Friday, September 25, 2009

Irregular posting

My posting is going to be irregular for a while since my PC finally did die and I'm using my husband's.

Elvis is doing well, though there is still more weight loss than I care for. I've increased his food to 2 tablespoons twice a day (began on Thursday evening), so I'm hoping that by the time I call his vet on Monday or Tuesday, I'll have a better feel for what his weight is doing.

I will say that Elvis is rather enjoying the new, reduced PC time, since it means he gets to spend time either on the sofa when I'm watching a movie, or on the ottoman when I'm cross stitching. Soft, padded locations seem to meet with his the point where if the gates are down, we're likely to find him in the living room staring longingly at the sofa. :)

I'm also still tweaking his medicine. He's getting the one heart tablet with breakfast and dinner, and a reduced amount of Lasix (about .75 cc total for the day; it's hard to tell exactly because the dropper that comes with the medicine isn't very well calibrated). I've taken him off the cough tablet with his morning feeding, but I do add 1/4 tablet with dinner. That seems to stop his coughing before it starts (there's more activity during the evening hours around here).

I'll continue to post every few days, though I'm not sure it will be as detailed as before. Hopefully Elvis will have a bath next week (still waiting on Haley to come out of season) and get his nails trimmed. And I'm hoping to get some short video of him now that the yard is mowed. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 19-21, Saturday-Monday


I'm combing these two days because both are seeing a lot of medicine tweaking.

I have no idea what's causing the increased coughing (progression of his disease, new medication, something else), but he's been doing quite a bit of coughing and I've been tweaking his cough tablet for the last couple of days. Saturday ended up with two 1/2 and one 1/4 tablets throughout the day. Sunday morning I went ahead and added 1/4 of a tablet to his breakfast and I've not heard any coughing today. I'll add another 1/4 tablet to his dinner unless I end up having to give him something before. This is really frustrating because I've no real idea how long his new heart medicine will take to begin working (what I've been reading is showing several days) or if it will at all.

I am also keeping an eye on his weight because he has been down from his 8 pound weight since I weighed him on 9/7. He's been between 7 and 8, so it's not extreme weight loss, but he's sat at 7.2 now for five days. I know weight loss is a symptom of congestive heart failure, but I don't know if this is tied to anything I need to worry about, so I'm going to weigh him every day for the next several so I can keep track of what's going on. My intention right now is to monitor what his coughing/breathing and his weight do over the next two days and if there's still concern, I'll call the vet on Wednesday or Thursday.


Yesterday and today, I added 1/4 of his cough tablet to his breakfast and dinner, and that seemed to "preempt" his coughing. He actually did really, really well with it today (and Sunday I saw less, too). Weight today was at 7.6, so while that's less than the target range I like him in (8-9), it's a gain from the last few times I've weighed him.

He did have a really bad experience tonight, though he handled the aftermath well. I had just put him on his lead (it's usually attached to the arm of my desk chair), and when I got up to go check the progress of our dinner, I didn't notice the lead wrapped around my ankle and tripped. Since we have linoleum throughout the house, I fell hard and loud and dragged him and my chair a couple of feet. Fortunately I didn't hurt myself, but the other two dogs weren't convinced and had to be crated so I could check on Elvis. He was pretty badly shaken and his little body was vibrating, but he wasn't coughing, and after a couple of minutes in my lap, he calmed down. Obviously I would have preferred not falling and traumatizing him, but he actually handled the situation pretty well. A far cry from how he would have done a few weeks ago.

We also took him outside this afternoon to try out his new "swimming pool." That wasn't at all successful, in part because a) it was very new and strange to him and b) we were out there (something he really isn't used to). I suspect we'll need to get him used to the new container here in the house first and then take it and him outside and see if the experience improves. We may have waited too long because it is beginning to get cooler here, though not by a tremendous amount, and he's still our resident water baby. Here are three new pictures of him, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 16-18, Wednesday-Friday


We went ahead and took Elvis in to see the vet who works with the Waco Humane Society. Mainly I wanted her to check him over since she hadn't seen him since mid-July when we went to get him to foster him. His weight was down a bit from where I'd like it (though her scales are different from mine and I'll always go by mine...he was 6.8 there and 7.6 here).

She did ask what medicines he was on, and added a heart tablet to his routine. His cough pill changed, too. The heart medicine is one pill twice a day, the Lasix is still twice a day, though I will try decreasing that a bit once Haley comes out of season. Dr. Walthall said to basically tweak his dosage, so for now it will be the heart pill (Pimobendan 1.25 mg) twice a day, the 1 cc Lasix twice a day and the cough pill which is an expectorant (Guaifenesin) at 1/4 to 1/2 pill as needed for coughing. Once we know if the heart pill is working, I'll start backing down his Lasix a bit. The heart pill might also back down some, but that will be dependent on how he handles the lower Lasix dosage (I can see a drug diary in my future to keep up with this!)

Also, he handled the trip and the office visit, really, really well. He shook some (not unusual) and was nervous, but he didn't cough and he handled the exam and new people really well. I did put him down on the floor while we were getting the medicines sorted out, and he was confident enough to smell around the desk. So he weathered that little experience very well, and I was proud of him.


He got his first dose of the heart pill this morning with breakfast. Got his Lasix and then a couple of hours later, he got a cough tablet. The heart pill will take several days before we know if it will work well, so I'll call the vet in a week or so. This new cough pill works fast, though. It also seems to really halt his cough. His other tablet worked, but he'd occasionally cough after he'd had it. This one doesn't let any cough through. He's also not wheezing, which is something I'd been noticing some over the last few days. Nothing bad, just a bit of a wheeze (one reason I wanted him to see his vet) that seemed a bit tough to stop.

So far he's been good all day with the new stuff. The heart pill will effect the blood pressure, and the vet warned me he might be a little light headed. Not sure how I'd know unless there was something physical to key in on, but I've not seen anything today, so he may be handling that well.

One thing I did find. I will NOT cut the cough tablet down to 1/4 before making sure the new heart medicine works. Tonight I ended up doing 1/4 pill about 25 minutes apart, and then when that didn't kick his cough, I had to give him another 1/2 pill. So the 1/4 test is going to have to wait a bit. From my notes, it looks like his cough kicks in about 2 hours after his Lasix.


This morning Elvis ate breakfast at 7:00, and by 10:30, he hadn't started coughing. Not sure that means much, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the new heart medicine might actually be kicking in faster than we expected. One meal does not a good sample make, though, so we'll have to wait and see how it goes the rest of the day and over the weekend.

Apparently the outside air is triggering something with him. I've often wondered if he wasn't allergic to something out there since he spent so much time his first several days here scratching. He does fine with his cough when he's inside, but Randall and I notice that it's when he comes in from outside that he's most likely going to cough. He has sometimes done that in the past right after eating or drinking, but that always passes within a few minutes. When he comes in from outside and starts coughing, he doesn't stop until I give him a pill. That happened late this afternoon after he came in from his pre-dinner trip outside and then again after his final trip out for the night. I'm really hoping the new heart tablets will help with this, but I've no idea yet.

It's finally stopped raining after nearly a week of it, so I'm hoping to get some new pictures of him. I'd like to take some video with my digicam, but that might have to wait until after Randall mows the yard.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 13-15, Sunday - Tuesday


Sunday was more of the same with the PC. One thing of note did happen. The keyboard tray fell out of my desk again, and this time Elvis was sitting very close to it (on his lead). He definitely didn't like what happened, but he only moved away a couple of feet and didn't panic. No coughing or cringing. So the lead is definitely making a big difference in how he handles strange or unpleasant happenings.


He definitely doesn't care for being left alone in the den. Haley and I were in the kitchen, and Elvis was a bit hacked off at being left out and let me know. I ended up bringing him in to the kitchen and leashing him to the island while I was working. He was much happier and didn't sit around barking to get my attention. :)


I have to admit that while my breed will always be dachshunds, the little Skipperchi is a cute fellow. Elvis has realized that wagging his stump gets him all sorts of attention, so he does that a lot now. He also "smiles", though I suspect that's more a result of him getting rather excited and panting, but whatever the cause, it looks like a smile. He also has gotten where he'll stand up and put his feet on my chair or leg when he wants attention...the fact that that seems to happen in close proximity to feeding time doesn't reduce the fact it's endearing. I'll also say there are a lot of times when his "voice" sounds remarkably owl-like. Randall said it isn't quite that, but he's in here in the den with him. If I'm in the kitchen, it definitely sounds like a hoot. This is different than the bark he uses...this is more a "Hey you! Don't forget about me!" sound. Kind of funny the first time you hear it.

I've also had to change the living room furniture arrangement back to the way it was originally. I just can't cross stitch while sitting on the sofa, so Elvis is going to have to learn that Skeeter has HIS place in the chair under the light and that he (Elvis) is going to have to work around that. He's a bright little guy. I figure he'll come up with something. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 10-12, Thursday-Saturday

No update for these days. I'm having some PC issues and that's been taking up all my time. Hopefully I'll have more time starting Sunday (if I can figure out where the problem is).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 7-9, Monday-Wednesday


Not much going on today. Elvis was mainly leashed all day since Haley is to the "breedable" stage (or would be if she wasn't so old, but I'm not taking any chances). I did bring him into the living room when we ate dinner and it was MUCH quieter. Now that he knows what goes on in there and what he can have, he really, really, really wants to be in there when we eat. Of course, considering what I know about how he was fed at the puppy mill, I can't really blame him. His food quality and dining experience has improved 100 times. He's become surprisingly food obsessed. :)


Elvis has definitely found his voice. And now that he's found it, he wants to exercise it. During dinner when he's in his crate. I really can't blame him. He knows what goes on then, and he wants to be a part of it. He pretty well barked throughout dinner, so Wednesday night, I'm going to have to find some way to include him. He'll be on a leash, and I suspect I'll tie it to a chair on the other side of the table. Haley usually stays on one side, so I suspect that will work best.

I also shifted the living room furniture around again. Things are still out of whack, but at least the end tables are back on their correct ends of the sofa. It's an improvement (visually), but I still would rather have my chair available for my stitching. I'm really hoping I can get back over there once Haley is out of season. **fingers crossed**


**SIGH** I am SUCH a sucker. After spending the morning doing chores, I decided that I would go into the living room, sit in my favorite chair and cross stitch. Of course, it's a real production to get this started since Haley is in season and she absolutely demands that she be in there (that means toting her big body pillow in there) and then there is Skeeter, the chihuahua, who believes the gods put that chair there so he could be comfortable laying under the bright light. And, of course, the gates go up to keep Elvis in the den/kitchen.

So in I get. Settled I get. Dogs in the right place, and there's Elvis staring at me (me and NOT Haley) and looking pitiful. So I relent and bring him in with his leash and his bed. Is he happy? No. Not at all. Skeeter ended up vacating the chair to go lay down with Randall, and Elvis is just insistent on getting up in the chair. So I put him up and things just aren't all that great because he gets hot easily. He pants. And he goes to lay on the ottoman. And that's not good enough. So he's back up by me, curled up with his head on my lap. And then standing up and panting more.

Long story short, I call Randall into the living room and we spend the next 30 minutes shoving furniture around into a new arrangement so I can stitch on the sofa so Skeeter can have his place on one side and Elvis can have the entire couch on the other side. And my living room looks like hell. I'm hoping that once Haley is out of season I can change it back to the way it was. **sigh**

The other events today include him putting his front feet up on my chair and stretching and begging for attention. Granted it was 15 minutes before feeding time, so I know what motivated it, but still, it's the first time he's ever done. He's also barked in his crate for the first time. It's a rusty bark, but it's a bark. Not something I want to encourage, but it's the first time I've heard him do this in the house.

Monday, September 07, 2009

September 4 -6 , Friday-Sunday


It's was raining this morning when we got up, and Randall said he heard thunder during the night. Elvis is a bit skittish today, and I suspect that's why. He reacted the last time we had thunder come through, so I'm not at all surprised. Once the rains passed, though, he was back to normal. His cough was pretty persistent this morning (higher humidity?), so he got a pill. He ended up with a second one when we went in to start our DVD tonight, too. Haley's season is causing this, I'm sure, since he tends to get a bit worked up at night.

One thing, though, is that I brought back out his little bed I bought the first month he was here and put it down where his towel next to my desk has been. The towel went inside the bed and this time, he happily crawled inside it several times. I suspect it was just too soon for him to be comfortable with the newness of it, but since he's had another month, he was ready for it. This is good because I sit right next to a door, and it gets VERY cold over here in the winter. That towel wasn't going to be nearly enough when it gets cold.


Elvis definitely agrees with Emeril. Pork fat rules! Randall brought me home some cheap bacon so I could render it down for the fat. I chopped it up, rendered it down and then brought in a piece for each dog. I think Elvis thought he'd died and gone to heaven. He was VERY impressed with his little piece of bacon. I suspect he's finding many positives in me being able to look around for him before I put a nibble down. Before he was leashed, he missed a lot of opportunities by running away...the other two kids thought it was great, though.


It's been a lazy day for Elvis. He's been in his bed most of the day with the occasional trips outside and longing looks at Haley (who is totally oblivious). I was telling Randall that he's so comfortable now, that I can reach down and pet him when he's curled up in his bed and he never moves a muscle. What a difference this leash has made...and I STILL can't figure it out. Regardless, though, I'm grateful. I'll probably go ahead and bath him this week, too. He's been sort of itchy and it's been a couple of months since his first bath, so he's due. Toenail clipping, too. :)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Potential bed problems

Yeah. Possession is 9/10s of the law. Wonder who will win this battle.

Friday, September 04, 2009

September 1-3, Tuesday - Thursday


So weird. Despite Elvis' upbringing and the inherent handicaps that go with being a puppy mill dog, he apparently was leash trained at some point. Either that or he's going to go down as the only dog I've ever met who knew instinctively what to do on a leash. He's also another dog when it comes to being petted or given a treat. Normally, I can't make eye contact with him if I want to drop him a tidbit of food, but whenever the leash is on, he's sitting looking up at me and doesn't pull away when I drop a piece of food. He's not cringing or starting when you reach down to pet him (even if you come down over the top of him). Damnedest thing I've ever seen. I told Randall today that if he continues with this behavior, and doesn't revert to his panicky self when Haley comes out of season and he comes off the leash, it will be an incredible turn around. If he does, I plan on getting him a smaller slip collar and fastening a clip to the end of it. I've used that when moving from on leash to off leash in obedience training, and it might just work with him for this. That's the plan anyway if it happens.

Right now (evening), he's laying on the pillow with Haley looking very comfortable. He occasionally tries to breed her (Haley is annoying in that she won't turn around and tell him she's not ready), but it's funny when she's ignoring him and walking off. Here he is hanging on for dear life, trying to get his business done, and she's walking off. And an 8 pound dog standing on his rear legs isn't going to stop a 20 pound dog, so she takes him with her. LOL

One thing I am seeing that is going to bear watching is his level of aggression towards Skeeter. He's definitely got the macho thing going, and I'm working on curbing that, though I doubt there's a whole lot that can be done because of his past history. Just something to keep any eye on and stop before it gets started.


Sucks to be this little fella, I tell you.

First up for his day, Haley comes in season. She wears hot pants, so she's in no danger of being bred, but here's this little guy who has been used at stud all of his life, presented with a bitch in season. "Yes! I know what to do! Huh? What do you mean, 'No.'?" Poor guy. The bafflement is writ large on his face, but he's handled the leash he's been on today like he was born to it (well, except for what you see in the picture below). I can only think his mind is on other things, but regardless, this may be the best thing that could happen, because he's getting picked up, taken where there are noises, putting up with strange things. All to the good for him. Pain in the butt for me because it's been a long time since I dealt with a bitch in season and a stud dog around.

Second up for his day wasn't so good. I took Haley in with me to lay day and closed the gate in the den. Randall was sitting on the bed when I turned around to shut the door just in time to see Elvis get stuck between the bars of the gate. He was one highly motivated little guy and that motivation got him well and truly stuck. We ended up getting tree loppers in and cutting one of the bars. What was great about this, though, was he didn't panic and start coughing. His eyes got real big, and he sort of cringed when the loppers came out, but he really did take it well.

He did get a cough pill this evening because things before and after dinner tend to be hectic, and he got pretty worked up. I finally just gave him a pill and crated him for awhile. That's what I'll do tomorrow night, too, until things calm down.


He's been really skittish today. I've been in and out of the garage so the door has been going up and down. I've had a project I started working on today that involved a jigsaw and a piece of plywood. It also involved bringing the piece of plywood into the kitchen. That's not been terribly popular with him. He's also had two cough pills with breakfast and one with dinner. I suspect since he's changing over to the liquid Lasix is the main cause, but he's also sneezed a few times, so I think his allergies may be contributing, too.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

August 29-31, Saturday - Monday


Not much to write about today. Elvis goes back to his twice a day liquid Lasix tomorrow which I'm really happy about. I do think he does better when he gets two doses a day. I've had to rely quite a bit on his cough pills over the last several days, and the liquid Lasix seems to last longer (or do better). He's still skittish from all the banging around here, and I still wear the black hat for giving him all his pills by hand, but I'm sure he'll get past that in a few days.


**sigh** I'm apparently no longer Elvis' favorite person. Between banging around the house and poking a cough tablet down him several times this week, he's decided that I'm a horrible person...or so it seems when Randall picks him up and walks up to me with him. We've picked him up several times today in order to let him understand that not every time when I walk up to Randall when he's holding him is he going to get a pill. I suspect we'll work through this in a few days because that's the only time he does it, and I've told Randall that from now on rather than poking the pill in his mouth, I'll simply put it in a bit of cheese and put that on the floor. This is the only time he acts this way, so I doubt it's permanent.


Happiness is the cleaning is done. That's happiness for Elvis AND for me. :) And, Elvis is, indeed, much happier. Turns out the biggest culprit in the anxiety department was a four foot long folding table that we'd brought into the den at the first of the week to set stuff on as a "staging area." We didn't realize it was the problem until Elvis came out of his crate in the living room, and after coming through the kitchen and turning the corner into the den, he came face-to-face with the table. I didn't see the whole thing, but Randall was following him and he said you could see him slam on the brakes and tense completely up. I saw the front end action and I could see immediately he was not a happy camper. His nemesis is back in the garage, and he is MUCH happier. He has spent the last four days making the circuit around the den, hall, living room and kitchen...settling down wasn't much of an option. That's changed now, though.