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Posts Tagged ‘Beagle’

We have great plans for this year! But for right now — here are pictures of the kids!

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Ever since we lost our last beagle, about two and a half years ago I started questioning veterinarians.  He was clearly sick.  The first words out of the vet’s mouth when she saw him was, “He has Lyme Disease.”  But then the SNAP test came back negative.  So she decided he must have ruptured a disc in his spine, and recommended crate rest and drugs.  I recall asking about x-rays, but was discouraged as the vet said it might not show up, the symptoms were all pointing to it and he was a beagle, who are prone to IVDD.

Two and a half years ago, I was not a good enough advocate for my dog.  Ten days later he was still clearly in pain, the medication was not causing an improvement.  I called back and asked more questions about Lyme Disease, only then when I directly asked was I told that false negatives on Lyme tests were “common.”  I asked if there was another test and again was discouraged from doing this by being told it would be several hundred dollars to run it.  The impression I was left with was that it was extremely costly, not worth it since they’d already “diagnosed” him and that they weren’t really interested in doing it.  But I knew my dog wasn’t getting better, so this time I followed up with another question.  I asked what the treatment for Lyme was, and if it would harm my dog if we put him on it.  Only three days later he was doing much better.  A few months later we lost him, and looking back I feel perhaps I still wasn’t being the best advocate for my dog I should have been, but I starting to learn.

So now I try to be a better advocate for my dog.  I research and read.  I have notebooks filled with information I’ve learned, and definitions for things I never studied having just a B.S. in English.  I study and talk with other dog owners, breeders and vets.  Things I took for granted years ago, now I know better (like the idea that you “must” vaccinate annually).  And I’m using that information to be a better partner in my dogs’ care.  Because of me and my pushing, my vet has now agreed to titer testing.  I’m helping educate him as I educate myself.  The other day when our first titer results came in his first words to me were “I’m going to give you a lot more information than I would another patient.”  I smiled. He knows I have questions, that I’m wanting to learn and do the best I can for my dogs with the information I have now.  He knows I won’t blindly follow his recommends, and takes the time to explain them.  Sometimes I’m amazed he puts up with me, other times I think he enjoys the challenge.

My blind faith in their recommendations is gone.  I now ask why.  I now work to understand, so that I’m not just taking someone else’s word for the fact that this is best for my dog.  Because I’m the only voice that dog has.

On the other hand, as I struggled through the research, and emails and phone calls with my vet, as I challenged his protocols and fought for what I feel is best for my dogs, my husband says to me, “Well, I’m sure you know what’s best.”

That kind of blind faith is overwhelming.  I can only hope that he’s right.  I have so much more to learn.

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What a week. The weather has been all over the place, with rain and storms that triggered a migraine that lasted several days. Even with the migraine we still managed to train though. What can I say? Priorities!

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, we went to Tractor Supply. While there it started raining so hard you couldn’t see across the parking lot. So, what’s a girl with a puppy to do? Train of course! We practiced our sits and downs, and comes, and then did our very first retrieves some place other than home. The Golden picked out a toy while walking through the aisles, so we played with that in a store with lots of distractions. He did fantastic, always bringing the toy back to me for which he received lots of praise.

Other places we visited this week:

  1. Vet’s office for some training in the lobby to show him that it can be fun to go to the Vet! We also weighted while there – the Golden is now 22.2 lbs!
  2. Class (of course)
  3. Local Pet Supply store (not new, but any exposure is good!)
  4. Lowes (a different Lowes so I count this as new)
  5. Three different parks (one new)
  6. Car wash (new)

We’ve been working more on loose leash walking, and he’s getting better without distractions. Distractions are still hard, so we’ll keep working on it. Stays are improving. In fact today at the park I managed several steps away while he held his position. Such a good puppy!

Shake has been achieved! I kept working on it, and finally he’s doing it! Actually his very first time with a paw lift was even while we were at the local pet supply store! Fantastic! We’ve now gotten shake just about everywhere. We should be good for Puppy Class graduation where a trick is displayed!

The other milestone this week is he rang his bell! Every time we take him out to use the bathroom we make him ring a bell. So far it’s been us pointing to the bell until he touches it, then taking him out. The other day I had the gate up so he was in the kitchen with me while I was making dinner. I heard the bell ring. It actually took a moment to register in my brain what I was hearing and what that meant I should do! Sometimes you wonder who is training who. But after a second I raced over and opened the back door. The Golden raced out, peed and came running back in. So very proud of my boy!

Then there are times when you pretend to be proud, when you really don’t feel it. On one of our walks this week in the woods, he comes prancing up to me with a bone in his mouth, attached to a joint. He was so very proud of his find! I smiled, and told him what a good boy he was as I traded it for a treat and managed to kick the bone off deeper into the woods all the while fighting down my ick reaction. Lovely puppy found me a nice, dead thing. Wasn’t that sweet of him? He certainly thought so!

And this week I finally got a family photo! Here are the Beagle, Labrador and Golden!

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The Golden is 11 weeks old today and growing like a weed. His sits, downs and stands are gaining in duration where 10 seconds is not unreasonable to ask. We’ve upped our work on “come” and his name trying to make sure he knows what he name is. He did very well with attention and his name on our last walk. Sometime we play with heeling, circle, and spin.

We’ve been working more with the dremel (I got all his toes done yesterday!), and the blowdryer. For the blowdryer we’re working up his body, practicing mostly while he eats. He’s been sitting on his balance disc and we started checking out the FitPaws peanut, just putting our front legs on it for treats.

This week we also discovered mud! Mud is a great deal of fun, but it led us to our first bath, which wasn’t as much fun. After that we went to the Fourth of July festival mentioned in the earlier post where we met lots of children, men in uniform and a working dog.

A scheduled play date went well, and it was interesting to watch how differently my puppy responded to two different dogs. One dog was very confident and sure of himself, which made the Golden act very deferential. The other dog wasn’t as confident, which changed the dynamic so that the Golden acted more demanding (play with me!). The non-confident dog was never sure of the situation, clearly appearing conflicted, play bowing once, wanting to sniff, but then not liking the puppy pounces. We walked them together for a bit, but never let them off leash to play.

This week was also his first swim! He’s been in the puppy pool, but that’s not deep enough to swim. And we went to the lake one day, but he didn’t go in past where he could stand. Finally on Saturday he ventured out, clearly swimming!!

It’s been raining all afternoon. Luckily we got our walks and training done in the morning, so we’ve spent the afternoon with the Labrador on my left, Golden on my lap (I’m going to miss him being this little!) and the Beagle curled up on a blanket on the big couch. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon!

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Last night we brought the new puppy home. It was late by the time we got home, already dark so we didn’t do much in the way of introductions. We let him run around his front yard a bit, waiting for him to do his business and then had a short visit with both the Lab and the Beagle.

The Lab responded with “THIS IS AWESOME! CHASE ME! Hey…why aren’t you keeping up??” The Beagle, well she was rather unimpressed, but handled it in a very dignified way which prevented Puppy from even trying to chase or pounce. Which considering the Beagle’s health is perfect.

The thing that amazed me first (you’ll find several things have amazed me about him already) is that he took the steps we have in the front yard. No hesitation. I do not recall how the Beagle handled steps, but I do remember we had to coax and work with the Labrador to get her doing steps. We started with one, and then over a series of days worked up to the whole flight. Golden took them as if he’d already been doing them his whole life. Now since I’ve been involved in the raising of this litter, I know for a fact this is not the case!

Last night Golden did sleep in the bed. He did perfectly fine. The Labrador was there as well, and while I didn’t sleep as deeply as normal, it wasn’t because he was doing anything to keep me up.

This morning of course we went right outside and took care of business. Breakfast was served, and then there was a little more introduction, with some playing. Golden and I then took off for an adventure in the woods. He was such a trooper! Stayed with me, following me through the woods off trail. I stepped over a fallen tree, and he tried to climb it, unable to make it over the first time. He started crying. I kept walking a bit, then turned around and told him to figure it out. He ran down a little ways and managed to get under it, bounding up to me grinning. I assured him he was a very bright boy and we kept walking.

Once home there was a little crate training, as it was time to grocery shop. Once we returned, all three dogs hung out as groceries were put up. The afternoon was then divided up between the pups. The Labrador and I practiced with bumpers. Then Beagle got her physical therapy work out and Beagle and Labrador got a walk. Dinner got me focused back on the Golden as we worked on sits, downs, stands, touch and “yes” as click with his dinner. He amazed me again. Now granted I was luring, but he was eager, responsive and so very gentle taking the kibble from my fingers. Something I’m definitely going to keep encouraging! I’m just so impressed with him. And very pleased at how well our first day went. Can’t wait to see what we get up to tomorrow!

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She can walk!

I realized I haven’t come out and stated that, though she’s been walking for several weeks now. Each day she seems to get stronger and be able to go farther. It’s been six weeks since the Beagle had her surgery. These six weeks have passed far differently than I envisioned when we watched them take her back to be operated on. I have a vivid imagination. Sometimes it’s not on my side. But in this case since I’d envisioned the worst, having the best happen has been fantastic.

The day after she came home from surgery she stood up. Four days later she was moving her back legs as we took her out with a sling to use the bathroom. Now we are up to 15 minute walks twice a day with no harness, plus an added 15 minutes on the water treadmill twice a week. We do balance exercises, and strength exercises. We’ve started working on cavaletti, and we’ve started heeling again!

We still have work to do. Strength to build. Balance to regain. But we are getting there. Now I just have to resist the urge I have to wrap her up in bubble wrap to keep her from injuring anything else! Especially since we know there may be more issues down the road.

The Beagle has been officially diagnosed with IVDD (Intervertebral disk disease). Beagles are predisposed to this disease. There is no cure. There is only management. In the Beagle’s case, she had an explosive episode, which alerted us to the degeneration and disease. We are aware there are issues in other discs, though only time will tell if they will cause problems. So management now is our main focus — this means lots of strength and balance training. Keeping our sweet girl at a healthy weight, and keeping her as active and as healthy as we know how.

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We had another physical therapy evaluation. The Beagle really is doing well, and getting very fed up with all this crate rest! She’s ready to take on the world! We are at the point of having to hold her back. She feels good and has a lot of mobility back, but she’ll need some work to get to 100%.

During this evaluation the Vet looked at the notes from the surgery and told us that she has calcification on the disc between T11 and T12. I was annoyed when we heard this since the surgeon hadn’t told us this. It wouldn’t have changed anything that we’ve been doing, and they did warn us that she could have more problems. But I would have liked this information, just being the type of person I am. What happened to the Beagle isn’t just an injury, it’s an injury due to a disease — IVDD. She has it. It’s not going to change. So we have to manage it, and do all we can to give her a full life while minimizing the risks of more damage and pain.

I asked this Vet about the Beagle’s Agility career. This Vet is very much a advocate of the idea that dog’s need a job. They need to be kept active and in shape, but even she feels Agility is off the table. Her whole spine wasn’t checked with the CT, but we know one has a problem. Other discs may too.

I thought I was ok with this. I thought we’d just set new goals and move forward, but I think that was overly optimistic of me. I am still saying goodbye to the dream, and mourning its loss.

Today I competed with the Labrador. At the last trial I bought two slip leads. One for the Labrador and one for the Beagle. I didn’t like the collar on the Labrador’s so today I requested the maker redo it with a new clasp. Once I got it back I realized I could have just used the one for the Beagle, since the odds are she won’t use it any time soon, if ever. It was a sad thought.

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