Posts Tagged ‘Ebony Dog’

Square Foot Gardening!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I cannot even tell you excited I am about this article published today by Mel Bartholomew on his website!

If you have been to our yard, or seen my pictures, or gotten excited with me about the first chives of the season (chives!) or let me help you plant a kitty garden or had my husband Russ build you a Square Foot Garden box…well, you know how much I love gardening and especially love Square Foot Gardening.

Thank you Thank you Thank you to Kevin Espiritu of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation who said “nice picture” and I said “thanks” and he said “Do you have more?” and I said “Do I?” and next thing I know he and Mel apparently stayed up till 2 am and made THIS…

Gardening with Pets and Pests

by Mel Bartholomew

Thank you guys!  I love it, and I have been waiting for a chance to tell you…I love Square Foot Gardening!

Yay.

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Coming Soon on Riley and James…

Friday, April 8th, 2011

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Skills for Communicating with Patients – Five Stars! This may be the most helpful book I have read from the  Veterinary Economics 25 Books List.  It is an excellent communication book written for MD’s, though the authors have worked with veterinarians too, which I thought was cool.  It is a medical school textbook and is taking me FOREVER to read!  SO worth it though.  I will review it for you as soon as I finish it!

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Summary of my Favorites from the Veterinary Economics 25 Books List – Very fun project…I am finishing the last two books.

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Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner – Five Stars! This will be a two part review, the first part here and the second part on Wagging Tail.  Anesthesia for the Pet Practitioner is a wonderful veterinary anesthesia book that I have used for years.  The third edition was recently published by Banfield Pet Hospital, and that is the one I am reviewing.  It is also the best one yet!

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The Complete Cat’s Meow by Darlene Arden – Five Stars! OK, I just started this book, but it has a gorgeous Max the Cat cat on the cover and is written by one of my Very Favorite People AND Darlene mentioned me in the acknowledgements.  (Thank you Darlene!!)  What’s not to love??  Even though I am only a few pages in, I can tell it is also an EXCELLENT resource for cat lovers.  See, I can be objective! : )

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Love Wins by Rob Bell – Just kidding!  Different blog!  I do love it though.  The topics covered in this book are ones I have been struggling with and studying Scripture about for the past few years.  Just reading the intro sitting with Abby in the bookstore allowed me to breathe a deep cosmic sigh of relief.  Not that Rob Bell is the end-all authority on truth, or even claims to be.  He IS, however, very good at making a person think, and tackling Ideas That Shall Not Be Mentioned head on.  At least one Christian leader has been fired over saying he liked the book.  But I am a vet.  I like the book.  And now…back to pets!

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Why all the book reviews?

Life is still sad.  I miss Ebony Dog and Wuzzy Rat terribly.  I also miss Fuzzy Rat, Piggy Pig and Princess Gerbil.

Max the Cat is in the beginning stages of Chronic Kidney Disease.  Not always a big deal for an old cat, actually.  (You know, unless he or she is your cat, or…unless it is.)

But then, when Ebony first got sick, I was hoping that if and when we found the underlying cause of her Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia it would not be awful, but it was.  So I am still in a pretty rough season and having a sick cat is freaking me out a bit.  I am writing about all that, but trying hard to keep it upbeat here.

Even so, a Princess Gerbil Memorial is in the works.  She deserves one as much as the other four!  It is not her fault she passed away when I was too exhausted to write One More.  And she was super cute and kind of quirky, so I think you will like it!

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And finally…

Happy Heartworm-Free May!

And then…

I dunno!  A happier season maybe?  Just an idea…

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Do Pets Mourn?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Yes, of course they do!

I tend to anthropomorphize, I am highly (not excessively, highly!) emotional, I love, love, love pets and I spend most of my time at home and at work with them.

I realize that I am not unbiased.

So instead of just saying “yes,” I wanted to share this sort-of-a-scientific-case-but-more-of-an-intriguing-story…

Joy the Puppy has a built-in stress barometer

localized juvenile demodicosis that manifests as periocular alopecia.

Look!  The scientist in me is coming out!  Let me explain that super-nerdy sentence and then move on to how it supports the theory that pets do indeed mourn.  I know that this is a case study of one subject.  Still, I would believe it with no proof, so it is more scientific than my usual carrying on here, wouldn’t you say?

localized – in one or a few areas.  Generalized demodicosis would typically be more serious and warrant a more aggressive search of an underlying cause and more aggressive treatment.

juvenile – puppy disease.  Again, adult-onset would typically be more serious and warrant a more aggressive search of an underlying cause and more aggressive treatment.

demodicosis – a form of “mange” – Many mammals have a species-specific mite, demodex, which is present in small numbers even in healthy individuals.  Since I am an animal doctor, not a human doctor, I will not say “human” or “eyebrows” to you.  Dogs have a species-specific demodex mite called Demodex canis.  It can become a clinical problem if there is an immune system issue or stress, though the underlying cause is not always known.

microscopic view of Demodex canis

periocular – around the eyes

alopecia – loss of hair

When Joy was a pup, she had a mild case of localized juvenile demodicosis that manifested as periocular alopecia.  It came and went pretty quickly and quietly, with no discomfort to Joy.  I treated it with “benign neglect” and she did great.  She had no symptoms for over a year.

When Ebony Dog passed away last month, the disease came back with a vengeance.  Joy moped around the house.  That is, she had decreased energy levels and was much less active than usual.  She circled on the bed that she and Ebony had shared, finally flopping down every night with a deep sigh and her chin on the floor at the edge of the bed.  She would come to a complete stop during walks with Noodle the Poodle and look around as if confused.  For her whole life, walks had always been the three of them:  Joy, Ebony and Noodle.  Most telling of all, the area around both of Joy’s eyes went completely baldy-bald…um, I mean alopecic, again.

Here is Joy in all her shiny gorgeousness…

Here is Joy at the worst of her recent bout of demodicosis…

And here, I believe, is the reason for the stress that has caused this most recent flare-up…

She and Ebony were so close…

In fact, Joy wanted to be Ebony when she grew up…

Joy the Puppy is mourning the loss of her friend Ebony Dog.

I saw it with Wuzzy Rat when Fuzzy Rat passed away…

(She had no hair to let fall out as an outward sign of her mourning – ha!)  I have seen it with other personal pets.  I have seen it with clients’ pets.  This is the first time I have seen it with such clear physical manifestations.  Have you seen this with pets you have known?  The mourning, I mean?

My Prescribed Treatment for Joy: Routine cleaning with a gentle cleanser and topical medication, extra attention, extra love, extra walks and extra empathy.*  Her stress levels are going down, her immune system is becoming strong again, her demodicosis is going back into remission and her hair is growing back.  That is to say…her heart is healing.

*I miss her too Joy.  We’re going to be ok though Puppy, I promise.

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My Special Stages

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Trying to get back to real time on here.  Today is tough.  I did a three-week postmortem freakout that I had misdiagnosed Ebony’s disease as metastatic neoplasia instead of (still bleak but treatable) systemic fungal infection.  Do not worry.  I did not.  No one is more neurotic, obsessive and self-critical than me when it comes to medical treatment of my patients, which I have never tried to reign in because…well, honestly, it serves me well.

DEFINITIVE diagnosis:  metastatic neoplasia.

Presumptive underlying cancer:  hemangiosarcoma  (That one is an educated guess, not a certainty.  But it sure acted as evil as hemangiosarcoma, wouldn’t you say?)

I will continue through my own special stages of grief…

  1. Despair
  2. Anger at anyone who has a black/old with white face/cute dog, especially one whose tail wags lazily as they walk
  3. Freaking out
  4. Sadness

I am kind of looking forward to the sadness stage.  I am sorry Russ and all of you out walking your dogs around Omaha these last few beautiful days to have dragged you through my anger stage with my scowling and growling.  Your black/old with white face/cute dogs, especially ones whose tails wags lazily as they walk are beautiful, and I am glad that you have them.

In fact I have two beautiful dogs of my own.  And a cat.  Which brings me to what I actually MEANT to say today…I love my pets and I intend to consciously appreciate them on a day-to-day basis. (I was going to spare you all the crazy, but I will leave it as is.  Maybe some day it will be fun to look back and laugh at how neurotic I am.)

I think I will come back TOMORROW and post specifically about Max the Cat.  This is quite enough for one day, don’t you think?  I do.  Apparently the internet does not agree.  When I was frantically looking through radiographs of veterinary and human medical sites, (Yes, why?  How do you freak out?) I switched one search (“thoracic” “radiographs” “neoplasia”) to “Images” and this happened…

*sigh*

Eb, you’re gorgeous.  I sure miss you, Friend.

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Signing Off…

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Losing Ebony has been difficult.  I am going to take a few weeks in Real Life and just deal with that.  And by deal with that I mean sleep.  And mope.  And take turns saying to Russ “Are you ok?” and “Do I look ok?” and bugging the girls about how they are doing.

Saturday I will post another short story about the human-animal bond.  These have been fun.  I think I will try to write them more often.  The Saturday Blog Hop is a great time to fit them in cuz they just take a second to read and you can hop to the next blog.

This one has Russ in it so I am going to get his permission before I post it.  I rarely ask his permission for anything, but I do try to ask people or at least give them a heads up if I am going to say anything other than “This person is super awesome,” which he is, by the way.  I figured I could at least extend him the same professional courtesy I extend to others.  And also, I try not to do anything Important without running it by Russ first.

We are a good team.  The hitch comes when we are both going through the same difficult time.  Still, it has been so good to have someone who loved Ebony like I did to be with.

Next up after the Short Story is that series of leadership articles written for veterinarians.  I am going to try to fit them all in before March.  I posted the first and my favorite at dvm360 today…

A Dramatic Wellness Exam

I will put the other seven here on Riley and James.

Then March 1 – Heartworm Free Celebration and hopefully by then I will be done with the Veterinary Economics 25 Leadership Books Series and can tell ya what I thought.  (So far I love it!  Less than two books to finish and the last one JUST came in the mail a few minutes ago – woo!)

Then hopefully I will be back to random celebration of preventative care in real time.  It’s what I love best about this site.  But when real life hits, you kind of get dragged through the hard times with me.  I love that you are here, but I do not want to share to the point of discouraging you.  Fuzzy and Wuzzy and Piggy and Ebony were such wonderful pets.  Losing them as little individual family members has been horrible, but having them pass away one after another in a matter of three months has been staggering.  I SO hope I have no news for you when I come back to sharing in real time mid-March.

Here is what I plan to say:*yawn*  Well, that’s better.  Gotta plant garlic and potatoes, then I will be back to write some super helpful veterinary preventative care information and stories for you…

Happy End of Winter…

Hope it is boring for you and your pets in the best possible ways.

The Best of Weeks…

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Ebony Dog was recently diagnosed with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), actually by the numbers, a pretty mild case.  A visiting “doctor” even said, “She can’t be too sick, her tail is still wagging.”  I said that that was not a sign of the severity of her disease, it was a sign that she was awake.  That’s Eb.  She has always been happy.  She started out nine years ago as Russ’ puppy, but she has been my anchor ever since.

Before she could say Hey, Cardiff, guess what?  Me too! she developed respiratory complications – some difficulty breathing  – from the IMHA or an as yet undiagnosed underlying cause or an unrelated disease – yesterday.  She is scheduled for thoracic radiographs – chest x-rays – at 7:30 am.  I woke up just now and thought “Oh, good!  She made it through the night,” and got up to get ready to take her in.  *sigh*  It was 1:00 am.

She seems to be doing much better right now.  yay.  I have no idea if I should post this.  This is supposed to be a fun gathering space for pet lovers, not a place to balance a great week with depressing stories.  That has been my theme this fall and winter, and I do not like it.

So here is my “The Best of Weeks…” part of the post.  Liz Marsh of Firstline wrote an article…

Top 5 Veterinary Blogs

…and included the Riley and James Website.  Thank you Liz!  Thank you Firstline!  Thank you DVM360!  Thank you Other Bloggers.  I think you are all awesome.  That was my bright spot of the day yesterday.

Oh, and here is another short story…

I hate mortatity.  I love my dog.

And…I WILL post this, AND my Valentine’s Day post.  I can already sense people getting depressed about Valentine’s Day.  You sure didn’t need my sickie dog story on top of this weekend making it worse.  Here’s to a happy Valentine’s weekend.  And here’s to Eb’s happily ever after.  We are both going back to bed, and I will let you know in the morning what we find out.

Ebony Dog

Ebony Update 2/12/11:

Thoracic radiographs were taken (right lateral, ventral-dorsal, left lateral if needed-it was not)

My radiographic interpretation:  Oh wow.  This sucks.

Ebony had evidence of metastatic neoplasia throughout every lung field – cancer that had spread from a still undiagnosed primary lesion.  Russ met the girls and I and we had her euthanized.  She could not breathe, but her tail was still wagging.

Yeah, it was that fast.

In the day since we lost Eb, my radiographic interpretation has been confirmed.  This sucks.

Saturday Blog Hop

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Happy Weekend All!  I have been watching Two Little Cavaliers and their friends do the Saturday Blog Hop for a while and have been trying to figure it out.  I joined Dr. V’s Blog Hop when she suggested we all post our favorite blog posts of 2010, and that was fun.

The Saturday Blog Hop looks like a wonderful way to meet other pet lovers.  I thought I had met all of the Pet-Loving Awesomes out there, but apparently I have not yet found The End of The Internet.

So if you are visiting Riley and James from the Saturday Blog Hop, thank you for stopping by!  Nice to meet you!  And if you are already a friend of Riley and James, thank you too.  I think you are all great.

My favorite posts often contain pictures of Pets Being Cute, so I thought that would be a fun theme for today.  Here are the Finch pets…

Ebony Dog and Max the Cat

Noodle the Poodle

Joy the Puppy

Piggy the Guinea Pig

Long Live Your Pet

Princess the Gerbil

Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats

OK, so Fuzzy and Wuzzy are not part of our current herd, but they JUST passed away, and I am not ready to take them out of the lineup yet.  That’s Wuzzy in the background and Fuzzy in the foreground, from July 2010.  Weren’t they gorgeous??  And so sweet too.  They are Hairless Dumbo Rex rats.

Nice to meet you all!  I will spend THIS week coming to see your pet blogs!

Shawn Finch, DVM

Finch93 on twitter : )

Coming Soon to Riley and James…

Monday, January 10, 2011 “Pet Blogger’s Challenge” from Edie of “Will My Dog Hate Me?” and Amy of “Go Pet Friendly” (both of whom are awesome and have been mentioned here before!)  I’m in – these group projects are fun!