Happy Valentines Day

I haven’t posted much about Cobar for a very long time. He has been by my side almost every day since about 2011.  He is now 9 years old. Much older than I had ever expected him to live. It has been a long emotional roller coaster. One where I am now suffering from Major Depression. He has been doing very good for the past year or so, but for the latter part of 2016 he injured his front right shoulder that took 4 months to heal.  We have now both suffered the loss of our partner in life after she no longer wanted to be in our world and moved out.  She had apathy for him and didn’t even say goodbye.  So I am now responsible for him.

His leg has healed and I am in the process of healing myself and keeping Cobar safe and happy.  I’ve created a new routine of walking him every morning on the weekdays and Saturdays are going to a park day. Which eventually will turn into Saturday Adventure Time when I can afford to drive farther out and go on trail hikes and camping adventures with him.

I will be posting more often on our adventures and what we are doing.

Happy Valentines Day Cobar!

Cobar with his Slobber Owl.

A Happy and Healing Dog

It has been a few weeks since my last update on our dog Cobar.  The blood transfusion was like getting a new dog. I am still amazing that just the blood transfusion made him that better, all in about 24 hours.  It was difficult to keep him from not barking, but certain things alinged to help out. Mainly bad weather kept door to door salesmen from coming around, which is the biggest thing that makes him bark a lot.  We were able to keep any other barking to a minimum.  It is now almost three weeks since the blood transfusion.  He’s transistioned from prescription diet canned food, to very low fat dry food that is soaked in water and then given to him in a soupy mixture.  I think this change in diet has helped quite a bit. And we may have narrowed in on some past issues with constipation he has had.  He’ll be going to his normal vet for a check up tonight.  I don’t think he’s completely recovered from this ordeal, but he’s definately improving day to day.

Darth Vader and Toy Poodles

Our dog went from bad to worse in the past week.  He kept the cycle of feeling good, then getting worse.  This time around, from his constant pain, he was making these whining, groaning noises from his throat.  This progressively got worse and worse to the point that we brought him back to the internet medicine vet and they did an endoscopy on his throat to discover a severe hematoma and bleeding near his larynx. It was very bad, much worse than I thought.  He had increasingly started to sound like Darth Vader in his breathing, but what I never thought about what that his airway would swell up and restrict it.  This is what was happening.  If we had no scheduled this check-up and went with the endoscopy, it would have been around 48 hours or so that his airway would have been restricted and he suffocated.

After the endoscopy they immediately started giving him blood plasma to increase the clotting factor and get him to heal.  We went with the doctors recommendation of one bag of plasma for the transfusion.  It’s not cheap and we’ve quickly exhausted the funds for his care already. In an fortunate yet unfortunate turn of events, a toy poodle had come in during the evening with an emergency that required it needed plasma as well. However, it being so small, it didn’t need the entire bag of plasma so it was donated to Cobars recovery.  The blood transfusion was successful, in the terms that it did not create more problems and he is, slowly recovering from this severe internal bleeding event. 

We don’t know yet if there will be long term issues, but I some how doubt it.  He is eating properly now as well.  It’s all around a good thing. There’s quite a bit of stress lifted from us.  There is still a good 2 week window of healing.  So that is the latest update.

 

It’s Good, It’s Bad

The day I posted the previous article about our dog, I learned that he has Giardia.  This would explain a lot of his problems.  He was put on two different types of meds to get rid of the parasite and he was doing fairly well until this weekend.  Some minor, yet consistent vomiting started up.  Gave him some Ace and other pills and that was able to get him through the night without vomiting.  This morning he seems to be doing better, but I think that is still up in the air a bit.  Will continue to post articles about once a week as updates to his health.

I feel like number one, yet I am the last in line

Ugh.  Sometimes it just never ends it seems.  Yet, I fear the ending. Or at least, the worse case scenario.  I always preach to not succumb to the fear of loss, yet I seem to fail myself.

And yes, this post is about our dog Cobar.

He recovered from his illness in January and was doing good up until about two weeks ago as of this post.  He started acting a bit weird and he started urinating blood.  That was a very very bad sign.  Bleeding of any kind, especially internally is just really bad.  Of course, this was on a weekend so a trip to the Vet Hospital was in order as the normal vet practice is closed.  They did a very good job of looking him over and determined he got a UTI. Which was a bit odd.  Over the course of about five days he started to improve, and for the most part he had improved, except he was urinating a bit more than normal.  Instead of just peeing once he would pee two, maybe three times.  I was beginning to worry that this was more than a UTI. Possibly issues with his kidneys.

Then comes the record low temperatures.  When it gets cold out, you can get dehydrated quickly.  A week into his recovery he became very stiff and limping which we finally realized that he was severely dehydrated.  More than we had thought, most likely due to this cold weather. So we whipped up some soupy canned food for him which is loved and chomped down.  Getting some good food and hydrated well.

Of course, thats when the nightmare starts.  His diarrhea started several hours after eating and just continued on into the night.  After awhile there was nothing to come out but he was clearly straining to push something out.  He was beginning to show signs of something like a kidney stone.  Very similar to what happens to me, except, I tend to projectile vomit, and fortunately he never got to that stage.  He started to refuse any food or water, so we were forced to hydrate him using a 3ml syringe and just squirting water into his mouth on a regular basis.  We created a solution of Vitamin Water and regular water.  This proved to be a good thing.

Of course this was over the weekend.  We thought this might be a continuation of what was wrong with him last week, but it did seem different.  He’s not repeatedly trying to pee. It snowed, so we can immediately see if there was blood in his urine.  But there seemed to be a great effort in straining to go.

So, hydrating him every 2 hours of 9ml’s of Vitamin Water/Water solution and a vet visit for Monday.  He’s doing good, Monday, but clearly in a lot of pain when the pain meds wear off.  He’s still also on his anti-biotic.  So, in the afternoon my wife takes him off to the vet.  I finally get some time alone from this ordeal.

Could it get worse? Of course!  His blood work comes back good.  He’s hydrated fairly well (only 6%-8% dehydrated). Our hydration was working and was probably a very good thing. But why the straining of trying to poop?  His prostrate appears to be swollen (enlarged).  Great.  It could be abscessed or worst case scenario, cancer.

So now he is on some heavy sedation, a stronger anti-biotic and an appetite drug to give him an appetite.

And I am about 80% complete with his web site. I’ve been drained physically and mentally to want to mess with it more.

What next? I can’t go farther back in the line when I am the last one.

Cobar bounces back!

In my last post I had mentioned that my dog was sick.  It took about 4 days for whatever he ingested to work it’s way through his system and be done with it.  I hate not knowing what caused him to be sick, I will probably never know.  Very happy that he’s for the most part, recovered from whatever this was.  He’s back to the happy dog that he normally is.

Haemophilia and my dog

Unfortunately, my dog suffers from Haemophilia.  He’s an Australian Cattle Dog/Red Heeler we named Cobar, from Australian Aboriginal of Red/Burned Earth.  Of the worst kind of course.  Haemophilia is a genetic disease which slows down the process significantly the ability for blood to clot and coagulate.  This is an insidious disease that, if you do not have it or have to deal with, you just never think about.  You cut yourself, put a band aid (if that) and go on your way.  You never think about how or why your blood doesn’t just continue to run out and you bleed to death.

And then, I got a dog that suffers from this.  We found out from getting him neutered which he barely survived.  It took 3 months to recover from it with the incision growing to near softball size lump. You could see tendons and muscle tissue.  I honestly thought that he would not survive this.  With my wifes perseverance, using (Believe it or not) corn starch to thicken his hemorrhaging blood and pure Honey as an anti-biotic coating, it worked very well.  Of course he was on heavy anti-biotic and sedation during this time.  It was fortunate that we crate trained him earlier so he was at home in the crate for this time.  He survived.

He is now 3 years old. He has only had a handful of other bad bleeding events so far. The worst was when he cut one of his paw pads.  Again, you never think about bleeding, and within minutes there was blood everywhere.  Quick thinking and our veterinarian is nearby that helped make that episode less that what we originally though.  And yes, we all thought that this injury may have been permanent and a potential for limiting his mobility.  At the time it appeared that he sliced one of his pads nearly in half.  It took about a month and a half to heal.

We are now in an episode where he ate something he shouldn’t have and it’s been a pretty bad couple of days with vomiting.  I think he is pulling through, but with this disease things can go bad very quickly.  I suspect that the neutering wound may cause some issues with his bowel movements and if he isn’t hydrated or eats too much, this system stops working properly.

When we have all these episodes, especially the bleeding ones, people always try to help us. We appreciate it greatly, they are trying to help. But, again, I go back to. You never think about how blood clots and coagulates, so what works wonderful for the normal animals of the world doesn’t work for Haemophilia.  One of the most common things that people suggest when he gets cut is to tape or seal the wound with New Skin or glue.  They don’t think this thought out (and trust me I would think the same thing).  The problem with this method is that. This doesn’t stop the bleeding, it just covers the wound for the blood to then pool beneath the wound and continue to bleed.  We associate covering the wound with the blood clotting and coagulating and hence stopping.  But we don’t think the why and how.  And we don’t think how many times we have some minor scratch, or maybe a zit we pop that bleeds. Yet, we didn’t cover the wound then and it as usual stopped bleeding and we go on.  I don’t want to get into the why and how our blood clots and coagulates, but it is an amazing process when you think about how and why it works.  And it’s horrible when that process breaks down or doesn’t work at all.

It’s was a tough choice to keep our dog and not put him down during that first time.  This is the usual choice, and I can completely understand it.  He is definitely a one of a kind dog that I’ve never had before.  It’s doubtful I will have a dog like this again too.  I am sure that any pets that I get in the future will be just as unique though, but Cobar is definitely special.  We let him be as much as a dog as we can let him, but attempt to protect him as much as possible.  We’ve learned a lot.  I’ve researched many things. From Kevlar vests to other ways to protect him.  The vests ended up just a bad idea, mainly they are just for show for police dogs and have no applicable use.  One of the best things we’ve found are the Rough Wear dog boots.  Those are great things, but you’ll need to get your dog used to them early on.  I would imagine it difficult to train an older dog to wear them.  The company now even has winter boots for dogs which we will get eventually.  It’s then just thinking ahead of where you are going with him and what you’ll be doing or expecting him to do.  From how the ground is, how he will move around.  You have to also keep in mind that, dogs aren’t aware of diseases like this.  Clearly he has some confused idea that he gets sick. Obviously not the why.  So, he will try to do what any normal dog would do and in turn he could severely injure himself.  Even normal healthy dogs would do this.  It’s in their nature it seems.  Dogs take direction from humans and they want to please us so much that our own actions may put them in danger or hurt them.  It’s trying to prevent ourselves for whatever reason to not lead him down a path that may be detrimental to him.  It’s tough and a constant battle with ourselves.  It brings out your own inner discipline for the better of the dog or animal.  There also comes a time as I said, to let him be a dog.  My wife works at a dog daycare, so he gets to play with other dogs.  This is a good and bad thing. What about fights and such, and you have to just let the “what ifs” go.  Otherwise you will be consumed.  We also have to be prepared for him to die quickly.  This is tough to deal with but it’s something that you have to come to.  It will happen, it’s inevitable as much as we don’t like it.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough about my dog.  I’ll eventually post some photos to the blog of him. We have a domain that I will eventually setup as well and probably use this blog software to create a blog more specific about him and his disease.