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Archive for the ‘Scottie Health’ Category

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The other morning, I woke up to a horrible sight no Scottie Mom would want to see. Blood, feces and urine were scattered about the main floor of the Scottie House. Cleary, something was not right but both Heather and Mr. K seemed happy as could be, eager to go about their usual morning routine. Neither showed any signs of being sick. Even so, I knew we needed to get them into the V-E-T since there was blood involved. So I made an appointment and took the morning off work to accompany Heather and Mr. K to their not-so-favorite place on Earth: the V-E-T’s office.

Since we didn’t know who was responsible for the mess we found in the Scottie House earlier, it was important that the V-E-T got poop samples from both Heather and Mr. K. Heather produced a sample before we even made it into the office – right outside the V-E-T’s front door! Embarrassed and yet, strangely relieved that it clearly wasn’t Heather based on the sample she produced, I scooped it up in a baggie and held on to it until the V-E-T tested it to be sure. Then, they took Mr. K back to see if they could collect a sample but without luck.

Mr. K came back into the room and the V-E-T decided to take Heather back to check her out a little more closely. Almost as soon as they closed the door behind them, Mr. K turned around and left his sample right there on the exam room floor! At first, I was horrified but then I saw the sample he had left behind had blood in it. My heart sank. What did this mean? Those few minutes we were alone in the exam room were rough – and not just because of the smell although, in truth, that certainly was a factor. When the V-E-T came back and saw the sample, she laughed and teased Mr. K saying, “Was that a little too much stimulation for you, buddy?”

Tests came back shortly thereafter and luckily, all was clear. There were no parasites. It appears Mr. K just had a little bit of a stomach bug and was on his way to a full recovery, according to the V-E-T. She prescribed him Metronidazole (one pill a day for five days) and already, the consistency of his “samples” is returning to normal. Since we were already at the V-E-T, we went ahead and got their annual well-visits taken care of a month earlier than anticipated. Over $500 later, Heather and Mr. K were given clean bills of health, declared fully up-to-date on their vaccinations and given a six month supply of heartworm prevention. Now, it is time for Scottie Mom’s nerves – and wallet – to recover from this most recent, albeit relatively mild, health scare!

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It’s official: Heather has been cancer-free now for over one year! Last January, just before she went in for a routine dental procedure, I found a bump and reported it to her vet. What we thought might be a fatty deposit turned out to be liposarcoma, a malignant but localized form of cancer. Suddenly, Heather wasn’t just going in for a dental anymore. She was having major surgery. Hours of waiting, over a half dozen staples and thousands of dollars later, sweet Heather not only pulled through the surgery but eventually kicked cancer to the curb. Not a day goes by that Scottie Dad and I aren’t reminded how lucky we are to still have her here with us.

So many of us are affected by cancer…whether directly or indirectly through a friend, relative or canine companion. Recently, Scottie Dad’s best man (and also the man that gave Heather her first kiss – read about it here) found out his family’s Shih Tzu is battling cancer for a second time. Like Heather, little Miyuki the Shih Tzu beat cancer the first go-round and was awarded an abundance of extra time with her loving family. That extra time, however, came at a significant cost to the family but they were able to make it work. This time, Miyuki’s family needs our help so she can have a few more years with the people who love her most.

We know Miyuki is not a Scottie but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve her best fight against cancer. If every Scottie Mom friend and follower donates just $5, Miyuki’s treatment would be paid for in full. If you know someone or some pup that has been affected by cancer, I ask you to consider donating to Miyuki’s cause. Or, if you simply don’t have the extra means, please consider sharing this link to Miyuki’s story to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to help spread the word. Together, we can make a difference and work toward eliminating cancer (canine and otherwise) one case at a time. Much love, The Scottie Mom.

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Scratchy Scratch

Scottie Mom, I have too many toys to destroy to keep stopping to scratch…

Recently, Scottie Mom Krissy wrote me for advice:

Hi Scottie Mom! I have had poor Keira on allergy shots for a while now, and her itching doesn’t seem to be getting better. She is allergic to cats, but we have cats. I want to find a way to help her, besides her medicated shampoo. Do you have any advice? The vets aren’t much help.

Ironically, shortly after I got Scottie Mom Krissy’s message, I noticed Mr. K started itching more. Mr. K and I have been through the allergy thing for some time now but until recently, I thought our problems were solved. A vet friend of ours likes to say I’m allergic to Mr. K and he’s allergic to me (although, as you can see, that doesn’t keep us apart). He scratches and licks his paws. I sneeze. A lot. So, at the vet’s suggestion, we increased the number of baths he took to one per week and switched his food to Blue Basics. My treatment, on the other hand, is to tough it out with over-the-counter medicine as needed and snuggle him as much as possible (very therapeutic, I assure you…).

This helped Mr. K’s scratching significantly and for the past few years, things have gone quite well. Admittedly, I’ve slacked off on the weekly baths but we’ve stuck to the diet. His scratching has gotten considerably worse in recent weeks and I’ve even begun to notice some random scabbing on his face and under his chin. So, I took a look at the food to make sure nothing major had changed and decided to try the grain free variation of Blue Basics. Our next course of action is to resume the baths and check in with a vet if things don’t calm down after that. While Keira’s situation seems much more severe than what Mr. K has experienced, I believe the weekly baths and maybe even switching her diet could help Keira as well.

One thing to consider is setting boundaries for the cats and Keira. For example, maybe the cats stay upstairs and Keira on the main level of your house. Or, if you’re like me and can’t stand the thought of having to separate your fur babies (especially if they are close like Heather and Mr. K), I would definitely make sure the cats don’t use Keira’s doggie bed, that Keira doesn’t use any cat beds and perhaps one or the other can use the couch exclusively – but not both. Try cleaning Keira’s doggie bed and anything that both Keira and the cats may come into contact with once a week or two. And vacuum frequently. This will help limit Keira’s exposure to cat dander and should reduce the number of times she comes into contact with allergens that aggravate her symptoms.

Additionally, I would recommend redoing the allergy test if you noticed the shots worked at first but not so much now. It is possible that Keira’s allergies have changed over time and therefore, it may be necessary to have the formula of the vaccine altered to help her with symptoms as well. Also, I have heard it can take up to a year to see results so keep that in mind if she hasn’t been on them very long. There is a percentage of dogs this treatment doesn’t work for…I sincerely hope Keira isn’t among those. If she is, there are a number of other things I’ve heard can help with dog allergies like fatty acid supplements and even antihistamines like Benadryl. However, I’m not a vet so I would check with a vet you trust before making a decision to try alternative treatments.

Speaking of vets, one thing that does concern me is that you say your vet isn’t very helpful. I’m a big believer in second opinions, especially when it comes to a Scottie’s health. If you feel your vet isn’t giving you or Keira the time, expertise or value you need, look around for someone that will. Taking care of your Scottie’s health can be challenging and you need a vet who not only knows a bit about issues that affect our Scotties but who is knowledgeable about latest treatment options while being open-minded to alternative therapies and lifestyle changes versus pushing an array of pills. I hope some of this has been helpful and that sweet Keira can find relief soon! As a lifelong allergy (and allergy shot) sufferer, I feel her pain. Fellow Scottie Moms and Dads, if I missed anything, feel free to weigh in here in the comments section below. Much love, The Scottie Mom.

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Hamish (left) and his brother Duncan.

Hamish (left) and his brother Duncan.

At less than a year old, Scotties Hamish and Duncan learned what it meant to fight for your life as they watched their Scottie Mom battle the disease that is expected to kill nearly 40,000 American women this year alone: breast cancer. Though they were young, Hamish and Duncan watched over their Scottie Mom and doted on her with unconditional Scottie Love to help her through this difficult time. They were there to greet her at the door each time she came home from her chemotherapy and radiation treatments and they were always happy to do what Scotties do best: make their hoomans happy!

Thanks to Hamish and Duncan’s support (and to medical treatments, a little perseverance, and a strong will to live!), their Scottie Mom kicked the evil “C” to the curb and is still thriving eight years later. Little Hamish, who obviously learned a thing or two about being a fighter and how to beat the odds from his Scottie Mom, has since been diagnosed with canine diabetes. For over four years now, he has had to rely on his Scottie Mom to give him two insulin injections every day. He’s on a special diet and has chosen carrots as his treat of choice these days. Each morning and night, instead of running away from the insulin needle, he trots over to his Scottie Mom like a little trooper to get his shot and, of course, a carrot or two.

Canine diabetes isn’t Hamish’s only issue. He also suffers from ear problems, skin infections and dry eyes. With all the trips to the V-E-T his conditions must require, one would think Hamish might be ready to throw in the towel but such is not the case. In fact, Hamish has taken every curve ball life has thrown him in stride and continues to live his best life with his Scottie brother Duncan by his side. Again, having learned a thing or two from his brave Scottie Mom and her battle with the evil “C,” it is no wonder Hamish continues to inspire those around him to look past the circumstances given, make the most of the situation and when a loved one is going through a difficult time, be there for them with a smile on your face and tail-a-wagging!

Many thanks to Hamish and Duncan’s Scottie Mom for sharing her precious pup’s story and much love goes out to you from the Scottie Mom community during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’m sure Hamish and Duncan will join me in my plea for women everywhere to get yearly mammograms in an effort to detect – and ultimately defeat – breast cancer earlier. For those interested in submitting your Scottie’s story for consideration as a Be Inspired by a Scottie piece, please send an email to thescottiemom(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Relax, Scottie Moms. This isn’t some freaky Scottie love story. No, this is just a tale of the 50 shades of grey that are emerging on Mr. K’s beard. When I first saw them, I was startled. What does a young fellow like him have grey hairs for? It seems like just yesterday was the day I met this spirited three-and-a-half-year-old. So, how can my baby boy be getting grey? Adding more to the confusion is seeing just how gracefully my girl Heather seems to be aging. Going on nine years old, Miss Heather doesn’t have a grey hair on her body. Mr. K is two years younger and yet, it appears he’ll be sporting a fully grey beard within the next year or so.

With every day that passes, another shade of grey appears. At first, it worried me. No, I thought, this cannot be happening. Time is going by too fast and he cannot be getting old on me. However, in time, I learned to love every little piece of grey hair that appears. You know why? Because that means he’s lived another day and that’s another day he’s had to leave his paw print on my heart with his shenanigans. And who doesn’t love Mr. K’s shenanigans?! I consider it a privilege to be the one Mr. K chooses to play his pranks on, to be the one whose lap he decides to jump on top of for a nightly cuddle and to be the one who has the honor of being called his (and Heather’s!) Scottie Mom.

This newfound respect for the shades of grey reminded me of the pups who are Mr. K’s age or older and still looking for a furever home to spend their golden (or should we say grey?) years. Every day, I see photos on Scottie rescue Facebook pages of pups who have found themselves in unfortunate situations and even some who have been given up because of the 50 shades of grey that have made their way to the infamous Scottie beard. Sad, I know but think of the opportunity that lies ahead for each of those pups and all the memories they are just waiting to bring to the right families!

So here’s to getting grey and never slowing down. Here’s to staying active and celebrating the time we do have with our beloved fur friends. And, if you have room in your heart and your home for another, to embracing the adventures that are coming your way. Because, in the end, it’s all worth it!

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Losing a Scottie must be one of the hardest experiences. My heart goes out to those Scottie Moms and Dads who have dealt with that loss already. One of the first Scottie Moms I heard from after we announced the Be Inspired by a Scottie series was Scottie Mom Pam. She owned (or was owned by) a little, black Scottish Terrier named McTavish.

McTavish was a lady of many hobbies: she loved chasing her Scottie Mom’s C-A-T Sophie, snacking on treats like scrambled eggs, corn bread and popcorn (in moderation and only with Scottie Mom’s permission, of course) and cuddling up with Scottie Mom Pam at the end of a long day. In many ways, McTavish was her Scottie Mom’s soul mate. Each morning, she would go to her trusty laundry bin full of toys and pull out her favorites so that she and Scottie Mom Pam could start off the day on a rather playful note. And each evening, McTavish would greet her Scottie Mom and hop on the sofa, ready for a hug.

When she was 12 years old, McTavish found herself struggling with Cushing’s disease and congestive heart failure. However, that didn’t stop this brave, little girl from being by her Scottie Mom’s side. After all, they were soul mates. In December 2009, McTavish welcomed another soul mate into the family as her Scottie Mom said, “I do” to McTavish’s Scottie Dad. Just two short months later, knowing her Scottie Mom was safe in the care of another soul mate, McTavish went to sleep one last time and headed out over the rainbow bridge.

20130720_205300Heartbroken, Scottie Mom Pam sought out projects around the house to stay busy so she wouldn’t be completely overwhelmed with the loss of her fur baby. She and her new husband had said their goodbyes to sweet McTavish and had buried her in the backyard where they set up a memorial for her. Scottie Mom Pam pulled out a large Ziploc bag full of cancelled postage stamps she used to make jewelry and started sorting through them. To her astonishment, she pulled out a stamp with an image of the largest natural bridge with its name written clearly below: “Rainbow Bridge.” In that moment, Scottie Mom Pam knew her sweet McTavish was sending her a message letting her know she had arrived safely on the other side.

Scottie Love like the kind McTavish and her Scottie Mom Pam share is a rare bond that stands both the test of time and spans across dimensions. There is no doubt in my mind what these two shared then (and still share today) is an inspiration for us all to live each moment like it is our last and to love and cherish every moment we have with our four-legged friends. Scottie Mom Pam and her husband have since welcomed another Scottie named Rosie into their home. Rosie turned two just last month. Many thanks to Scottie Mom Pam for sharing her precious McTavish’s story and much love goes out to you from the Scottie Mom community.

If you’re interested in submitting your Scottie’s story for consideration as a Be Inspired by a Scottie piece, please send an email to thescottiemom(at)gmail(dot)com.

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In honor of Scottie Health Awareness Day, we have a Heather health update for you. Simply put: we’re on the hunt for a new V-E-T again. You may recall that in the midst of buying The Scottie House, Heather had to return the V-E-T for Cushing’s testing. The results came back showing she did not have Cushing’s after all. However, what she does have isn’t entirely clear to me, either. What I do know is that her gallbladder is abnormal. The V-E-T had talked about seeing “sludge” in Heather’s gallbladder when we had the first ultrasound done. She gave me the option of putting her on a drug that had many, many side effects and could increase her chances of liver cancer, if I remember correctly. Naturally, I opted to monitor the situation with routine testing instead of putting Heather on additional medication.

Now that we know it isn’t Cushing’s and there is still an unknown cause for the recent spike in liver values, the V-E-T recommended (via email, I might add – the somewhat impersonal way I found out about all her recent test results) Ursodiol, a drug used to prevent gallstones and to treat chronic liver problems. I feel like the name of this drug sounds familiar but I simply cannot remember if this is the one the V-E-T first told me about with all the side effects. I’ve seen a few Scottie Moms mention Ursodiol before so I thought I’d take this one to the group for feedback.

The reason we’re on the hunt yet again for a V-E-T doesn’t have to do with the recommendation for Ursodiol so much as it does with the fact that I believe Heather (and I) deserve better. From the start, there wasn’t any trust when the V-E-T ordered a test I specifically asked her not to until we saw results from another set of tests. Then, they refused to refund the hundreds of dollars when I disputed the matter. After that, it was a constant game of not-so-merry go round of testing as the V-E-T played her losing hand at guessing. I will never forget when I found the lump that turned out to be liposarcoma and I came in for a visit and the V-E-T forgot to check it out before she left for her next appointment. We had to wait until our next appointment (for Heather’s dental) a week or so later to get it looked at and at that point, it was time for surgery.

Alas, it wasn’t all bad. A part of me feels so incredibly grateful for this V-E-T since she did take all the cancer out of my baby girl that I’m nearly guilt tripping myself into sticking with the V-E-T. However, I feel we need to seek another opinion especially as the move places us an hour away or more. Recommendations for V-E-T-S who are good with Scotties in the Atlanta area are certainly welcome. Here’s to good Scottie health and finding answers for my girl!

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