Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I think I spoke too soon

Gozer is still doing very well after last week's surgery, so don't let my title scare you about that.

I guess I shouldn't have said anything about how well the transition to the new food was going, however. Yesterday she was licking her skin more obsessively than usual. She tends to lick a little bit but normally when I put my hand over the spot where's she's licking, she'll just lick my hand and then leave it. Yesterday when I put my hand on top of the spot she really tried to get at the spot by wedging her tongue between my fingers. When I took my hand away I noticed that the spot was red and raw-looking. Here's a picture:

The spot where Gozer was licking. See how red that spot is? It looks so sore.

This kind of licking behaviour is different than the the kind of licking she does when she's having yeast problems. Usually those don't get this red and she's not that obsessive. Also, she didn't have the yeasty smell that she gets when she's got itchy yeast spots.

After taking a picture of that spot I rolled her over onto her back to take a look at her belly. I was horrified and sad to see that she had a couple of red spots there. Here's a picture:

Sideways view of Gozer's belly (the top left is her right hind leg and the bottom left is her left hind leg). See the red spots? That's not good.

We're fairly certain that these spots are an allergic reaction. We'd just increased her new food to slightly more than half of her total food intake and it seems that once we reached that threshold it triggered her immune system. Obviously she can't have this new food anymore even though she loved the taste of it. At least she'll eat the food she doesn't like if it's mixed with butternut squash.

Sigh. I feel so defeated. I really wanted for her to have a food that she liked, that didn't trigger an allergic reaction, and that gives her well-formed stools (and that doesn't include any fish or shellfish). It appears that there are zero easily available foods out there and I'm so sad about that. There might be prescription foods available but I'm hesitant to head down that road because I don't want to be disappointed again and I'd like to have food options in the future. Once we run out of commercially-available foods the only option will be cooking her food.

We see the vet on Friday for our post-surgery checkup and I think we'll ask if she can be referred to a dermatologist. Maybe if we can figure out exactly what's wrong there might be other options for her.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Gozer is doing well

Gozer is doing very well. We took her for a walk just before bedtime that first night and since then she's been eating, sleeping, and playing normally. The stubble on her chin feels really creepy when she licks me but her hair is starting to grow back now.

The vet's office called on Thrusday to check on Gozer's condition and they said that we'd discuss the pathology results for her lump when she has her checkup next Friday. She said that the pathology results don't usually take long - they come back faster than people's results do - and I figured that since the results hadn't already come in, they're most likely going to be ok. It's been my experience that bad results come back super-fast.

I promised you a picture of how silly Gozer looks, and here it is:

I know that this isn't exactly the kind of silly I'd meant before.... but she does look silly, doesn't she? :) She's on our bed and she's not supposed to be there and as you can see, instead of reprimanding her, I got out my phone and took pictures.

And here's a close-up of her silly-looking chin:

If you look carefully you can see a little black bump on her black chin. That's the stitch where the lump was removed. Normally her chin has white hair (yes, on that black skin - she's got quite a few places where her hair colour and skin colour are different) but as you can see it's black.

In other Gozer news, we're transitioning her food. She'd been eating a food that she didn't like and that she would only eat if butternut squash was mixed in with it. The new food is actually the very last food we can buy for her and as it happens, she loves it. She doesn't even have to have the squash added to it to make it palatable! We've been taking the transition very slowly just to make sure that she's not allergic to it and now that we know she'll be ok, we're ramping up the transition.

Our delicate little Gozer flower is doing well. I'm very relieved.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gozer's surgery went well

Our Gozer is very groggy after today's anaesthetic. She's very unsteady on her feet, is moving very slowly, and is sitting more like a big lump than a dog. Although she ate a few kibbles, it's clear that she's not feeling very well right now and I'm finding it really hard to watch her be in such a sad state. Is this what being a parent is like? Worrying about your little one and feeling so bad because they feel bad but you can't explain what's happening to them to help them feel better? If so, I'm glad I don't have kids because it's bad enough that I feel this way about my dog.

Gozer's surgery apparently went very well. We were given the option beforehand of having a blood panel done and setting up an IV line during the surgery. Apparently these procedures aren't standard but doing them makes getting over the anaesthetic easier. The blood panel makes sure that she's healthy for the anaesthetic and the IV line allows them to hydrate her during the surgery. We said yes to both because that's the kind of people we are.

The vet called at about 2pm to tell me that Gozer was out of surgery and that everything had gone well. We picked her up and took her home at about 4:30pm. She's not to go down stairs by herself or to do any jumping and she has to be careful while walking on a leash tonight and she should take it a bit easy tomorrow as well. At least she doesn't have to wear the Cone of Shame which is a big relief to me.

Fortunately, the vet didn't have to take too much skin off with the lump and only put one dissolvable stitch in to close it (which is why Gozer doesn't need to wear the Cone). The lump had a diameter of about 6mm and while the vet thinks it's a wart, she's sending it out for testing just to be sure that it's benign. Her teeth were very clean; there was a bit of plaque on her back teeth but overall her teeth are in very good shape. Gozer's bloodwork was also perfect. We'll see the vet again in ten days.

We do have some aftercare instructions that are all related to her dental cleaning. She's got a gel-type mouthwash that has to be given to her twice a day and an oral antibiotic to be given to her once a day for three days starting tomorrow.

They did have to shave her chin and parts of her front legs so she looks a little silly. I'll try and get a picture of her tomorrow as right now she's barely lifting up her head to look at me. Later on tonight we'll take her for a very short walk out to the communal mailboxes at the end of our place to give her a chance to pee.

I'm so happy that this surgery went well but I really I hope this is the last surgery she has to do. Surgery is stressful for everyone involved.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gozer and the Olympics

Have you been watching the Olympics? I know there's a lot of controversy around the games what with Russia's anti-gay stance and the shooting of the stray dogs but it's the Olympics... and it's not like there hasn't been controversy around other Olympic venues.

I've been watching some of the games but with the time difference (Sochi is 9 hours ahead) it's hard to see everything. I can't stay up all night watching different sports, unfortunately, because I've got things to do during the day. I've been enjoying the figure skating, of course.

As I was walking Gozer this morning and watching her trying to pee on or against all the different snow banks I was thinking that there should be a doggy Olympics. For example, Gozer attempted a front-paw stand pee, where she tried to lift both of her back legs and pee at the same time. Later on, she attempted a ridge pee, where her left and right paws were on opposite sides of a snow ridge. She's also been known to do a hill-rolling poo where she squats at the top of a hill and tries to see how far everything rolls down. Points are given for the greatest distance achieved. Other events could include hunting for the rodent (it's either a mouse or a vole) in the snow and finding the tastiest hidden treat.

I think I'm onto something here - this could be a whole new industry, right? There could be coaches and trainers and friendly rivalries and everything we associate with Olympic competition. I don't think I'm the person to get this going but if someone else wants to, be sure to credit me :)

The reason I was walking Miss Fluffybutt this morning was that the bump she had on her chin has grown this week. It's been there ever since we first brought her home but to see that it had grown was a little disconcerting. Weirdly, it shrunk a bit yesterday but it was still bigger than it was before. The vet recommended that it be removed so she's going to have that done on Tuesday. We'll also get her teeth cleaned at the same time since she'll be under the general anaesthetic and we figure we may as well take advantage of that.

She'll go to the vet's at 8:30am Tuesday and will be able to come home around 4:30pm. She can't have anything to eat after 8pm Monday, either, so she won't get her bedtime cookie. She's allowed water and can go for a walk if she wants. Even though she'll be groggy when she comes home and so won't be able to walk home, I'm relieved that she won't have to stay there overnight.

She's going to have to wear the Cone of Shame for at least five days, most likely seven, and possibly even ten days. How long she has to wear it will depend on how deep this thing goes, how big the margins around the lump will be, and how many, if any, stitches are needed. I'm not looking forward to that because it'll be so uncomfortable for her but at the same time I don't want the wound to get infected or to stay open. It's got to heal.

They asked if we wanted to have the lump sent away for testing. I guess that the cost could be prohibitive for some, especially if the results come back as cancer or something like that. We'd rather know one way or another and deal with that rather than just take the lump off and leave it. I told them that if the lump was obviously a wart then it's ok to not send it out but if there's any uncertainty about what it is, send it.

Hopefully her scar won't prevent her from competing in the doggie Olympics.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I've felt better

As usual after dropping my antidepressant dose, I've been feeling a bit tired and generally unwell over the last little while. I've been feeling a bit fuzzy-headed and have been headachy. As well, my stomach has been feeling very upset and I've been a bit nauseous which has made eating a bit difficult. Poor Ian isn't getting dinner made for him because I'm not up to eating anything at dinnertime.

As well as feeling kind of crappy, I've been rather cranky over the last week or so. I'm not getting angry or snapping at people or anything but I've been finding myself reacting more strongly to people's posts and comments on the interwebs. In other words, I seem to be encountering more idiots out there than usual :) I know that the problem isn't everyone else - it's all me.

Part of this crankiness is because tomorrow is the anniversary of my dad's death. I miss him so much even now, six years later. My grief isn't as sharply felt as it used to be; these days, it's more of a melancholy feeling or an ache than the stabbing, overwhelming sadness that it used to be but it still affects me - especially around anniversary dates.

Fortunately, even though I'm feeling sad and cranky and physically I feel awful, I don't feel that I'm becoming depressed or that I'm dealing with everything in a bad way. That's a good sign - being on a reduced antidepressant is comparatively easy when things are going well and harder when things are going poorly. So the fact that I'm doing ok is a pretty good sign.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Classic Albums Live show

Last night we saw Classic Albums Live AC/DC Back in Black. The Classic Albums Live series has musicians reproduce, as faithfully as possible, a classic rock album. If the album has two records, playing the album takes up the whole show but if there's only one record, the musicians play some of the band's greatest hits during the second half of the show.

Even though seeing this show is pretty much equivalent to seeing a cover band, it was still fun and worth the time and money. The musicians were very good and there was a high level of quality control in terms of reproducing the vocals and music. You might not think that there's value to sitting there and listening to someone else play a classic album but you'd be wrong. Listening to music live and being able to see the musicians actually play adds an additional layer to the music itself. Plus our venue has great sound and great acoustics so we were able to really hear and feel the music as it was played. Even though we didn't hear AC/DC, we heard their music played in near-optimal conditions.

It was also interesting to see the difference in playing between the first and second halves. All of the musicians relaxed during the second half and it was like they were just jamming up there, playing the music they like. They were clearly having a great time up there, trying out their own dance moves and crazy guitar strumming, and this was reflected in the music they played. They were playing AC/DC songs with their own slight spin on them, which was fun for both them and the audience.

I was actually surprised at how many kids were at the show. There were seven that I could easily see, all between the ages of about eight and twelve, and I'm sure there were a lot more behind us. I'd expected to see zero kids there but thinking about it, taking kids to this type of show makes a lot of sense because it's a safe introduction to live rock music. You get all the loud music but none of the drugs or crushing at the front. Plus, while people were drinking they weren't going crazy with it; they were drinking like they were at the theatre. Some of the kids were in a nearby box suite and were dancing and air-guitaring up a storm while a kid in front of us was dancing and air-drumming like crazy. Eventually she and a few other kids went right up to the stage.  

One thing I really liked about the show, aside from the great music, was that the musicians saw the kids dancing and acknowledged that the kids were there - they even gave them free stuff! It was nice to see the musicians encouraging the kids to really enjoy themselves and to see them interacting with the kids. 

If you get a chance to see one of the Classic Albums Live shows, take it. I highly recommend the show for both adults and kids if they're interested in the music.