Posts Tagged ‘Husky’

Tofu the Baby Husky Continues to Recover

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Neospora!

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I am not good at building up suspense, though it may seem that way because Tofu’s story now has two posts, which is actually because I could not wait to introduce you to him last week! Stay tuned for Part 3 (spoiler alert!), In Which Tofu is Adopted and Lives Happily Ever After.

So, neospora!

Tofu is doing wonderfully. He is happy and loved in his foster home with Gentle Doctor veterinary technician Becky. He is growing stronger every day.

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Is he in pain?

To watch him walk on his unsteady little front legs, it may appear that Tofu is in pain. In fact, on the very first day, we had Tofu on pretty strong pain medication and complete rest, not knowing if his front legs hurt or not. Now we know that his legs do not hurt, they just do not work quite right yet. YET! He is not painful, but he does have mobility issues that continue to improve with medicine, acupuncture, time and love.

Tofu and His Improving Gait!We received his neospora titers back from the laboratory – he is neospora positive!

I have NEVER (as far as I know!) seen a case of neosporosis.

I have NEVER suspected it.

Tofu has it, and he is recovering.

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What is neospora?

Neospora is a parasite that causes abortion in cattle.

Warning – the next part is gross! Don’t you wish I always remembered to warn you??

If a dog eats a portion of an infected calf fetus or placenta or raw beef that is infected, he or she can become infected.

Neospora cysts lodge in the brain of the infected dog. Dogs can pass the parasite to cattle through their feces or to unborn pups in utero, but not otherwise directly to other dogs. Adult cattle do not become clinically ill from neospora and cannot pass it directly to other cattle, except to their unborn offspring.

Here is what we suspect happened to Tofu…His mother, living in a rural area of Nebraska, was exposed to neospora through contact with infected cattle. She may or may not be clinically affected. She passed the infection to Tofu, and most likely his littermates, before birth. Tofu did become sick, developing a head tremor and incoordination that made it impossible to eat or drink on his own and maybe even nurse, and also front limb weakness that progressed to complete inability to use his front legs.

We do not know how the other dogs in Tofu’s family are doing, but someone is checking on them.

The first night Tofu was in the care of Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals, we started him on clindamycin, an antibiotic that is often effective against neospora in dogs.

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My Oldest Daughter Amanda and Tofu – Love at First Sight!

Ten days later, when Tofu was well on his way to recovery, we had our answer – YES he had been exposed to neospora in his young life. Everything fell into place, including the very scary seizure he had the night before the conformation of the cause of his illness.

He was home with Becky (thank goodness!) and had a generalized seizure. Seizures are NEVER good in puppies, and while they can be caused by very manageable things (like low blood sugar between meals), they can also be caused by some pretty ominous things. In Tofu’s case, his seizure was almost certainly from his neospora infection.

With this condition, signs, including gait abnormalities and seizures, can continue life-long. Space-occupying brain lesions are never good, even those that can be treated. However, because Tofu is making such amazing progress (and to be 100% honest, mostly because I have a good feeling about him), I completely expect him to make a full recovery. Which is good. Because we love him. And also because he will be BIG! If we can end up with a healthy, completely mobile huge dog, that would be ideal!

Are You a Good Puppy with Naughty Moments or a Naughty Puppy with Good Moments?

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Remember last week when I said Tofu is naughty? He is not naughty! That was a direct reference to the one part of his story I could not yet bear to tell you because his other doctor, Dr. Jones, was still so completely mortified that it had happened.

I think that Dr. Jones has recovered, and I hope that she has remembered how very incredible she is, and that these things happen with puppies who eat everything…Neither of us can believe  it has not happened before in all of the years she has done acupuncture!

On the very first part of his very first acupuncture appointment, when he was being watched by two veterinary team members at all times, Tofu ATE A NEEDLE!

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He snuck a tiny needle right out of his tiny furry paw and laughed while everyone panicked. How fun! There were x-rays and endoscopy and updates to Jackie and around the clock poop watch. He was getting even more attention than ever! He did not think that was possible, but he loved it!

The next morning, without so much as a tummy ache, Tofu pooped out the needle, and we all went back to non-panic mode.

He is not a naughty pup as I claimed he was…he is a good pup with one split second, seemingly-naughty-to-us super-fun-to-him normal puppy behavior of what’s-this-I-will-eat-it-that-was-fun that every puppy has. Thank goodness, it all ended well!

Everyone loves Tofu!

THIS is what made me suspect that everyone loves Tofu…The response to his story has been overwhelming! That face! That recovery! I am so in love with him, as is everyone who meets him or hears about him.

THIS is what confirmed that everyone loves Tofu…Dad asked if he had a home yet. Dad! Even Dad loves him! I mean, of course he does. I got my animal loving ways from my awesome Mom and Dad. But Dad is used to thinking about stray kittens I bring home (who live 18 years)…and tiny, tiny Poodles…well, not so much tiny Poodles, as the one and only amazing Ernie Dog. It’s been DECADES since Mom and Dad thought about a dog as big as a Basset…or bigger!

DOES Tofu have a home?

Tofu has LOTS of adoption offers! He has a foster home right now.

You all have been amazing in your outpouring of support to Taysia Blue Husky & Malamute Rescue and Tofu. Please continue to support this awesome rescue group!

Can you foster?

Can you adopt an adult Husky or Malamute?

Can you support the rescuers?

It is an emotionally and physically and financially exhausting deal to be involved in rescue. “How can I help?” is sometimes the most beautiful thing a rescuer hears.

You are an amazing group of Pet Savers. I have loved to see that shine through in this situation almost as much as I have loved holding this little puppy!

I do not know if Tofu has a forever home yet. Taysia Blue Husky & Malamute Rescue will continue to have up-to-date information on Tofu and his adoption status. And when you call or email, remember to ask, “How can I help?”

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Tofu with Gentle Doctor Receptionist Amanda, One of His BFFs!

And if you adopt Tofu, have mercy on us, his veterinary team! We are 100% completely and totally in love with him, and could not bear it if we did not hear once in a while how wonderfully he is doing! I have seen him ONCE this week, and it is breaking my heart! But also, my heart is soaring, knowing he is in an incredible, loving network of capable hands and on the way to a wonderful future. <3

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Love you, kiddo.

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Tofu the Baby Husky

Friday, April 24th, 2015

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Tofu, 7 Week Old Husky Puppy, photo by Becky

Last Friday, April 17, 2015, the Gentle Doctor team waited anxiously for Jackie Roach of Taysia Blue Siberian Husky Rescue. 

Someone had bought a husky puppy off Craig’s List, saw that he was very sick and relinguished him to the rescue group.

When Jackie arrived, Becky and I rushed in to see her and meet baby Tofu, who had been named in a vote of rescue supporters while Jackie was on the way to Gentle Doctor with him.

He was the sweetest, scrawniest, thinnest little thing we had ever seen. Jackie set him on the floor to show Becky how compromised he was, and he collaped front feet first and was unable to rise. Jackie later told us that on the ride to the hospital, she was unsure he would arrive alive.

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Tofu When He Was Rescued, photo by Jackie

Oh dear. We were, once again, totally, completely 100% in love with a pet with a questionable medical future whom we had met moments before.

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Tofu, Starting Treatment at Gentle Doctor, photo by Becky

Tofu had no ability to use his front legs. He was unable to stand, even just on his hind legs. He had a head tremor and did not have the ability to eat or drink on his own or stand to potty. Apparently, no one had noticed in a very long time, and he was emaciated, dehydrated and filthy.

We were going to do the opposite of not notice and, as far as it depended on us, bring him back to the healthy, happy seven week old puppy he should have been.

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Tofu with Becky

Fearing abuse, we x-rayed all of Tofu’s long bones, his chest and his abdomen. No broken bones! We were estatic! But perplexed. Why could he not walk? What was causing the head tremors?

Never mind that now! He had pottied on himself and was howling in frustration because he wanted to stand and could not.

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Becky and Renee bathed him, and we learned he is a stunning, gorgeous, bright white puppy with brilliant blue eyes, the deepest blue eyes I have ever seen – and I have seen a lot of huskies and Siamese cats!

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Baby Blue Eyes! Photo by Shonda

For the rest of the afternoon, we held him as much as we could, and when we could not, surrounded him with pillows and blankets so he could comfortably rest.

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Creating an 80 Pound Lap Dog!

You are welcome, future adoptive family!

The pain medication we had given him fearing trauma made him sleepy, which was ideal for that first night in the hospital. On IV fluids and with a tummy full of hand fed puppy food, he cuddled up to his pillow and fell fast asleep.

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Amanda met him. Jordan met him. That night my husband Russ and my daughter Abby met him.

We were recklessly breaking hearts left and right, and we were okay with it. So was everyone who was charging in with us for a chance to fall in love with Tofu and get a broken heart too.

Russ, Abby and I spent that evening with him. He had…become in need of another bath…and had a hungry puppy tummy again. He wanted desperately to play, so Abby held him in such a way he could play almost like a normal puppy. When he fell over, finally exhausted, she snuggled him for a bit and gently placed him back in his bed.

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My Daughter Abby with Tofu

Friday night, I talked with Russ on the way home. I could not wrap my head around Tofu’s symptoms. Russ was confident I would figure this out, but I had never seen anything like it. What would make him non-ambulatory? What would cause his head tremor? He seemed in every other way like a normal puppy. He was alert and sweet and wanted so badly to walk and eat on his own.

I looked up “head tremors” “non-ambulatory” “front limbs” on VIN – Veterinary Information Network. Thank goodness for the HUGE group of specialists and general practioners smarter than I! And thank goodness for the Veterinary Information Network team for having the wisdom to organize and catalog all of that smart!

The differential diagnosis that came up most often was neospora, a parasite that causes abortion in cattle and neurological disease in dogs. Weird! I remember the parasite from vet school, but had never suspected or diagnosed it before.

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Saturday was a crazy busy (good crazy busy) day, so Becky, Shonda, Jan, Renee and I made sure to schedule in important things (blood work analysis – anemia and low protein levels, fecal test – roundworms! parvo test – negative!) and very important things (holding the puppy, feeding the puppy, loving the puppy, photographing the puppy, updating Jackie!) and sent in a neospora titer test. Thank you to Angie for “creating” a lab form for it – apparrently I was not the only one who has never needed to test for it before!

It’s a long shot, but if this is the diagnosis, it is very treatable. We started treatment just in case.

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Tofu with a Teddy Bear and Homemade Pillow from Abby

I asked Jen who was on kennel duty and on call over the weekend. Every weekend, there is a team to take care of the boarding cats and dogs and a doctor on call in case one of the boarders needs medical care. Shonda and Renee were on for the weekend – the best possible case! I offered to help or do all of the care for Tofu, and they said NO – they were all in on taking on the tiny puppy and his special needs for the weekend. I went home exhausted, relieved and so very happy he was in wonderful, loving hands.

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The weekend went by. I practically taped my fingers together so I would not harass Shonda and Renee about updates, and even so I got this from Renee…

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And that from Renee…

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And then while shopping at Target with Russ and Amanda and Abby, I got this from Shonda, and I sat down in the lawn department and cried.

Video of Tofu’s First Steps!

TOFU WAS WALKING! He took his first steps, and Shonda got it on video!

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Walking!

That was the  moment I knew for sure he was going to survive and thrive.

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Jackie and Mike Roach of Taysia Blue Siberian Husky Rescue Visiting

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Becky’s Daughter Hailey Disguises Physical Therapy as Play!

Jackie was allowing us to keep him for the following week. He still needed help eating and drinking, and would often tip forward into his water dish when he tried to take a drink. The foster network of Taysia Blue is amazing – the best of the best – but we did not want a little high maintenence potential water bowl drowner on their hands if we could help it.

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Tofu with Dr. Bashara

Every day he walked a little farther and a little better.

His progress was so slow that I had to ask vet tech Trey if he was actually getting better every day or if I was just seeing what I wanted to see. “He is getting better every day,” he said.

Dr. Stephanie Jones offered to do acupuncture on Tofu to help him with his mobility. Acupuncture started Wednesday (two days ago) and continued yesterday and today.

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Acupuncture Therapy with Trey and Dr. Jones

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Laser Therapy with Trey and Dr. Jones

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Thank You Dr. Jones!

Ashley and Renee were his “puppy railroad” out to the 153rd location and back every day. The team at the 153rd location fell as hard for Tofu as we all had.

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Mary with Tofu

He walked and walked after his first acupuncture appointment with Dr. Jones! I could not believe the difference!

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Becky and I played with him for an hour over lunch right after his first acupuncture appointment, and just enjoyed watching him walk around like a newborn horse. Ok, not like a puppy yet, but that is coming!

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Tofu with Shonda

Now he is in the loving hands of the Gentle Doctor team at 89th and 153rd and 89th again and I am at home writing his story. Dr. Thomassen is directing his care for the end of the week – He could not be in better hands. Becky is going to be his foster Mom – He could not be in better hands.

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Tofu with Jan

Sometimes I look back on a case and think, “Was the potential heartbreak worth the joy now?” First of all, that is a stupid question. We do not have a choice. Second of all, it is much too early to “look back.” Tofu is in the middle of struggling to learn to walk and recover from a still unconfirmed cause of his many severe issues. Third of all, YES. 100% absolutely YES.

Were I to go back to a week before today and decide (had we a choice) knowing what we know now (not much  more than we knew then) I – we – would charge in for a potential broken heart just as swiftly as a rescuer charging in to rush a dirty, neglected broken puppy to a vet hospital.

Tofu, thank you for not breaking our hearts. Thank you for blessing us and filling us with joy as only a beautiful, sweet, goofy, naughty lovable fluffy puppy can. We love you so very much.

To learn more about Taysia Blue Siberian Husky Rescue, click HERE.

To be continued…

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Tofu with Whitney’s Daughter, Harper

 

 

Breed of the Month

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Last fall at the Central Veterinary Conference in Kansas City, I was given a great big notebook as a thank you gift for serving on the Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board.  (Thank you!)  When I got back to Omaha, I held out the notebook to show our office manager and boss.  “You got THAT?!  Ours is in the mail and won’t be here for TWO DAYS.”

“You can read mine…” I said, now hugging it tight, “after I read it.”

Intriged, I opened the notebook.  “Benchmarks 2012:  A Study of Well-Managed Practices.”  One section caught my eye – “Breed Specific Healthcare.”

“Well, that’d be depressing!” I thought, and read on.

After I had read the entire Benchmarks 2012 cover to cover – yes it was as good as they said – I handed it over.  Angie called me that day and said, “We NEED to do this breed thing!”

I love specific dog and cat breeds as much as the next rescue-loving domestic shorthair and mutt-adopting veterinary professional, but focusing on the medical concerns of each breed for clients who love the breed because of their awesomeness?  It just sounded like a bad idea – You love Labs?  Have you thought about HIP DYSPLASIA?  Boxers?  Yes they are sweet and their faces are cute, but also cancer.  Bulldogs?  Liquidate your assets.  Oh, and congratulations on your new puppy.

Of course we cover breed-related medical issues during wellness care appointments, but focusing on it MORE?

“No,”  I said, “too depressing!”

“Yes!”  Angie said.  And so we did.  And it has been awesome – one of the most enjoyable projects I have done.

January 2013:  Bernese Mountain Dogs (and Mixes!)

February 2013:  Dobermans

March 2013:  Russian Blue Cats

April 2013:  Portuguese Water Dogs

May 2013:  Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

June 2013:  Sphynx Cats

Here is what I have learned this year:

Breeds are fun, and worth celebrating.

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Your clients and team will be your biggest supporters.  I have e-mailed, called or sent hand written notes, depending on the patient base size, and have gotten cute pictures in piles!  Always get permission before you use pictures, but it will not be a snag.  People know their pets are cute, and having their medical team confirm that?  Awesome.

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Clients and online friends appreciate learning about breed-related medical concerns, even of breeds they do not have.  Balance it with fun facts, breed history and pictures, and a month of focusing on one breed will be rewarding, NOT depressing.

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Putting fun facts out there – we do Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – takes A LOT of behind the scenes work, but it is the kind of work I love most.  If you have someone in your practice who loves learning, reading and assimilating information (And you do, you are a medical team for heaven’s sake!) put that person in charge of gathering info.

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The team will love helping – Our receptionist Amanda gathers client names for me every month.  Vet tech Allison, Dr. Stokes and Dr. Kanne have provided tons of cute pictures of their own pets.  Angie manages the Pinterest page.  Everyone has supported us on Facebook by commenting, liking and sharing posts.

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Clients will love it.  Most of the rest of our pictures are from clients who have gotten behind our breed celebrations.

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Online friends will love it.  When we do not have a picture within our team or client base, online friends have always stepped up.  See the Twitter follower number go up with every monthly screen shot?

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The fancy-pants picture changing is easy.  If you decide to do a similar project, I will help you with all of that if you would like.

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The only thing that would make this more fun is if more vet teams were doing it with us!  We could share background breed information, cover the same breeds some months and share what is working and what is not.

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Choosing breeds is easy.  So far Angie and I have chosen them like this:  “Do you like ___?”  “Yes!”  “Me too!”  Next…  We started with Beagles and Huskies (before we were doing monthly Twitter pictures to show you!) because those are breeds of two local rescue groups we love.

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I have learned so much about specific breeds.  When I am gathering information in order to help clients, I can swallow my pride about thinking I should already know everything about every pet, and secretly (until now) think things like “Sphynx cats tend to be healthy?!  Who’d have thought?”

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I know we have succeeded if I get near the end of a month and have fallen more in love with the breed.  So far, YES on every count.  SO fun.

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Who would like to play Breed of the Month with us?

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