Coffee heat rising

So What Happened with Ruby the Corgi?

Canine Parvovirus

Well: for starters, she does not have parvo.

As for today’s veterinary adventure: the folks at East Maryland Animal Hospital are awe$ome!

Learned about this group from La Maya, who used to take her pipsqueak dogs there. I’ve felt that like all vets, they push their services a little too goddam hard. BUT: I used to take Anna the Gershep there, and they were good with her. Radically expensive, but in those days it didn’t matter because I had…you remember…a JOB.

I stopped using them because they really are too expensive for a retiree’s pocketbook. Yesterday’s adventure, which resulted in several tests and a bottle of antibiotics, set me back $400.

Feeling desperate for a someplace anyplace to take my poor miserable little corgi, yesterday morning I called this outfit. To my amazement, they arranged for me to bring her in THAT AFTERNOON and, not only that, they let me go in, too!!! No eight-hour waits in the parking lot — can you believe?

The vet, one Dr. Marten, was SO nice!! She said she doubted the dog had parvo, but if I wanted they could run a test that only takes a few minutes. Given the presence of Rattie here at the domain — and given the proclivity of Rattie’s kin for carrying all sorts of diseases among which is numbered parvovirus — I said that would be good.

They ran a couple of other tests more specific to varieties of canine enteritis, including the alarming HGE. All of them came back negative. They trimmed the long hair-fringe around Ruby’s acid-singed butthole and applied some soothing salve. Injected some fluids to fight dehydration. Prescribed a medication that the vet thought would beat back the gastric infection that most likely is making the little dog so sick. And gave me a bagful of Hill’s fancy belly-soothing canned dog food.

Little dog is crapped out on the bed just now. What exactly started this episode escapes me, since she was never fed anything out of the ordinary. Hope she’ll be OK.

Day from Hell to Wrap Up the Year from Hell

Come Saturday: something is wrong with Ruby the Corgi. She’s emitting ruby-colored liquid poop. Literally: cranberry-colored collywobbles. And barfing blood, too, so it appeared last night.

This, of course, starts after dark.

My son’s emergency vet said they were closing. I found another emergency vet halfway across the city. My son came with me. When we got there, we were informed we would have a two- to three-hour wait, and we had to stay in the car.

Not so much, said I.

We drove to Alta Vista, a venerable old veterinary where I used to take my dogs and cats, which now operates at night as an emergency veterinary. There, we found a SIX- TO EIGHT-HOUR WAIT!

Finally I just said no, we are not waiting eight hours with a sick dog in the car. If she’s going to die, she’ll be better off dying at home.

Sooo… That was just gawdawful.

Come Sunday morning, Dog still has red diarrhea. Apparently this is not as bizarre a manifestation as it sounds, and in fact may not be life-threatening. It looks like if I can just get her into a vet, there’s a med that can treat it. She seems not to be as sick as she was Saturday night, so I have some hope that she may throw this off. A similar rumination appeared at another website.

She survives Sunday night, anyhow. Come Monday, the instant 9 a.m. rolls around I’m on the phone listening to the honored Dr. Bracken’s INTERMINABLE advertising blurbs on the hold button. This guy is the best vet in the city, and has been for decades.

Finally, finally, finally I get an appointment at 2:30 in the afternoon. Meanwhile, wouldn’t you know, I’ve got a dermatologist’s appt at 11 a.m. Or something: can’t read my handwriting. Call and cancel that, since it’s an hour’s drive in each direction, which I would like not to add to the 30-minute trudge (one-way) to Bracken’s office.

This, I figure, will mean another quarrel over the food I give her, which is the same as commercial dog food only without the artificial fillers and crap. AND it’s not made in China. She’s thriving, just like three other dogs thrived into old age on the stuff, and I do not appreciate the high-pressure pitch to buy the canned goop & kibble the vets sell in their lobbies. I guess I could just go yessir yessir, buy a can of the stuff, and donate it to the Humane Society. That would be easier than trying to defend myself, I guess.

Like everything to do with pets in America, veterinary practice has become a vast, predatory business. Individual practices are being gobbled up by huge, national conglomerates that do, really, predate on customers. They try to high-pressure you into all sorts of unnecessary products and treatments, to the point where, if you’re paying attention, you sense that about nine times out of ten you can’t trust what they’re telling you. Bracken so far is still an ethical, independent practitioner, though I know he’s reaching retirement age and I do think he may already have sold his practice to one of those operators. The give-away is that godDAMNED series of blatting sales pitches and scare stories on the hold button: those are characteristic of the conglomerates. An independent vet doesn’t subject his customers to that. Nor, I suspect, can he afford that kind of answering system.

At any rate…

Monday passes, and, amazingly, Ruby gets better. Never do make it to the vet. I withhold food but put down plenty of water. She guzzles water and then guzzles some more. And by noon she has completely stopped barfing AND firehosing out the rear end. The day proceeds, and she remains stable.

I give her a few bites of boiled chicken mixed in with some cooked rice. Nothing happens.

It looks like she had some kind of enteritis and was able to throw it off. What would cause that, I do not know, though I suspect a bird (or a human) could have dropped something mildly toxic into the yard. Thank god it wasn’t rat poison.

We have this baleful admonition from one of the first and biggest chain veterinaries going on about how urgent it is to get the dog treated. “These diseases can range from mild and self-correcting to severe and rapidly fatal.“  Looks like we’ve got “self-correcting” here. “Mild” is not a term I’d use, though. Banfield, I don’t trust, speaking of corporate massively profit-making veterinary boondoggles. Of course it’s in their interest to scare the ess-aitch-ai out of you.

Hmmm… In the “larn somethin’ every day” department, now I come across this: hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. HGE, for short. Interesting…something I hadn’t heard of. Didn’t know there WAS anything left in that category! 😀 Merck Manual seems to indicate that blood tests are needed to diagnose this alarming and mysterious ailment, because a bunch of other ailments produce similar symptoms. Evidently the main treatment is “prompt” administration of IV fluids.

Right. After a six- to eight-hour wait in your car…

Parenteral antibiotics effective against Clostridium spp (eg, ampicillin 22 mg/kg, IV, three times daily, or metronidazole 7.5 mg/kg, IV, twice daily) may be considered, but it is uncertain if this is needed in all cases.

In a prospective study of dogs with AHDS and no clinical indices of sepsis, treatment with amoxicillin-clavulanic acid did not affect mortality rate, duration of hospitalization, or severity of clinical signs. This might suggest not all cases of AHDS are due to primary bacterial infection or that the bacteria involved may not be susceptible to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid.

Hmmm…she drank lakes of water Sunday night and Monday morning — meaning that yes, she probably was dehydrated.

As of Tuesday morning, no sign yet that she’s about to croak over, though. The diarrhea has stopped. She trotted outside as usual to pee, then trotted back in the house begging to be rewarded with a treat for accomplishing this human-bedazzling treat. I gave her a tiny piece of the boiled chicken. Now she’s back on the bed and snoozing again, waiting for the human to quit poking at the glowing box it likes to balance on its lap.

If this is what she had (has??), then it’s spectacularly lucky she threw it off…if she did. We’ll see…apparently this thing can come back on them some 10% to 15% of the time. And evidently it can carry them off, pretty damn fast.

Meanwhile, sez the same source, the signs of this ailment are so similar to parvo that it takes a blood test to differentiate them.

Parvo???!?

But she has had the parvo vaccine…hmmm… We’re told dogs of any age can get it and the vaccine doesn’t necessarily work 100%. It sez here…

According to Los Angeles veterinarian Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, “Every day that goes by allows the [infected] dog to produce more antibodies, which bind with and inactivate the virus. Survival becomes a race between the damaged immune system, which is trying to recover and respond, and potentially fatal fluid loss and bacterial invasion.”

This, from Whole Dog Journal. Though that august publication is given to holistic approaches — and of course, it’s journalism, not the higher reaches of science — it is a useful and apparently fact-checked rag. Over some years of sporadic reading, I have yet to find anything truly wrong in it. Quoting Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM, an expert in veterinary hematology and immunology:

…sometimes, the parvovirus vaccine fails to work as intended.

First, she made clear, no vaccine produces 100 percent protection 100 percent of the time. “Vaccination is not a sure thing,” she explained. “It certainly improves the odds that an animal will be protected from disease, but it does not guarantee this. There is no way, even with the best vaccines, to be sure that any given individual’s immune system will respond in the desired way to protect that animal.”

Not all dogs have perfectly functioning immune responses, and, similarly, not all vaccines function perfectly, either. “There will always be an occasional case of a ‘vaccine break,’ which is what we call it when a vaccine fails to protect an individual against an infectious disease challenge,” said Dodds. “However, when a break occurs, if the animal has been appropriately vaccinated, it will usually experience only a mild form of the disease.” Dr. Dodds speculated that this is the most probable explanation for what happened with the infected puppy mentioned above.

“While there are some rare exceptions, where an appropriately vaccinated animal nonetheless experiences a lethal form of the disease, it is far more typical that such an animal will experience only a mild form of the disease and will recover quickly,” she said.

Holy shit!

Not seeing any reports of a parvo contagion in the county this fall. However, in October an outbreak occurred in Washington State…and of course, this being Christmastime, half the ‘Hood has relatives down here visiting in their RVs. It’s been quite a while since Ruby had that shot.

I’ll call Dr. Bracken’s office again this morning and see what they say about it. I have a feeling that discretion may be the better part of valor, though: the less disturbance the better at this point.

This morning she hasn’t had a BM — which means she’s not showing any diarrhea…yet. She hasn’t barfed since Sunday: this is Tuesday. Just now she demanded to be fed…but then, she’s a corgi. Corgis can eat under the direst circumstances: they do not lose their appetite. Ever. Just gave her a tiny serving of boiled chicken and rice. We shall see if it stays down.

Godlmighty. Do you suppose this Spate from Hell is ever going to come to an end???

 

Dogs, Scofflaws, and Penitentiary Gray

Penitentiary Gray: the color of 2020?

One of the disorienting characteristics of Old Bat-hood is that your home is decorated in outmoded styles and colors. It stays that way because you like it that way. But occasionally gazing upon the latest fashion is…well…yes, disorienting. 😀

The dog and I got a very late start on this morning’s doggy-walk. Last night’s chill persisted for some time after dawn, plus the human is in an even lazier mood than usual. So it was after 10 before we set out. By then, almost all the dog-walking hordes had come and gone. The city is laying down black oily stuff over the cracks in Richistan’s neighborhood lanes, so we detoured to the park. This is usually problematic, because during the doggy-walking hours the place is overrun with dogs, many of them in the company of morons who ignore the large signs that read DOGS MUST BE ON LEASH. The latter — dogs, not morons…or rather, dogs as well as morons…are running loose unattended and can be quite a nuisance if they choose to pick a fight. Which inevitably one of them will.

But late in the morning, the park was almost empty, except for a cluster of parents with small children frolicking on the playground equipment and sharing their covid germs with each other and with their relatives. Quite lovely: quiet, peaceful, green…a perfect doggy-walk.

We got about four-fifths of the way around the park before we ran into the obligatory moron: some woman with not one but two big mutts running loose. One of them spotted Ruby and immediately charged her, followed by the moron’s other loose dog. Ruby being a corgi and therefore unafraid of anything, charged back. Within seconds, a dog-fight was about to start.

I hauled Ruby to the street and hollered CALL YOUR DOGS to the moron. She managed to deflect them as I crossed to the other side of the road. “What part of the law can you not understand?!” I hollered at the bitch. The human one, that is. People are SO frickin’ stupid!!!!!

The thing that pisses me about this is that I pay for that park with my taxes, too. Every year my property taxes go up. Last year they were wayyyy on the high side of what I can afford, leading me once again to contemplate the probability that I will not be able to live in my home for the rest of my life. If I’m going to be made to pay ruinous taxes, I should at least be allowed to use the facilities those taxes pay for — to use them safely and without harassment from scofflaws.

Oh well.

Have you noticed that The Stylish Color of 2020 is — appropriately enough — penitentiary gray? It seems as though every freshly painted house in the city is painted the shade of Sing Sing’s walls. Just hideous! Started counting them at the far side of the park. By the time we got back to the Funny Farm — about a third of a mile — I’d spotted TEN (yes: 10) penitentiary gray houses.

Gray and white is the new avocado green and gold. 😀 People decorate the inside with gray and white, too: every refurbished house has gray floors, gray walls, and white trim and cabinets.

Neutral colors were the style when I moved into this neighborhood, during the late Middle Ages, and they persisted for a good 20 or 30 years. My house is painted a bland shade of desert-floor gray-brown, with smart white trim (that, at least, has not gone out of style). Most of the neighbors’ houses are cream-colored or beige. Whatever dark prison gray is, it’s certainly not bland.

Here’s one that someone thinks is “awesome“:

And it no doubt would be, if you buy everything at Ikea and so can afford to redecorate when you get tired of it…in about a year or two. 😀

 

Of dogs and cops and copters…

Ruby the Corgi has been under the doggy-weather for several days. She has the collywobbles, and this morning she barfed. That will mean an expensive and stressful trip to the vet…especially since veterinarians here are not letting the hoi polloi even step into their waiting rooms. You have to wait in the parking lot until they come out and collect your animal.

Picturing the terror that will inspire, I’ve already put off getting Ruby’s teeth cleaned. And I do NOT want to drag the poor beast in over an upset stomach.

Sometimes the doggywobbles will clear on its own, just as human collywobbles will eventually go away. Sometimes…not. And we have those damn rats out there…the question is, could she have picked up a bug from one of those fine disease-carriers?

Complicating matters, something made me really sick in the same department. I suspect it was some shrimp I bought at Sprouts… It didn’t seem to be spoiled, but when I opened the bag the thought crossed my mind that those tired-looking things had been frozen for an awful long time. It seems to me I let her lick the plate after I’d eaten that meal…something I normally don’t do. But I recall that one evening, in an unusually mellow moment, I set an empty plate down for her. And this was within the time frame — if the shrimp made me sick, it could’ve made her sick, too.

I still have some imodium purchased while it was legal to sell it. Apparently, you can give it to a dog. But who knows how much would be the right amount? She only weighs 23 pounds. If one tiny pill will plug up an adult human, how many shavings off one of those pills is right for a dawg? You also can give a dog Pepto-Bismol, but liquid gunk is one helluva lot harder and messier to get down a dog’s throat than a pill coated in butter or hamburger is.

Speaking of the imodium protect-you-from-yourself gambit, I see the stuff is still for sale on Amazon. How exactly that can be escapes me. It’s supposedly illegal to sell the stuff in our parts. Apparently some morons use the stuff to get high. Therefore all the rest of us must be punished.

***

Argha! Cop helicopter just roared in and started circling a couple blocks north and east. God, how I hate the constant cop helicopter buzz-overs. This is the main reason I daydream of moving to Prescott or Yarnell or Patagonia…places where they can’t afford to buy helicopters for the local law enforcers. Most of the time, all the doors and windows are locked — and all the exterior doors now include steel security doors with hardened deadbolts. So frankly…I’d just as soon not know when a perp is frolicking around the ’Hood.

Down at my son’s house it’s even worse…the cops are constantly overhead hollering down at perps or telling people to go inside and lock the doors.

Phoenix… What a place this is! Especially when you consider how many people move here because they think it’s going to be better than California. Six o’ one, half-a-dozen of the other, folks!

Well, I might as well go drown out the serenade of the helicopter blades with the song of the vacuum cleaner. And so, away...

Life at the Funny Farm: September Edition

Jeez! 9 ayem and I’m flat-out exhausted! What a Morning from Hell! Up at the usual 5 a.m. but dawdled over the computer, so the Hound and I went out the door late.

Because it’s so late, we hit the road at the height of the Dogging Hour. Every chucklehead and his little brother and sister are out with their pit bulls, Aussies, spaniels, poodles, German shepherds, dalmations, chihuahuas, Bernese mountain dogs, Boston terriers, dachshunds, akitas, vizlas, and reservation dawgs. This adds a great deal of stress to a doggywalk because Ruby wants to LUNGE at every goddamn one of them. That, as you can imagine, tends to alarm the fellow dogs, which then go in for the attack by way of protecting their humans. To prevent this, every time someone comes along with a pooch, I have to stop and make Ruby “SIT! STAY!” until they go by us.

This is WHY we leave the house no later than 5:00…by way of avoiding the dog-walkers’ rush.

So we walk around the corner to see if our neighbor Signey is out with the kids. She lives right next door to the house where La Maya & La Bethulia lived before La B decided to pathbreak their escape to California, and at this time of year she’s often sitting in front with her small children and her herd of tiny, funny-looking adopted dogs.

And yes, she’s there. We start to schmooze…

New neighbor comes out with his dogs and walks off around the corner. She points out one of them and says it’s a pit-bull/shepherd mix and is extremely aggressive. She says it went after one of her pipsqueaks and almost killed it before she was able to tear the animal away from it.

Lovely. The scrawny male human looks like he weighs…oh…maybe 150 pounds, at the outside. Mmmm hmmmm…

She dotes on Ruby and rubs her hands and face ALLLLLLL over the dog’s fluffy corgi fur. Then she says happily, “And the kids are going to school.”

Oh. Good. It’s not maybe…it’s absolutely positively: You just rubbed fistfuls of virus into my dog’s coat! Jezus Aitch Keerist, but people are stupid.

By the time we get to Feeder Street N/W, there’s too much traffic to get across the road safely, so we wander back into the ’Hood, up the street I used to live on, around and around. This route is neither as long nor as pleasant as the stroll through the shady realms of Upper Richistan, but at least we don’t have to risk life or limb to get there.

Herd the dog back to the house, and now I have to wash her. She sleeps on my bed at night, and I do NOT want Signey’s kids’ classmates’ germs all over my bedding. Or all over the floors and furniture in my house, either.

Washing Ruby is quite a production. She hates it, she is terrorized by it, and she puts up one bitch of a fight. Decide against assaying this battle in the backyard — at that hour, it’s cool enough outside that cold water out of the hose could in fact harm her. So I have to drag her into the bathroom to wash her in the tub.

WHAT a fight!!!  I finally haul her into the bathtub, then get her wet all over, then scrubbed down with shampoo, then rinsed, then out of the tub…. Did I mention that she hates being wiped down with towels, too?

She goes shake shake shake shake shake shake shake… and covers the cabinetry, walls, and floors with billowing sprays of dog-water.

More fighting. Her hair is thick and she’s getting fat and I don’t get far with the towels. Dig out a hair dryer, plug it into a socket near the floor, and drag her over.

You thought the bathtub episode was a fight? Hah!

Finally manage to get enough of the sog out of her fur that I figure she probably won’t get chilled enough to get sick. I hope. By this time, though, the sun has risen and the air is warming, so…this is prob’ly a safe enough bet.

Clean up the mess and…clean up the mess and clean up the mess and clean up the mess and clean up the mess and….

Put the towels and the towel that fell off the towel bar into the bath water and the dog-wiping towel and the microfiber rags used to finish the dog-drying into the washer. Get out of my wet clothes and toss those in the washer. Find something else to wear. Climb into the shower and wash my own much-doggified body and hair before getting dressed.

By now it’s 8 o’clock!

Fix breakfast. Pour coffee. Just begin to drag the melon and the other goodies out to the table on the garden deck when ARF ARF ROAR YAP YAP ARF ARF WOOF WOOF ARF ARF YIPPETY YAP YAP YAP!!!!!!! 

Pool Dude.

Pool Dude is a chatty kinda guy. He does like to talk. Rudely, I sorta ignore him without saying in some many words arrghhh leave me alone because i bite! He goes on about his business. Putters around. Surfaces to explain his scheme to provide a refurbished pool cleaner gadget of the Amazing Variety, a plan that was derailed during the week. No problem. We discuss last night’s political side show, he being right-stage, me being left-stage, both of us being gun owners. I can’t get .38s. He has a bunch of ammo stashed. We figure we’ll be needing this, though I suggest it’s mighty doubtful that Trump’s bully boys will be rioting through sub-suburban neighborhoods. He says he’s taking no chances.

I say my plan is to get a blowgun. He says…

…hang onto your hat…

He used to make them! 

I mean, really. You’ve heard of “never a dull moment”? Around this place there’s never a sane moment.

I say I understand you can make them with PVC pipe. He says noooo, the diameter would be too large. You need copper piping.

Hmmmmmm……  Suppose Home Depot will cut that stuff to measure for me? Waddaya bet?

Which do we live in? Monty Python ShowTwilight Zone? Or just another planet altogether?

Pool dude out. 

It’s almost 10 a.m. I’ve got to go to Costco. On the way home, maybe I’ll stop at the Depot and see what I can get by way of lengths of copper tubing. Hmmmm….

Doggy Divin’ at the Break of Day

Dayum! As dawn cracks, the dog falls in the pool. Into the deep end, natcherly.

So I have to leap into the water (fortunately I was about to go swimming so am not burdened by blue jeans and shirts). The resulting tsunami swamps her and her head sinks below the surface. I swim to her, grab her as she’s going under, haul her over to the seat, and lift her out.

I thought she had figured out the pool boundary. She seemed to have realized that the water is not some flat surface she can walk on. But apparently she mis-stepped, and PLUNK! into the drink she went.

Anyway, drag the frantic dog out. She seems not to be at Death’s Door. Lock her out of the pool area, try to dry her with a towel. She’s having none o’that.

Now she’s soaked. The stuff Jim the Pool Dude has been putting in the pool to keep the algae under control really irritates my skin and presumably will do the same to her (expensively, no doubt), so now I have to shampoo her. She wouldn’t let me get near her long enough to grab her and drag her over to the hose, so whenever I get the chemicals washed off myself and out of my hair, I’ll have to put her in the tub and wash her off with the hose-end shower thingie.

Run inside. Jump in the shower and scrub the chemicals off me and out of my hair.

Chase down the dog. Wrestle her into the bathtub, Shampoo her all over, rinse (…fight fight fight fight…), pour hair conditioner all over her, rinse (…fight fight fight fight…), realize the conditioner is still all over the tub’s floor and that makes it too slippery for me to stand up; crawl out of the tub verrrreeee carefulleeee, grab a towel, start to wipe down the dog; realize the conditioner and even some shampoo are still in the dog fur, rinse the dog again and again and again and again (...fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…); haul her out of the tub again, try to dry her off (shake shake shake shake shake…all over the bathroom walls, cabinetry, and floors); give up and let her wander off (shake shake shake shake shake down the hallway); retrieve scouring powder and Simple Green, scrub the bathtub & shower surround, rinse the bathtub, then dry the bathroom walls, dry the bathroom floor, dry the bathroom door, dry me.

Holy shit! You know those little round red bruises us old people get on our arms? Yeah. Now I’ve got FOUR new ones on the right arm. Where, I presume, she dinged me with her claws.

Man, I really got a snootful jumping in. Went running this morning, before this little drama happened. That was enough to confirm that the chronic cough/scratchy throat are NOT covid but, as suspected and fervently hoped, allergies. Both those annoyances disappeared after a little steady, deep breathing. But now my throat hurts again and I’m coughing again.

Dog is snorking. Worried that she breathed water into her lungs,. Vet won’t be open for an hour. Can’t afford the emergency vet; besides, it would take almost an hour to get there, anyway.

But forthwith she stops. Seems to be fine.

Ugh. I’d started letting her into the pool area a week or so ago, because every time I go swimming she has a barking frenzy. She stands at the gate and raises holy Hell. Put her in the house? She stands at the back door and raises holy Hell. If she can come over to the pool, she shuts up and just trots around the perimeter, peering at me.

Heeee! Where she delivered a scratch, I’ve got a long fancy red thin line  extending north-northwest from one of the new elegant red spots. Ah, and she poked a little hole to the north of that. Heh! Looks like a geometry lesson: “what is the angle between ab and cd in an isosceles triangle?” 😀

Good thing I’m too old to care what I look like anymore!