Lucy Update

April 21, 2009


I wanted to get you a quick update on Lucy, even though this week I’m swamped with my CPE trial prep stuff.

The results came back and she does not have Lepto.  So much for that theory!  The liver failure was cauesd by was either infectious or toxicity.  My best guess is that it was all those toys she ate the first week she was here… you know, PVC/plastic hollow balls, squeaky toys, plush toys.  So much came out the other end of her, but perhaps some stayed in her.  And, I read that many of the dog toys on the market contain DINP, which is a chemical used to make hard PVC plastic soft and pliable. 

Here’s a link to the article I found about this:

AKC and Mixed Breeds

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard that AKC will soon “allow” mixed breeds to compete at agility events.  I, like many others, have no wish to do this; there are plenty of other venues out there that don’t discriminate against our All Americans.  I found this blog this morning and just had to share.  Too funny!


Leptospirosis and liver failure

April 13, 2009

This is an update on Lucy.  The title describes what we think happened, but I won’t know for sure until the blood tests come back on Tuesday or Wednesday.

On Friday I took her back to the vets; by last Thursday her appetite hadn’t returned yet, indeed it had gotten worse.  Plus, she was becoming more and more “disconnected”, seeming to not care about anything any more.  It was very sad, it felt like she was dying inside.  Felt way too much like it was with Sandy the last week or so, and even like Crystal at the end.

Well, it turns out that Lucy’s liver enzymes were high, indicating liver failure.  They put her on fluids (she had gone down from a weight of 36 pounds on Monday to 30.5 pounds on Friday), and other medicines to help bring the liver back.  She stayed all weekend at the vet clinic and they kept up her treatments all weekend.  Lisa (Dr. Wiggins) called me several times on Friday afternoon/evening and on Saturday – I was away at a trial, she said I couldn’t help her locally so I might as well still go, and I had to be there because I was supervising a new judge.  Every update over the course of the weekend  got better – improvement in her energy level (she had been disconnected, spacey, and very weak, all symptoms of the liver failure), and eating “meatballs” (canned dog food mushed into a ball) by Saturday.  On Friday afternoon another vet came in and did an ultrasound to verify it was liver failure.  We brainstormed to figure out what had happened, and on Friday night in between phone calls Lisa went to the clinic and did X-rays.  She wanted to see if she had injested pennies or other copper or metallic objects, as she had gotten into bags of screws in a bag on a shelf about 3′ above the floor a week before.  Well, that wasn’t the case, Lisa didn’t find anything on the x-rays.  But, the other likely culprit, other than toxicity (we couldn’t think of any other possible thing she injested that would’ve caused liver failure), is leptosporosis. 


Three weeks before she had already been diagnosed with Coccidia, which she had before I adopted her, so why not the possibility that she had gotten lepto before I got her, too?  She had been vaccinated against it 3 weeks ago, but not before I got her, so it could be a pre-existing condition.  She’s currently getting meds for lepto, and has bounced back very quickly, which leads Lisa to believe that that’s what caused the liver problems.

I went to visit her this afternoon, and to my surprise (because yesterday Lisa said she wanted to keep her another day or two), Lisa said she could come home with me!  She was happy to see me, wagging her tail and had so much more energy than when I remember how she was on Friday (very sad, indeed, her state on Friday).  Because of the likely lepto I can’t let her potty in the dog yard with the boys because it’s contagious.  Apparently it can be spread by urine or also if enough contact is made between dogs.  Anyway, about the pottying thing, it’s a pain as the dogs are used to going in and out when they wish through the dog door.  The boys can use it, but not Lucy!  And she’s peed about 3 times in the 2 hours she’s been home (part of it is because she has drunk a lot of water, which she needs), so I have to put her on leash and take her out the front door to an area where the other dogs don’t go (except when we go down to get in the car for a ride somewhere).


She’s tired now, all this activity!  I gave her a couple meatballs of food which she gobbled up (glad she has her appetite back!), She had a little nap, and is getting her strength back and getting back to her normal happy self very quickly. 


One step forward…

April 8, 2009

I’ve had Lucy for about 3 weeks now.  She’s settled in nicely in the home.  Jart and her love to play, and Buddy tolerates her, and sometimes even seems to like her!  Wow…

I have seen her become more comfortable, and then start to get into trouble: chewing up all of the rubber toys, eating pieces of them as well as tearing apart squeaky soft toys, and getting into food in the pantry and bags of misc things on the shelves (not always food).  We’ve “puppy-proofed” places and things she might get into, and now watch her very closely. 

The problem is most likely that it’s time to give her a job!  Although, part of the reason is that she still is hungry and I’m still trying to put weight on her.  It turns out she has Cocchia, an infection somewhat like worms, and easily treatable.  This is likely the reason that, even though I’ve been feeding her 3-1/2 cups of food a day, she hasn’t been gaining weight and was trying to getting into food on shelves and the like.  She’s on meds now, and we were forced to totally clean up the poop in the dog yard and back yard, quite a task since nothing had been done all winter!

What have I done for training?

I have done hand touches, she picked up that very quickly.  We’re also working on stay and down (she has sit pretty well down).  And, of course, recalls.  I’m still trying to get her to go potty on command, a necessity when we start trialing and take it on the road.

She has done a few jumps, and put her paws on the dogwalk and A-frame, but I’ve only asked her to do a few jumps, nothing else official yet.  I was going to start agility training this week, but we had a bit of  a setback over the weekend.

I took her to the Y Agility USDAA trial in CT on Sunday.  She got to hang out in the crate in the van and came in a few  times with me to get used to the atmosphere in the place.  She loved it, as she loves both people and dogs – I had trouble as she wanted to greet every dog and person that came close!  I gave her a hollow bone with the Kraft Squeeze Cheese in it, and she loved it; it kept her busy when she was in the crate hanging out.

On Sunday, I had some private lessons on Stephentown.  I brought all the dogs with me.  She seemed a little lackluster as the day wore on, and vomited on the way home.  That night she was clearly not feeling well; she ate dinner, but didn’t want to play or run around.  The next morning she vomited again after eating only half of her breakfast.  I took her to the vet in the afternoon, and she vomited a couple of times on the way there. 


We figured out that she had gotten some old cheese (wow, the expiration date on the can was June 2007…. such a bad Momma!!…), and had a reaction to it. 

Now, lest you think I’m a thoughtless and bad Momma (really!), let me explain a bit more.  I had had this tube of cheese in with the dog’s travel food container for at least 3-4 months.  I thought it had come off of my parents pantry shelf before that, but I now think it was actually an older can of mine that I hadn’t used for years.  I used to often fill hollow bones with cheese (I called them cheese bones!), for Buddy, Sandy, Crystal, when travelling in crates or in hotel rooms.  I haven’t done that for years, so when I got Lucy and saw that she loved bones, I knew she’d also like something stuffed in them to keep her busy when I wasn’t around.  I checked the cheese when I squeezed the cheese into the bone on Saturday – it smelled fine, looked fine, and I even took a bit myself so know it tasted fine.  I just never thought to check for an expiration date.  You know, many items like this have a very long shelf life.  Well, lesson to me, always check just to be safe!

They gave her shots and pills to take home, and she is now on a plain rice and chicken diet.  She’s eating better, but after 2 days is still not fully back to normal; she has some of her energy back but is still not eating with her normal gusto (and doesn’t like her regular food, only that good chicken will do!).  She has started to play and chase Jart just a bit, but I don’t want to do any training yet with her until she’s back to normal.  So, I continue to read about foundation training stuff I want to do with her, and think about which obstacles I want to start her on (tunnels are next!).