Monday, December 27, 2010

Late December Update

Nothing momentous to report, but I noticed my last update was over 10 days ago, so I thought I should fix that.

Elvis made it through the days following his dental work just fine. The facial swelling is completely gone, so it looks like the infection issue was addressed even if the tooth wasn't pulled. So this is good. A tooth infection is never fun, so I'm glad we were able to address the problem. Kudos to Dr. Walthall, Melody and Carol for doing such a great job. It's never fun to put a dog with a dicky heart under anesthesia, but they did it and he came out of it with no problem.

Since I was in the kitchen baking for much of the last 10 days, he's relished his role as the "committed foodie." Matter of fact, since I wasn't in the kitchen really at all today, he's been quite unsettled. He'll come into the room and sit behind my chair...wheezing and staring. He REALLY wants the Foodlady to go do Foodlady things. Sadly, he's going to be disappointed for a couple of days since I don't plan on any cooking until Thursday, and all my baking is pretty much over.

Christmas was uneventful for him, except he got to snack on some really good food. The company and decorations were pretty much just accepted. He was even in on the chair in the living room sitting behind me while we all unwrapped presents. Didn't bother him. When he got down on the floor to go outside, he even walked past the mounds of paper, bags and ribbons without so much as a sideways glance.

And in a few days, we'll hit 2011. Randall and I are hoping that this next year is a good for him as 2010 has been. At least we know his teeth are in good shape, the dry skin problem he's had is being addressed by the fish oil supplement, and all his drugs are addressing his medical problems nicely.

I'll try to get a couple of new pictures of him, though it's getting tougher to do since he's gotten where he really hates the camera. I'll try though.

Meanwhile, everyone have a safe and Happy New Year, and we'll see you around in 2011!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New addition to the diet

Provided I can remember to add it...

Fish oil.

Poor little Stumpy Fella has itchy skin this year, so he's getting some fish oil to help with that. It's in gel cap form, so yesterday I punctured a bunch of them and drained the oil out. He doesn't get much, so I didn't open many capsules, but I'm hoping the 1/4 tsp a day will do him good. It's an Omega 3-6-9, so it should.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Things you just don't expect to see...

I was in here at the computer (in our master bedroom) where Haley had been crated this morning with a chew flip while Randall vacuumed and mopped.

I kept hearing this funny sound...sort of like someone dropping a plastic coat hanger. I looked over and didn't see anything. Heard it again and looked over just in time to see Elvis trying to figure out how to pick up the chew flip. Apparently he'd gotten it out of Haley's crate, but kept dropping it.

When he finally got it picked up, he wandered in and out of the room with it in his mouth trying to find a place to work on it.

MINE!!

Finally he settled on the blanket next to my chair where he spent the next couple of minutes trying to figure out his best line of attack. The chew was a bit too long and his legs were a bit to long, never mind he only has a couple of teeth. He finally got it worked out, though...as you can see:





Never let it be said that Elvis doesn't find a work around for having no teeth if there's something he really wants. :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Elvis update

Looks like yesterday's dental work hasn't caused any trouble for Elvis.

He's been acting find. He's definitely been eating fine. It also looks like the swelling he's had right above the tooth and under the eye is shrinking some. That will take some time since it's a reabsorbance situation.

One thing that is really, really interesting is that Elvis seems a whole lot braver yesterday and today. Now I know that sounds sort of weird, but never, in the year and a half that he's lived here has he ever hung out in the kitchen waiting for a handout. Until yesterday.

He came into the kitchen and sat behind me while I was using the stand mixer. He also stood around and watched me load stuff in the dishwasher. That is VERY unusual. Before yesterday, the most he would do was peek around the corner of the cabinet to see what I was doing. Never would he come in and sit with Haley and Skeeter in the hopes of a handout.

Also, instead of bolting when something edible was tossed his way, he ran up and snatched it.

Like I said...very unusual. Whether it's because I was there when he went under and then woke up, I don't know. Whether this continues beyond another day or so, I don't know. I'll just have to take this one day at a time.

I will say it's a very nice, positive behavior change.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Flying colors

Elvis came through his dentistry with flying colors.

I'm glad I'd made plans to be there when he went under and when he woke up. The vet tech and I had our hands full getting the mask on him since it bumped up on his eyes and he didn't care for that at ALL.

Wake up was a bit easier since it was mainly just a case of steadying him and letting him know I was there. He was really groggy and disoriented for about 20 minutes, but he really shook the effects off faster than I was expecting.

Start to finish was about 1 1/2 hours, and the cleaning was really needed. Apparently some of the tartar that came off was the size of the tooth itself. Also, the roots are exposed on the one trouble spot, but because that tooth is in so solid, the decision was made not to extract it. That's cool. It just means we'll keep a eye on it, and he'll probably get another cleaning in a year or so.

His toenails also got cut WAY back. I hated to have to ask them to do that, but he literally panics to the point I'm afraid he's going to have a heart attack, so I only tackle them three or four times a year. As much as I hate long nails, I just don't care to put him through the trauma more often.

So all in all he did really well. He's got clean teeth for the holidays and, more importantly, he shouldn't have another tooth infection for a while.

Dancing for his dinner

It's been awhile since I posted a dinner dance video of Elvis. This is his latest effort. :)

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Elvis pictures

Got a couple of Elvis pictures here. I should have a new dinner video posted tomorrow.

I HATE cameras!

Sticking his tongue out at the world.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tooth extraction scheduled

Elvis' tooth infection has kicked in again, so he's been scheduled for an extraction next Tuesday at 9:30.

He started on antibiotics yesterday, and he'll have a week on them before he goes in. As much as I hate to put him under, this tooth simply has to come out. I've also asked if Dr. Walthall will clip his nails good while he's under...he get so stressed when that's done, that I figure I might as well take advantage of him being out to get this done.

I've got a CT scan scheduled for today and my biannual followup with my radiation oncologist on Monday, so Tuesday was as soon as this could be done (plus I'd really like him over as much of the infection as possible).

Since Elvis gets so stressed when I'm not available, our plans are to stick around so I'll be there when he goes under and then be there when he comes out. The extraction shouldn't take long, so I suspect I'll have an updated on how things went on the blog soon after lunch.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Someone to be thankful for...

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving.

I also want to take this opportunity to say how grateful Randall and I are for Elvis. We've been given a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in a little dog's life, and it has been a wonderful experience.

We truly are very, very thankful that we were given the chance to bring Elvis home with us and that he's a permanent foster...or maybe I should say, a very important part of our family. Calling him a "foster dog" might be technically accurate, but it doesn't really convey what he means to us.






Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Elvis Really Misses the Food Lady

Elvis is doing well thanks to Valium. The first couple of days Donna was gone, he got very stressed out when the Food Lady did not appear by 4:30. The stress lead to lots of coughing both before he ate, after he ate, and after my dinner an hour later. Even a Torbutrol did not really help as the cats hung around his basket after dinner, wanting to be put up (and fed, of course).

Donna suggested trying a quarter pill Valium around 4pm to help keep him on an even keel. It's worked for the last two nights and seems to be working tonight. THere is much less stress and far less coughing. Not letting the cats back out after my dinner helps too. I hate to use a valium on him every day while Donna is gone, but that is probably easier on him that several hours of stressed out coughing -- especially when it's the "sounds like he's coughing up a lung" cough.

Unfortunately, the swelling on his face is still there. It's down from what it was when we took him in to see Dr. Walthall, but it is still there. Another visit to the vet is likely after Donna gets back.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Update, November 6, 2010

Elvis' has another few days of antibiotics since there's still some swelling evident at the gum line.

Dr. Walthall thinks that the infection may actually be gone, but that a puss pocket is there and is going to have to be reabsorbed, which will take time. So he's got enough to last through Monday, and then he'll be off them.

I'll be leaving Monday, so Randall will be in charge of all things Elvis while I'm gone. I suspect either he or I will post a quick update late next week, and then I'll post one when he comes up to Dallas. No one is looking forward to bringing him into a new environment since it's going to be stressful, and Elvis doesn't do stress.

But he'll be up there with his buds, and he'll know Randall and me, so we're hoping that he will do OK. He'll ride up to Dallas in a crate with Skeeter, and he'll most likely sleep with him for the three nights they're there. And I'll have the handy dandy Valium and Torbutrol, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that with all that, he'll do OK

So that's where we are. Say a prayer for the little stumpy fella that his infection stays gone and that he handles his van ride and stay in Dallas well. :)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Update, November 1, 2010

Time for an update. :)

Elvis is still suffering from swelling where his tooth is bad. He's been on antibiotics now for a full week, and while it's definitely down, it's still visible.

I called the clinic this morning, and since they all know I'm leaving town on Monday, I was asked to call back on Wednesday to give an update. It's possible that he'll need a second course of antibiotics, and if he does, I'll request pills because it will be easier for Randall to handle.

That said, here's the schedule for me.

My mother is coming in on Thursday, and my cousin and his family will come in for the day on Sunday. With that in mind, there's a pork butt to smoke, and side dishes and a cake to get ready. So foodie stuff will rule my world for the next few days.

On Monday, November 8, I'm leaving town with my mom to go back to Dallas for some denture adjustments and chores that she needs done at her house. The plan is for Randall to come up on the 17th or 18th (we're waiting on weather since the wind shield wipers on the van don't work...it rains, and there's a delay), and we should be back by Saturday, November 20. And yes. Elvis will be coming, too. The Valium will be kept well at hand for this. He's never been in someone else's house before, but I'm hoping that with me, Randall, Haley and Skeeter there, he will handle the stress.

Once we're back, I'll need to pow-wow with Dr. Walthall about Elvis' tooth. She's going to be out of pocket in early December, so we'll have that to work around. I've also got a follow-up appointment with my radiation oncologist and a CT scan scheduled in early December.

I want to be sure we're all on the same page on what we want to do. I've got real concerns about putting him under for an extraction, but a bad tooth can cause other problems, and with a dicky heart, I don't want to make it worse. So we'll look at this when I get back and figure out what we want to do.

I'll post another update before I leave on Monday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010 Update

Just a quick post to say that it does look like Elvis' infection is responding to the antibiotics. The swelling in his face isn't gone entirely, but it is going down. I was going to call the clinic today, but I decided to wait until Monday when he's been on the meds for 7 days. I suspect by then I'll really know more.

I'll post again on Monday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Elvis and the tooth

Poor little guy.

Elvis has two teeth left in his head. Both on the left, and this Saturday, an infection set in. I was hoping against hope the swelling in his face was an insect bite, but when it didn't go down by yesterday morning, I had a pretty good idea it was a tooth.

So off to the clinic this morning we went. When I'd tried to look at it Saturday afternoon, Elvis wasn't a happy camper, so before we left the house, he got 1/4 of a Valium to help ward off some stress. When we got to the clinic, I had to make a pit stop first off the bat, and while I was doing that, Dr. Walthall came out and took a quick look at him. Sure enough. Bad tooth.

She also got a chance to see the mass in his groin, and the verdict there was hernia. Which is good, provided it doesn't strangulate, and considering his physical condition, we're going to rely on pumpkin to keep him regulated so he doesn't strain when he potties. It's also easy to keep an eye on since he's in my lap every morning in preparation for his morning Oats (4 Cheerios that he feels very entitled to). So I can feel it daily to make sure it's not getting larger.

Anyway, back to the tooth. There were a couple of options available. Antibiotics first while delaying surgery. Surgery first and then antibiotics. I made the decision to go with the first option because I'm going to be in Dallas the first part of November, and the schedule between now and then is terribly full even without an extraction. Also, there are reservations about putting him under, and I want to think some about that before we go that route. Also, I'd like that infection cleared up first because my thinking is he's going to have enough to deal with without his body fighting that as well.

So, we'll put off the surgery until after I get back in town. I told Dr. Walthall that I suspect he would do better waking up from surgery with me there, so we'll have to figure out a way to work that in, too. My status as Foodlady means I'm his security blanket, and he tends to panic less if he can get to me. So we'll have to figure out those arrangements.

That's where we are. He's on liquid clindamycin for the infection, and he's got 10 days of that. He'll be done with that before I leave for Dallas, and Randall knows to monitor that situation, and he'll call the clinic if the swelling shows back up.

Oh. And while we were talking about the shape he is in, she did say how good he looks. And he does. His weight is the RIGHT kind of weight, and particularly for a dog on daily steriods things are where they should be. Like she said, it's sort of like he's aging backwards. A truly wonderful thing when you remember the shape he was in when he came in here in July 2009. With his medical conditions well managed, he just looks and acts like a different dog.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just a reminder....

Elvis says "Don't forget adoption!"

cute puppy pictures-jus' got 'dopted  am on top of da world!
see more dog and puppy pictures

Monday, October 18, 2010

Update October 18, 2010

Elvis had me worried this weekend. Saturday he started with the coughing/hacking that sounded just like when he had an infection. Granted, the Torbutrol stopped it, but I had to give him 1/2 a pill and then another 1/2 about an hour later. Still, the sound and frequency of the coughing made me decide to email Dr. Walthall to let her know what was up and that I'd call the clinic this morning.

And just about as soon as she replied, it became obvious Elvis had stopped coughing. Which is good, but still, I felt like an idiot. Dr. Walthall and I had a couple back and forth emails that ended yesterday when she said it sounded like he might need to be checked. So I said I'd call Melody this morning.

So no more coughing. Really. Just the usual coughing from excitement, but none of that "hacking up a lung" cough that he was giving me Saturday. So I called Melody and told her I wanted to hold off bringing him in.

One thing that I've forgotten to mention is that he has a growth on the left groin area. It's about the size of the tip of my index finger. Not big, and it hasn't grown, but I meant to mention it to them when I was in with him last time and totally forgot since I was so focused on his coughing. This is something that I am going to want Dr. Walthall to look at next time he's in.

That said, I told Melody that I was going to Dallas for a couple of weeks in early November. I'd like to bring him in early next week for another checkup unless he starts hacking again. I probably should do it this week, but I am so swamped here that I just can't leave the house (painting).

If there are any changes this week, I'll post another update.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Update, October 12, 2010

Just a quick update on Elvis' Pred dosage.

Heard from the clinic yesterday, and Elvis can move from 1/4 of a 5 mg Prednisone tablet once a day to 1/4 twice a day. Before I settle on that, I'm going to try it every other day. I suspect he'll end up needing it more frequently, but like with most medicines, trying the least amount first is the best way to go.

I gave him the extra Pred last night, and I noticed this morning that he was less wheezy. I'll skip the extra dose tonight and see how he is in the morning. If he seems fine, then I'll stick to adding a 1/4 tablet every other day. If he isn't, then he'll get it every day.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Update, October 9, 2010

Just a quick note that I'm still waiting to hear about whether or not to increase Elvis' Prednisone. He's still just a tad wheezy, but not bad, so I'm not worried.

With any luck I'll hear something about this from Dr. Walthall on Monday or Tuesday. This isn't a critical situation, so I'll just wait until she has time.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Update, October 5, 2010

(Real life is still hectic and interfering with regularly scheduled updates. *g*)

Elvis is definitely doing better. He's got tonight's dose of antibiotics and tomorrow's to go, and then he'll be finished with them.

I've called the clinic, however, to ask if Dr. Walthall might want to permanently increase his Pred from 1/4 of a 5 mg tablet once a day, to 1/4 of a 5 mg tablet TWICE a day. I'm still getting the wheezy breathing from him, and it may be time to do a permanent increase. I should hear back today about this.

Right now, I'm going on the assumption that his infection has cleared up. I don't hear the deep, hacking cough that I was hearing...more the normal raspy cough that will stop once he settles. Before once that cough started, I couldn't stop it for love nor money unless he got a full Torbutrol, and that was just too much to do as often as I would have had to.

So I'll wait to hear from Dr. Walthall and see what she wants to do about the Pred. Not sure is he'll need to go in for another blood test or not.

I'll post another update probably tomorrow or Thursday once I know more.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Update, Oct 1, 2010

Elvis is definitely on the mend. The wheezing and coughing are probably a quarter of what they were on Monday, and I suspect that by this time Monday, he'll be much more like his old self.

Right now he and Skeeter are bunking together. Elvis is sort of like a little kid in that he wants a security blanket at times...and when he's not feeling well is one of those times. We'll let the two boys sleep together probably through the weekend, and then move Skeeter back to his own crate on Monday. While Elvis appreciates the company, Skeeter really would like his own bed. Can't blame him, but this helps keep Elvis calm which translates to less coughing.

I did get his nails cut yesterday (they were so long I was really embarrassed for Dr. Walthall to see them, but cutting them is so hard on him that I didn't want to do it while he was feeling bad). He got a Valium right afterwards, but next time I'm going to give him one 20 minutes or so BEFORE I clip them and then another one afterwards if needed. They look much better. I won't do them again, probably until January. I'm not willing to put him through this more than three times a year. I didn't get his dew claws clipped, but there was nothing for it. He was in a full blown panic at that point, and I don't want to give him a heart attack just to clip two nails he doesn't walk on.

Anyway, I suspect I won't do another update until Monday unless things change.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Update, Sept 29, 2010

Called the clinic this afternoon to let them know I think I'm seeing some small improvement.

Elvis is still coughing, but it's different. The "hacking up a lung" sound has lessened...it's still there, but it doesn't last as long and it's softer. Also, while he coughs more than he normally would, it does stop...which is something it didn't do this weekend. Essentially once it started, that was about it. It kept going and going and going.

Also, the wheezing seems to be down some, as well. It's still there, but it takes more exertion for it to kick in.

Right now, he's had five doses of the doxycycline. Two on Monday and Tuesday and one (so far) today. I'm cautiously optimistic that he's responding to this antibiotic.

I told Melody I'd give her a call Friday morning after he'd had breakfast and his meds had had a chance to kick in and let them know how he was doing.

With that in mind, I'll probably skip the update tomorrow unless the situation changes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Update, Sept 28, 2010

OK. Now that I've had a good night's sleep, I can think straight and type straight. :)

Elvis had a pretty good going over yesterday at the clinic. As Dr. Walthall said, she's learned that with Elvis, it's not so much about his heart as it is about his breathing. And it's true. The heart condition seems to be well managed (as much as it ever can be), but the damage to his lungs really can be a bitch to get a handle on.  His condition reminds me more of my father's with COPD anything else. It and congestive heart failure go hand in hand, though, so it's not surprising.

Anyway, Elvis white cell count was way high...25,000...yesterday, so he's now on an antibiotic (liquid doxycycline) at 1 ml twice a day. If there's no improvement by Friday, we'll change medicines. However, he has had a slight case of pneumonia in the past, and that was the drug used, so I'm hopeful it will begin to work soon.

One thing I told Randall yesterday was that if that hacking cough starts again in the future, I'm not going to mess with upping his Prednisone. Yes, that definitely helped in the short term, but I suspect that the hacking cough is going to be directly related to an infection, so it's better to just start him on antibiotics. The Pred might get increased slightly to help him over the bump until the antibiotics kick in, but it's pretty obviously going to take both types of drugs. In the past several months the Pred has been enough, but I think we're progressing past that. I at least will want to check his white cell count early on.

He also had a new x-ray taken. His last picture was about this time last year, and yesterday's showed a definite area that was pressing on his "coughing reflex" location. Is that where the infection is? We're not sure, but Dr. Walthall was going to compare yesterday's picture to last years. If my memory serves correctly, though, it wasn't there last year, but there was a mass down low in the chest cavity. So what are we looking at here? Not sure, but I'm going on the theory that the infection is in the picture.

His coughing is improved (though a lot of what we saw two days ago was definitely triggered by excitement of me being in the kitchen again...all the dogs were worked up, and Elvis takes his cues from them.), but the wheezing is still there. I suspect it will take a couple of days before we know whether he's responding to the antibiotic. Mean time, keeping him calm is a priority so bathing him and clipping his nails will have to wait until next week (**sigh** His nails look like talons.) once the wheezing and coughing have lessened.

Right now, I'll plan on posting an update sometime tomorrow unless things change.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quick update

Real quick one liner because I'm exhausted.

Elvis appears to have an infection, and started antibiotics today. No coughing tonight. I'll give a proper update tomorrow when I'm not so tired.

Coughing and a trip to the clinic

Yesterday's post was, admittedly, light hearted. That's not the case this morning.

I know the excitement of me being back in the kitchen after a week of not cooking was the trigger, but regardless of the cause, Elvis started that horrible, hacking cough again...the one that I originally upped his Prednisone dosage for.

Starting at 7:00 pm, he got 1/2 Torb; 8:30 1/4 Valium; 9:30 1/2 Torb; 10:30 1/2 Guafinisen. It looked like we were in for a rough night until Randall suggested putting Skeeter in with him in his crate to sleep. That did seem to work, and we all slept through the night.

Same problem this morning, and I went ahead with 1 Torb at 6:30. 1/2 wasn't cutting it, and it does seem to have slowed the coughing down. I've called the clinic and left a voice mail to give them a heads up, and I've gotten two videos (actually they're more for the sound than anything) and sent them via email. I'll also take the camera with us in case there's a problem downloading my message.

Right now, any activity causes the coughing to start in. Unfortunately, it's also any activity that Randall or I do (like walking into the kitchen or going into the bedroom).

I'll post an update once we get back from the clinic. I'm hoping this isn't a sign that his heart failure has taken a turn for the worse, but it may be. :(

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Foodlady is back...

and there was much rejoicing. :)

Poor little Elvis. The Foodlady has been busy in the kitchen for the last several days, and no food has been forthcoming. Very tragic when your outlook is one of food as your total salvation.

Fortunately, I got a lot of my kitchen straightened out since the new counters came in, and Randall and I got the sink/faucet installed yesterday. Yes. Everything was delayed, but there was no help for it.

However, I'm keeping the menus VERY simple this week since I've come off my Aleve, and really need to rest from the work we've been doing. So that meant today I had a chance to take a pain pill and lay down. Didn't go to sleep, but I was in the bedroom under the covers with Haley doing a bit of reading and resting. About 4:30, I thought I heard something at the door, but when I didn't hear it again, I didn't think anything of it.

Got up about 5:00 and Randall met me at the den doorway laughing. Turns out that what I heard was Elvis scratching at the door. According to his internal clock, 4:30 is the time he begins to check on and worry about The Foodlady. Today Randall didn't shut the gate, so he had access to the shut bedroom door, and he knew right where I was. LOL

He was quite happy when I went into the kitchen and started slicing and dicing. I don't have the heart to tell him that the cooking is going to be very limited this week since not only am I trying to take it easy, but I'm having a tile backsplash installed behind the cooktop this week.

Elvis goes back on his regular dose of Pred starting tomorrow. The horrible hacking cough appears to have gone away, but I won't know for sure until he's had a few days on his regular amount. I'll post again later in the week once I see how he's doing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Update, Sept 22, 2010

We're in the next to the last day of one of the major updates here at the house.

My father was over yesterday helping us pull out our old cast iron sink and tearing out the last of the kitchen counters. Then sawing and drilling to put in new outlets. Today the new counters were installed, and my dad will be back over in a bit to finish off the electrical work. Tomorrow Randall and I will reinstall the cooktop and put in the new sink/faucet/disposal.

Through all of this, Elvis has really done well. Up until yesterday (late morning), he was out loose in the den. At one point I could see he was getting a bit anxious, so I put him in his crate and he stayed there most of the afternoon. He was more concerned that dinner was running late than anything, but other than that he actually did very well.

This morning before the counters came in, we moved his crate into our room so he'd be out of the way of the worst of the noise. I ended up giving him a Valium because he was getting a tad stressed, but the counters went in fast, and after we did some clean up, we let him out of his crate, and he did just fine.

My dad will be over in a bit, and Elvis might need to go back in his crate, but it's back in the den in the usual place, so I doubt I'll see much in the way of stress.

All in all, he has really handled the upheaval like a trooper. I'll go back to painting the living room after next week (I'm coming off my Aleve so I will be forced to rest...I'm really wearing out.), but I don't expect that to cause any trouble provided I remember to turn on fans. :)

I suspect I'll post an update either this weekend or sometime early next week unless things change.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Update Sept. 16, 2010

Day late on the updating here. :)

Elvis is doing well. The continues presence of paint in the air doesn't seem to be bothering him since a) it's mainly latex right now and b) I'm remembering to turn fans on after I'm done. It really does seem to be the oil-based paint/primer that works on him...which I totally understand, so I'll be more vigilant in turning fans on.

Nothing else is really going on with him. The increased Pred has handled that horrible cough, though I won't know if it's really gone until he goes back to his regular daily dosage next week, but so far so good.

I'll probably post another update early next week unless things change.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Update, Sept 12, 2010

Elvis began his reduced dosage of Prednisone today. I've kept his morning Lasix dose at 1 ml, but I've dropped the dinner dose back to .75 ml. I don't dare keep him on the twice a day elevated Lasix dose since it does weird stuff to his head, but since we're reducing the Pred from 5 mg to 3.75 through Wednesday and then further reducing it to 2.5 from Thursday through probably Monday, I think I can leave him at this slightly reduced evening Lasix amount. I'll probably step back his morning Lasix once he gets on the 2.5 mg Prednisone. I really don't want to set off emotional problems with him.

So far, he's doing well with his coughing. I did have to give him a Torb last night, but I think I'm really at fault there. I've been priming and painting woodwork in the living room for the last two days, and yesterday I forgot to turn the fan on to help with the fumes. This is oil-based primer and paint, so I'm really going to have to be more mindful of the air. The primer knocks me on my ass, so I always remember to turn a fan on, but yesterday I was mainly working with paint, and I forgot. My bad and Elvis paid a a price for my neglectfulness.

Today, though, he's been good, so I am really hopeful that the few days on the higher Pred dose is going to cure what ails him. I feel pretty confident that it will.

I'll probably not post another update until Tuesday or Wednesday unless something changes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Update, Sept 10, 2010

Yesterday was a very good day for the Little Stumpy Fella.

Very little coughing, which translates into no Torbutrol. The bad news is I forgot to weigh him again. Damn me!

Anyway, I'll give the clinic a quick call this morning...I've got to check on Haley's stitches (looks like they're the absorbing, but I want to double check), so I'll give Melody a quick update on Elvis. I don't see any reason to take him to the clinic, though. The increased Pred has taken care of that cough.

Elvis will stay on the elevated Pred dosage through tomorrow morning. Beginning Sunday, I'll start stepping him back (a rather slow process). I don't have the exact dosage scheduled yet, but generally it takes about 10 days to get him back down to the 1/4 pill daily that is his usual amount. I just hope that once he's back down on the regular dose that this cough doesn't come back. Fingers crossed.

I'll post another quick update sometime this weekend (unless things change). I'm getting ready to start a major painting project, so I'm going to spend the next several days up on a ladder.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Update Sept. 9, 2010

The increased Pred seems to be helping.

I gave Elvis a Torb last night after his dinner (and before ours), but his coughing wasn't too bad. I didn't want it to get that way, though, so I went ahead and gave it whereas last week, I probably wouldn't have. The cough he's had that we're fighting is one that once it gets started good, it hangs on. So I'm erring on the side of giving him a Torb a bit sooner than I normally would have.

I forgot to weigh him yesterday until way late in the day, and that's not good. I've gotten out of the habit of the daily weighing (mainly because our scale is wonky), and I need to remember to weigh him right after lunch. I try to weigh at pretty much the same time every day, so I'll definitely weigh him today and get it on his calendar.

That's really it for the update. I'm getting ready to begin a major painting job (the living room), but I'll still be keeping an eye and ear on Elvis (so will Randall!), and I'll post another update tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Update Sept. 8, 2010

So far so good with Elvis.

He had none of the "hacking up a lung" coughing before his dinner or ours last night. Just some general "normal" coughing that didn't last long and wasn't very prevalent.

Randall gave him the 5 mg of Pred this morning with his heart pill, and I've bumped up his Lasix. This will be his new dose through Saturday. Sunday, I'll begin stepping down his Pred.

I'll monitor his weight daily, too, so if any change occurs, I should know about it pretty quickly.

I'll get another update in here tomorrow morning (or this afternoon if it's needed).

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Coughing update

For the last couple of days, Elvis' coughing has really increased. (And let me add here that his sneezing has been on the uptick, too. Ragweed has made an appearance in the pollen count as of four or five days ago, and I wonder if that isn't triggering some of this. We know he's sensitive to oak mold, so it's always possible that he's got some sensitivity to ragweed, as well.)

The odd thing about it is it's only in the late afternoon before his feeding and our dinner at 6:30. Unfortunately, the poor little guy sounds like he's coughing up a lung. Once he settles down, though, the majority of it quits. It's been pretty obvious that the trigger for this is elevated excitement, but once it's started, it takes hold.

This morning when I got up, and before I fed him, he coughed just a bit. It was the normal coughing I hear before he's had his Lasix. All day has been the same thing, but starting about 2 pm, his coughing escalated. Torbutrol has handled most of it, but this afternoon, I decided to bump up his Prednisone.

This is something Dr. Walthall and I talked about a couple of months ago. He can go up to 1 full pill (5 mg) a day for a short period of time (four or five days), but his weight has to be monitored because Prednisone can cause fluid retention. In a dog with congestive heart failure, that can be a real concern.

I weighed him this afternoon and he was 8.6 lbs. I gave him the rest of a tablet that would make up 5 mg. (His pills are quartered, and he's usually only getting 1/4 per day.) I also gave him a Guafinison and 1/2 a Torbutrol. That was around 2:30.

I'm going to bump his Lasix up to 1 ml twice a day rather than .75 ml twice a day. He'll get Guafinison in the afternoon if he needs it, and Torbutrol as well. He's Prednisone will be a full 5 mg in the morning when Randall gives him his Enalapril.  If I don't see a serious improvement by Thursday afternoon, I'll give the clinic a call and get him in on Friday. 

About 10 minutes ago, everyone was outside and I called them to come in. Elvis came tearing in from the back of the yard. Full tilt run, and no coughing or wheezing. This is good. One of my concerns with him is pneumonia, but his lungs are sounding clear.

I'll post another update in a day or so.

Elvis and his popcorn

I finally got around to getting a video shrunk down showing Elvis and his favorite treat. :)

He LOVES him some popcorn. If there were any questions, they should be dispelled by his shifting, happy feet. *g*

Friday, September 03, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Elvis' Absolute Favortist Treat...

...in the WHOLE world.

He loves popcorn. With a passion he loves it. Particularly kettle corn.

But now the love has ascended new heights.

Last night for our DVD Date Night, we popped the usual bag of kettle corn, but this time I sprinkled it with a topping of sugar, cinnamon and Cayenne pepper.

OHMIGOD. Elvis thought he'd died and gone to heaven. I got a couple of videos, but I need to get them edited and shrunk first. If they don't turn out OK, I'll take more next week, but suffice it to say Elvis has never tasted anything in his life that tastes as good as the sprinkled popcorn.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quick update

All is well here. :)

My mother came in from Dallas last Tuesday and left Friday morning, so we were busy doing family stuff last week.

Elvis is doing just fine. He handled the week's turmoil well, and he had Skeeter sleeping with him each night since the two cats were out and about. While Howdy has never gone in for a stare down at the crate door, Ollie was out for the first time, and we weren't sure how things would go. Didn't hear a peep out of Elvis those three nights, so all was well there.

As a quick note. There was a VERY unexpected check show up here a couple of weeks ago, and some much, much needed work around the house is going to be done. One of the main disturbances for Elvis will be new laminate counters going in in the kitchen. That means that along with the banging and strange people here, the Foodlady will be taking time out of the kitchen. There will also be other badly needed improvement projects going on...mainly painting...so that will also be taking up my time.

I'm hoping to have the counters, new sink/faucet in by late September, and the painting will be going on for probably a year (there's a room full of paneling that I have to tackle), but I will keep the blog updated with at least weekly updates unless there's a need for more frequent ones.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Whoa!

Whoa! Color me stunned.

My dad and stepmom came over for some cake today (yesterday was my dad's b-day), and, like normal, Elvis and Skeeter were crated initially until everyone got inside and settled. Then I let the boys out to join us in the living room.

Elvis wouldn't really come up to my stepmom, which was sort of surprising, but when I came back in the room from turning on the coffee, Elvis was up on the sofa next to my dad. Granted, Skeeter (and Randall) were both up there, but Randall said when he sat him down at the end of the sofa, he walked over to get between him and my dad. Surprising, but even more surprising was that Elvis sat there for the longest time while my dad petted him and scratched his ears and head.

Elvis was MOST content. And I was MOST shocked. Wish I could have taken a picture. This was the first time Elvis had ever done this with my dad.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

All is well in Elvis's world

Haley is well and truly out of season, and all is now normal with Elvis.

WOOT!

He's sleeping in his own crate in the den.

He's very much interested in racing Skeeter down the path. The competition focus has changed, which is excellent because I could see Elvis deciding he needed to defend his chosen lady, and coming out on the losing end if only because Skeeter has teeth, and I would have come down on him from great height.

He's interested in DVD Date Night popcorn, his morning treat (4 Cheerios), his breakfast, his dinner and our dinner. The Foodlady has, once again, come to rule his world.

He's not particularly concerned about Haley any longer. He checks her out a couple of times a day, but that's it.

And the constant leg hiking has stopped. I'd forgotten what a pain in the butt it was to have a stud dog around, but this brought it back into clear, sharp focus.

He got his heartworm treatment last Sunday, and there weren't any negative reactions.

So it looks like all is well. He's back to his normal routine and his normal meds and I, for one, am very grateful.

I'll probably not post an update until next weekend because I anticipate me doing a lot around the house in preparation for company.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Back to Normal

Or pretty much so.

Which is a HUGE relief!

Last night, Elvis slept in his crate in the den. For the last several nights, he's been in his crate in our room, which actually worked well from a sleep standpoint for me, but made the room a bit hard to navigate at night...even though we have a large bedroom, having a second crate in here that had to face Haley's crate was a bit awkward.

In the interest of a full night's sleep, I gave him 1/2 Torb and 1/4 Valium right before bed and then we put Skeeter in with him. Tonight, I hope to have Skeeter sleep in his crate, though whether or not I'll have to give Elvis any medication sort of depends on how the day/evening goes.

Last night was heartworm pill night. Elvis has been on treatment now for about 9 months. Eventually the adult infestation will simply die off due to age, and there will be no new ones to take their place. That is a two year process and, of course, dependent on how long Elvis is with us, but he's doing so well that we'll just keep on keeping on. As I've written before, there is a quicker method to ridding dogs of heartworm infestations, but with Elvis's many medical problems, I wasn't willing to go that route. This is the method that is easier on the dog, so while it takes longer, it's the best way for him.

I'll probably post another update later in the week unless things change here. It's so hot (today it's supposed to be 105), that Randall and I try to get things done in the morning and then spend the rest of the day in the house with the curtains drawn to keep the sun/heat out. And, of course, all the dogs' time outside is very limited...it's just far too hot for them to be out for any length of time.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Update, July 30, 2010

Things are slowly getting back to normal.

Haley is most of the way out of season, and Elvis is experiencing much less attachment to her than he has in the past couple of weeks. He's still interested in where she is, but yesterday and today has seen him willing to be in separate rooms. That's something he's not been happy with for the last two weeks...including the night time.

Currently, we've been moving his crate into our bedroom at night and placing it so it faces Haley. That seems to satisfy his need for keeping tabs on her. That also means that I get to sleep in bed rather than on the sofa...something that was about to put me in traction earlier in the week.

Because he's slowed down on eating, I've pulled him off his liquid Lasix and Robitussin DM and am giving him Lasix and Guafenesin pills. Hopefully I can switch back to the liquid tomorrow or Sunday (not only because it's easier, but also because I've only got three or four Lasix pills).

His coughing that's been triggered by separation anxiety is almost all gone, and his Valium dosage is down to 1/4 tablet right before bed. I'm hoping that by tomorrow night, neither the Valium nor the Torb will be needed. We're also going to try separating their crates some so he begins to get used to being apart from Haley. With any luck, his crate will be back in the den early next week.

Which brings me back to Haley and the other reason the blog hasn't been updated so regularly.

We had to take Haley in to see Dr. Walthall for some facial swelling. It's been an on/off thing over the last year or so, but it's been "on" for the last week. Looking at her, Dr. Walthall thinks it's a back tooth. Like me, she saw a tooth that was healthy in the mouth, but the facial swelling and the fact that it began leaking blood Tuesday night just screamed infection.

So for the next couple of weeks, Haley is on antibiotics, and once the infection is cleared up, she'll be scheduled for a CBC and dental. I hate the idea of putting her under anesthesia at her age (14 1/2), but there's nothing for it. If the tooth comes out easily, and there's some question about that since it appears to be firmly attached, Haley will also be spayed. I should have done that years ago, but the money situation precluded it, and when I did have the money, well, she had gotten older and I don't put old dogs under unless there's good reason.

By the time Haley is scheduled for surgery, Elvis's concerns for her should be well passed. Which is good because this has been very hard on him, and with his medical problems, that's not good.

If everything continues to go well with him, I will probably not update the blog again until Sunday or Monday.

Monday, July 26, 2010

7/26/2010 (AKA one step forward, two steps back)

**sigh**

In some ways, things are going much better with Elvis. He's calmer than he was last week. His interest in Haley has waned somewhat. He can stand some separation from Haley.

In other ways, things have not improved. He still can't stand to be separated from her at night...which means he's unwilling to sleep in his crate. My back is just about broken from sleeping on the sofa.

All things combined, I'm not sure how much progress has been made. Haley is pretty much out of season, but Elvis is still convinced he needs to be right next to her. This is causing a problem with trying to move him back into his crate to sleep at night.

Last night in the living room, I tried him in his crate. That didn't work. Withing five minutes I could tell he was on the way to working himself into a frenzy because he was restrained and Haley was loose. So I let him out so he and Haley could sleep on the blanket. Not really a good thing, but I wanted sleep.

At 2:30, I woke up to the sound of toenails clicking on the floor. Haley had apparently woken up and decided to make the rounds in the house. Not sure where she thought she was going, but when she got back, I decided to put her in Elvis crate and leave him loose. I also decided to give him another dose of Vallium. After a few moans, Haley settled down to sleep. Elvis was a bit out of sorts, but he finally laid down on the pallet.

At 5:00, I'd had enough of the sofa. Both the dogs were asleep, so I took the opportunity to crawl into bed.

My back is broken...I'm convinced of it.

Tonight, Haley and Elvis are going to be loose in the den. I have GOT to sleep in a bed. I'll try to address Elvis's reluctance to sleep in a crate without Haley in a couple of nights. By then, I'm hoping I can get her bathed again, the bedding washed, and the remaining traces of her "season" out of the house.

So that's where we are. Hopefully I can post an update in the morning that's a bit more positive. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

MUCH better night

Last night was MUCH better than the last few nights.

I think moving onto the sofa was a very good idea. Elvis was a little confused at first because, even though Haley was on the floor on a pallet, usually when I'm on the sofa, an invitation to Skeeter and Elvis is coming up. I did bring him up for a minute to scratch his head, but then put him back on the floor, and he went right over to lay next to Haley.

They slept just fine until about 12:45 when Haley apparently needed to go outside. Since I didn't want a repeat of the night before, I went ahead and let them out. They came back in a few minutes later, Haley was leashed and everyone pretty much settled right back down.

I had gone ahead with my plan of 1/2 Torb at a few minutes before 10, and then 1/2 Valium at 10:30. That took care of the whole night. I heard Elvis trot around a couple of times, but he may just have been going for water since he tends to get hot and gets Lasix.

So other than me spending the night on the couch, things went much, much better than they have the last few nights.

Right now, Haley's hot pants are in the washer, and she's leashed down at my feet. Elvis is sleeping a foot or so away from her, but even with her hot pants off, his interest hasn't been too bad. Fingers crossed that means only a few more days.

Unless things change, I want to keep Elvis completely off Valium until tonight before bed. He seems to be sensitive to it (like he is with so much other medication), and too much Valium gives him the opposite reaction. I suspect that's what happened the other night. Along with being shuffled around the house in his crate, he got quite a bit of Valium ( though still well under the maximum dosage), and I think it ramped him up rather than taking the edge off his anxiety.

So I'll plan on the sofa routine tonight and maybe tomorrow night, though by then I'm pretty sure my back will be broken. That's worth it, though, if everyone gets a good nights sleep. Tomorrow night I may try sleeping on the couch and having one of them in their crate. We'll just have to see how it goes.

I may not post another update until tomorrow unless things change dramatically around here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Evening Update 7/24/2010

It's been a relatively uneventful day.

I gave Elvis 1/4 Valium around noon, and then left off the Valium at dinner. He still got a bit more excited than usual during our dinner, but that may simply have been the second Prednisone making itself known. And, well, he's a pretty food motivated little guy.

Tonight I'm planning on just sleeping in the living room on the sofa with Haley (appropriately attired, of course) and Elvis loose. Since bringing the basket in last night wasn't particularly successful, I'm just going to put two blankets on the floor and let it go at that.

I'm hoping that since Elvis will be starting out in the living room tonight, as opposed to traveling all over the house first, things will be a bit easier than they were last night. I'm also changing his Valium dosage some. This afternoon, I had good luck giving 1/2 Torbutrol and then coming back about 30 minutes or so later with a Valium dosage. The Torbutrol helped calm the excited wheezing, and the Valium knocked the edge of his excitement off.

So tonight, I'll give him 1/2 Torb around 10:00 and then 1/2 Valium about 10:30 or 10:45. At that point, we'll be in the living room, and I'll probably leash Haley for the first little bit until I'm sure she realizes that's her bed for the night. Elvis won't be far away.

I am seriously hoping for a better night tonight. Another night like last night, and I'll probably just shoot myself. If this works, I'm really hoping I'll only have to be on the sofa a night or so. That sofa just isn't comfortable, and with back problems, it really isn't good for me to be there for a long stretch.

So my fingers are crossed for a better night tonight. I know I won't be taking my nightly benadryl until I see how things are playing out. :)

Quick note

I weighed Elvis today, and his weight is good. 8.2, so apparently it was either an anomaly with our scales or just the time of day yesterday that I weighed him. So his extra dose of Pred can continue.

Was that ever unpleasant...

Horrible night. Just horrible. This time from the other end of the clock.

Elvis had me up until 3:30, though I may have been partly responsible for that. Right now, he's laying calmly by Haley, but Randall said he was just madly trying to hump her for the first 30 minutes or so that I'd been in the bedroom to sleep.

Anyway, he's pretty much calmed down now, but he's shown more interest in her in the last two days than in the last two weeks...and she is just about out of season. It would help tremendously if she'd turn around and tell him to stop, but she doesn't. She never has with any male (I've only had one other bitch like this in 25 years), so he takes it as a sign to continue on.

Tonight I'm going to try starting out sleeping on the sofa in the living room with Haley and him loose and the basket available for them. I ended up moving into different rooms last night, and I think that really exacerbated the situation. We'd first tried moving him into the bedroom with us and that didn't work. Having his crate facing Haley's was no help.

Then I moved out into the den into a recliner. That helped. They both settled down into the basket (after some jockeying for position), and they were there for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the chair proved not to be an option for me, so I moved into the living room onto the sofa. I put Haley's pallet down on the floor, but they stayed in the den for the longest. At about 2:30, Haley woke me up. I didn't realize she needed to go outside, so I had that to deal with.

The basket came into the living room, Haley settled in it, but Elvis was ramped up. More Valium didn't help, but finally at 3:30 either he settled down or I was too tired to care what was happening and I fell asleep.

So right now, I don't like dogs. Well, maybe Skeeter because he's asleep in the other room, but Haley and Elvis are right down by my feet, and I dislike them both. Fortunately the cats are OK. I like them. LOL

I'll post another update later today. Probably this evening since it looks like the behavior that is so bad takes a vacation until bedtime. :(

Friday, July 23, 2010

Evening Update 7/23/2010

It's been a mixed bag, today.

Elvis is pretty frantic in his "love" for Haley. Yet, after bathing Haley, I see where she's definitely on the far downhill slide of her season. Not sure what is going on, but Haley seems to be egging him on some and Elvis, as you'd expect, is responding.

He got 1/4 Valium this afternoon at lunch and then again in his foodball with his dinner at 5:30. He's still been pretty keyed up, though, but that may have been the food anticipation coming through because right now, he's calm.

So tonight at bedtime, I'm going to go ahead with 1/2 Valium. I suspect I'll have another early wake up call in the morning...so sure that I've got some recipes out so I can do some cooking. LOL

I am also concerned about his weight. He gained a pound overnight, but our scales are acting up, so it may be that and not fluid retention. I didn't weigh him at the normal time (right after lunch), but did it around 3:00. His Lasix has been bumped up to 1 ml to compensate for the increased Prednisone, but I intend to reweigh him tomorrow at the normal time. If the weight is back to around 8 lbs, I'll know it was the scales acting up. If it's still at 9.2, I'm going to drop the second Pred dose. The Valium is keeping his emotions in check now, so I'm not sure he really needs that extra dose to control the wheezing....I'd hoped to scale him back on Monday or Tuesday anyway, so this is just a couple of days early.

That's it from here for now. I'll post an update in the morning, though like I said, I really expect to be woken up again around 3:30 or so.

Another Early Start 7/23/2010

I ended up giving Elvis 1/2 a Valium before bedtime. I started with 1/4, but about 15 minutes after we'd gone to bed and were still reading, it was obvious he wasn't going to settle (we tried having Haley out in the den at first, but she let us know she much preferred her crate in our room, so that was a no go). So another 1/4 Valium in a late night food ball was presented.

No problems until it wore off at 3:30, when I had to get up, let he and Skeeter out and give him another 1/2. That really didn't do it. Not sure if it was because Haley wasn't out there when I first put him back or that Haley went out and the boys got to go out a second time. Not sure.

Anyway, at 4:15, I just decided to hell with it and got up. At least I got Randall's muffins made and a chili I'd been needing to do cooked up. :)

But other than the 3:30 wake up, Elvis seems to be doing OK. No coughing, some whining (mainly at food), and a bit less agitated. I'll decide what to do about his noon Valium once I'm back up (heading back to bed in a bit), and sort of play the dinner Valium by ear. I don't think there's any question he'll get 1/2 at bed time.

I'll probably post an update tonight unless something happens.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Evening Update 7/22/2010

I think we've got a MUCH better handle on Elvis' anxiety tonight.

Like I mentioned earlier, this afternoon after lunch, I gave him 1/4 Valium to help settle him down. He was beginning to pant and whistle (the only descriptive term I can think of to describe how his whine sounds). Tonight with dinner, his Lasix was bumped up to 1 ml, he had 1/4 of a Prednisone and 1/4 of a Valium.

I'm not seeing ANYTHING tonight like what I saw at this time last night. Part of his problem is he's hyperfocused on food. And I, as the Foodlady, come under a lot of scrutiny. Today that's been particularly the case (and this evening even more so as the bacon-wrapped meat loaf began giving off some really good smells).

He begins to get ramped up by about 4:30 and by the time he's fed at 5:30, he's well on his way to over-excitement. Now you add Haley into that mix and it's incredibly stressful and volatile.

There's been a lot of whining coming from him (that's been happening for awhile now since that's apparently how he's settled on expressing excitement over food) today, but yesterday that morphed into the horrible whooping cough he was plagued with all night and into the early morning hours. There's been none of that today.

I've not decided exactly what I'm going to do about his Valium tonight. Part of me thinks the 1/2 tablet dosage is the way to go, but the other part of me thinks that since he's no where near as bad as he was last night, I might want to stick with 1/4 and then go to 1/2 if he needs it in the middle of the night. (Reading this over makes me think that second idea is what I'll do.)

I do know Haley is going to be crated in the den tonight. He apparently is much less stressed if he wakes up and smells her there. He can't get to her, of course, but just the proximity seems to be enough.

So I'm hoping that the afternoon/evening gives way to a good night's sleep. We all need it. Tomorrow I'll continue with the increased meds, though I may delete the noon Valium if he's calm enough...I really hate to rely on that too much because there is so much medicine involved here that I'm afraid he'll react poorly. Since he's got a history of emotional issues when he's overloaded on medication, I'm hoping to get back to his normal dosings relatively soon.

Afternoon Update 7/22/2010

Talked to Dr. Walthall, and I'm going to up Elvis' Prednisone to twice a day. He only gets 1/4 tablet once a day right now, and that can be increased quite a bit provided I keep an eye on fluid retention. Since I suspect this is a very temporary situation, I'm going to just bump it up a bit for a few days and then taper back to his once a day dosage when Haley quits stirring things up.

w/r/t Valium. The dosage he has available is quite low. Since 1/4 tablet works for only a couple of hours, I'm going to bump that to 1/2 tablet every four hours during the night. I've given him 1/4 tablet a bit ago to help settle him some, and I suspect he may need one after dinner, but I don't want to overdo it. It doesn't knock him out, but I want to be careful with the dosage so I can use it when I really need it.

I'm also going to bump his Lasix up to 1 ml twice a day for the next three or four days. That can't stay increased for long since it can cause mental/emotional problems, but if I can keep it increased through Sunday, I think that will be OK. I can always drop the dinner dose down to .75 ml if I need to keep the morning dose higher.

(As sort of a note: Haley came in around the 7th or 8th. That puts her today at about day 15 which would sit her smack dab in the breedable stage if she was cycling normally...which she isn't. Elvis knows the timing which is what has kicked off this bit of trouble. So, looking at a calendar, I'd expect this stage to end Sunday or Monday. She'll continue to bleed out for another week or so, but I'm hoping Elvis anxiety will die back in a few days to where it was originally. That can be handled with Torb, so that would be good.)

I'm sure I'll be posting another update tomorrow.

Crummy night

Crummy, crummy night.

Elvis whooped and coughed until the wee hours. I'd given him a Valium about 10 hoping that would handle him like it had the night before. No luck. So at midnight, I gave him another one. That wore off about 2:30.

Man. What do you do at 2:30 in the morning when the dog is coughing up a lung and it's all because of stress over a bitch in season?

Well, you move the bitch back out in a crate next to his. And you give him a Torbutrol. Randall and I finally got back to sleep around 3:30 or so.

I've got a call in to Dr. Walthall to ask about increasing the Valium dosage and frequency, as well as upping the Pred during the time Haley is in season.

She's currently making rounds at the shelter, so I won't hear back from her until later this morning, but once I do, I'll post another update.

For now, Elvis is calm (well, mostly), and there's no whooping cough. Periodic whining (little man has found his voice), but everything else is pretty much normal. The problems don't kick in until late afternoon when the stress of anticipating his dinner (and ours) kicks in. Once that starts, it's added to the Haley burden and it kicks off his coughing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Calling the clinic

I left word on the clinic's answering machine and emailed Dr. Walthall a heads up that Elvis is having some issues..

He is just getting really agitated with Haley in season, and it's showing up in the form of a hacking/whooping cough. Once he gets settled next to her, it slows down or stops, but from about 4:30 pm on, he's never really settled. I swear it sounds like he's coughing up a lung.

He's gotten a Torb at 5 pm and a Guafinisen at 7:40. I suspect he'll be getting a Valium tonight after he's crated since he's pretty agitated when he can't see Haley. I don't know if increasing his Pred is an option, but he's also quite wheezy. To be honest, he sounds very much like he does when he gets a panic attack.

The Valium might actually be the best answer here, but I don't want to have him on too much of it, too often.

So tomorrow I'll talk to the clinic and see what they want to do. Meanwhile I'll try to keep him as settled as possible, and make sure he's got access to and is drinking water so that cough doesn't dehydrate him.

I'll post an update tomorrow.

The first Valium in a long time

About 11:30 last night (right after we'd turned the lights out), I heard a weird sound that I couldn't place. Turning the light on and getting the flashlight, I went into the den and shown the beam at Elvis' crate.

Sure enough, the Little Stumpy Fella was staring right back at me. I went ahead and let he and Skeeter outside, and it was REAL obvious he was looking for Haley. He was very anxious, so out came the Valium

That's the first one he's had in several months, and it did the trick. He got back in his crate and settled right down. We didn't hear another word from him all night. There may be repeat performances of this over the next week or so or for as long as Haley is in season. If we catch it early enough, there's no coughing involved, which is good.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Links

If you look over in the Useful Links area, you'll see there are two new ones. One is a link to Elvis' pictures on PhotoBucket and the other is to his videos on YouTube (you'll need an account to view them).

The pics don't have much in the way of a description, though I managed to get a few titled.

Elvis' Mission (which is Impossible)

Haley is in season, so that means Elvis is on guard. Against what, I'm not sure since the only other canine in the house may be male, but has no baubles. The other four legged male is a cat, and I KNOW Ollie couldn't care less about Haley.

Anyway, at 14 1/2, I'm not worried about Haley's season being anything other than for "show", but she wears her hot pants, and if Elvis gets too fractious, I'll just keep the two separate for whatever length of time is necessary. He's getting a Torb pretty frequently right now since he gets all worked up occasionally, and that triggers his cough.

This is the common sight around the house right now:















And if you look at Elvis' expression, you can see just how pensive he is. This is a job he knows how to do, and his humans won't let him. Well, neither will Haley, but that's not factored into the equation by him.


















Last time Haley pulled this is was a little over two weeks (maybe even three), so I suspect we've got a ways to go.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lots of Torbutrol

If you go over to Elvis' calendar, you'll see the last two weeks is just rife wit Torbutrol.

Normally I'd see that as a really bad thing, but not in this case. For the last 10 days or so, my dachshund bitch, Haley, has had a discharge. A couple of days ago, that became a full blown season (well, as full blown as a 14 1/2 year old bitch can have), so Elvis coughing has a really understandable and external cause.

The Torb is knocking what he gets easily, and he's not had to have more than 1 a day. I suspect that until Haley goes out, Elvis will continue to fret and get coughing spells. As long as they're knocked fast by the Torb, I'm not going to worry.

His weight is up a bit, too, but he's been on some decent pasture the last couple of weeks. Since he can't be exercised, it takes a bit longer to take off. Fortunately, it's actual weight and not water weight gain causing the problem. So I'll just keep an eye on that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gulf Coast SPCA Needs Your Help

Gulf Coast Companion Animal Relief Program

The BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on April 21, 2010 has had a devastating effect on residents from the coastal parishes of Southeast Louisiana. Families are struggling to meet basic needs and as a result Animal Shelters have experienced an increase in owner’s relinquishing their pets. Knowing the physical and mental health benefits of having pets as well as the negative impact of relinquishing a family pet; this program aims to provide short term support for families in jeopardy of relinquishing their pet.

http://la-spca.org/Page.aspx?pid=509

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Current pics and a video

You're blocking my way:















Looking for leftover bugs:














I'm not a big fan of cameras:















Ahhhhhh.......clean bedding:













Dinner in July:

A VERY special day


So here we are. A year later.

It's really stunning when you think about it. This time last year, we brought in Elvis, whom no one really expected to live beyond a few months. Instead, Elvis has surprised us all...by not just living a full year, but absolutely thriving, and learning that life as a small dog is really much, much better when it doesn't involve living in a puppy mill.

Randall and I (and I know Dr. Walthall and the good folks at the Humane Society) have been downright delighted by how well Elvis has done. Yes, he has congestive heart failure and heartworms, he has only one or two teeth, and he has the emotional problems that come from a life without much socialization. But his heart failure is well managed, his heartworms are being treated (albeit by a monthly pill rather than the more debilitating shot), his lack of teeth aren't an issue with the food he's given, and his personality is accepted as is. He's learned a lot in a year. He's learned to trust more, though he will never be a sound, well-adjusted dog, but when you accept what he has to give, at his own pace, he's a loving little boy.

So we find ourselves looking at the next year. Hoping and praying that it goes as well as this first year. He's got his heart meds, his Prednisone, his Torbutrol and his Valium. We've got a good bag of tricks to work with. And we couldn't ask for a more incredible vet than Dr. Walthall, and the staff at her clinic are wonderful. They are all simply outstanding people, and their efforts have gone a long, long way in contributing to the success Elvis has had this past year. And kudos, too, to all the fine folks at the Humane Society...without their support of Elvis, well, I wouldn't be writing this now. They have been instrumental, too, in Elvis' success.

There are things we now know that Elvis absolutely loves. Most all of them are food. He's gone from being the little boy who ate to live to being the little boy who lives to eat. He positively dances with anticipation when he knows his after dinner (our dinner) treats are coming. His Stumpy Snacks produce an unbelievable, lip smacking reaction. And popcorn. Oh my. Our Friday DVD Date Nights have started including popcorn again for the first time in two years (thanks to my new lower dentures). Elvis recognizes the popping sound in the microwave, and when Randall comes into the living room with the Big Bowl, he can hardly contain his excitement. He absolutely, positively adores popcorn. I think it's the ultimate love of his life.

He's learned the joys of rubbing his head along the back of the couch. Knows that bugs in the yard in mid-spring are incredibly tasty. Bird hunting is challenging and fun. Ditto squirrel watching. Clean bedding not only smells good, but is comfortable. Time on the ottoman is well spent. People and other dogs are fine companions.

We know the time we'll be blessed with Elvis is limited. There is simply a finite amount of time that his heart condition can be controlled and managed, but for whatever time that is, he will be loved and cared for. He's been given a new life, and, in turn, Randall and I have experienced the joy of opening our home to a very special special-needs boy.

(On a personal note, I will say I've been around only one other dog who had more "bottom" than Elvis has. My last show dog, Brenna, had a depth of determination and well of strength that I have never before encountered - in a dog or person. I don't expect to ever see the likes of it again, but Elvis comes in second to her. There's just an awful lot to this little dog that has taken us all by surprise, I think. And while determination can only go so far, I have to say that with Elvis, I expect it will take him further than any of us would have ever expected. For that matter, it already has.)

So I'm very happy to make this post. It's the one year Foster-versary for a very special little dog, and tonight he'll have a special bit of canned food to celebrate. And who knows, maybe Randall and I will pop some popcorn in celebration.

(I should be posting another dinner video and a couple more current photos of Elvis later today.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Waco Humane Society Name Change

Waco Humane Society getting new name, shelter hours

The Waco Humane Society is changing its name, a move officials hope will help better communicate its work to the public.

http://www.wacotrib.com/news/98220134.html

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Update 2, July 10, 2010

I just got through weighing Elvis, and he's definitely put on weight. He's up to 9 pounds, which is more than I'd like to see him at now. He should be around 8.2 or 8.4. So, I'll bump his Lasix up to 1 ml in the morning, watch his food intake and weigh him about in two or three days and see where we are.

I've been very lax in weighing him over the last month, so this is my fault. So that's got to change. I expect I'll weigh him every couple of days for the next week or two until I get a handle on what's going on with his weight.

Update, July 10, 2010

Elvis got us up early this morning (about 5:30) coughing. It wasn't too bad, but it did mean an early Torbutrol. This is the first time in months that he's had a problem at "night." The Torb kicked it within a few minutes, so he's settled down pretty well.

His problem, bless his heart, is pretty much understandable. My dachshund, Haley, has a slight discharge that he finds REALLY attractive. She's not in season, but it's the next best thing according to him. He's been having trouble settling down for the last four or five days, and he's had to have a Torb each day for the last three (four if you include this morning). One dose has always done it, so it's obviously not too bad.

I'm hoping that I can bathe her tomorrow afternoon (and get the dog bedding washed), and that will handle the majority of it. Haley has been on some medication for a slight swelling under her eye, and that's apparently triggered a response in her that's caused this discharge. She's fine, and the swelling is gone, but she smells really good to him. And, well, from his past life, if there's one thing Elvis knows, it's how to deal with bitches who smell good. :)

Anyway, I don't expect further problems, but I decided an update would be a good idea. I need to update his calendar to reflect this, and he also needs to be weighed this afternoon just to be sure.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Update, June 30, 2010

Just a quick update on Elvis.

Yesterday we (Randall and I, sans Elvis) went out to Dr. Walthall's office to pick up more meds.

While we were there, I asked Melody if she thought Dr. Walthall would want to see him in the near future. Basically, Melody said that if things were going well, there was no need to subject him to the stress of a visit.

And, well, things ARE going well. Elvis rarely has to have a Torbutrol (maybe 1/2 pill every 10 days to two weeks), his weight is really good and he's eating like a pig. The small daily dose of Prednisone has handled the wheezing he used to plagued by, and the diuretics appear to be doing their job. His monthly heartworm tablets aren't giving him any trouble, either. No coughing a day or two after he gets them - which is what he was doing originally.

All in all, I couldn't be more pleased with the way he's doing. I think the little stumpy fellow has surprised us all with his resiliency.

We're also approaching a very special date. On July 13, it will be one year since we brought him home to foster. We were surprised (and very pleased) when he made it to Christmas since he was in really bad shape last July. I told Randall earlier in the week that I suspect Elvis will be with us a good long while. As long as he's responding to his medication and nothing else goes wrong, I really believe Elvis will be here longer than anyone ever thought.

So this is where we are. I'm hoping to get some new pics and maybe a video or two of him before July 13 so I can post them for his Fosterversery.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Doomed shelter dogs airlifted to homes in the Northwest

Doomed shelter dogs airlifted to homes in the Northwest

The day we met, the occupants of Row D, cages 3-11 at the Dallas Animal Services Adoption Center were mercifully oblivious to how close they were to being snuffed out like match flames.


http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jfloyd/stories/062810dnmetfloyd.1b892b3.html

Friday, June 18, 2010

Update June 18, 2010

Not really much in the way of an update here because I'm still working on integrating the foster cat into the household.

Elvis is doing well, though he is less than thrilled with having a new cat in the house. And, well, it's not just because Ollie is a big, black cat, but because Ollie is never at a loss for something to say. As a matter of fact, Ollie spends most of his time talking, and that tends to make Elvis nervous. It has though, seemingly occurred to Elvis that while Ollie talks a lot, he doesn't back that up with any missions to assault dogs.

That's a huge improvement over Howdy, who not only talks, but knows which buttons of Elvis' to push and is happy to do so...repeatedly. Of course, it doesn't help that Howdy and Ollie are still getting acquainted, and that's accompanied with much hissing and spitting on Howdy's end of things.

Elvis has decided that staying well out of range is his best bet, so he's well and truly ensconced under Randall's desk. Fortunately all the extra activity hasn't translated into extra coughing that requires either a Torb or Valium to deal with.

So things are moving along here, and Elvis is taking most of it without too much upset. I'll update again in a few day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coughing problems....

Not particularly severe, but it's definitely increased some.

I've suspected all along that, like with people who have breathing issues (my dad with COPD is a good example), increased humidity causes some difficulty for Elvis. And it has been REALLY humid here...yesterday we had record rainfall for Waco (nearly 7 inches at our house in 3-4 hours) and yesterday Elvis had to have a 1/2 Torb.

Today it's a little less humid, so there's less coughing, but he's still exhibiting some aggravated breathing problems. It's the sort of thing I like to keep an eye on since too much coughing causes him to pant and lose moisture. Once that happens, dehydration is a real issue for him. So that's something I like to keep strictly under control.

One more issue is he is now really, REALLY concentrating on food. LOL

I was in the front room with the new foster cat (Ollie is still in quarantine), and I kept hearing this noise outside the bedroom door. First I thought it was Haley with **A New Noise**, but then I realized it really didn't sound like her voice. And when I opened up the door, everyone was there so I wasn't any wiser. However, it kept going on, and I realized where I'd heard it before...Elvis at the dinner table when we're done eating and he's angling for handouts. I open the door again, and he's the only one in the hall, so I knew it was him.

Bless his heart. He has gotten so food oriented it's unreal. And since I go in to see THE EVIL CAT and SHUT THE DOOR....well, it's obvious I'm going to come to some sort of great harm and he'll miss being fed his dinner and getting handouts from ours!

He's got the rustiest little voice, but since he didn't start coughing, I didn't see any real reason to try and keep him away. If it starts becoming an issue, then I'll have to be sure he's in the den with the gate closed when I go in to see Ollie at 4:30 or so. And fortunately, I hope to have Ollie out of isolation by this time next week (which won't really improve Elvis' life since he's so frightened of cats).

Saturday, June 05, 2010

You know Elvis is desperate...

...when he pokes his head into the bathroom where I feed Howdy at 5:00 because he wants to be REALLY sure The Foodlady is coming back. LOL

Seriously, as terrified of cats as he is, it was a huge surprise to see his little muzzle peeking around the corner to check on my progress feeding Howdy. He's been lurking closer and closer outside that door for the last week or so because 30 minutes after I feed her, I feed him. And that is VERY important to Elvis. But still, I never expected to turn around and see him poking his nose through the door.

He's gone from the boy who ate to live to the boy who lives to eat. :)

Another bit of news is that he did make it all week without any sort of coughing from his heartworm pill. This is a definite plus in my book particularly since we never thought he'd ever even get to a heartworm pill in the first place.

Tomorrow I grill out a pork loin. This will be one of the first that I've done in ages, and I suspect he'll learn the joys of "grill guarding" with the other two. With any luck I'll manage to snap some pictures because I suspect he'll be pretty close by.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Settling the new foster in

Yes. There is a new foster in the house. Ollie, a very large, very handsome, black, 9 year old Oriental Shorthair mix. We brought him in on Tuesday (much to Elvis' disgust), and he's currently occupying the guest room where he'll stay in quarantine for the next 2 weeks.

He's got a blog (of course!!) located at http://wacofostercat.blogspot.com/ and he'll have a photo gallery somewhere. Elvis' has had his over on Keep and Share, but I'll be honest, while they have an outstanding calendar, their photo album function well and truly sucks. So expect us to take our photo storage business elsewhere soon.

Things are quiet with Elvis right now since I'm concentrating on getting Ollie settled in. He was an owner surrender and was at the shelter for a month. He has turned into an unbelievably ecstatic cat who is just deliriously happy that he has a home with people.

I hope to have more on Elvis here in the next several days. I will say his weight is good and his heartworm treatment (Monday night) went off without a hitch...no extra coughing a day or so later, so fingers crossed, he's going to start taking his pills without any side effects.

I'll post more in the next few days once things are a bit more settled.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just making Elvis' week....Not.

If everything goes well, Randall and I will be bringing in a foster cat on Tuesday. Since the shelter is absolutely overwhelmed, now is probably a good time for us to do that. My goal is a cat that is 3+ years of age, but beyond that, I'm pretty well open to options (breed, sex, coat). All I'm absolutely against is a kitten or young cat.

Elvis, I am sure, though, would be happy to live the rest of his life without a cat present. He never was a fan, but the night the Howdy jumped down on his head when they were both going for a piece of sweet potato, has convinced him that all cats are evil and have horribly designs on his person.

Fortunately, the cat will be isolated in the guest room for the first two weeks (that's my goal, though it's possible we will only be able to do it for 10-12 days), so he won't be exposed to the Evil Feline. After that, though, the cat will slowly be introduced to the household

Tomorrow I'll be busy getting the guest room set up for the new foster, so I'm not sure I'll have anything to post. I do need to get a weight on him since it's been quite some time, but he doesn't feel as if his weight has shifted much, so if I can't get to it until tomorrow or Tuesday, I suspect I'll be OK.

So for now, things are quiet. That's sure to change soon. *g*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Outside pics. 5_27_10

As you can see from his expression, Elvis just doesn't think too much of me pointing a camera at him.











































Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sssssooooooooo Relaxed :)
















Elvis and Skeeter sharing the bed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Update 5_23_2010

Whew!! What a month or so.

My trip to Dallas to get my lower dentures (set for three weeks) morphed into a nearly five week stay when my mother decided it was time to get the long-postponed foundation work on the house done. Had it been a strictly outside endeavor, my presence wouldn't have been needed. BUT...she had to have 19 piers installed INSIDE her house.

Now, none of you (except Randall) has ever seen the inside of her house, but let me just say that during the 20 years of marriage to my stepdad they traveled all over the world. Before his death in December 1999, they made at least one trip a year somewhere. And that meant gobs of things brought home (many very cool, very lovely, very sentimental things, but still, gobs). So at 75, my mom simply couldn't face what was coming at her with this foundation work, so I stayed to help out.

Unbelievably, we got it done. Exhausted the hell out of us, but done. So now she can wait several months, get the house painted and other requisite work done and then put in on the market. She's staying in Dallas (Yeah! She would hate moving back to Waco, and it does free Randall and I up so we can move there if things permit), but the house is too big and has, unfortunately, a history with foundation issues...the entire neighborhood does, so it's obviously more than just one house with problems. :(

So that's where I've been and what I've been up to for the last several weeks.

Now on to Elvis.

Little Stumpy Fella is doing just grand. He had some adjustment issues after I first left, but he, Skeeter and Randall worked through them. By the time I was due to come home after my initial three weeks, he had settled in just fine.

His heartworm treatment on May 2 went without a hitch. As a matter of fact, he didn't need a Torb at all like he has the last couple of times. He has usually had some mild coughing either late in the day after the treatment or early the following day. This time nothing. So fingers crossed that he's moved to a new stage in the treatment. We'll just keep going this way since it's the easiest thing for him. If we're lucky enough to have him for another year and a half, most if not all the adult heartworms should have died off.

Another good thing was that while I was gone Randall didn't have to give him a Valium. That's really rather surprising because my cat, Howdy, began to really be a pissant during the last couple of weeks and one of her favorite pastimes is to torment Elvis. Since he's terrified of cats, that can send him over the edge. However, Randall was vigilant and ran interference, so there really wasn't much of that going on.

His weight was also pretty steady while I was gone, too. He'd fluctuate a half a pound or so, but that was it. The weight gain is one way we can monitor his congestive heart failure...rapid weight gain means, at the least, tweaking his Lasix for a couple of days. Weight gain combined with coughing is going to have me calling the clinic. But none of that happened, so it was a good several weeks.

When I got home Thursday, I was really surprised at just how fast he slid right back into his old routine. He was right in his usual spot beside my desk chair at lunch, dancing around the dining room chair at dinner, and happily anticipating his morning treat of four Cheerios before his breakfast (he gets those while sitting on my lap while I'm blearily sipping on my first cup of coffee).

About the only weird thing he did while I was gone was catch that bird in the yard. Randall said that for days after, he'd look wistfully through the wire fencing to the other side of the yard where the birds were hopping around. He managed to climb it a few times to (no real feat considering it's only 24 or so inches tall) when Skeeter would head over.

All in all, everything went really well. I'm hoping to get a few pictures in the next several days since Randall got the yard mowed and it's not going to be too hot yet for him to spend time outside. Being black and with medical issues means his outside time is monitored.

So that it from here. Hopefully my next post will be in a few days with some photos.