Posts filed under ‘Vet visit’
Boogie is now officially seeing a new vet. I feel that we deserve a second opinion, and The Village Vet is so much closer to home, way easier to get an appointment here, it’s clean, modern and uncrowded. As much as I like our previous vet, Dr. R , the place was just way too small and crowded. Boogie is now also on pet insurance.
The hair loss, the bald itchy patches on his skin… Sigh.
Boogie is eating grain-free meals. I bathe him once a week with medicated shampoos. I spray or rinse him a couple times per day with a chlorhexidine solution. He has also been on fish oil, an immune system supplement and probiotics. Dr. F said that in spite of everything that I am doing – which is good, Boogie still needs to be on antibiotics or steroids to keep the whatever-it-is under control. Dr. Fuller has prescribed a different kind of antibiotic: Simplicef – 14 days. She also suggested bathing Boogie more often and gave us a ResiCort lotion/leave-on conditioner.
Tomorrow, we get the results for Boogie’s “Geriatric Blood Panel”. He’s growing old, this little Boogie.
Dr. F suggests allergy testing – which is also something that Dr. R brought up. Sigh. I keep putting this off because I can’t afford it, and I don’t think the insurance will cover it. Boogie’s skin troubles are a pre-existing condition.
The bath time “counter-conditioning with treats” strategy doesn’t work on Boogie. When he hears the sound of water running, he is already in cowering-under-the-nearest-table position (even if I am running a bath for ME). When he is in the bathroom, he won’t eat. Even after his bath, when he is freshly showered and I have rubbed him down with the towel, he turns his nose away from any stinky food in my hand. Or he takes the treat and spits it out, reorienting towards the closed door. “For f’s sake, open this door”.
I open the door, he shoots out of there, does a BT500* around my living room, and gleefully flings toys in the air. Only now will he come running for treats.(*BT500 = Boston Terrier version of zoomies)
On Friday, we went to a new vet clinic in my neighborhood. I haven’t decided yet if I will permanently switch vets because I am very happy with our current vet Dr. R… The only problem with Dr. R is that he is always so fully booked… it is so hard to get an appointment.
The appeal of the new place is that they are bigger, have more technology and staff, are almost walking distance from my home (a huge plus!), and the Dr. is really lovely and comes highly recommended. They also have a very progressive attitude at this place: the consultation forms use “your friend” instead of “your pet”, and there are no metal examination tables in the rooms! The exam rooms are decorated with warm cozy colors – as if you were in someone’s home. And there being no tables, the vets get down onto the floor to examine the animals.
Unfortunately, in Boogie’s case, being confronted with a stranger seated on the floor, in a room (in which there is no escape) is no less disturbing than having to stand on an elevated cold metal surface. At least in a traditional vet exam room, he knows what’s coming. He has been through the metal table routine many times, and he always stands there LEANING his body into me when Dr. R checks his mouth, ears, butt etc.
On the checkered floor of the new fandangled exam room, it was much harder for anyone to hold onto Boogie. When Dr. F called him, he sniffed her, took a treat, then backed away. And then he crawled under my chair and stayed there. It didn’t help that there had been an off-leash (resident) dog in the waiting room so Boogie was already agitated on arrival and all he wanted to do was GET AWAY FROM THIS PLACE. The only way he could have anything examined by Dr. F was if I picked him up and held him on my lap the entire time ….
Dr. F was super gentle and did not want to pressure him to be near her, so in the end, I didn’t feel that Boogie had a thorough enough of a check-up. :/
She said Boogie looked good though… everything looked fine except for a minor ear infection.
So now we have some new drops for Boogie’s ear infection and two new shampoos (Virbac: Ketochlor & Cortisoothe) for Boogie’s skin issues. I don’t know if these products are better than the ones we get from Dr. R… hopefully they are because they’re way more expensive. We’ll wait and see. Fingers crossed.
Have you ever changed vets for your scaredy/reactive dog? What do you look for in a vet?
Home from another long afternoon at the vet where we spent more time trapped in the waiting room than doing anything else.
It was weirdly stressful today. There were some seriously anxious senior dogs (shaking, panting, drooling) in that tiny waiting room, a cat in a crate that wouldn’t stop meowing, and the Dog Whisperer Show on TV – that famous 1st season “flooding” episode with the drooling dog led across slippery floors. And I was getting a glazed-eye look from the woman across from me when I tried to talk to her about BAT … She said her dog has anxiety issues and would bite visitors when their backs were turned.
Boogie, on the other hand, had no anxiety. He was simply very very bored. He had already (very sweetly and politely) introduced himself to every human, dog and cat in the room and nobody was interested in playing with him. He sat by the door and stared at me with big hopeful eyes and a pouty face.
In the end, we came home with more Cephalexin antibiotics. Staph infection again. Second time this year.
I asked Dr. R about atopic dermatitis, atopica cyclosporine (see previous blog post), should Boogie get a bi-weekly vaccination, should he get allergy-tested, how can we nip this problem in the bud?
Dr. R asked me about our previous experience of Staph: Did the antibiotics work? Did I see any changes? What percentage improvement did I see?
I told him I saw a significant improvement (about 80-90%) when Boogie was on antibiotics. His skin cleared up and he stopped itching. When he finished the meds, 2 weeks later, the itchies returned. Dr. R deduced that if the antibiotics worked, then this proves the problem to be primarily Staph, not allergies, and so he was reluctant to settle for the very expensive Atopica medication, which is specifically for atopic dermatitis and does not treat the recurring Staph problem.
I am to bring Boogs back in 2 weeks to check if the Cephalexin is working. If it works, ie, no more itching and skin improves, then this confirms the Staph problem. If Boogie continues to itch, then we may have an allergy or dermatology problem, and I may want to make an appointment with a Skin Specialist in Studio City. I am also to change Boogie’s diet… from now on, only ONE protein.*What am I going to do with the 2-month supply of mixed-protein dog food in my kitchen?
The thing I like about our vet is that he will only administer hardcore expensive vaccinations/medications as a last resort, when we know for sure what exactly we are treating. Even though it’s frustrating, not knowing for sure what is going on…
Once again, Boogie has been diagnosed with a staph infection Bald crusty patches on his skin and red pimples on his belly. Dr. R. doesn’t know why unlike most dogs, Boogie is so predisposed to this staph – which seems to always develop in the summer season along with the skin allergies. I am not sure what to do. One option is to have Boogie allergy-tested… an expensive process which doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. I also happen to know that all the dogs on my street are experiencing similar problems. The allergens are in the grass and the air.
As Dr. R said with a shrug - Even if I spend a small fortune on allergy testing, Boogie will most probably end up taking the same treatment anyway.
The Triamcinolone (which is a steroid medication) makes Boogie so hungry. Which is great for Clicker Training games but not so good for every other time of the day. Poor ravenous little dog. Day and night, I see him restlessly scrounging around for food, licking and re-licking my floors where treats were dropped hours ago. On our walks, he inhales crap off the sidewalk. He wants to go for walks ALL THE TIME… also because he is drinking more water and needs to pee a gallon every 2 hours. I really really hate steroid meds!
The good part is that the itching has stopped. His skin is healing up and thank goodness, we’re moving into Fall.
At Clicker Expo earlier this year, I remember Kathy Sdao saying that if there is a behavior that we like in our dog, that we want to see more of, we “capture” it with the clicker, and reinforce it. She told the story of a client (?) who clicked and treated whenever her dog did a play bow and sure enough, the dog was offering more play bows and the client was very excited and impressed. Before long, Kathy Sdao heard from this client again, this time in a state of hysteria: “Help. How do I make him stop?” The dog had turned into a play bowing monster.
I was reminded of this story when I took Boogie out for a walk this morning. When we got out onto the sidewalk, Boogie stopped and turned his head away from me. I called him, he looked at me and turned his head away again. He walked a few steps forward, then stopped and looked away again. We did not get very far and I was worried that he wasn’t feeling well because not only did he not seem enthusiastic about going for a walk, there were also lip licks and eye blinks. (Hello, Calming Signals!)
So we turned around and I led Boogie back towards the apartment, but he stopped again, didn’t want to move forward… more head turns, eye blinks and lip licks. OK, this little dog does NOT want to go home. What’s going on?
So I changed direction again.. OMG, Mom got it right. Suddenly Boogie sprang to life and trotted forward as though nothing was the matter. So THIS was the direction he wanted to go in… and off we went (he was walking politely on loose-leash too). When we got onto Rodney Drive, Boogie stopped at the tree where he saw that squirrel a few days ago.
The squirrel wasn’t there but Boogie had to check.
My dog has mastered his polite calming signals, but I am clearly not his Cookie….
This photo was taken at the vet today. Boogie did not want to be on that table.
So, Dr. R prescribed some Clindamycin antibiotics for his skin infection. Boogie also had a nail trim, his anal gland expressed, parvo & rabies shot updates, and a new batch of Comfortis.
In other news, I am still doing Susan Garrett’s Recallers online course (see previous blog post & comments). It’s hard. I am probably going to be slower than everyone else while I recondition myself not to “click” or “verbally mark” everything.
Why is it that whenever an off-leash dog runs towards us, the owner always says to us - “Don’t worry! He is friendly!”?
I hate that. The reply I have in my head is usually “Your dog is not friendly. He very impolitely charged at us”.
But instead, what comes out of my mouth is a hurried attempt to explain that my dog is in training for his reactivity blah blah blah… and that even though the off-leash dog may be friendly, MY dog isn’t and he may lunge or bite when rushed at by an unfamiliar dog, so please for goodness sake, keep your dog away from mine. I hate that Boogie is made to look like the bad guy but how do you explain to a stranger that their lovable excitable dog was displaying extreme rudeness and NOT friendly behavior? And besides, why the heck was their dog off-leash in a public place?
[Here's a YouTube video showing "Polite Dog Greetings" - with calming signals]
Friends have already heard all about the traumatic incident that Boogie and I experienced a few days ago…
I was walking Boogie along the street on Tuesday morning when I spotted an off-leash dog on the opposite side of the street. My instinctual response was to get away ASAP so I called Boogie “Let’s go!” and started running. I realize later that this was a mistake on my part. I should not have run. I should have picked Boogie up but in that moment of panic my only thought was – we need to get away fast. To my horror, the off-leash dog bounded across the street towards us and started chasing us. She was a large dog – black and white markings – perhaps a pit mix. She didn’t look aggressive but she was fast and before you know it, Boogie and this dog were locked in a vicious fight.
Everything was a blur of violence. All I remember is wrestling on the ground with two growly dogs and seeing Boogie’s neck gripped in the other dog’s jaw. I yelled and punched the other dog in the muzzle but she would not let go. The street was deserted and no owner came to claim their dog in spite of my yelling - “SOMEBODY COME AND GET THIS DOG AWAY FROM ME!!!” I was cussing and screaming, punching and pulling for what felt like an eternity. The dog did not let go of Boogie’s neck and I seriously thought that Boogie was going to die. I kept punching this dog trying to pull her jaw open and I felt a tooth sink into my finger. The pain was intense but all I could think of was that I had to save Boogie.
Finally, a guy appeared on the street and led the other dog away back into her yard. He said that the dog’s owner wasn’t home and the dog must have got out because the gate was open. Other neighbors emerged from their houses to enquire what was going on because I guess they had heard me screaming and yelling. Boogie and I were there on the sidewalk covered in blood. “But that dog is friendly”… they said. Hell no. Just take a look at us.
One of the neighbors (a nurse) took me into her house and cleaned us up. After that, we spent the rest of the day at the Emergency vet and doctor’s office. I think Boogie was probably more traumatised by the four hour vet hospital experience and the cone-of-shame than by the actual dog fight.
We are both fine now but what an experience. Not to mention that this incident is a major setback in all the training that I’ve been doing with Boogie for the past 12 months.
This is the THIRD TIME that Boogie has been injured by an off-leash dog.
I met with the owner of the other dog. He was very apologetic, agreed to get his gate fixed so that this won’t happen again, compensated us for the medical bills and he wishes that his dog and Boogie could have met properly and not under such circumstances because his dog is “super friendly”. Perhaps they will meet again… and we may do some BAT work with the two dogs… but for now, it’s back to square one with Boogie’s training. He has been extra trigger-sensitive these past couple of days, and his wounds are still healing…
As I was saying to Sarah, we are fortunate that the bite wounds are not deep (compared to one attack by a truly aggressive dog which led to stitches). It is possible that Boogie lashed out first when the dog rushed at him and that this dog was merely defending herself by gripping onto Boogie’s neck for so long and refusing to let go. Dogs have amazing control with their teeth. If this dog (who, incidentally had zero injuries) was truly aggressive and had seriously intended to mess Boogie up, the wounds would have been much worse.
As for me, the bite on my finger is getting better but my knees and legs are scraped, bruised and painful. Boogie and I are both on antibiotics and we plan to take things easy this week.
Now for some comic relief … Check out this awesome hilarious blog post on the power of the SQUEAKY TOY.
Boogie will be getting a new squeaky rubber monkey this week.
This happens every summer when the weather warms up. Boogie’s itchiness gets out of control and back to the vet we go, for skin rashes, bald spots, ear infections. Bleh. There isn’t really anything that we can do except “tough things out” because the allergens or pesticides – whatever they are – are in the air, on the grass, everywhere… (Interestingly, some neighbors told me last night that after they relocated, their doggies’ allergies cleared up! I am now convinced that it’s the crap they put on the grass around here).
Dr. Reina was hesitant to give Boogie another cortisone shot because even though this stuff alleviates the itchiness for a couple of weeks, ultimately, it intensifies the problem.
I balked when I saw how many pills he has to take each day for the next few weeks.
Cephalexin antibiotics twice a day (for Staph); Hydroxine pills twice-three times a day (for skin infections); Derm pills once a day (for skin); and Panalog drops three times a day (for his ear infections). And I am to clean his ears every day until the crusty, bloody pus stuff clears up. Boogie is going to freakin’ LOVE that. He hides in his crate or under the coffee table whenever he sees me with the ear wash bottle.
Photo taken at the vet. Boogie is blinking at me with his poutiest face. “Can we go home now, please?”
Hi everybody, we cover EVERYTHING on Boogie’s blog and today’s post is about anal gland expression. Warning: this may gross you out.
I know that it’s time for a vet visit when I smell that familiar stinky fishy odor coming from his butt, when I see him obsessively licking his butt or dragging it on my rug (ew). This happens every few weeks. It is said that some dogs can empty their own glands when they do a poop, but others need to have this done for them.
According to this blog post (and I have heard this theory before), it could be a matter of feeding the right food with enough fiber. Boogie eats really well and has firm poops. I have also tried adding extra fiber to Boogie’s diet, assuming that harder poops = natural pressure on the anal glands, alas … this made no difference.
I know some vets charge for anal gland expression and the costs could add up. Thankfully the clinic that we go to does it for free… but there is a long wait to see the Dr. and the simple 2-second task of squeezing Boogie’s glands sucks several hours out of my day.
A year ago, I asked Dr. R to show me how to do it myself, at home. He made it look so easy. I also watched several YouTube videos.They made it look so easy too.
So I put on some latex gloves and attempted to express Boogie’s glands myself. It was NOT EASY!
1. I couldn’t feel the anal glands. I tried the 4 c’clock and 8 o’clock positions; I felt all around the anal opening… Seriously, I could not feel anything! Nothing at all. No pea-sized sacs, nothing.
2. I even stuck my fingers inside his butt (with gloves on of course!) – NOTHING. I couldn’t feel anything to squeeze.
3. With my thumb and forefinger around Boogie’s butthole… I squeezed upwards, downwards, inwards,… I tried all kinds of squeezing, used all kinds of pressure… nothing came out.
That was about 2 months ago. I gave up and took Boogie in to see Dr. R who had the stinky fluid squirting out of Boogie’s butt with ONE precision squeeze.
Last week I brought the subject up again, told Dr. R that I had trouble doing it myself at home. He showed me again but honestly, I couldn’t see what he did differently.It looked the same as what I did.
Dr. R’s advice: “Just keep practicing”.
Two nights ago, sitting on the couch with the pumpkinhead on my lap, I caught a strong whiff of that familiar stinky fishy odor. What the heck… we only had his glands expressed ONE WEEK AGO! I carried the Boogs to the bathtub, grabbed some toilet paper and once again, tried to locate his anal glands. NOTHING. I couldn’t find them. (sigh) Boogie was so patient with me. He stood there calmly, head turned in my direction … waiting, waiting.. Three minutes later I was still squeezing and squeezing (Poor Boogie)… nothing came out.
I threw down the toilet paper and used both hands… squeezing inwards on either side of his butthole. A pale brownish fluid oozed out of his butt. OMG. We have a breakthrough! I grabbed the toilet paper and wiped it off.
Could I do this again? I have no idea. I know now to use two hands but I think I fluked it…
Do any of you do anal gland expression at home? Did you get it right the first time? I am open to advice!
P.S. No, I am not going to illustrate this one
Over a week ago, Boogie dragged himself around on the grass and gave himself a rashy red belly. The rashes didn’t go away even after a bath and neosporin so today we were at the vet and unfortunately, Dr. R doesn’t know what exactly the problem is. There are red welts on Boogie’s belly and inner thighs and he has been licking them incessantly. Some of the welts have turned into dry sores… crusty and peeling. Dr. R said that it is some sort of bacterial infection, possibly Staph (like last time) or allergies. He prescribed some cephalexin (to cure the staph infection), and I am to watch for signs of improvement. If by next week the Boogs is still itchy, then we need to return for allergy meds.
The clinic that Boogie goes to is a small place and always insanely busy so we waited around for a LONG time (over 1 hour!!!) to see Dr. R.
When we arrived there were 3 dogs in the shoebox-sized waiting room (yikes) but Boogie stayed close to me and was OK. Boogie is so used to being in this room with other dogs around that it’s not that big a deal…
There was a German Shepherd lying down in the far corner of the room who clearly was not interested in interacting with any dogs…. Boogie was curious, but not threatened at all.
A very regal Doberman sat next to us. Boogie sniffed her and got into playbow position several times… which got him a lot of attention from everyone in the waiting room – “Oh how cute! Look, he wants to play!” But the Doberman GROWLED at Boogie so I led him away. Not that the vet waiting room is an appropriate place for play anyway.
Photos below (because it was so boring just sitting around)
Someone said to me: You should take a photo of him in front of that black and white door…
Boogie: Please, can we go home now?
And while we were waiting for Dr. R to return with the cytology results…
Please please please can we go home now?
Vet appointment was at 2.30pm. We didn’t get out of there until 5.00pm. And I will have to return again this week because they were out of Comfortis (flea meds) today.