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'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