids and pain killers.

Gio Update - Saturday Morning

Again, just got home from visiting with Gio at the vet college.

He's about the same as yesterday. I would like to think he is a teeny bit better, slightly perkier, and he didn't throw up when we went for a walk. Still quite sick looking, but at least he isn't puking every time he moves. He still won't pee for the staff there, so I was charged with collecting a urine sample this morning. He will go willingly for me, so at least we know the pipes are working!

He's well enough today to maneuver himself into position for bum scratches, something he wasn't even doing yesterday, so there is hope yet.

I didn't get a chance to speak with the doctor this morning, but I would imagine that, because there aren't any HUGE improvements, he will likely have to stay the night again tonight. Hopefully I will hear from the vet at some point today for an update on how things are looking from their perspective. I'll be headed back this evening anyways for another visit and pee-break.

Lots of people have been asking how Romeo is doing. He's fine, he's a pretty self-absorbed little guy so Gio being gone isn't stressing him out too badly. He's a little lost because his routine is different ... he has to eat alone and pee alone and there is no one to pester with the squeaky squirrel. But in all he isn't doing too bad.

As always, I'll update when I know more.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gio Update pt. 2

Another update. There are so many people following along with Gio's progress that it is just easier to post it all here instead of answering individual e-mails.

Again, thank you everyone for your support! I really appreciate all of the positive outcome stories I have received from people who have had dogs go through a similar thing. And everyone else for the positive thoughts.

It is definitely working!!

I just got back from another visit with Gio. Great big "thanks" to my boss who is very "dog friendly" and lets me run out of the lab whenever I need to to go visit or meet with the vets.

Gio is doing even better this afternoon than he was this morning. Much perkier, puking less (frequency and volume), and just seems to be in better spirits. The vets said that he wouldn't pee for anyone there, so I took him out for a walk around the parking lot. He must have been saving it for me, cause that boy drained his bladder for a solid minute! The technician was thrilled that he went for me, as she didn't want to have to catheterize him again.

He is on an anti-nausea drug and an antacid to try and help calm things down a bit. Still IV fluids and pain meds. The plan ... they are waiting for him to stop vomiting for at least 12 hours, then offer some water. If he can keep that down then a little bit of food. If that says down, too, then he gets to come home! The student said maybe tomorrow evening, but the vet in charge of the case said more likely Sunday or Monday. The size of the bill is growing, but as long as Gio gets to come home I will find a way to pay for it. I'm thrilled with how well he is doing, and the vets are equally pleased with the great leaps he is making in his recovery!

I'm headed back there tomorrow morning for another visit and a "pee walk". Since he seems to puke most when they get him up to move him around, I'm hoping that by waiting until visiting time at 9am tomorrow that will give him a good 17 hours to rest and become "puke free".

Thanks again, everyone. I will keep you updated as I know more.

Gio Update

Thank you to everyone that has sent words of support and positive thoughts. It means so much to me to know that so many people are pulling for Gio. I've had a hard time staying positive this past day or so, so the positive thoughts and healing vibes from everyone else is greatly appreciated!

I just got back to work after visiting Gio at the vet hospital. He looks 100x better than he did yesterday! He's still vomiting up fluid, but is up and walking around, not weaving or wobbling, much perkier than yesterday. Of course, anything would be perkier than yesterday ... all he could do way lay on his side and pant. Vet said that he CAN move, as apparently a dog yelped in a kennel across from him and Gio shot up like a rocket to bark at him!

They want to keep him on fluids at least for the rest of today. He's not on solid food yet and isn't peeing on his own (but all the chem panels, urinalysis, and ultrasounds said his kidneys look fine ... he's just not a big pee-er), so they want those back to normal before sending him home, and I agree with that. As long as he is vomiting, he needs to be on IV fluids. They have cut out the KBr and doubled his dose of phenobarb, assuming that he is going to puke some of it up anyways. He's still on pain killers, and they are considering putting him on an anti-nausea.

I'm headed back over there at 4pm to meet with the vet again and discuss where we are at. Not out of the woods yet, but looking up anyways.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I had to run Gio into the emergency vet clinic this morning. He was up all night vomiting, was very lethargic, and not eating. I left him at the vet hospital all day, and they ran a number of tests. Turns out Gio has bromide toxicity from his Potassium Bromide levels being too high, and bromide toxicity often goes hand-in-hand with pancreatitis.

I just got home from visiting with him and speaking to the vet. Gio is completely doped up, so was mostly unresponsive when I was there. But I got to give him lots of hugs and kisses at least. He has to stay overnight, and possibly tomorrow night as well. Lots of fluids, and depending how he is tomorrow morning, maybe some other treatment whose name has slipped my mind at the moment. Something about giving IV solution that competes with the Potassium Bromide and flushes it from the system quicker. So far, he doesn't need that, but if he doesn't improve much by tomorrow morning then it is a possibility.

Apparently Gio's pancreatitis is relatively mild, so the vet said the outlook is good. Of course, it's hard to say and I hated asking the question because so many variables weigh in on the prognosis. But so far, if he doesn't get worse overnight, it looks pretty positive.

Here's to hoping that the fluids help flush him out a bit and he is improved in the morning. I'm going to visit him in the morning again, so hopefully the vet will have some good news for me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Hey all. Sorry for the lack of blog-action lately. I'm finding that I'm spending much less time on the computer lately. Think it has to do with the change of living conditions. Before, I was all cramped into one room ... bed, computer, TV. So I would just sit in front of the computer and swivel as I saw fit. Now with everything in different rooms, I'm really not in the computer room as often. Guess that is likely a good thing, right?

Anyways, the boys have been keeping busy. Therapy dog visits and rally-o practice. We have a little walk routine now, and if I leave at just the right time we end up meeting our new "park buddies" on their respective walks. Joey, the Labbie-type mix, and a little Shih Tzu pup whose name I have forgotten, I think it was something like Izzy.

More sheep carnage has been going on. The boys shared a sheep shoulder the other day.

Little Mr. Dramatic had to play up the whole "carnivore" image for the camera.

Gio also felt that he could block Romeo from getting any sheep if he casually draped his front paws over the whole hunk. ... Didn't work.

I also caught the boys sharing a moment of brotherly love ...

"No ... I am NOT cuddling with my little brother. I'm wrestling with him ... yeah ... big mean fighting dog, that's me. ... GRRR!"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Exploring Our New Territory

Finally it all came together ...
1) Beautiful weather (for Saskatchewan in February)
2) I got home before it was too dark
3) I have no plans for this evening
4) I'm not falling-down tired

So that means ... WALKIES!!

We finally got to get out and explore our new neighborhood. I have been spending some time on Google Maps getting a feel for the different streets around me and how to get to various areas of the city from here, and in doing so found that there is a large park near by. Today we went searching for it and, lo and behold, less than a 5 minute walk from our house is THIS ...

I took the Chuck-It along and the boys got to race around in the snow for a bit.

Until we lost the ball ...

We met a new friend, Joey and his mom. They live in the area and say this is a great place for walking the dogs as it is nice and quite when the kids are out of school. Joey was a little bit pushy, but seemed like a nice guy and didn't get upset with Gio's incessant barking. His mom let him off leash for a bit and the boys ran and sniffed and barked at each other. Then they went on their way.

Since the ball was now lost in the snow, the boys just enjoyed running and barking at each other for a while.

While Romeo is elated just to run back and forth on the well-traveled and hard-packed path ...

Gio prefers off-roading and plowing through the snow drifts face first.

Classy, Gee. REAL classy.

I can tell that we are going to be making frequent trips to this park. We'll have to go back as soon as the snow begins to melt to find that tennis ball ... I think it was our last one.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Post of the Month!


My post about Gio and the Blow Dryer has won Dogs With Blogs' Post of the Month!!

Thank you to Essex and Deacon from Key West Collies for nominating us. And thank you to everyone else for all the great comments you have left on the post!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Rally-O Excellence!

Today was day 2 of the Paws n Train CARO Rally-O trial here in Saskatoon.

Again, the boys did wonderfully!

Gio was entered in two rounds today, one Advanced and one Excellent. The Advanced was FEO, so just for funsies. He qualified the Advanced with a score of 189/200, a great performance. The Excellent was a great run, but those darned weave poles tripped us up. If it weren't for them, he would have had a fabulous round and qualified with 182/200. It's my own fault, really. I haven't officially taught Gio the weave poles. He has never done agility because of his health issues, so we've just been getting by with close weaves where I essentially point where he needs to go. Works great if he isn't overly excited ... but he is always excited to do rally-o, so doesn't work so well in trials. He will make it to pole 4 and then pop out, and when I try to put him back in (as you can in rally-o, as opposed to agility) he just gets riled up and circles one pole a couple of times.

So for Gio, he was entered in 4 rounds this weekend, 2 Advanced and 2 Excellent. He gave his all for each round, but got hung up in little places that resulted in NQ's. He came away from the weekend with one Advanced FEO qualifier, but is a very happy (and very tired) boy. He loves this game so much, that I can't even find myself bothered if he doesn't qualify. He has no idea that he failed, all he knows is that he had a great time. And that is all that matters to me in the end!

Gio's Advanced Level FEO run ...

Gio's Excellent Level run ...

Romeo had a stellar weekend, and qualified every one of his rounds. He was entered in 4 rounds, 2 Advanced and 2 Excellent. Today he was in one of each, both of them in C Stream to count towards CARO's new title options. He qualified the Advanced C round with a 194/200 and the Excellent C round with a 191/200.

Overall this weekend Romeo finished off his Excellent title with Magna Cum Laude, and earned three legs towards his CARO Rally Bronze (CRB) title. He only needs two more Excellent C legs and he will have his CRB!

Romeo's Advanced C run ...

Romeo's Excellent C run ...

Me and Romeo with our judge, Sarah Jane Petti, after Romeo finished his RXMCL!
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