Please note:

We hope that you enjoy the DOT posts and the different views from everyone included. We promise lots of cute pictures, laughter, maybe a tear or two, and some information. Please note that the views and opinions expressed here are each author's own and do not necessarily represent DOT as a whole.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Needing someone to take over...

Hello!! Hope everyone is doing well! I know you haven't heard from me in a long while and so much has been going on! Work has been busy and life is going to be getting even busier.

We recently found out that we are pregnant!! Yes, Jackjack and Abigail are going to have a human sibling! My due date is not until Nov, however, I have a lot to do before then and a lot on my plate. With saying this, I was hoping that someone would step up and kindly take over this blog. Paula passed this down to me a while ago and we have posters but It would be great if someone could take a more pro-active role as leader. Being pregnant, I am wanting to cut back on the responsibilities that I have and focus on getting my life ready for an addition. I never really planned to be the primary person in charge of this much as I love our community...I already have a lot that I'm committed too. I kept it going when no one else wanted to take over and I think it's time for me to step away. I hope that by stepping down from the blog I might actually end up posting to my own blog again but as of right now I barely post there either.

So, here is my plea! If you would like to take over and help keep the posters organized and make sure the mr. linky gets posted. Please please please contact me!

In preparation for the summer heat are two pictures of my pups swimming at my friends house! They have so much fun!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Visitors in the Den

Hello all! Penny here for yet another late edition of Dogs on Thursday. I'm pondering whether or not to fire my typist, considering she's late getting my post up yet again. This time her excuse is that we have visitors here in the den -- some friends from out of town. Problem is that my typist also is responsible for my dinner, and I don't want to jeopardize the continuing stream of food and goodies that come my way. Guess I'm going to have to find a keyboard designed especially for pups.

I don't know how all of you welcome people into your home, but I have a carefully skilled methodology. First, I stand up on my hind legs and put both of my front paws on their legs. This makes sure they notice me right off. Then, once they've seen me, I make sure to lay right down in front of them so they can give me belly rubs. I can tell right off if I'm gonna like someone based on if they give me belly rubs! And considering I'm an adorable princess, they should really like me.

Our guests have been here a couple of days, and I'm doing my best to make them feel right at home. My favorite way is the toe nibble. Once someone feels comfortable enough to take off their shoes, I go right for the toes. I hear my mom saying "no toes" in the background, but really, who can resist an adorable puppy nibbling on their toes? One of my mom's friends has particularly tasty toes. I'm going to be very sad when she leaves.

The warmer weather here has brought out some interesting creatures. Last time I told you about chasing a duck. A couple of days ago, I saw a bunny and I took off after it! Silly rabbit hid under some bushes and my dad wouldn't let me go after him. I could have totally taken the bunny. Dad now says I might like to be an earthdog. I thought I already was one considering I'm a dachshund and all. You can't get much closer to the earth than I am!

I hope all of you enjoy the spring and survive the pollen ( I had to have a b-a-t-h because my coat had gotten green from being outdoors in it and my mom was sneezing). I'll bark at you next month!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Alternatives to Kenneling

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.

~Alexander Pope

In our area, we have three local kennels available to board your pup at if you need to travel and cannot take them with you. I myself have only used the services of one of them on only one occasion, years ago, when my husband and I went to Canada. They are the old fashioned type of kennels that basically have an indoor portion with a doggie bed then a run to the outside with a doggie door in between.

When I scheduled my visit to one of the kennels prior to arranging to leave HoneyDew there, it was clean and the staff led me to believe that they took turns with the dogs playing with them and walking them on the spacious grounds. In fact when I arrived for the visit there were several staff members doing exactly that. I was also encouraged to bring her own food, toys, snuggly blanket and dishes, which I did. However, when I returned from our trip I was not very happy with the results of her stay. HoneyDew lost 10 pounds in a week, got an eye infection, and smelled like she had been kenneled next to a male dog that kept lifting his leg on her the hole week, peeewwwe! Needless to say, I have never boarded her again or Sampson for that matter and have been fortunate to be able to take them both with me wherever my husband and I travel to.

My Aunt in New York and others that I know are fortunate that they have more up to date, home style kennels to board their dogs at and they seem terrific, almost like a doggie hotel or camp!

You are probably asking why I have shared this story. Well because since that time I have from time to time for friends and family, kept their dog(s) here in our home while they traveled or in the case of owners of cats, gone to the home daily to check and feed them, rather then have them boarded at a kennel.

Such will be the case for the next two weeks. HoneyDew and Sampson are going to play host and hostess to a friends' dog named Bombee! She is an older dog who has never been away from her owners but is fast friends with me. I will be posting pics of this on our blog during the next two weeks, so please stop by to meet this wonderful ole' gal and see the antics the three of them get into.

How about you? What do you do with your pups when you need to travel? Please leave a comment and share your ideas, alternatives, and suggestions that have worked for you.

Happy Dog's On Thursday,
Tina, HoneyDew and Sampson too!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Endocrine Disease

Endocrine diseases are some of my least favorite topics. They can be confusing and complicated and hard for clients (and often veterinarians) to understand. Today I thought I would do an overview of some of the more common endocrine diseases in dogs in hopes that it might help someone better understand them, or what to be watching for in their own pet.

Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland and is the most common endocrine disorder of the dog. Fortunately it is also the simplest! The thyroid gland can be thought of as the metabolic control center of the body. So, in simple terms, everything slows down when the thyroid gland is not working enough (not producing enough thyroid hormone). The most common cause of this is idiopathic atrophy, meaning that the thyroid tissue is replaced by fatty tissue for unknown reasons, and lymphocytic thyroiditis, which is an inflammatory condition that allows the thyroid tissue to be replaced other kinds of cells. Neither of these conditions is a cancer or systemic disease. It is limited to the thyroid gland and all the effects are secondary to the lack of hormone production.

Common signs of hypothyroidism include lethargy, weight gain with a normal to decreased appetite, dull, dry coat including hair loss, seeking warm places to sleep, and decreased heart rate. There are other, less frequent signs, including seizures, which can occur if left untreated.

Diagnosis is made by simple blood testing. The most common test and usually the first one run is total T4 level. If this is low, then there will likely be some follow up testing to confirm the diagnosis. Usually this is active or unbound T4. Most thyroid hormone circulating is bound to a protein which makes it inactive. The total T4 tests the bound (inactive) hormone plus the unbound (active ) hormone. It's only the active we really care about. So the second test will give us that result and confirm the diagnosis. If your vet strongly suspects your dog is hypothyroid then they may run both tests at the same time, or some other thyroid panel, depending on their lab. The second test is relatively expensive, so the T4 is usually done first as a screening test.

Treatment for hypothyroidism is simple and involves giving your dog a small pill of synthetic thyroid hormone. This is usually given twice daily and is life long. There will be some follow up testing to make sure the dose is correct but once stable testing will only need to be done once or twice a year.

Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes Mellitus is a lack of insulin production which subsequently decreases uptake of glucose from the blood stream into the cells. The initial cause of the decreased insulin production is not well understood but could include pancreatic disease, obesity, genetics, infection, immune-mediated, or rarely neoplasia.

Hallmark signs of diabetes are increased urination and thirst along with weight loss with a normal to increased appetite. Cataracts are another common finding. Left untreated, pets with diabetes can develop a severe condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis. Dogs with this advanced problem will often have decreased appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. These dogs typically require hospitalization and intensive care.

Diagnosis can be as simple as a blood glucose test and urinalysis (excess glucose spills into the urine). It is advisable, however, to have a more thorough blood testing done to screen for other concurrent or underlying problems. Abdominal radiographs or ultrasound are a good idea as well, although they are normal in most cases.

Treatment is aimed at controlling the clinical signs and regulating the blood glucose levels. This is typically done with a special diet and insulin administration. Usually the insulin is given twice daily (yes, you will have to give your dog an injection but the needle is very small!). Your veterinarian will likely have you do some monitoring at home and adjust the insulin dose based on these results. Usually this is with urine testing but some people purchase a glucose meter and do blood testing at home. Your vet will also likely do some blood glucose testing in the clinic, frequently at first, and then less as your pet become regulated and the correct dose of insulin is found.

Diabetic cataracts can be removed in most cases by an ophthalmologist. Dogs with diabetes are predisposed to urinary tract infections and doing a urinalysis or culture 1-2 times a year is frequently recommended.

Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing's Disease
Cushing's disease is production of too much cortisol hormone by the adrenal gland. Most cases of Cushing's disease are caused by a benign tumor in the pituitary gland. The tumor causes an increase in an intermediate hormone that subsequently causes the adrenal gland to work overtime. A few dogs with Cushing's disease will have a tumor in the adrenal gland itself.

The most common signs are increased urination and thirst, increased appetite, a pot-bellied appearance, increased panting, hair loss, and muscle weakness.

Diagnosis can be complicated and expensive. Results of basic bloodwork and clinical signs can often give your vet a suspicion of Cushing's disease. The degree of suspicion often dictates which test will be run next. Frequently it takes multiple tests to finally arrive at the diagnosis.

There are currently several drugs that have been tried in the treatment of Cushing's disease. Unfortunately most (or all, I have not priced them all) are relatively expensive and some can have significant side effects if given inappropriately. Follow up tests (again, expensive) are then done to make sure dosing is at the desired level. Control of clinical signs is also a primary treatment goal. Some dogs have blood tests that indicate early Cushing's disease but no clinical signs. These dogs are usually just monitored and not treated until more abnormalities develop. Radiation therapy can be used in dogs with large pituitary tumors and removal of the adrenal gland is the recommended treatment for dogs with adrenal tumors.

Generally speaking these are all disease of middle-aged to older dogs. Hope this had been informative!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fools Day!

Quote for today:

You can't keep a good man down...or an over affectionate dog.

Some of the great (and humerous) mysteries of dogdom:
  • Why or what is it about a particular scent that determines/dictates that a dog rolls in it or pees on it?
  • Why does time after time a dog eat grass only to throw it right back up?
  • Why does a dog have to sniff over the same area to pee, every time it goes out even though its the same space of yard and was sniffed as well only an hour ago before it will finally settle on a spot to pee, is it used or something?
  • Why is the other toy, bone, or fluffy in the other dogs mouth always better then the one in it's own?
  • Last but not least why does it suddenly occur to both dogs that the only comfortable place in the house is directly behind your ankles when you are busy in the kitchen!!!
I am seriously not looking for an answer (or complaining), just some amusing things that has occurred to me from time to time. How about you? Any behaviors that your dog does that you get a kick out of? You can share by leaving a comment below, and remember...

Happy DOT's from,
Tina, HoneyDew and Sampson too!