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Everything posted by pansmom

  1. Malvie, good luck keeping that little ball of fire quiet! Also, don't be surprised if the vet adds that he wants her to stay pretty still (not strict cage rest, but stay indoors or on leash at all times) after the first shot. I got the same directions for both parts of the treatment. And my Vala got pretty sick from the first shot, which can cause thromboembolism in and of itself. So I'd be careful about that. Vala is still doing well. We're on day six, and she has only hacked once, and is showing no signs of fever or thromboembolism.This time she seems less affected by the shots. I've been keeping her more quiet (knowing how much she was affected last time), but I am still feeling hopeful that we knocked a lot of the worms out with the first shot and nine months of doxycycline and IVM cycling. Oh and P.S. I understand about your heat problem! I am almost four months pregnant, four hours to the southeast, in even more humid heat than Houston. Our poor dogs with their fur coats! Vala goes to bed at night with a fan pointed at her kennel in the summer!
  2. I know. I could've gotten a rescue with a clean bill of health (already treated for heartworms, or kept on preventative), but Vala was sooooo sweet... I had to adopt her! Hopefully she'll be fine (knock on wood) and in a couple months we'll have the sweetest dog in the world, who will also be healthy! She is such a great dog, seriously, you should see her with children, she really deserves a long healthy life, she's such a sweetheart.
  3. LOVE IT! What's worse is apparently, like me and my "Mean Collie Theme Song," you sang it enough to memorize it!
  4. That's how Vala tested too initially (4+ on the slide--that's just the microfilariae -- larvae -- but a high presence of larvae usually means a high presence of adults). We had the exact same plan as you except we treated her with doxy for 4 months before doing the first treatment, and then she had just had a thromboembolism scare when it was time for her to go back for the two shots, so we put it off with more IVM/DOXY cycling in between. Are they having you give her heartworm preventative too now (IVM)? How bad are her symptoms? Doxycycline made a huge difference in Vala's energy level. When we first got her, she was super lethargic, but after doxycycline, she had a spring in her step and started to run... Even as late as a month ago, if she started coughing or panting at night, I just put her back on the stuff and the symptoms would go. Supposedly the stuff destroys the ability of the wolbachia, a bacteria which is symbiotic with the adult heartworms, to synthesize protein, which in turn seems to negatively affect the heartworms somehow. It's crazy how much better Vala feels on the doxy. I wonder if Bessie will show more energy once she's on it. Are you going to have to do crate rest + leash walking to potty only for the month after the first shot too? (In our house, because I just separate Vala from the other pets, she doesn't have to do crate rest--she gets to wander about the house with me and lay down wherever I am. But I can imagine if you have two other dogs, I can see why she'd need crate rest. But it was after both the first shot, and the double shot treatment. Thankfully Vala is very silly and sweet and her strongest drive is, simply, to be pet, so she doesn't seem miserable.) As for the mosquitoes, I direct my hatred not at them, but the wretched worms themselves. Their name is even insidious: dirofilaria immitis. Doesn't that just sound vile? I would be fine if they went extinct. But noooo. The only things going extinct are regional lizards and intriguing rainforest creatures... ETA: Helpful hint, Doxycycline tastes BAD. If Vala ever bites into it and gets it on her tongue, she froths at the mouth something awful, and then shuns whatever food I hid it in for a month. Recommend if Bessie will take pill pockets or tends to devour portions of meat whole that you hide it in that. At this point Vala, who is a picky eater, is so onto my tendency to hide it in tiny portions of reduced fat hot dogs, that she picks them apart and leaves the pills on the floor. (Before this, during the nine months she's been cycling on and off of doxy, I have tried hiding the pills in peanut butter on my fingers, hiding the pills in pill pockets, hiding them in portions of fat free ham, and several other schemes which were each ruined when she bit into a pill.) Now I have to put the pills in some peanut butter, place it on the roof of her mouth, and hold her mouth shut so she swallows. I cannot WAIT until she's off this stuff! And thank goodness Rimadyl is chewable! She thinks it's a treat, WHEW!
  5. Today she seems fine, I think the lack of eating was from the Tramadol. She seemed fine this morning, perky and not panting or licking her lips at all (probably thrilled she wasn't going back to the vet again, LOL), so I didn't give her the Tramadol which makes her sooo loopy and wild-eyed, I only gave her the Rimadyl--called the vet and they said that was fine. So today she ate, and she is bright eyed and bushy tailed (tail up, feeling playful). Sleeping more than usual but that's awesome since she's supposed to rest and stay put. I'm glad there's been no initial reaction. It looks like I just have to worry about keeping her still and getting her through all the heartworm death in a week or two.
  6. Thanks all! She is home again tonight, with 4 prescriptions: Tramadol for pain, Rimadyl for pain, doxycycline for protein inhibition to decrease the incidence of thromboembolism due to heartworm death, and another drug for the diarrhea she developed on the way out of the vet's... Her hair was falling out too though so I think it was likely just nerves, but I figured better safe than sorry so as soon as I saw it I walked her back in to be seen one last time. She's not eating anything but stuffed kongs and even that snacking only lightly, but I think her hunger will come back as she feels better. She's on a lot of drugs right now and probably in pain too. But she's here and seems happy to be lying around at home. Which is good since that's all she'll be doing for the next month...
  7. You're welcome. I remembered typing this in the car today and cringed, wondering if I was "oversharing." Lucky for me and my cheesiness, Vala is a very silly girl, a big baby, who appears to want to stay that way forevah! (She's about four.)
  8. Sending good thoughts from the Deep South. I'm with Tommy... What is that, and how could she pick that up???
  9. Vala is not registered, so there's no official embarrassment, but the unofficial ridiculousness abounds. Aside from Vala, we also call her Miss Collie or Collie (which is pretty stupid, but somehow it stuck, my husband and I even made up a theme song to go with it) and when she goes into super-cute-look-I'm-a-puppy-pet-me-mode, we call her Bug. Here is the song. If you were to hear me sing this, it would totally deflect ALL of your embarrasment regarding your dog's name onto me: [Disclaimer: Vala is the sweetest dog in the world, loves kids and old people especially, is extremely well behaved, could basically get a CGC the day we brought her home... super timid... that's why the song is funny. Just so you know.] She's not a mean collie like people say They just caught her on a bad day All she did was scare that kid With the muzzle punch that she learned in Tai Pei (MISS COLLIE) It's not her fault that she's so mean She's built for speed and her legs are so lean Miss Collie runs so fast, through that grass That the schoolchildren drop their lunch money and scream (MISS COLLIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE) Yeah. Ridiculousness. The weird thing is, she looooooves when we sing the song, wags her tail like crazy, probably because it sounds really happy and her nickname is in it repeatedly. So yeah, there you have it. Rojo Comadrejo? You got nothin' on me!
  10. I used a baby naming book that listed names by culture, checking the Scottish, English, and Welsh section, before eventually settling on a two-syllable Welsh name that meant "chosen" for my girl (Vala), who was a rescue from the municipal shelter. One syllable is the traditional length, sometimes two. Maybe the owner of "Colorsdiamondsforever" was a yodeling shepherd. I'm joking.
  11. Thanks everyone! Update: she'd never stayed overnight at the vet before, so I talked to a vet tech about night procedure and found out no one checks on them except a walker. I asked if she could stay the night here with us, with that in mind, and since she spent the whole weekend at my in-laws' (we had to go get a bunch of baby stuff for the nursery from a friend in Dallas). The vet okay'd it, so she is here, alternately lounging on the bed with me (I lift her up onto it), lying on the floor at my feet in here, or kenneled up. We're about to go to bed, she just ate her dinner all up (healthy appetite), and she's about to get another frozen kong stuffed with peanut butter. She seems to be fine except panting a bit. Don't think it's thromboembolism. Her gums are pink, and she's not in shock or coughing. And I hope it's not pain; they gave her some Tramadol for that earlier today and said she wouldn't need another until tomorrow. Tramadol or cortizone side effect maybe? I read panting is a side effect of both. She does seem slightly loopy. Anyway tomorrow she goes back for the second shot, then comes home at 4:30 for good. Please keep your fingers crossed and keep the mojo/prayers/thoughts coming!
  12. Please keep Vala in your thoughts today and tomorrow. She's at the vet getting the second part of her heartworm treatment--the two shots, two days in a row. I'm worried about her. We started doxycycline-IVM cycling nine months ago, with some okay results (no larvae in her blood anymore and a great relief from symptoms by December), then we did her first Immiticide shot right after Christmas. She was so much better after her initial reaction to that shot, with zero heartworm symptoms, this spring, that we had hoped she would never need the second part of the treatment. But a month or so ago, she started having symptoms again (light panting, a few days of light wheezing, occasional coughing), so we put her back on the doxy --though it was supposed to be an off time-- and got her a steroid shot, to stabilize her and prepare her to finish the treatment. I had hoped to be able to do the slow kill method, but have decided against it for two reasons. One, I am three months pregnant and think it would be better to focus on curing her sooner, while I can focus on her alone, rather than later. And two, when she feels sick, she is more nervous (skittish and sound reactive), and I hate seeing her like that. I feel so bad for her, when she is clearly feeling unwell and worried. Hopefully, all this DOXY-IVM cycling and the first Immiticide shot will have killed off enough of the worms, that she won't have a bad reaction to the two shot treatment. But she had a pretty bad case when we got her. So mojo please?
  13. My Vala has been on doxy and IVM on and off for 9 months, to treat her for a particularly bad case of heartworms. I can vouch personally that yes, it does affect appetite. But its other abilities make it worth it...
  14. Thanks, but I didn't mean to advocate using a cat as bait! In my situation, it started with the cats (or rather that was how we first noticed it because that was who she was first introduced to), so that was the initial problem that needed to be solved. Whatever you do, be sweet to kitty! I only posted my strategy because it was what worked for me, pretty well, and quickly, a positive approach. I imagined you would have to do a lot of adapting for your scenario (like using another solid temperamented dog Duncan's size).
  15. I have two crates for one dog and two cats. One big crate in the bedroom where Vala sleeps and gets treats (her safe place), and a medium sized one in the living room sort of behind the couch which is used mostly to confine Vala outside the bedroom on the rare occasion in which she acts up in her bedroom crate (once I made the mistake of letting her out at 2 am when I was mostly sleeping, because she was pawing the bottom of her kennel weirdly, and I thought something was wrong, and this made her think she could paw the bottom of her kennel noisily anytime she wanted to be let out for a few days--at this point that second smaller kennel was super handy because I don't know how else I could've gotten the point across that pawing your kennel does not get you into better nighttime digs!!!). But I also occasionally use the medium crate to confine Nyxer, my very mischievous younger cat, who likes occasionally to pop Vala for no reason as she's passing for fun, at which point, yes, my tiny cat goes to time out. She is quite bold. That being said, I hate the way crates look and look forward to some utopian time in the distant future in which I have a larger house and/or do not need multiple ones in such handy locations (I'd love for them to be in a utility room). This utopian time would be when Vala is finished with heartworm treatment and is accustomed to sleeping on the floor in our bedroom on a mat we plan to get for her at that point. I will probably be moving the medium crate of the living room soon, because I hate seeing it while we sit and talk with guests, but right now we are moving everything around because we're expecting a baby, and that is where it is now (with, um, a bunch of books stacked on it for which I need to buy a high-up shelf). I honestly don't know why I care. No one lives in a Better Homes and Gardens spread. Maybe it has to do with being raised in the South.
  16. Vala resource guarded me from the cats (and neighbors' dogs) when we first got her (low level aggression, muzzle punching basically, with the cats, and a very brief lip curl with other dogs--the occasional barely perceptible growl). The solution was several steps long and started at home: (a.) teach her a time out cue, that makes her remove herself from the situation, (b.) send her to time out when she did it, shut the door on her, and make a HUGE BIG DEAL outside the door loving on the cats, (c.) teach her that if she calmly approaches and sits while I am petting the cats, I will love on both of them (looking at each of them intermittently and telling them what good dogs/cats they are), (d.) add a "be a good dog" cue, to the home scenario outlined in c, (e.) extend to neighbors' dogs, using the phrase "be a good dog" to remind her of the good behavior I want outside the home, then reinforcing with treats and praise outside the home. We've had her nine months; it has been about six months since she has done anything but be completely friendly with another dog. I still call out "be a good dog" when she is about to meet someone and their owner (because initially she would try to resource guard other dogs' owners from them, once she had made eye contact with them and was getting love). She clearly knows what I mean too, now, when I call that out, because anytime she has to share affection, she comes to me immediately afterwards, tail up, prancing, totally proud of herself and looking for praise. Which she gets of course.
  17. Louisiana person here, born and raised in Baton Rouge. My in-laws were displaced by Rita and Ike. So many of my friends and family displaced by Katrina. Please consider calling them evacuees, not refugees. "Different socio-economic background" or not, they were not seeking refuge from another country; they're Americans. And by now, they should no longer be referred to as either term; they're Houstonians. Plus I'm sure they aren't all dogfighters. (Although any who are lose my sympathy.) In any case, glad your girls are all right and glad you're keeping Bessie. Regarding your question about price for heartworm treatment, for the BC I rescued from the animal control center here in Lafayette, the heartworm treatment altogether is going to run me around $1000 by the time I'm done. The treatments themselves only run like $600 but I've been careful to give Vala lots of doxycycline, which reduces chance of thromboembolism and causes a gradual slow kill of worms, because she had them pretty bad when we got her (lived outside all her life in Louisiana--no surprise) and I was scared to jump into the treatment. It depends on how bad your girl has them, but you should check out the DOXY/IVM strategy if your vet doesn't mention it. If Bessie has minimal symptoms, it'll probably only end up costing you 500-700 though. It's Vala's reaction to the treatments and showing of symptoms that keep racking up additional vet bills.
  18. Meg is GORGEOUS! She sounds so sweet too. And smart. There've been several topics about this! My BC Vala does this during walks and at home, for example she just walked up to me while I was typing this and touched me on the thigh with her nose so I'd look down and pet her. I look at it like a check-in, or a plea for attention. Vala isn't particularly insistent about it so I always look down and see her smiling and staring lovingly into my eyes and give her a pet on the nose. She is usually smiling happily like hello, I know you've been staring at that screen for a while, did you forget I was in the room... http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.p...mp;hl=nose+bump http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.p...mp;hl=nose+bump Vala also did this when she solved The Case of the Hissing Night: http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.p...mp;hl=nose+bump
  19. i am so sorry - i know how you feel, having to spend any time apart from him. i will keep him in my thoughts. any news from the vet when you called? is he continuing to have seizures while there, or have they stopped? what are they doing there for zippers now?
  20. Here is an example of how to work with reactivity when the dog is under threshold (don't know what the technical term for this is, but it's what my veterinary behaviorist told me to do). It's very simple and not hard. Pan had sound reactivity. Anytime she heard a new sound she hadn't heard before (once it was the sound of a paper clip dropping on the counter, so it could literally be a pin dropping), she got excited. She'd bark like crazy and go over threshold, barking. The sound reactivity seemed to be separate from her fear aggression--she wasn't showing fear signs, at the sign of these new sounds, she was just reacting to the new sound, going on alert and barking over and over. However, if I taught her through desensitization that that particular specific sound was good--as in, two reps of the new sound, for example, dropping a paper clip on the counter, but followed immediately by throwing her a treat--she would immediately stop the reactive display and simply wait for the treat. For that sound, from then on, she would be cured. My current dog Vala had some mild sound reactivity, and some reactivity to me moving my arms around or dancing in the house or singing. Even watching TV at first made her run away and hide. Anytime I made a weird sound or danced or moved quickly, she went on alert and ran to me and started barking like can I help? What can I do? What's going on? Yahhh!!! (She's a nervous sweetheart.) I worked through all that with her by ignoring the alert behavior, telling her "no" if she got in my space, and only responding to her when she went calm. And also praising her to high heaven when she was calm when I did these things. She got used to these triggers pretty quickly. Now she lays down and stares at me like are you crazy if I dance in the house. Or sometimes she'll happily dance with me. Depends on her mood. But she doesn't bark or seem nervous anymore. More on the difference between reactivity and fear aggression: my experience has been that reactivity is relatively easy to work through with desensitization and ignoring. My experience has been that fear aggression is much, much harder. Pan's fear aggression, in the end, I couldn't work through, because she went so over threshold it was insane. With the sound reactivity, let's say she was like a 6, where a 5 is threshold. Her fear aggression was like an 11 on a scale of 1-10. She turned into Kujo, would wet herself at the same time as lunging at your face or hands to bite you (and she could jump really high and was like 50 pounds). She did not have good bite inhibition and would bite us, her owners, breaking skin, when in this state. In the end, that is why we made the heartbreaking and very difficult decision to put her down (mostly because we knew we wanted kids and although I knew I could spend 3 hours a day for the next two years and probably make her behavior manageable to live in a house with two adults, I did not think I could ever help her to the point where I could safely keep her in a house with kids, and she was scared to death being outside, so I couldn't help her, and couldn't rehome her--because she had bitten us so many times). This is why I say the labels are so different, and so useful. I would never adopt another fear aggressive dog (sorry, but my heart has already been broken once). But I happily adopted a dog I knew was reactive, because I saw how respectful and sweet she was to all the people she met and how much she loved them, and because I saw what she did when she was scared--ran away and hid. A reactive dog that hides is easy to manage, so there's not a name for that. A reactive dog that turns aggressive--there's a name for that, "fear aggression," because it's pathological and possibly even dangerous (esp. if the dog has low bite inhibition and is large and has no compunction about showing aggression toward humans). This is not to say that all dogs with fear aggression need to be PTS! On the contrary the reason I tried for eight months with the help of trainers and then a behaviorist to save Pan is I had heard many wonderful success stories of people (many of them here) who had learned to manage their dog's behavior. I think, in the end though, that Pan was a very severe case. But she doesn't make me wary of all "reactive" dogs at all. I actually don't mind at all working with reactive dogs of the non-fear-aggressive variety because it's easy and rewarding.
  21. Mr. McCaig, I am curious. I would guess based on what I know of your background -- and please do correct me if I'm wrong, I'll admit I haven't had the time to read your work yet, unfortunately -- but it seems to me that in your dealings with (mostly? all?) well-bred working border collies, you might have come across less "reactive" dogs than people in the rescue world or pet world do (where we don't know a dog's lineage, and dogs may have really screwy genes from having some or both parents conformation-selected, so are thus less likely to have sound temperaments). Again, I apologize that I haven't read your work, so I don't know how much you may have worked with "problem" BCs, if at all. Shoot, I'd be willing to hazard a guess that even genetically flawed BCs that work are less likely to become problems because they get to be in the zone, doing what they were bred to do, for much of the day! But still, would you say that as a working border collie handler, it could be possible that, although you don't have need of the label "reactive" yourself, interacting with dogs in the way you do -- which must be drastically different from the way someone like me does, with an active but primarily companion type home -- the label could be useful to others who have BCs as companions? Coming from my perspective, because these words help me understand how to treat a very intelligent and sensitive dog who lives as a companion in my home, I believe "fear aggressive" and "reactive" are useful labels each. So what I'm asking is, would you agree that although the label of "reactive" seems only "vague to meaningless" to you, it might be more meaningful to others who offer the dogs a drastically different role? And if not, I'm very interested to what extent you have dealt with behavioral problems, if any, in working dogs, and whether you attribute that to breeding or handling! And if a combination of both or primarily handling, I'd love to hear an anecdote or two about how you handled it! Thanks!
  22. Vala exaggerates her feelings for others' benefits too. Strangers walking by she wants to pet her (going into this almost invincible cute puppy routine that will even stop serious joggers)--but when she is allowed to go up to the people, like Odin, she's COMPLETELY CONTROLLED, sitting calmly... You should've seen her the other day with the neighbor's three year old toddler in the park, she was so sweet and gentle, first with her head down to show she just wanted love, and then when the girl opened up, staring romantically into the little girl's eyes and getting pet, checking back in with me with eye contact every five seconds for encouragement (this girl had a puppy dog stuffed animal with her at the park and clearly loved dogs, and Vala loves children so much!). When we got her she was extremely expressive about her fears too (esp. in the beginning when she wanted to be comforted, she would shake or make this really sad scared whimpering sound, which was so heartbreaking I simply had to swoop in and pick her up to save her from whatever situation--usually if she was scared of another animal--this was when she was feeling really sick). And of course she is super expressive when I ask her if she wants to go out, she will dance in circles and telegraph euphoria in no uncertain terms! I love that dance. She's learned not to jump on me during it, and she'll stop if I ask her "what do we do?" and sit calmly to get her leash on, so what do I care if she does a jig when she realizes we're going for a walk? The interesting thing about her (and my last BC mix) is they not only radiate emotion, but also pick it up. For a while there we were having trouble getting Vala to kennel up at night because she didn't want to go and was communicating that by going to other places she'd prefer to sleep instead (like in the bathroom or on the bed) but then about a week ago I started making a conscious effort to tell her to kennel up in a super happy tone and it was startlingly effective, wish I'd remembered this tactic sooner--immediately she started doing exactly what I asked, prancing happily to her kennel, like since I was saying it so happy kenneling up must be fun! I really love how tuned in to our emotions, and expressive, she is. She's so happy most of the time, it makes for a lot of smiles.
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