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  • Leslie's girls

    Hi Ya'll,

    I need input and reassurance (if ya'll agree) on some decisions I have made and implemented for Squirt and it's time to update on the other girls in the house.

    Squirt is doing really well. I went to my hometown last weekend and Squirt wanted to go with me! For the last while, when she would see my bags she would go slinking off and hide. This time when she saw my bags she got excited, started wagging her tail like crazy and bouncing on her front legs which is how she used to act when she knew we were taking a trip. So she got to go with me and really enjoyed the ride, visiting, and spending time with her mom all alone. She didn't have any negative reaction to the time on the road at all! My sister-in-law has a Brussels Griffon that she breeds and now has a new male Brussels in the house. Squirt was so funny playing with him...until he tried to mount her. After that she kinda scooted around things with her butt against them so he couldn't get to her. Then when he would try to mount Lucy or Sophie (their Pug), Squirt would let him know in no uncertain terms that was not nice! Poor fellow...he was glad to see us leave every time! decisions....for one, I have cut Squirt's melatonin in half. While I was sick a while back, she missed several days of her meds and Jim said she seemed more alert and active than he had seen her in a while. So as an experiment, I took her off the melatonin for a week just to see for myself. It was true. She was more energetic, alert, and involved. Of course, I know the melatonin has a sedative effect so some slowing is to be expected but it had gotten to the point that she slept more than I wanted her to or thought she should. I had started to worry that the lethargy was coming back but it seems to be the melatonin dose. So I have started giving her half a cap in the morning and half at equivalent of 3mg/day VS twice a day. She has been getting this dose for a little over a month now and I don't see any signs returning. In fact, she is more like my Sweet Bebe she used to be before the Cushing's diagnosis and surgery. However, I do want to know what ya'll think about this dose change, so any thoughts, suggestions, advise, etc are appreciated as always.

    Another decision I have made about light of her observable status, I have decided to take the money for her testing and use it for Goldie (explanation later in post). I am very curious about her cortisol levels but that isn't reason enough to put her through the stress (or the expense at the moment as much as I hate to say that ). As a very cut-n-dry refresher - Squirt is not on Lyso or Trilo, only melatonin and lignans plus supplements and herbs; her first ACTH post was 18.2, the second was 32.8, then the surgery, and the last ACTH was 14.2. So with that reading, her behavior, and the lack of I making the right decision here? I feel I am, but want to know what ya'll think.

    Ok, Goldie. Goldie's teeth are terrible! She has dual canines and quite a bit of tarter and plaque. We have known that from the beginning but didn't take any action, one because she was a rescue and the plan was to find her a home but....we know how that went! For another, her mental state was so bad for so long that the less stress the better. Well, now she is one of the family, she has settled in quite well, is much calmer tho still quite skittish, and has been to the vet a few times so it isn't as scary as it once was. Her breath is really, really bad, she is coughing and panting quite heavily over nothing more and more, and in the last few days has started throwing up what looks like mostly bile. I am concerned about her heart and digestive system if there is bacteria in her mouth, which I fear is the case. So at the moment I think her health is the priority of the gang, including Squirt. Ya'll agree?

    Other than this issue, Goldie is doing quite well. We have learned that she will let us know when something is wrong. Once while we were gone, one of the tables got knocked over that had some plants on it. Goldie would not settle down, running from the kitchen to the LR, barking like mad, until we followed her and saw the mess. Then she was ok. She has done things like this several times since, usually over some mess Crys has made. Jim and I have practiced putting her harness on quite a bit since she ate my hands up that time plus she now wears a collar at all times. She is still Jim's baby girl and loves him to the point that she is driving him nuts! She follows him everywhere and wants him to be in sight at all times, preferably she is in physical contact with him at all times! Goldie has staked out her man and heaven help you if you try to touch him! LOL In general, she is quite protective and territorial. We have to watch her now whenever someone comes in the house other than us. She is apt to nip ya, especially if you approach Jim! And she's sneaky about it...she will leave the room only to come up behind and BAM! she's nipped your ankle. Goldie will always be a tad bit psychotic I'm afraid. Bless her heart.

    Goldie and I are making progress, slow but steady. She lets me pet her all over now, even her legs, privates, and rolling over so I can rub her belly. She lets me brush her some, pull stuff from her hair, and wash her face. Jim and I have been working on passing her back and forth between us and I can pick her up sometimes now, but she growls the whole time until she is on my shoulder. She's funny...she will growl while she is licking me and wagging her tail when I rub her chin and neck sometimes. Jim and Gary have been out of town for a few days from time to time and she is kinda lost without Jim at first. She will sit in his chair and whine, looking so sad. But then I guess she decides the crazy old lady is better than no one and she will become quite loving toward me. Well, loving for her. She will sit in my lap when I sit, falling asleep there if I sit long enough, she follows me around the house and tries to keep the other dogs away from me like she does with Jim. But she doesn't show the same depth of attachment and bond she does toward Jim. It is really cute how she snuggles against him and acts when she sees him. Goldie expresses her love for Jim very openly and frequently. She doesn't do that with me but I am very grateful for the bond she has with Jim and the progress she had made overall. She is no longer the screaming, quivering little mess she was when she got here.

    Ruby is doing ok. The Previcox helped her for about 2 weeks then seemed to lose it's effectiveness. So we haven't continued with that for her hips. For now, she is on Glucosamine/Condroitin w/MSM 3200mg/day, salmon oil 1000 mg/day, Vit E 400 I.U./day, and Tramadol 50-100mg 2X/day as needed. The Vit E may be increased as I'm not sure this is enough for 1000mg of fish oil. She doesn't seem to need the Tramadol as much I would think she would. When I see that she is panting heavily, limping more, or just not moving around much, then I will give her a dose. Ruby has slowed down quite a bit since the diagnosis but after seeing that Xray, I don't know how she has been moving at all. She still jumps up on the bed, couch and her couch/bed but not as much as she used to. The getting down is the hard part for her; she puts her front legs on the floor and the back end just kinda melts down. It would be funny to see if you didn't know why she was doing it that way. There have been a few times when she seemed to be having trouble getting to her feet from laying down on the floor but when I went to help her up, she rolled over so I could rub her belly. I'm not sure how to let her know what I am trying to do and how to get her to cooperate. As the arthritis progresses, I know she will get to the point where she will need that kind of assistance. Any ideas?

    Ruby still has her good times, tho, when she charges off after a squirrel or cat in the yard and she still wants to play with us, tho we are much gentler than we used to be. She really likes to play kinda rough but we do our best to keep her over-doing so she doesn't hurt herself. When it's feeding time, I have to really keep on her not to bounce and jump on the kitchen floor as it is slick and I'm afraid she will fall. She has started to accept Crys a little bit and they will play together, too. Crys does most of the running and carrying on while Ruby stays in the same general area doing her part. As soon as they start playing, Goldie starts barking and raising holy cain, so with her chiming in, Ruby growling and barking, and Crys barking her fool head off, the noise level gets quite HIGH! It sounds terrible when they start this game but Ruby's fierce growls and barks are apparently part of the game now and Crys has had no new gashes or scars on her head for some time.

    Crystal....well what can I say? She is the Possessed Puppy! Not really, but she is full of it and we NEVER know what to expect next with her! She keeps us on our toes to say the very least! Her health is great! Her skin is clear, pink and strong. Her coat is shiny, has two layers now and is a beautiful honey color with light and dark highlites. As for the eating everything, I bought her a heavy plastic basket-style muzzle which she got off and ate. So we now have a metal basket muzzle with thick leather straps that go around her neck, up beside each cheek and over her skull; she figured out how to ram it into the privacy fence boards and yank it off, but hasn't tried to eat this one! Jim has had to repair several parts of the fence, tho. So...while a muzzle may work well for some dogs, they haven't worked for Crys. I have started using it as a training tool instead and it seems to be working. She is so stubborn it is hard to tell what she really has learned at times. When she starts chewing on something she isn't supposed to, I put the muzzle on her for a bit, whether inside or out. The destruction has slowed down quite a bit and her poops haven't been technicolored or full of odd bits and pieces lately. Of course, she has grown up a bit, too, so that could be a big part of it...I hope this is something she will outgrow anyway. I found a WHOLE toothpick in her poop a few weeks ago!

    Crys has two crates now, one she sleeps in and one in the LR for when we are gone a short time or when she needs a time out. We went grocery shopping a while back and put her in the LR crate. She had her harness on and when we came back, she had eaten it. That was the only thing in the crate she could eat and I guess she got bored with her Kong. We went to get her a new harness and while trying them on in the store, she was being her usual self and acting a she had never even been in a harness! Jim had been telling me she needed to be in a choker collar and several other people had made the same comment when seeing her pull while we were out and about. The folks in the store were saying the same thing, too. I hate those collar, hate collars for lead use in general, but Crys is very strong and really does pull in a harness. Several times it has taken everything I had to hold her back and even Jim has had to really work at it. So I reluctantly agreed to try one. After Jim worked with her for a few hours on a leash, walking her around the house and yard, sitting in his chair with the lead in his lap and her beside him, she was a different pup on a lead. She no longer pulls and fights when she wants to go where we don't and my arms/shoulders/back no longer ache after being with her on a lead. I'm no longer afraid she will pull me down or get away from me either. She is amazingly strong! I would love to put her in obedience class but just can't afford that at the moment.

    Crys is still a loving girl who loves to snuggle with her mom in the bed and thinks she is the perfect size to be a lap dog. She kisses just about everyone she meets, loves just about everyone she meets, and those she does shy away from we kinda wonder about. And she is sooooo funny! She loves to play with her feet! When she gets after her back feet and legs it is hilarious! I will hear this strange carpet-scraping sound from the LR and go look to find Crys laying in the floor, curled up, dragging herself in a circle with her front legs while trying to grab her back ones. She'll get hold of one and roll on her back growling and gnawing on her leg like it is trying to attack her. It will get away from her and she chases it around til she gets it again. She will stretch out and close her eyes like she is finally tired, then one of her back legs will twitch and start moving up real slow and she will jerk around, teeth bared and growling, and snatch it! She will finally jump up, start running, growling and looking behind her the whole time like, "Holy Cow! they're still there!" I am trying to get this on video but so far have not done a very good job. When I do, I will post it and let ya'll know where to see it. It's really funny!

    There's so much more I could tell you about my girls, especially Crys, but I think this had gotten long enough! So I will shut-up, thank you for listening, and look for responses on Squirt and Goldie.

    Leslie and her wonderful girls
    "May you know that absence is full of tender presence
    and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten." Anne, a Corgi mom

  • #2
    Re: Leslie's girls


    I changed my last post thinking maybe I might be over-reacting with the melatonin and didn't want to alarm anyone just by my own experience ..
    I mostly wanted to say that I agree that the melatonin dose needs to be monitored carefully and we should all be aware of possible side effects with all medications (natural and/or prescribed).

    Last edited by LucytheBeagle; 05-13-2009, 10:46 AM.


    • #3
      Re: Leslie's girls

      Hi Leslie,

      I can't help with the medicine stuff but when I read about Crystal I thought of this training leash you can get at Petsmart. A guy I work with also works for an animal shelter and he often uses this:

      He has used it on many dogs with great success. He said some dogs kind of freak out at first because they are not used to something on the top of their nose, but they get used to it pretty quick. He has even given a couple away. Couple weeks ago he saw a couple walking with a baby stroller and a young dog. The dog was pulling back, not wanting to walk. He pulled over and asked if he could help and put the leash on him, after a couple minutes the dog walked great!! He let them have it. Its worth a try??? It is kind of expensive though for a leash. There is a dvd with it, he had me watch it.

      One of his dogs just passed away from diabetes, too bad I didn't find you guys sooner. I share all the info I learn here with him so he can pass it along at the shelter.

      Hope you get all your other questions answered.



      • #4
        Re: Leslie's girls

        Hi Leslie and the girls,

        Oh Leslie, What a lovely family. You sure don't have alot of time for yourself, but, all them doggie kisses must be nice.

        As for Goldie's teeth, three weeks I had to take my other Pom. (Bear) into the vets , now, in the past I was pretty loyal with brushing their teeth, but this past year, not so good , bad Mom, anyway, Bear, for the past week before his vet appt. was coughing and hackin (reason for vet appt.)

        I thought he might beginning to have a collasped trachea, I don't know, but, here all it was, was a bad molar on his left side that had to pulled out. The vet said the bacteria was going down his throat making him cough and gag.

        It's been two weeks now and I haven't heard Bear cough or gag since.Teeth are being brushed regularly now, even the cats.

        For Ruby: When she is laying down and you want to help her up is there anyway you can get a large towel or sheet under her belly, with one end of the sheet/towel on one side of her and the other end on the other side so you can help lift her up, I don't know if I'm explaining this right, but the towel/sheet will be shaped like a "U" under her. My sister and I had to do that for her dog Rex, he was a St. Bernard/Husky mixed, and got hit by a car, couldn't or wouldn't walk at the vets, Rex was at the vets for 2 months, so we brought him home and worked with him for 6 months and he walked for us at home.

        Love to see that video of Crys and them back legs, that has to hilarious. You'd have to send that video to "America's Funniest Videos", I bet you would win.

        I'm so glad to see you posted a thread, you are always so helpful and supportive and seem to know just what to say to someone when they feel down, confused or a total basket-case, like me
        Last edited by Harley PoMMom; 05-11-2009, 02:49 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Leslie's girls

          Hi Leslie,
          Your little story of Squirt and the Brussels just made me laugh. Sounded very much like Roxee in her hey day. Heaven help the male dog that tried anything on her or her sister. They made a great tag team. Rozee would bark in the dogs face and Roxee would sneak around and bite the dog on his arse and hang on. I still laugh thinking about it.

          Well for the Melatonin, it's like you've told so many of us here. You know her better than anyone so who better to make that call. It really sounds like she is doing great and glad she had a good little vacation.

          Teeth are always important and as you are well aware can and will affect her organs if not taken care of. We were in kinda the same situation with Mickee and Rozee. I was getting ready to take Mickee in to check if his eyes and hearing were getting any worse or Rozee for her teeth and a wellness panel, but then the bout of diahrea so we had to take Rox and Roz in and that made the decision for us. Rozee needed the bloodworkup bc her teeth are getting bad. So Mickee's eyes and ears will have to wait but he is still such a happy guy. Very nice that Goldie has attached herself to Jim, maybe Jim should nickname her shadow.

          I don't know how much Ruby weighs but I have seen this support that wraps around the dog and has a handle on top kind of like a suitcase. Might be worth looking into.

          Looking forward to seeing the video on Cry's. I just started laughing trying to picture this in my mind. With Cry's around, who needs a TV?

          Thanks for taking the time to tell us about the girls, and yep, I can see why you call yourself the crazy lady but it does sound like a whole lot of fun at your house.

          Hugs back at you and the Girls
          John (Roxee's Dad)


          • #6
            Re: Leslie's girls

            Hi ya'll,

            I really appreciate all the kind words about my girls as well as the suggestions and shared experiences. I knew I could count on ya'll!

            I had a phone conversation with a special friend last nite and was reminded of how long it takes for the Atypical treatment to take effect (3-4 months) and what a shame it would be to lose the ground she has gained by messing with the doses. An excellent thought and one that had not occurred to me at all! So this morning I sent off an email to Dr. O asking about this dose change for Squirt. When I get his response, I will share it with you.

            Goldie went to the vet yesterday and she only got one finger this time! But nothing major! She just prefers that Jim put her lead on. Anyway, she was running fever of 103 degrees when they first checked it. They took it 4 more times hoping it was just stress from being at the clinic, but it rose every time til it was up to 103.3. No apparent reason except the teeth. She is going to have to have a dental with at least 2 extractions on the dual canines. They ran blood work/urine to send to their new lab, which does more than the one they were using or their in-house tests do. We should have those results in a couple of days or so. Her heart is good, lungs clear, fecal clear and of course, she wouldn't cough for anything even with Dr C irritating the throat until we went outside, then she started. For now, she is on Clavamox 250mg/day and Tagamet 150mg/day. By last nite, the fever was gone. With the blood work done and a round of antibiotics already in her system, she will be ready for the dental in about 3 weeks as long as the tests don't show anything. Now all I have to do is come up with the $$$$. Has anyone bought a new freezer or 'fridge lately? I'm thinking a couple of those size boxes will do us nicely when we move onto Dr C's parking lot.

            Leslie and the girls
            "May you know that absence is full of tender presence
            and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten." Anne, a Corgi mom


            • #7
              Re: Leslie's girls

              Ok, I heard back from Dr O about the melatonin. My message first then his response:

              "Hi Dr. Oliver,

              I hope you are feeling better and back in high form.

              My Squirt was diagnosed as having elevated intermediate/sex hormones in
              8/08 via the testing at UTK and I have a question. Her results were as

              Squirt’s UT Panel results – 8/27/08

              Baselines and normal ranges**

              Cortisol ng/ml 41.3
              Androstenedione ng/ml 5.6 0.1-5.7
              Estradiol pg/ml 80.4*
              Progesterone ng/ml 0.58*
              17 OH Prog ng/ml 0.33
              Aldeosterone pg/ml*** <11.0 11-139.9

              Post ACTH (30 min and 1 hr) and normal ranges**

              Cortisol ng/ml 161.9 327.8*
              Androstenedione ng/ml 34.0 30.6 2.7-39.7
              Estradiol pg/ml 80.3* 89.6*
              Progesterone ng/ml 2.74* 2.74* 0.10-1.50
              17 OH Prog pg/ml 3.08* 3.18* 0.40-1.62
              Aldosterone pg/ml*** QNS 399.1* 7.2-398.5

              On the treatment sheet, you recommended an ultrasound which we did. A
              splenic tumor was found and in Sept 08, the tumor along with part of the
              spleen was removed. All pathology on the tumor, spleen tissue, plus liver
              biopsies came back clean. Her ACTH in Jan. showed a post # of 14.2 ug/dl,
              the lowest it has been since her diagnosis in 3/08. The plan is to have
              another full adrenal with cortisol done on her in the next couple of

              My question - Recently I was ill and Squirt missed several days of her
              melatonin and lignans, and my fiance' said Squirt was more alert than he
              had seen her in quite a while. So as an experiment, I took her off the
              melatonin for a week and she was much more alert, active, and involved.
              The melatonin has since been restarted but I am wondering if it would be a
              problem to cut the 3mg 2X/day in half (she is 11, weighs 14 lbs and is a
              cairn terrier/chihuahua cross). Squirt is doing very well, no signs of
              Cushing's at all and I would hate to lose any ground since it takes so long
              for these treatments to be effective. So I would like your input on
              whether to continue with the 3mg 2X/day until her next UTK panel or if it
              would be alright to half the dose. Squirt is the first Atypical patient my
              vet has dealt with, so we come to ask the expert.

              Thank you for your time and, again, I hope you are feeling much better.
              Leslie Richards and her Sweet Bebe, Squirt"

              "Hi Leslie,
              It does sound like the melatonin dose that was being given was too much
              for Squirt, causing her to be sedated. Cutting the dose in half should
              help this, but still maintain the melatonin influence.
              I'm doing well myself.
              Regards, Jack.

              Jack W. Oliver, D.V.M., Ph.D."

              So lowering her dose should be ok, but I think just to be on the safe side, I will get some 2mg, do those twice a day and see how she does. Seems like I saw 2mg.....somewhere....hummmmm.....looks like I may be finding that line for Squirt where she isn't negatively affected by the melatonin yet still keep enough in her system to do it's job. Got some figurin' to do, I reckon.

              Leslie and Squirt
              "May you know that absence is full of tender presence
              and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten." Anne, a Corgi mom


              • #8
                Re: Leslie's girls

                That's interesting makes can two doses (3mg BID & 6mg BID) cover the range of all dog sizes?

                Thanks for asking him & posting the info.!!!



                • #9
                  Re: Leslie's girls

                  Hi ya'll,

                  Dr C called this morning with Goldie's lab results..."just beautiful" to quote the doc! There was some bacteria in the urine but Dr C feels it is from contamination when getting the sample. Goldie is already on Clavamox, so if it was the start of a UTI, this should help nip it in the bud. So, as long as I can find the funds, looks like she will get a dental and some teethies pulled in a few weeks. The lab work is good for 3-4 weeks.

                  Everyone else is doing great!

                  Leslie and the girls
                  "May you know that absence is full of tender presence
                  and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten." Anne, a Corgi mom


                  • #10
                    Re: Leslie's girls


                    I swear I can barely keep up with you! How do you keep up with you??

                    I am really glad you got some feedback from Dr. O and hopefully the dose change will do the trick! Glad too that Goldie is on the path to getting those teeth taken care of and if Percy is there, he is on his way out bc of the Clavamox.

                    And don't ever doubt what you are know what you are doing!!! I have faith in you completely!!!

                    Love ya! Beth and you know the rest


                    • #11
                      Re: Leslie's girls

                      Hello crazy AND adorable lady. Glad to hear the good news. I'll be paying attention to your experiment. I never understood either how a dose between 3-5 mg would be the right amount for every dog. I read on a canine cancer article that big doses of melatonin were reportedly given, successfully for certain types of cancer, shrinking the tumors, but they never mentioned the amounts. So I don't worry anymore about this melatonin and I just enjoy the seldom play times and if she naps next to me while on my PC or riding on my car or whatever, with her old goofy gray smile, everything is OK.

                      Choco kisses

                      Marcela & The Choco Labs


                      • #12
                        Re: Leslie's girls

                        Sounds great Leslie! Nice to hear of Squirt being more happy and playful.
                        Sounds like your experiment worked!

                        Barney and Cheryl