Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's with these Denta Stix?

The boys love Denta Stix. I'm not sure why but whatever they've got in there....the doggie version of catnip or something...my dogs go crazy over them. However, the boys do eat goose poop whenever they can access it and moths, when they're in season, so nothing really surprises me.

What did surprise me though is how nice Bruiser's teeth are. Rocki isn't a good test subject because he doesn't actually chew anything...he breaks it into tiny pieces and swallows. I'm not sure how to teach him to chew, but that's another story...

I did have chicken-flavored toothpaste the vet gave me as well as a little finger brush. I tried brushing the dogs' teeth in the past, but they were more interested in eating the toothpaste and chewing the finger containing the brush rather than letting me scrub their teeth. So when I took Bruiser to the vet one day, the vet commented that he had a lot of plaque on his teeth. I shuddered...how much was his dental bill going to cost down the road? I had to do something.

So we tried different kinds of cleaning bones but the dogs turned their noses up at them. Then one day I found Denta Stix and thought what the heck? Let's give them a try. Well, the dogs actually dance and leap around for Denta Stix and promptly run off in separate areas of the house to devour their treat. Bruiser wolfs his down, although chewing is involved. Rocki takes his time, so in the picture Bruiser is actually waiting for Rocki to turn his head for a split second so he can sneak in and grab the Denta Stix. But the plaque on Bruiser's teeth is gone, so whatever is in those things is actually working. Now to get Rocki to understand the concept of chewing...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The boys get the flu

I never thought dogs got the flu, but mine did.

It started one morning with Bruiser when he threw up. I cleaned his mess and wondered what he had eaten since eating something they shouldn't is the usual culprit. However, the vomitting didn't stop but got worse. He also was running outside frequently with diahrrea and that's when I knew something was wrong. He wasn't eating or drinking and I had visions of Parvo all over again, so I called the vet and asked if I could bring him in and have him checked out.

Luckily, the vet was very accommodating and I was able to bring him in within the hour. They did a physical checkup and everything seemed okay. They used the rectal thermometer and his temperature was normal. The did the bum smear and that too came out normal. They also did blood tests to check for internal diseases but his blood work came back as normal. So, after $280 the verdict was that he had a virus and was given electrolytes to rehydrate him and a shot of something that stopped the vomitting for 24 hours so he could eat and drink. After that I took him home and let him sleep. By the late afternoon he was drinking water and eating a bit and by the next morning he seemed almost back to his old self again.

So life went on and at about 10:00 at night I settled in to watch a movie and, as usual, started dozing off. That's when Rocki woke me, frantically pawing on the blanket, and ran to the door. I dragged myself up and let him outside where he promptly began throwing up. Oh no...Rocki caught the same thing that Bruiser had.

To make a long story short, I was running to the door with him every 10 or 15 minutes until 2:30 in the morning while he threw up and had bouts of diahrrea. I finally fell asleep on the couch at 3:00 a.m. and at 5:00 we began the process again. Finally, it appeared that Rocki had nothing left inside him and curled up to sleep. The vet had given me two extra anti-vomitting pills for Bruiser and I didn't have to use them, so I got one down Rocki's throat and coerced him into having a bit of water. That's the one thing about Rocki - he is the most obedient little guy I've ever seen. His greatest fear is that one of us is cross with him for some reason, so when I tapped on his water dish and kept telling him to "come", he did and drank. Once he started drinking, it's almost like he couldn't stop he was so dehydrated and drank a good bit of water. Then I settled him down and he had a good long nap.

The only real difference in behavior between this flu and Parvo was that this time, the boys were not listless and without energy like Rocki was with Parvo. Although they weren't running amok like they usually do, they still trotted to the door or from room to room looking for the perfect place to nap. With Parvo, they don't have the energy to move. And that's the big difference that I noticed. However, if I had to do it again, I would still have taken Bruiser to the vet to have this checked out.

Although I was prepared to run Rocki to the vet that day, he seemed to be getting better and by late afternoon was drinking on his own and sniffing at his food dish. By supper he was eating little bits and pieces and holding it down. By the next morning he was racing around and eating like he'd never seen food before. Neither he nor Bruiser threw up again nor did they have diarrhea. Both are back to normal after about a 24 hour bout of the flu.

Of course, the question became where did these two little house dogs pick up a virus? Well, two days prior to Bruiser falling ill, we had them at a new groomer where there were other dogs and a doggie day care. They were in holding cages, on a groomer's table, and walking around on the floors. So that's where they caught it. But, obviously, there's nothing you can do about it because they have to be groomed and you absolutely cannot monitor every dog they come in contact with, so I guess flus for dogs are just a fact of life.