Saturday, June 30, 2007

Low Blow!!!

I'll try to do a longer post tomorrow. Holly has hip dysplacia and some early arthritic changes, particularly on the left side (the side she has been limping on). The plan for now is keep her on daily Rimadyl, which seems to be keeping her comfortable for now, and do more x-rays in a couple of years (assuming the Rimadyl continues to work for her). Depending on how rapidly the arthritis seems to be progressing based on the next x-rays, I'll decide then about surgery. I have been using Synovi-G3 for several years now, and have added ester-C and have increased her fish oil. I'm slowly increasing the C, planning to top out at 750 a day. Right now I'm using the same ester-C liver flavored tabs from PetSmart that I used to give her, but will probably switch to some people grade C since the quality is probably better.

Needless to say, this has been a huge blow, but honestly I was expecting it, so it wasn't really shocking. I'm sad she's going to miss out on doing agility. I will still do rally and obedience with her as long as she can, and I'm going to work hard at keeping her weight lean and keep her well exercised with long, moderate paced walks. More than anything I'm just worried about her future quality of life. Unfortunately, I know what it's like to live with cronic pain, and I hate to think of her living like that. . . I will certainly have surgery done if that's what she needs, but that's scary too; surgery itself is dangerous, and there's always the chance that the surgery may go wrong and leave her in more pain. On the other hand, cardigrandma has an artificial hip, and everything went well with both the initial surgery and the surgery last summer to replace worn out parts.

Bottom line, it's just a real croc of sh!t to have such a young dog on drugs for life, or in pain, or facing surgery and not able to do all the activities that we enjoyed together!

More tomorrow. . .

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Again Already!?!

Didn't we just do Monday like a couple days ago!?!

Mikey and I just got back from our jog/walk; he's trying to stay in shape and I'm trying to get in shape. I also did some obedience with Holly. I just can't imagine a few fronts and a few steps of heeling here in the living room is going to aggravate her physical condition, and I know lack of stimulation will aggravate her mental condition. She has her x-rays on Wednesday, and then I'll know where we stand. . .

The weekend was kind of a complete bust; I took my methotrexate on Friday so that I wouldn't still be feeling the side effects this morning (too hard to feel that awful on a Monday). So the exchange for feeling decent on Monday is feeling crappy all weekend. Uh yeah, that's not going to work for me either.

We got to see Kiki and her person, C, this weekend. We miss getting to walk with them in the mornings! Isn't Kiki a sweet looking girl? She's no spring chicken, but she can still give Mikey and Holly a run for their money. Mikey and Holly think she is too cool.

Oh yes, I also got to practice my most important role as leader of our little pack this morning; protector. The chumps that live across the lawn from me have a white boxer that they have no control over, and never put on leash. And she's not spayed. First thing this morning at 5:15 when I took the kids out, they were coming out with her and she came charging across the lawn and went after Mikey (uh huh, she's in season). Luckily for me she was wearing a choke chain and I dropped my kids leashes and got a hand throught the choke to lift her front end off the ground until her sorry people finally came and got her. Jerks!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The ugly is what I'm waiting up for tonight. Channel 11 (CBS) here in Houston came last week and filmed a news segment about my company's research in neurodegenerative diseases. Since they spent some of their time filming me doing protein analysis, there's a chance I may see myself on tv. Not sure if I'm exciting about it, or dreading it. . .

The good is the fun I had with Mikey last night at agility. Neither Mikey or I were really 'on' last night, but we had a great time. I think I'm really going to enjoy the new instructor, R. She's really upbeat and positive, and really good too; she has been a member of the World Team several times. Mikey and I didn't sync like we do sometimes, but we did improve the second time we ran the course. I got to try out the new braces too. The braces are adjustable, so I can leave them loose around my knees until I'm ready to run the course, and then tighten them down to circulation stopping tight for the run. The braces made a huge difference in the stability of my knees; I actually felt like I could keep up with Mikey for a change!

The bad is having dogs that are sick or injured. Holly's vet appointment on Wednesday was inconclusive; I'm taking her in next Wednesday for a full panel of x-rays under light sedation. In the mean time the vet gave us some rymadel since low doses of aspirin weren't helping. She already is hardly limping at all, but I'm still getting the x-rays done. I almost don't know what to hope for; in some ways it would be better if something was going on that could be helped by surgery. I've got the money that was supposed to be for my root canals and crowns sitting in the bank, so I could find a way to pay for surgery, and I want a solution that is 'fixable'. I am afraid that if it's early arthritis at three years old, she might have years of pain ahead of her.

The other bad is my dad's older Brittaney, Bobbie. Poor sweet girl has been vomiting and having diarrhea all day today. We don't know what is wrong with her yet. She's been to the vet and got sub-Q fluids and an injection of meds to combat the diarrhea, but apparently she still can't hold down even water. They're doing blood work, but there won't be any results until tomorrow. Poor girl! She's getting older and has some old age related heart problems and arthritis; it sucks to get old! Her are some pictures of Bobbie in her prime. . . She was one HOT agility dog!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

UPDATE: Yes, my company was profiled on the 10 o clock news tonight; the story centered on a reporter for the channel that has Parkinson's and the coverage on our company was good. My parents just called to say they saw it too. Good thing they taped it because the visual on my tape seems to be all screwed up. Poo! Also, Bobbie has been able to hold down the last drink of water she had about half an hour ago, hopefully she's on the mend!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


So far we're having a grrrr week at the Cardihouse. Holly has an appointment with our vet tomorrow; every time her limp seems to get a little better, it just gets worse again. Keep your fingers crossed that nothing serious is going on! And work is totally blowing right now. And the methotrexate still is not helping. And it's sooooo hot and humid; just miserable really, even first thing in the morning. And the high humidity combined with the heat is giving us thunder storms almost every afternoon/evening. Agility Thursday is not looking good, although the new location for our class does drain better than the old place.

If Holly doesn't have anything serious going on, we've got a Rally show and go this weekend. I'm still doing some light training with her to give her some attention in the evenings before leaving her home and taking Mikey out for a run on the bayou. I haven't entered either Holly or Mikey in the Reliant shows yet. I would hate to lose the entry fees for Holly since she certainly can't show if she's limping, and I hate being first in catalog entry with Mikey; gah, stacking him on the table while the judge watches! That is guaranteed to make me fumble around!

Poor Mikey, we've been back from the bayou for about thirty minutes, and he's still panting. I can't imagine running around in this kind of weather with a fur coat on. . . See below where both of the kiddos like to lay to cool down. They love those cool tiles!

I'll let you know what I find out from the vet. . .

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi!' and 'Can we fly north for the summer!?!'

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yup! You Guessed It!

Rain! Apparently Mikey is still a certified rain maker; no agility tonight. Instead some table work and free baiting for Mikey and some obedience for Holly. Oh yeah, and then some ball up and down the hallway to wear Mikey out.

Mikey acted like a complete goof both on the table and on the floor. Good thing I'm getting started early getting him ready for Reliant. I think the main problem is that really all we have done for the past year is agility, where being hyped up and wild and crazy is ok. He never gets so wild and crazy that he doesn't follow my directions in agility, but standing still for a hard stack or free bait. . . not so much. I probably should have wore him out playing ball first. Maybe next time.

Holly did great this evening. Slightly less barking, but still with great attitude. That's progress! She can be just sooooo sharp in obedience work; I really need to work with her more consistently, because she could be really, really good in obedience. On the other hand, she gets bored easy, so less is more for sure when it comes to Holly. Mikey I could drill over and over on something as long as he gets to fetch pink ball in between; Holly pretty quickly gets an attitude if we do the same thing over and over. Oh, who am I kidding, she's got an attitude all the time, the key is to have that diva attitude working with me instead of against me!

TGI almost F!!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Awwww! They were such cute, dorky little babies once!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just Do It!

I know! I'm bad, and haven't posted in a while; a combination of too tired/too busy/nothing nice to say. I've been working my butt off at, umm, work. And nothing much has been going on with the cardikids, partly because I've been working my butt off, partly because Holly is still not entirely sound, and partly because there has been a planned break in agility classes.

Speaking of agility, send some good thoughts out to J. She's really having a rough time of it; she decided to take a break from teaching agility because she's been taking care of a friend that had a stroke and then last week was in an awful car accident, as in cut out of the car with the jaws. She's doing ok physically, in fact she was released from the hospital the same day, but jeez, the poor thing needs a break!

So, R is taking over the agility classes. My dad has taken classes with her before and really likes her. First class with R will be this Thursday. Also, unfortunately, the class location is changing; no more agility class three miles from my place. On the other hand, my class and my dad's class have been combined, so he's going to pick me up and drive us all over to class; which means some time to hang out with my dad coming and going, and I don't have to deal with traffic. Yippee!

I picked up a couple of velcro type knee supports this morning. Which brings me to the 'Just Do It' portion of today's post. I have got to start getting into better shape if I'm going to keep running agility, especially with Mikey. Not exercising beyond walking the dogs hasn't done a thing to help my pain level with the RA, so why not at least try to push through it and get back in shape?

So I started with lifting hand weights last night, and continued tonight with a run with Mikey; part jog, part sprints. We'll see how it goes. I've mostly been keeping Mikey in shape with some serious ball fetching on the bayou. If it's round and will fit in his mouth, Mikey will chase it for as long as your arm holds out.

I also did some obedience work with Holly a tonight. We had our third Rally-O class last weekend. Somehow I've got to get her barking under control, without taking away the fun she has doing obedience. I really noticed tonight when I gave her sharp 'NO's' for barking, it really damped down her attitude. On the other hand, B, our Rally instructor has mentioned several times that most judges would NQ us for excessive barking. Grrrrrr! Part of the fun for Holly is telling me off! How to keep it fun, but get her to shut up!?!

Oh, and an update on the RA treatment; I've got to 'try' methotrexate for at least the next three to four months. After that, I assume that farking Unicare will let me go back to Enbrel. So far the methotrexate hasn't shown any positive effects, only negative ones. As in making me even more fatigued than usual for several days after my weekly dose and making the irritable bowel rear it's ugly head again. Thank you, thank you, farking Unicare!

Currently reading 'A Meeting At Corvalis' by S. M. Stirling.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Is it just me, or is Mikey a complete goober!?!

Shots of the last full moon. I just can't resist taking pictures of the moon!