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!

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!


ball=cheese said...

Looks like Gio needs that jacket again. So glad you're finally home, buddy!

Jamie said...

I'm so happy to hear Gio is home! I had been thinking about you guys all week and hoping for the best. I'll continue to wish him a fast recovery.

Teddy said...

Yippee, Gio is home!! I'm glad you had such a great support team, at the hospital, work and thru DWB. Having people (and doggies) behind you can really help :) Gio is looking great!


Ruby and Penny said...

Glad your home Gio. Those doctors are the best.
Love Ruby & Penny

Raising Addie said...


We are sooo happy that you are home Gio!

Take it easy for a while and just keep getting better!

Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie and Lucie


We saw the picture and barked "Is that really Gio?" We are glad that he is home with his pack. We know home is where we like to be.

Good luck nursing Gio back to health.

Essex & Deacon

Egads - Dad is hugging us now. Look what you started.

Rescue Gal said...

Oh I am so happy! Gio looks like he has been through the ringer! But I'm sure he will be back to normal with a little TLC.

Dawn said...

Awww Gio boy! I bet you sleep well tonight! We'll keep you in our prayers as you make your way back to complete health!

Lacy said...

w00f'sm Yeaaaa Giooo. glad u home...nobody can take better care of u than ur mama...

b safe,

Josh and Jess said...

We're so glad that Gio is home. He has definitely lost a lot of weight!! Wishing you a speedy recovery,

Josh and Jess

Winterdark said...

Welcome home Gio!


Diana said...

WooHoo!! This is such great news. Im so happy for all of you. Diana

Mango the Maltese kiddo said...

My name is Mango, a maltese.
I just know Gio was in ICU and now he's home.
I keep my paws crossed for a speedy recovey, Gio.
Stay well buddy.
Please give Romeo a sweet kiss from me (Romeo was my name when I was with the breeder)

Two Wild and Crazy Guyz said...

We are so pleased to see that Gio has made it back home and are hoping for a rapid and complete recovery for him! Bless his heart, vet food. We had to do that once to (an LD diet) and it was nasty!
Ozzie & Rocky

Cool Design Shelties said...

Lovely thats he is home again....he will soon looks like his old me, when he got his coat back :o)


Dozer and Coop said...

Whew! Gio we are so glad you are home and on the mend! Follow your doctor's orders. I was on Tramadol after my knee surgery and Mummy said it didn't even slow me down (the vet said there isn't a drug in the world that can slow down a corgi! BOL!)

Keep us posted on your healing!

Love, Dozer

Anonymous said...

Great to see Gio back home and feeling so much better. Great support people all around you which must help immensley.


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