Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beautiful on the Inside

The continuing saga of Coulee's life...

When I last updated you on Coulee's feet, we had just started her on steroids.  At around the same time, we had started to notice that Coulee was getting thinner so we increased her food.  We didn't think she'd mind as the steroids should make her hungry.  Two weeks later, she was still getting thinner (or at least wasn't getting fatter) so we increased it a little more.  She is now eating almost 50% more calories than she was getting when she was healthy and exercising every day. A week ago, I started to panic.

I emailed the dermatologist and she suggested some blood work and a fecal exam.  She also asked if the steroids were making a difference.  They weren't, so we started to wean her off.  Apparently, if they were going to do something, they should have done it by then.  :(

Just as we started to wean her off the steroids Coulee became absolutely ravenous.  She was doing things she had never done before - raiding the "cat room", as well as getting into garbage cans.  We've had to treat her like a puppy and crate her whenever we can't watch her. For example, she has tried to get into the cat room 3 times since I started typing this and it is within sight of where I am so she isn't even being subtle about it.  She had her full dinner plus an extra 3/4 cup of kibble (the kibble alone used to be 1/2 a meal).  Yet she is still hungry enough to risk getting into trouble.

Monday we went in for the tests and Wednesday we got our first set of results. One of her liver enzymes (ALT) was high.  Really high.  It should be between 10-60, she was at 645.  Gulp!  Our local vet prescribed some pills to protect her liver and some anti-biotics as her white blood cell count was also elevated.  I forwarded the information to our dermatologist and she called within 30 minutes and suggested we come up ASAP for an ultrasound as her liver could be in trouble.

So Coulee and I hit the road today and got it done.  The good news is she looks beautiful on the inside.  There is no sign of any trouble on her liver, kidneys, spleen, etc.  She thinks Coulee may have ingested something toxic while raiding the garbages and this has caused the spike.  She is predicting things will look normal again in a month.  Yay!

The bad news is, this doesn't explain the weight loss or hunger (she is down to 55 lbs when she is normally in the low 60's despite a crap load of calories).  So she has suggested we switch Coulee to a high quality kibble as we know she does well on it. This makes me laugh as that is what we were on a year or so ago when we started this adventure.  Basically she has no idea what is causing this and is hoping that it is just her current diet.  We are still waiting on some lab results so there may be some news still to come.  Hopefully we'll hear more tomorrow.

The other bad news is that there is nothing more to try to fix her feet.  We've ruled out zinc deficiency, allergies, liver disease, and auto-immune (and something else too but I can't remember what it was).  It looks like we are just going to have to manage her pain when they get bad and deal with them the best we can.  This would normally make me very sad, but at the moment I'm just thrilled she isn't dying of a liver disease which is what I've been imagining for the past few days.

Hopefully we can fix her hunger pains so that life can get back to normal soon.

Oh and Coulee spent the whole two hours in the vet office and waiting room chewing on her baby Cuz toy.  I'm sure it drove the receptionists nuts (it sounds like she is chewing a very large wad of gum with her mouth wide open) but it kept her from shaking like a leaf like the dog on our left, or whining like a baby like the dog on our right.  :)  We also saw a very handsome Mastiff who made us all laugh by trying to log roll over to another dog all without breaking the down command his dad had given him.  It was seriously funny.

Moves Like Jagger

No good dance moves in this last one, but she got the wild hair of a rock star.  ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Retrievers They Are Not

Coulee was having a rest day yesterday so I took Tate and Lacey to the dog park by themselves.  I discovered something very important... retrievers they are not.  :)

They were both very interested in the toy but seemed incapable of finding it unless it was really obvious.

With Coulee I throw it as hard and as far as I can.  With these two I had to do short little throws.

I discovered that Lacey only uses her eyes to search for the toy.  She runs to where she thinks it is and if it isn't there, she looks for it and will sometimes spot it, but is generally pretty ineffective as she is often short of the mark.

Tate on the other hand only uses his nose.  He was completely oblivious to where it went but would run off anyway and end up sniffing 20 feet away from the toy and have no luck.  In his defence, I think the throwing motion of the frisbee was different than what he was used to so he was never really sure when and where I threw it.

Whenever they did get it though, they were very, very proud of themselves.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Spirit

We are looking after Tate for a few weeks while Jo is in Ontario celebrating Christmas with her whole family!  (Mom, I'm not sure if I mentioned there would be a fifth furry creature in the house... heh heh.  And when I add them up like that it sure sounds like a lot!)

Tate continues to amaze me with how much he has changed.  He is still quiet as a mouse in the house - he doesn't even get up to greet me when I get home - but out on a walk he is fun and fiesty.  The moment we are home again, he runs back to the comfort of our bed.  LOL.

I brought out the Christmas bulb toy as I thought it would make nice photos with the snow.  I was a little worried he wouldn't play with it as he is more of a soft toy kind of guy, but he loved it.

It was a little slippery though and he kept dropping it.  Then he'd stand there and bark at me to come get it to throw it again.  I guess some things never change.

Tate is always so fun to have around because I always get lots and lots of compliments about how beautiful he is.  No one ever says that when they meet my dogs!  ;)

Jo loves her photos so I'm sure there will be many more of this handsome guy over the next few weeks... until he starts looking like he needs a groom anyway.  ;)  Hey Jo, did you notice I took off his collar?  Just for you!  Hope you guys are having fun, drinking lots of wine and having lots of laughs!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Communication is important in any relationship.

Lacey:  That looks like fun.  Can I have it?

Coulee: Keep your distance little one.  I'm playing with this.

Lacey: Are you sure I can't join in the game?  It sure looks like you are having a good time.  I wanna play!

Coulee: You are starting to piss me off. 

Lacey: No really, I want to play.  Let me have it!

Coulee:  I said BACK OFF!

Lacey:  Yikes!  I get it!  Why didn't you say something in the first place?

Other times Coulee has the patience of a saint...

Lacey truly is the pesky younger sister.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Funny Face

I pried the 70-200 lens off my camera the other day and I'm so glad I did.  I think with the 70-200 I get more "pretty" pictures but with my 18-50 lens I get more "fun" pictures.  Lacey's expressions cracked me up the entire time I was going through the photos from the other day...

The look of concern with a hint of pleading...

The look of surprise...

The look of excited expectation...

The look of a pinhead. ;)  I debated editing Coulee's pinhead out of the background but it made me laugh too much.  (There was no cropping for this photo below... this is what happen when you shoot from the hip. LOL)

The look of confusion...

And the look of greed... she is jumping up to get the toy out of my hand.  :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

No Change

Coulee is doing remarkably well on the steroids. The peeing and eating is not out of control and other than some begging behaviour, lots of bone chewing and a few extra trips to the bathroom you'd never know anything was different.

But unfortunately that includes her feet.... so far, no change.  They aren't worse, but they aren't any better either.  It has only been a week and a half though so we aren't worried.  Besides we know that when they do get better it is almost overnight so it could happen at any moment without warning. I'm just glad the steroids aren't producing worse side effects.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ring of Fun

So I ordered these cool toys from Bionic and was anxiously awaiting them for MONTHS.  The bones were a total bust for the daycare and I'll be returning the remaining ones back to the company.  But the Tug and Toss.... oh my.  Lacey had a blast.  I apologize for the million photos you are about to see but she was being so cute, I just couldn't narrow it down any more than this! Don't mind the leash in some of the photos, I could see a person and dog in the distance so it was just a precaution.