Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So, Kyler has arrived safely in Indiana! After lots of thinking, researching and speaking with the stud dog owner, we just decided to fly her there instead. We used Northwest Airlines and we ended up getting a very good price. We just had to look for the deals! A non-stop flight right to Indianapolis ended up costing us only $194, instead of the website quoting $350. Phew! Duke's owners, the Syczylo's from Durite Vizslas, just called to say that she got there safe and sound! She was settling in nicely. The flight ended up only being 2 1/2 hours, so really not too bad.

It is me that was afraid to fly her, she didn't know any different from a bumpy car ride! I just tend to get nervous on flights and would rather keep my feet on the ground!

Hopefully she will be back in a week or so after she is bred. We'll see how it all works out!

In other news, the VCCNE's fun day is this Saturday, May 31st, in Berwick, ME. I have planned and organized this event for the last few years. This year we are having a canine first aid seminar, intro to birds, agility, rally, obedience, and flyball. I am hoping that it will be a successful day and that we will have many dogs show up! It is usually one of the better attended events of the year for the club. Hopefully I will be able to post some nice pictures of the event after we get home!

Monday, May 19, 2008


So, as of this weekend, Kyler is finally in season! So, depending on how plans work out she will either be flying on a plane to Indiana next Wednesday (the 28th) or will be going with a private carrier via UShip. This is a company that puts the type of transportation you need out to bid to private companies. I just discovered this company yesterday, but I am feeling a bit more comfortable with her being in a comfy truck then in a cargo hold of a plane. I researched this company yesterday after finding out that with airline prices these days it will cost me $350 each way to fly Kyler from Massachusetts to Indiana. Yikes! I try to pay less than that for myself to fly roundtrip!

So, anyway, as it seems, I have someone locally who would be willing to drive her directly to Indiana for $200. Not sure if he can take her back or not, it all depends on the timing. He will be going out there to transport either cars or boats or horses

If all works out as planned then her puppies will be due August 6th, if she is similar in timing to her last litter. She is being bred to FC AFC Point Blanc's Rusty Miracle. He also recently won the NVA (National Vizsla Association) national amateur field trial! Nice dog! Here is his picture.

He is a handsome fellow! Now, hopefully we will be able to keep up with the puppies!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Overnights and weird S---

So, if you don't know, I work as and ICU nurse in a busy emergency veterinary hospital. This past week was my dreaded overnight week. I worked Fri/Sat/Sun day, then Tue/Wed/Thurs night. My shifts are 7-7, but never leave on time, so basically I work 13 hour shifts on my feet. Yikes...So, I am typing here after coming of my last overnight of the month. I can only sleep 3 hours on the last morning, because I have to go back to bed tonight to have a normal schedule again. It sucks, but I guess I am used to it at this point, not that I like it...
It was a busy week, and we were understaffed, which is a chronic problem in veterinary emergency hospitals. People just aren't signing up for OT anymore, we are all just too tired to work anymore hours then required.
So, anyway...Strange case of the year occured Wednesday night. We had a dog come in (before I got to work) who was just referred over from their regular vet. He had been acting a bit drunk (which is the first sign of antifreeze toxicity) so they sent him right over. He was walking at 4pm, within the course of an hour he was non-responsive. His antifreeze test was negative. We gave him Naloxone, (which is basically what they give people that OD on drugs), to reverse any possible narcotics, and pumped his stomach. We have him activated charcoal to absorb any other possible toxins. By the time I got to work he was no longer blinking and had lost his gag reflex, which is one of the last things to go. He was in a coma.
This was a first for me, I have seen many dogs with many neurologic problems, brain injuries, but never actually seen a dog in a coma.
A few hours later we had another dog come in with strange neurologic signs. She was acting as if she was having mild seizures, and appeared blind. (this happens with seizures, so we weren't all that suprised) There was something strange about the case though, she didn't seem the typical seizure dog. That was when the receptionist noticed that they lived on the same street as the dog in the coma. As we found out, they actually shared a driveway with the other dog. Yikes!! We bolted into action to hopefully stop the horrible cascade of events that had unfolded on the other dog. We immediatly lavaged her stomach to get any contents out and gave her the activated charcoal. She acted completely drunk for several hours, not really able to move much except to swim around her cage, which was better then the other dog. We gave her several doses of charcoal and gave her a high dose of fluids. Over the course of the night she improved somewhat. I fed her at 3am and she was ravenous, in a strange way. Dogs that are given anti seizure medications (barbituates) are extremely hungry and thirsty much of the time. This dog was acting just like that! (they have a very classic way of eating/looking for food)]
By morning the second dog was vastly improved and ended up going home later that day. Sadly, the first dog stopped breathing at 5am and was euthanized.

It was a sad night, it is one thing to lose a patient, it is part of my job to deal with that, it is another to lose a patient and not know why.

On another strange note...For any of you who may have Gorilla Glue (graphic link) in your house...If you have dogs, please throw it out, or at least keep it under lock and key. For some reason, dogs love the stuff. As soon as it is ingested it begins to foam inside the stomach. It almost instantly becomes a large, hard foam ball. If a dog eats this glue you cannot make your dog vomit! Once ingested it is too late! They need immediate surgery! No ifs ands or buts! We have seen a few cases of this type of thing. The dog ends up having a 10# foam ball removed from their stomach!

Check out this link for other strange things dogs eat!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nutrition blurb

Nothing spectacular going on here, so I thought I would write about a couple things on my mind and in the news lately. There is an increasing concern for pets fed Nutro pet food. There appears to be a surge in the last several months of consumer complaints about vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy in pets fed this brand of food.

I have personally never been a big fan of Nutro I feel like they try to get a piece of the natural pet food market, but still use cheap fillers and poor quality ingredients in most of their lines of pet food. Their Ultra food is probably the best of the lot, but even it uses a lot of rice fillers, essentially making the food more rice product than anything else. If you feed Nutro, it would be wise to switch to something else, at least until they get this all figured out!

I am a stickler for dog nutrition and have studied it for 6 years, my bookshelf is all nutrition books, basically! (suprisingly, hehe, the interest in it all started around the same time we got Cedar)

(Cedar and Bozeman waiting for Cedar's 1 year birthday cake, It was his, and my birthday, so Mike and I were headed out somewhere, hence the wet hair from the shower! This was obviously before Cedar was neutered!)

I have gone through several phases in the last several years concerning my dogs food. My first "own" dog I fed Californial Natural only. This was after a salesperson at the grain store told me about it, it was really my introduction to the world of "natural" dog food.

Previously, being in the veterinary field, I would only feed Science Diet. This is now a food I detest and never recommend to anyone. Same goes for Iams, Eukanuba (I call it yuckanuba), and all the other commonly pushed brands of pet food. Many people don't realize that these foods are given out free in veterinary school, so this is what the future veterinarian knows of. Many hospitals are actually given money to carry only their food. Yes, a lot of research goes into those foods, but so do crappy ingredients. Did you know that you can make a "balanced" diet from chicken beaks and shavings? If you actually read the ingredients list on these foods you may be appalled. Anything unspecific such as poultry or meat, can be almost anything. Your dog could be eating horse if it says meat. This allows for them to change from one batch to the other to whatever is cheapest at the time. They use cheap fractions of grains instead of the whole grain.

Anyway, back to the tour of my journey through dog nutrition.

(Here is Cedar the night we got him at the airport)

When we first got Cedar things with his gut just weren't quite right, at least in my opinion. I had him eating the California Natural for a short time, and then switched to Wellness, trying to get things on track. When that didn't seem to make too much difference I jumped into the whole BARF idea. This actually worked great for a couple years, I even raised Kyler on a raw diet until she was 1 1/2. I read a lot of books before jumping into it, but I was fairly happy with the results. I was hesitant about the bone part at first, but seeing Kyler devour an entire chicken leg quarter safely was actually quite fun to watch. Their teeth were fabulous! It did get a bit expensive after a while, as they were eating grain free, so basically meat and some supplementation. We also had Bozeman, our Rottweiler, who ate raw as well (although, I have to say the V's ate way more than he did)

Here is Bozeman taking a nap. We didn't spoil him at all! :)

When Jaida came along I decided to make a change for her safety. I was always worried about the bacteria in the raw food, since she would surely be touching their bowls, and they would lick her. So, I changed back to commercial food, but I did still experiment. Bozeman, who only had 3 legs, and had OCD leading to arthritis in his other back leg, did better without grains in his food. Grains seemed to irritate his arthritis. He did very well on The Honest Kitchen, we used the grain free, less calorie option. I did feed the puppy version to the V's for a while, it just got to be ridiculously expensive. I think it would have cost me $200 just to feed the V's, waaaaay to much with only working part time due to the kid!

(Jaida a day old, she was even cute then!)

So, back to dry food for the V's. I did, however, always give them canned food too. Why should they hate what they eat? Might as well make it tasty. It is old school veterinary medicine to say "they should only eat dry food". Canned food is actually much better protein, less fillers than dry food. If I could afford to feed just canned food, I would do it. Now I don't mean canned food like Alpo, you might as well just scoop up some random crap off the ground and feed them if you are going to do that. Here is a list of some of my favorite foods to feed, this is not all inclusive, there are some other great foods out there, I just can't list them all.

Canidae, Merrick, Nature's Variety, ByNature Organics. Really this is only a very small amount of the good quality foods that are out there now. Check the ingredient list, meat should be at least the first ingredient and maybe even more if your dog can tolerate muliple protein sources.

(Kyler and Bozeman caught in the moment)

I always give the V's a higher protein and fat food in the fall during hunting season, they need the energy and the higher protein for muscle repair.

I currently home cook for the dogs. It all began when our local deer butcher gave us a couple hundred pounds of left over deer scraps. It was good quality and free! This allowed me to cook for the dogs for less than it cost to buy commercial dry food! They love it, and Kyler, who is very picky, actually eats her food. There are some days where they eat commercial food, when I am running out of home cooked meals, but they always get canned food with it to make it taste a little better. You would be amazed at how the dogs look. Their coats are better than ever before, their teeth are still great, and I can actually recognize what they are eating. I am in middle of an online class on creating home diets for dogs. Until I am done with that I am comfortable using Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. He is well known in the natural animal health world. There are a lot of books out there written by people who don't know anything, and just write opinion. That is dangerous, if you are going to be feeding your pet based on what they say!

Anyway, hopefully this little blurb of mine will peak your interest in dog nutrition if you don't already pay close attention to what your canine friend eats!

(Then, Bozeman trying to catch his own dinner. Just kidding, he was a very sweet boy, although this little poodle was very annoying to him!) FYI: Bozeman is no longer with us, he passed away on June 30, 2006. He was the sweetest Rottie ever and I still wish for another Rottie just like him, which would be nearly impossible. Perhaps someday he will come back in another Rottie form and cross my path. I can only hope!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

All Clear!

I just got the phone call from the surgeon that did Cedar's resection on his toe...No evidence of cancer at all! Phew! So, the original mass removal did the trick. No spread of cancer, so he is cured!
That is a huge relief!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco De Mayo

We have been spending our time here doing typical spring cleaning stuff...Mike finally finished building our new quail pen. It originally started out as a pen for the pigeons we plan to get for training, but it just ended up being perfect for the quail. We are going to update the old quail pen to be useful for the new pigeons.
Here it is! The board in the front is blocking the recall hole, just to try to keep predators out. The quail really love their new view of the training field. They can sit up on the ledge in the pen and get lots of fresh air.

This is a big upgrade from their former pen,which was thrown together quickly when these quail were given to us unexpectantly. They used to live in a pen made up of old patio doors with one open side for ventilation. Nothing like living in a glass house! We only have 6 quail left currently, hopefully we will get some more shortly!

Jaida has been spending lots of time outdoors lately, thank goodness! She had previously been terrified of our chickens, for some reason. She always yelled at them if they followed her somewhere, and got nervous whenever they came anywhere near her. Well, I was trying to get her over this chicken fear-thing. So I showed her how to hold a chicken properly, thinking maybe she wouldn't be so afraid if she saw Mommy picking them up and she was allowed to pet them.
Well, that was a mistake...
All that Jaida wants to do now is pick up the chickens, constantly...From the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to bed. "Mommy, can I pick up the chickens?" She will spend hours following them around trying to catch them and carry them around the yard. I came around the corner of the house one afternoon to see her halfway up the ladder to her slide, with a chicken in her arms. Yes, she was planning on giving the chicken a ride on her slide...
Somehow, the chickens are very forgiving to her for chasing them around all the time.
Kyler update: Now known as MHP, short for Missy Hotty Pants. Still nothing on the in heat front...I am waiting impatiently for her to come into season. Her soon to be boyfriend, Duke, is patiently waiting in Indiana for her to come visit. I am getting concerned that if she waits much longer that we will not be able to fly her out there, due to airline restrictions because of the heat. Let it be noted that I loathe the idea of flying her, especially without me. I hate to fly myself. The thought of her flying just gives me the heebee-geebees. But, with gas prices the way they are, it will cost a significant amount more in gas money to drive there and back, twice. (once to drop her off, the other to pick her up, as she will likely stay there for 2 weeks)

On another note, Cedar finally had his toe resected last Tuesday. If you recall, he had a tiny skin tag removed from his toe a few weeks ago that ended up being Hemangiosarcoma. To be on the extra safe side, we (meaning the surgeon, the internist, and me) decided to make a wider margin to ensure that the cancer was completely gone. He is now recovering. We ended up having to bandage his foot yesterday after the incision broke open. A toe is a hard place to have and incision, there is a lot of tension on the suture material. I was not surprised that it opened up. He now seems much more comfortable with a nice bandage on his toe. It is making things interesting, though. We have to put a bag on his foot anytime he goes outside to keep the bandage dry. This means that we have to have the dog door closed, which Kyler is rather ticked about. We actually have to think about letting the dogs out for a few days, which if you have a dog door, and haven't thought about letting them out for a bit, is a weird thing.

Here he is sitting on the couch, taking a nap with his little bandaged piggy foot...
He will be out of commission for a few weeks while the big hole in the top of his toe heals up...