Thursday, November 23, 2006

Good-bye Kasha

This post is typed with a heavy heart and through a veil of tears. Today, I helped Kasha make her move to the next life. Kasha was pushing 16 when she arrived here. 15 months later, pushing 17, it doesn't seem that she was here nearly long enough. Kasha was always fiesty, full of attitude and always seemed remarkably healthy for a cat of her age. None of the usual problems that elderly cats developed seemed to affect her. Her kidneys worked just fine, she ate like a kitten, played a bit, arthritis didn't hinder her ability to jump and find a good napping spot. All that changed on Monday night, when Kasha became lethargic, even for an old cat! Tuesday she was no better. She wasn't eating, not even baby food. She hardly moved and she let a dog sniff her without splitting his nose! So off to the vet we went.

Kasha was diagnosed with end stage liver disease. She had been fighting this battle for a long time, without ever telling anyone she was sick. Cats are phenomonal at hiding illness. Despite intensive treatment, Kasha did not get any better. She developed jaundice; became less responsive. Even force feeding her wasn't successful.

Today, after a talk with her vet, I decided to free her from her ailing body. I spent a long time holding her and told her how very much I love her. She wasn't here for long, but it didn't take her more than a moment to find her place in my heart.

Her crossing was gentle and quick. She was ready to go. I was the one who was not ready.

Godspeed my beautiful marshmellow girl. I will try to keep the dogs in line without you and remember to fill up your fountain so the other cats don't have to squwack at me to do it. I will miss you and love you forever. You were completely worth this broken heart.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dashing through the snow....

Ok, mabye it wasn't exactly dashing, more like plowing through the snow. Never a skidoo around when you need one--they break a good trail, but apparently all the snowmobilers in Mary Lake stayed home to watch the Grey Cup yesterday! We broke trail most of the way today, which shortened our first run quite a bit!

There's nothing quite like the look on a lead dog's face when she realizes you are serious this time and she really does get to run! It takes alot to get Paxil away from the woodstove, but a run does it every time!

Plowing through this stuff takes alot out of both musher and dogs, especially when the dogs haven't run for a couple weeks! I should have taken more dogs, but then I couldn't have taken Hobo and he really, really, really wanted to come!

We did get a brief section that was much easier and faster!

And eventually we made it back home where we were greeted with the disgusted howls of the dogs left behind!

And Sweet Sleet waiting by the fence. She's 13 now and been retired for a couple years, but if I asked she'd still try, arthritic hips, cloudy eyes and all.

"That was a lot of work!" Pacer is now regaining his strength by napping on the couch!

Hobo is completely blissed out. He'd go again right now and again an hour later and again until he fell right over! There's no stopping Psycho Puppy!

Annie came for his first run since his surgery. He still has some problems with the incision site. I'm not sure it's ever going to heal. Anvik has never had a clue that he might be sick and that continued today. He ran beautifully. I like him more every time I run him. He's driven, hardworking and he clearly enjoys every stride!

Now I just need to find a kid with a skidoo and get the longer trails broken! Maybe a bit more snow so the hook has a chance of staying set!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Good news from the vet...

Chum went back to the vet today to have all his tests redone--ECG, blood panel, thyroid panel. He was supposed to go the day Earle got sick, but Chum got bumped until today! He was not happy with being put in the kennel this morning. The dog area of my vet's office looks very much like the dog area of the shelter Chum resided in for awhile. I don't think shelter dogs ever forget those chain link walls.

His discomfort is worth it though! Both his resting and after exercise ECG's look perfectly normal. No concerns with his heart rythyms at all. The anemia has resolved and his red blood count is normal too.

His extraordinarily low thyroid levels are now actually high! Chum did go counter-surfing this morning and snagged himself an extra treat. Unfortunately, that extra treat contained Earle's thyroid medication! (I have three dogs and one cat who take daily thyroid meds!) Our vet says that even with a double dose his levels are too high. Like most hypothyroid dogs, Chum had gained some weight. All that excess weight is gone now. So Chum is getting his dose reduced.

Chum is free to return to harness work, running, hiking and all the playing his silly little heart desires. :)

Or not! Whatever he decides is fine!

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Earle...

It's pretty quiet around here right now--no snow, too cold to sit on the ATV for long and it runs like crap in these temps anyway. So here's yet another post about Earle!

He's actually doing much better. He was back at the clinic a few days ago. His lipase levels half what they were 10 days ago, but that's still double what they should be. He goes back again on Friday for another blood test. Hopefully, they've kept dropping. Fortunately, Earle does not care about going to the vet. He likes attention no matter where he gets it from! He has learned to ring the bell on the clinic counter and which techs will give him the most treats!
Like any sick dog, he's playing his worried human a little bit too!

"Oh, no, I'm exhausted still, Mom! I think I need to stay on the couch with Boots"
Boots adores the dogs, a little too much sometimes, so he doesn't mind being Earle's pillow!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Earle is home...

Earle got to come home. He's not himself, but he is much better than he was a few days ago. He has no stamina, but he feels up to playing in short bursts.

He doesn't really get "fetch" but he likes to run around with a tennis ball. That whole "bring it back" part of fetch escapes him!

Few minutes of playing and it's back to the futon!

He's less than thrilled with his new diet--rice and cottage cheese! I'd be less than thrilled too! He did start to eat more today and so far it's all stayed down!

He goes back to the clinic on Wednesday for repeat tests, just to make sure his lipase levels are back to normal. Hopefully, no permanent damage was done, but we won't know that for some time!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vet bills, vet bills, and more vet bills!

Anvik was at the vet yesterday, has another app't next Wednesday.

Chum was supposed to go back to the vet today and get his bloodwork and ECG redone. It's been a month since he collapsed and was diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism. Chum is, as Stuart puts it, "as annoying as he's ever been."(said with great affection of course). The treatment is working, but Chum can't work until I know his heart is ok.

I had to switch dogs this afternoon. Last night Earle came inside at 6:30, got on the futon and didn't move again until 7:30am when I had to coax him to the door. He didn't eat, wouldn't even lift his head to sniff his food. If you'd ever seen Earle, you'd know he doesn't miss many meals. He's hypothyroid too and on a diet to get some extra pounds off him. He's a big boy to start with, well over the Siberian breed standard.

Earle is my most laid back dog. He's a pure joy to have around. I can take him anywhere; he can meet anyone; he's never met another dog he didn't like; he never fights; for a Husky his off-leash recall is nothing short of miraculous. Earle is always the first dog a newbie meets. He's been to schools and daycares as a demo dog. He was my very first dog(as an adult), one of only two in the yard that I have owned since puppyhood. (he's 7 now) He is laid back, but not lethargic.

Not eating and not moving much freaked me out a bit, but he wasn't vomitting. He didn't yelp when I moved his legs, didn't act like he had bloat. This afternoon, I came home to pick up Chum and had to search the yard to find Earle. He was tucked away in a doghouse. I decided that he needed the vet more than Chum. I called the clinic and told them that I was probably being neurotic, but they needed to get a different file ready for Dr. Candace.

Earle is well known at the clinic. He's a favorite among the techs, but even they commented that he was taking laid back a little too far today.

After some x-rays(to rule out a blockage) and bloodwork, Earle has been diagnosed with a massive case of pancreatitis. My vet said his lipase levels should have been at about 800 since he hadn't eaten. 1500 would be considered normal. Her machine measures to 6000. It couldn't measure Earle's lipase levels--he is well above 6000!

He will be spending some time at the clinic, likely a week or so. He's on IV fluids, antibiotics and a painkiller. He can't have any food or anything orally administered until his pancreas calms down. The prognosis for pancreatitis is fair most of the time. My vet made a point of warning me that "he could be in some trouble" with his enzeymes so elevated. I am choosing to believe that she's covering her own butt and preparing me for a worst case scenerio only.

I went to visit him before I came home. He looks pathetic. His eyes have lost their little sparkle. The only time he moved was to lift his head and watch me leave--took me three tries to get to the door! There is a tech who lives above the clinic and will check on Earle through the night. I have complete faith in my vet and her staff and know that Earle will get the very best care there, but I want him home. Even with 23 dogs here, it's a little empty without my special boy.

I want this guy back--happy, playing, smiling Earle. Ok, I'd like the water he's standing in to be frozen into ice I can run the dog team across covered with a nice layer of snow, but I'll take just a happy, healthy Earle!