Monday, October 26, 2009

October 26...A home of his own.

I spoke with Liz (the HS foster director) this morning at the shelter, and it's official. Elvis is now in permanent foster with us.

While Randall and I always knew it would be a very remote possibility that someone would want to adopt a senior special needs SchipperChi, it was something that we knew might happen. That's no longer the case.

Elvis is doing very well here. So well, that Liz suggested this arrangement and we are happy to agree to it. Ultimately, nothing changes in what we're doing, but it takes the possibility of placing him in a home out of the equation.

The medications will continue as before, and his visits to Dr. Walthall will happen as before, so all that's the same. I did call Dr. Walthall's office this morning to let them know about the change, and I will want to talk with her in a few weeks about the idea of treating Elvis' hatching heartworms, because I think they are going to be a problem. I didn't want to commit to that if there was a chance he'd be adopted in the middle of this treatment.

We'd said that Elvis had a home here for as long as he needed one, and we're happy to make this a forever home for him.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

October 24, Saturday

Things got a bit hairy this last week since my mother came in for a visit last weekend and came down with a sinus infection. She was here until yesterday, so updates took a backseat.

Elvis has been on strictly the Lasix and Guaifensin (cough medicine) for the last several days, and it seems to be working. That's really good news because I'd like to hold off on the heart medicine for as long as we can.

I'm not seeing any more coughing than before, and his appetite is good, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed this is where we'll be for awhile.

Randall is hoping to get the yard mowed tomorrow and, if he does, Elvis will get a bath. He needs it since, for some reason, he's blowing coat. I took the slicker brush to him and got a lot of undercoat out, and a bath will help loosen it more if it's ready to blow and I can slicker it off him.

I'm also hoping that once the yard is mowed I can get some new photos. Since he's feeling like his normal self (after completely getting the Vetmedin out of his system), I suspect he'll handle his bath, nail clipping and photo shoot well. :)

More later.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20, evening

OK. Had a good talk with Elvis' vet, Dr. Walthall, and what we've decided to do is keep him on the 1cc of Lasix twice a day and give him 1/2 a cough tablet twice a day. This new cough medicine is working like a suppressant, even though it's actually an expectorant.

Pretty much as long as this works for him, it's what I will do. I have his new heart medicine here, Enalapril, and while the dosage would be low, it's got some nasty side effects that can crop up. So what I'll do is keep the Lasix and cough medicine going, and when it stops working, I'll add this new medicine into the rotation. When that happens, Dr. Walthall will need to run a panel to check is kidneys and liver and then do follow-up panels occasionally.

I'm hoping that this won't be necessary, but we'll have to play it by ear. I've got a bit of wiggle room with the two medicines he's currently on, so I'm hoping I can tweak them as necessary for quite some time. I've also promised to update them every 10 days to two weeks.

When Randall went to pick up the meds, Dr. Walthall mentioned that I should keep an eye on his body mass. If he begins to lose it, she thinks she can treat the hatching heartworms which are the cause. This is another nasty treatment and something I would prefer not doing until the holidays are over since there is a considerable number of side effects to the treatment. I'll want her to see Elvis in early December, and she and I can go over the options then. If he needs it sooner, then it's what needs to be done, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can wait some for it.

All in all, though, he's doing very well. My mother is still here and won't leave until Friday, so he's getting some socialization and handling it well. He doesn't handle routine changes very well, but he's actually coping better than I thought he would.

I will probably move to updating the blog every three to four days unless something changes. I do hope to get more pictures of him later this week after the yard is mowed and he's had a bath.

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, morning, medicine update

Elvis handled all the company yesterday very well. We put his crate in the bedroom so he could have space, and I brought him out once to meet people. He was unsure of the situation, but he settled down in my lap with little trouble. He wasn't out too long (five minutes or so), but he was fine.

The bad news is the reduced dosage on the heart medicine is just not working. It's doing pretty well with the physical symptoms, but by Saturday night, the behavior problems had come back. Not as significant as before, but they're there and noticeable. So I had to take him off the Vetmedin.

I'll call the shelter this morning and see how they want to handle the extra medication. I had opened two of the three bottles and broken the pills in half (he was doing so well through most of the first bottle that I didn't even think to only open one bottle!). He's going to need more Lasix and his cough tablet soon, so I'll go ahead and request those, and then I'll call his vet to find the best way to get him on his new meds (not sure if we'll need to take him out for a visit or if we can just pick up the meds there or at the shelter).

Hopefully he'll be on the new stuff my this evening or tomorrow. I hate to have him just back on the Lasix, but I've upped the dosage to a full CC and he has responded to that, so it could be worse.

I'll post another update once I know more about what's going on with the medicine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October 16, morning, medicine update

**fingers crossed**

It looks like the new dose is working. It's hard to say about the behavior, but I believe he's about 95% of normal right now. Since I've been doing so much around the house this week, I know it's a bad time to be trying to rate normalcy, but he is definitely acting better.

I'm still not real sure about his cough, again because of the stuff that's been going on around here. And this weekend won't help determine much since there is so much that will be going on.

With all this in mind, I am going to go ahead and give him 1/4 of a cough tablet with breakfast through Tuesday. I just think with all the activity and company he needs it.

Also, I'll call his vet this morning and give her an update. I'd like to wait until maybe Wednesday of next week to make a final determination on his medicine. By then I'll need to get some more Lasix and cough medicine in, so if I still have reservations, I suspect he can be put on the new heart medicine.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15, morning, medicine update

So far. So good.

Elvis' behavior on the reduced dose of Vetmedin seems OK. Course, it took nearly 3 weeks the first time, so it may end up being a delayed reaction this time. I've got my fingers and toes crossed, however.

The next big step is to see how he does physically on the reduced dose. Last night there was quite a bit of coughing going on, but that isn't particularly unusual. It seems that night time is when he does most of his coughing, so whether it was the reduced dose, the dust I stirred up cleaning, the increased humidity or just the time of day, I don't know. This will be monitored because if the reduced dose doesn't handle his coughing consistently, he'll need to go on the other medication.

I call the clinic tomorrow to let them know how he's doing, so I'll probably wait to post another update until then.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14, morning, medicine update

Randall and I talked it over last night before bed, and I mentioned my strong concerns that taking Elvis completely off his heart medicine without putting him on a replacement was just not a good thing to do. Randall agreed and suggested I go ahead and get the Vetmedin back in the rotation and reevaluate his behavior Thursday night.

So this morning, that's what I did. He acted his normal, goofy self when I got up, so his heart pill was in his morning dish. Considering the banging and rattling that was done in here yesterday, and the fact I have a bit more to do in the den before I'm done (and that's where the crates are), Randall will move his crate into the living room before I get started in here, and Elvis will go in there until I'm done.

I'll be calling the clinic Friday morning to give them an update, so if I am still seeing behavioral weirdness by then, we'll go get the different medicine. The problem is exacerbated by the fact we've got company coming in over the weekend, so it's a bad time for emotional problems. Ultimately it doesn't matter because his health is more important, but it's still a bad time because we're so busy for the next week.

I'll report again either this evening or in the morning on how he's doing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, evening, medicine update

Mixed news here.

Since Elvis was doing so much better this morning and, in keeping with what I told the clinic I was going to do, I gave him 1/2 of a Vetmedin with breakfast. That's the mixed news.

Today was a day where I had a lot of cleaning to do here in the den (we're having company coming in for the weekend), and there was a lot of sound and fury going on. And Elvis was spooky. **sigh** Not good timing for my cleaning, but there wasn't an option. So, tonight at dinner, I skipped the Vetmedin. I increased his Lasix to 1 CC and gave him 1/2 a cough tablet rather than 1/4.

I spoke with Dr. Walthall this morning, and she let me know that there is another heart medicine available which, unbeknownst to her, was recommended BEFORE trying what he's on. Since there is so much of the medicine and since I opened and halved two bottles, I told her I felt like we should try tweaking his dosage. She agreed to that, and I told her I would call the clinic back Friday morning to let them know how things were going. At the time, I was going to try 1/2 pill in the morning and in the evening.

So that's where my dilemma comes in. Because he became so spooky this afternoon, and because I don't know whether it was the external stimulus or the medication, I've decided to discontinue the Vetmedin until Thursday evening. At that point, if things are going well, I'll give him 1/2 pill with dinner and see how things are Friday morning before I call the clinic.

I'll increase his Lasix to 1 CC during the morning feeding and try .75 CC with dinner. Cough tablet at night, and as needed during the day.

I'm not 100% happy with this, but I don't think it's fair to make a decision about the medication until the clanging and banging is done around here. Obviously, if his physical situation changes, the vet gets a call and two opened bottles of Vetmedin or not, he will go on the new medication.

So that's where I am. I'll probably post a quickie update tomorrow night and something on Thursday, but I suspect much will wait until Friday.

October 13, morning, medicine update

So far. So good.

When I got up this morning and came in the den, Elvis was doing his goofy greeting routine. I'd say he's about 95% back to his normal level of behavior, so when I fed him, I went ahead and gave him 1/2 a Vetmedin. Depending on what I see the rest of today will dictate what I do tonight.

Also, I plan on calling the clinic in a bit and letting them know things are much happier over here and see if there's anything else that needs to be done. I am glad to see that being off the medicine for only 36 hours gave us such a dramatic turn around. That does make me believe it was the level of the medicine he was taking, but I'll see how he does on the reduced dosage.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, evening, Medicine update

There's a definite behavioral improvement since Elvis has been off the Vetmedin for 24 hours.

I talked to the clinic, though the vet was so swamped I didn't get a chance to speak with her. What I've decided to do is to cut him back from 2 pills/day to one pill. That will mean a half in the morning and a half with dinner. His Lasix will remain the same and, if possible, his cough tablet.

I'm hoping to start the new routine in the morning with his breakfast, but a lot will depend on how he acts when I come through the gate in the morning. If he's panting and wagging his stump and grinning, I'll go ahead and start it. If not, I will wait until dinner tomorrow night. I've got to get enough of a normal behavior started so I can tell if he's reacting poorly to the new dosage.

We're keeping our fingers crossed because the medicine does help him, but there's no way we can deal with the behavior changes. They're not good for him or us.

October 12, morning, Medicine update

Elvis is showing some pretty serious behavioral changes that I think is due to his new heart medicine, Vetmedin.

We'd noticed he was spookier in the last several days than he had been earlier, but we just put it down to regression, which he's done before. It seemed, though, to be a strange spookiness. Last night, though, we knew for sure it was something else.

When I was letting everyone in from their 8:30 potty break, he came tearing down the path like normal, hopped up on the step, took one look at me in the door and panicked. There was no way he was coming in past this person who was obviously up to no good. I got Randall to call him, and he did the same thing. Randall finally put the blind down over the door window, opened it up, stood behind it and Elvis came in. Not normal. Not even when we'd first brought him home from the shelter had he ever done that.

He's also been showing fear when we'd go to pick him up. He'd run like hell from you, but once he was picked up, he was fine. It would take me five minutes to coax him to me so I could pick him up to put him on the ottoman or in my lap when I would go to do needlework. If I put him down to run to the bathroom or refill my water glass, it would be the exact same procedure. Five minutes to get him to come to me so I could pick him up. It's like as soon as his feet hit the floor his brain left his body.

So I looked up the drug's side effects, and sure enough, behavioral changes is listed.

I put in a call to his vet just now. I've got a lot of his medicine here, and he's at the upper limit of the dosage, so it's possible we can cut him back and see a change. It works very well otherwise, so I'm certainly willing to work on tweaking the dosage, but I'll wait to hear back from Dr. Walthall. Meanwhile, I pulled him off of it this morning. I gave him a cough pill as a preventative (usually I only do that at night) and his Lasix is the same. Hopefully we'll be able to work through this.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October 1-3, Thursday-Saturday

I'm having to combine some of these entries since my online time is so limited now.

Nothing much has really happened except that I did try to cut back too much on Elvis' Lasix on Thursday and he had a bad day coughing. That was my fault. He stabilizes nicely with .75 cc twice a day, 1 heart pill with breakfast and dinner, and a quarter cough tablet with dinner.

Not sure if the draw Friday afternoon was me or the chair, but I had Randall take him in to the living room and sit on the sofa with him for awhile. He needed the reassurance. Everything was fine until I came in and decided to sit across the room in the chair. Elvis perked up his ears, ran down to one end of the couch, then to the other end where Randall was sitting, and decided to take off. He landed about four feet off the sofa and came running up to me wanting to get up in the chair. Very unexpected. LOL

Other than those two things, really not much happened. He's getting sofa time Friday and Saturday night since we're watching a movie and he always enjoys that.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

September 28-30, Monday - Wednesday


I called his vet today to give an update. The new heart medicine seems to be working quite well. His weight has stabilized again in the upper 7 pound range with the occasional bump over 8 pounds. I'm still not really thrilled with this because the increase in the food is considerable, but as long as he continues to maintain and not lose, I guess I'll be content. The vet's office said to monitor it and if he starts sliding back down to call them. I'm also to call every 10 days to 2 weeks to give an update. No problem.

Today was bath day for everyone. Elvis rolls, so his coat was dirtier than I originally thought. He's now a very clean Stumpy. He was also a very WILD Stumpy when he was dried off enough to go outside. I didn't see it, but Randall said he and Skeeter were tearing up and down the yard. All I know is he got 1/2 a cough pill when he came in. The excitement and exercise kicked off his cough, but I really can't begrudge him this. I just wish he was able to play with Skeeter more because he does enjoy running. Unfortunately, the congestive heart failure means his exercise has to be monitored and in moderation.

I'm also doing a major recipe binder reorganization. I only write this because Elvis REALLY dislikes the rattling of the paper and the clicking of the binder rings as they close. He's pretty much moved over to Randall's side of the room and he looks at me with extreme disgust when I start working. :) Mainly he's to be found under Randall's desk, but if the noise isn't too bad, he hops in the basket with Skeeter. I'm assuming the desire for a soft spot coincides with safety in numbers. Fortunately I'll only be doing this for a few more days, so it will end.


Another combo day. I had a couple of posts written up, but my husband's text editor doesn't prompt to save (or didn't) when exiting the application, so I lost it.

The increasing food has definitely helped him stabilize his weight. I've also more or less cut him back on his Lasix to .75 cc twice a day, and I'm not seeing an increase in his coughing. It looks like the new heart pill has definitely helped there. And he's getting 1/4 of a cough tablet with his evening meal. If he needs any during the day, I give it to him, but that seems to happen only rarely.

I've also posted some pictures of him and Skeeter. This is what happened Monday when Elvis decided he wanted to be in an even softer spot than usual when I started my needlework. Fortunately Skeeter took it without blinking an eye, and, just as fortunately, Elvis soon got too hot under the light and moved down to lay on the ottoman (the ottoman is at the same height as the chair, so it's very easy for him to shift around when he feels like it).