Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

CONE FREE!

The Cone of Shame is GONE!! Finally!! Saturday Daisy had her follow-up vet visit and he was shocked at how much better her ears are. We can finally stop putting that disgusting oily medicine in her ears every night. We still have to finish up the pills over the next several weeks though.

What was our first order of business? GIVING HER A BATH!! This dirty dog hasn’t had a bath in THREE WEEKS because of her ear problem.

Here she is before the bath, all overgrown with oily ears.

Ugh. My fluffy ears are all flat! And I'm overgrown like a weed patch!

Ugh. My fluffy ears are all flat! And I’m overgrown like a weed patch!

I mean, take a look at these things!

I mean, take a look at these things!

Now she’s fluffy again….EXCEPT on her ears. DD shampooed them and shampooed them, but it’s going to take several washings to get all that oil out of her hair. Her ear flaps still look stringy. Ugh.

With my hair overgrown and my ears trimmed but still greasy, I look out of balance - my head looks too small for my fluffy, overgrown body!   I look like one of those "square sheep" in Americana paintings!

With my hair overgrown and my ears trimmed but still greasy, I look out of balance – my head looks too small for my fluffy, overgrown body! I look like one of those “square sheep” in Americana paintings!

We switched to a hypoallergenic shampoo and are looking into making our own to eliminate all those chemicals.

But here’s the downside….take a look at the horrible word on this new medication the vet gave us:

We have to use this medication in Daisy's ears twice a week for the rest of her life!

We have to use this medication in Daisy’s ears twice a week for the rest of her life!

DH’s boss, who lives near us, uses a holistic vet who has worked wonders with his dog. Although our vet is excellent and I wouldn’t consider leaving him, I plan to take Daisy to the holistic vet just to see if she can give us something more natural to ward off these awful allergic reactions in the future. Fingers crossed!

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We’re part of Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop! Thanks to blog hosts 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog!

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The Cone of Shame Returns….

What is going on in this family?! First I sprained my back, and yesterday one of my fillings started disintegrating in chunks….and my dentist can’t see me until tomorrow. I HATE needles and I know I’m in for a series – UGH.Plus I don’t know how my back will handle that chair of his. AND – now Daisy is back in the Cone of Shame! GEEZ!! Is there a target on us?!

Over the past week, we noticed Daisy was scratching at her left ear a little more than usual and shaking her head insanely like she was making a milkshake inside it. She’d just gotten her ears plucked a week ago, and that usually causes her to scratch and shake for a couple of days, but not to excess like this.

This time, she didn’t stop. But it did lessen.

Until yesterday.

After her morning walk yesterday, the shaking and scratching went into overdrive. She was shaking her head so hard that her ears were flapping like crazy – they sounded like a helicopter coming in for a landing. She was also scratching at the inside, which alarmed me the most.

Do I really have to wear this thing again?!

Do I really have to wear this thing again?!

We had looked inside with a flashlight during the week and didn’t notice anything wrong. But yesterday the inside looked reddish-purple and raw.

Fortunately, DD was still home, so she arranged to work from home to take Daisy to the vet, since I can’t manage that yet (my first trial car ride over the weekend didn’t go so well…). The dear man took her in almost immediately. When he looked inside her ear, DD said he made a very disconcerting sound. Diagnosis: severe spring allergies made worse by the plucking. He didn’t use the word “infection” but I think she was close to getting one. Apparently it’s worse in the left ear but has started in the right as well.

This medicine sure makes me pant a lot!

This medicine sure makes me pant a lot!

So he gave her a shot and put some gunky stuff in her ear, which we have to do every day. This isn’t going to be fun; she really doesn’t like it, and I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must feel to her to have her ears filled with oily gunk. And now her ears are all oily on the outside too. Ick. Plus she has pills to take as well, though she’ll enjoy them since they’ll be in peanut butter – the thin silver lining. 🙂

If these things continue, she’ll have to have some allergy testing done. I’ve never had a dog with so many issues!

We had to resort to the cone to stop her from scratching her ears. Poor little thing – so sweet about letting us do what we have to, but I’m sure she’s not happy about it at all!

So….is there an expiration date on bad luck????

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Dangerous Dog Drugs: When the Cure is Worse Than The Problem

My tummy itches... 😦

Daisy is having an allergic reaction to something. At least we think it’s an allergic reaction, the vet’s not sure.

She developed some medium-sized red spots on her tummy and on the inside of her back legs, and they must have been itching a bit because from time to time, she’d lick them. We tried to stop her from licking when we caught her doing it, but then after several days, a bunch of tiny red spots appeared on her tummy.

We took her to the vet, and he said it could be an allergic reaction to anything she’d come in contact with – or it could be something else – so his plan of attack was to get rid of this rash and then start an elimination program to find out what the culprit was. He gave her a cortisone shot and then two prescriptions: Medrol and Simplicef.

I’m not a fan of medication if there’s an alternative route, but being that Daisy’s scheduled to be spayed tomorrow (and it needs to be done NOW, she’s 7 months old and officially in heat!), I went ahead with the meds.

Not my best decision.

From the first day, they affected her. Especially the Medrol. She gets both pills in the morning, one with food, then one mixed with cream cheese a little later. In the middle of that first night, she threw up a lot of her food. Same thing the next night, and then on Tuesday night she threw up 3 separate times during the wee hours of the morning. In addition,  she was peeing like a leaky water bottle – way more than she was drinking.

So I stopped both meds Wednesday morning, left a message for the vet, and went online to check out these drugs. Wow. Turns out that dogs taking Medrol should be watched carefully – it’s a “potent” cortisone and owners need to watch for signs of attitude change and a stoppage of eating and/or drinking, among other things. We didn’t witness any of that, but the fact that Daisy was losing all her nutrients was bad enough.

When the vet called back Wednesday evening, he said that if Daisy was exhibiting either of the two symptoms mentioned above, he needed to see her immediately. That’s startling enough. But in our case, he said to take her off the meds for 24 hours (which I’d already done), and then just continue with Simplicef, an antibiotic. He said that the combination of the two drugs was causing these adverse reactions.

Since the rash was already improving, I decided not to put her back on anything, since she’s going in for her spaying tomorrow and will most likely be on antibiotics afterwards anyway. Immediately the side effects went away – no vomiting in the night, and her water elimination went back to normal.

There’s a wonderful article I found (http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/medical/canine-allergies.html) about canine allergic reactions, and the author discusses both traditional and the less caustic, alternative therapies. It’s hard to apply any topical treatments to a rash like this, because dogs will just lick it off and it could be dangerous to them. But apparently there’s a topical spray with witch hazel that may be a good alternative treatment – it’s not hazardous to dogs if they lick it and it doesn’t have the dangerous side effects of these more powerful medications.

If this rash continues, I think we’ll go to a local alternative vet for a second opinion; if we can get rid of this thing without polluting (or poisoning) Daisy’s system, I’ll go that way in a heartbeat. And if it doesn’t work, at least she’s no worse off.

Before giving your dog or cat any prescription drugs, check the medications out so you’ll be aware of what’s considered a “normal” reaction and what side effects should raise a red flag and indicate an immediate call to your vet. You may also decide that the risk is greater than the potential cure and request a different approach to the problem after understanding the medication more thoroughly.

One word of caution, though – be aware of what type of website you’re looking at. Sites driven by unsupervised contributor content (like eHow and other free content sites) are not necessarily trustworthy because anyone can post anything they want, including drug companies who are simply pushing their drugs. As a freelance writer and researcher, I can’t even begin to tell you how much misinformation is on these types of sites – even Wikipedia, which many people use, has a lot of misinformation because anyone can post changes to one of their topics without authority. (I’m not saying that these sites have nothing to offer, but I wouldn’t take medical advice from them. If you use them, consider them as a starting point of basic information, then check reputable sites to confirm or eliminate what they said.) On the other hand, sites like About.com put applicants through some rigorous testing and training and, when it comes to medical writers, they have actual medical professionals overseeing content, so they’re more trustworthy.

Similarly, a website selling medications will tout only the positive aspects of a drug in order to make sales. So stick with a site with content from more educated, reputable sources, and then double and triple check that information against other similar sites.

Here are a couple of good websites to start with; there are plenty more on Google:

Drugs.comhttp://www.drugs.com – an excellent site with human and veterinary drug information. Everything from side effects and counter-indications to dosages and the latest news on drug recalls and newly approved drugs.

Vet 4 Petzhttp://www.vet4petz.com – covers traditional as well as alternative therapies for pets, as well as preventive information, articles, and more. There’s even an “Ask the Vet” link and links to other sites too.

I’ll throw in one more thing – there’s a website called Ask A Patient (www.askapatient.com) where people rate the different drugs they take and talk about their pros, cons, side effects, etc. It’s laid out in a table format, so you don’t have to read through long forum discussions. Some drugs, like Medrol, are prescribed for both humans and animals, so even though the human and canine systems are different, you can still check people’s reactions to and comments on different drugs, which may give you some insights. I looked up Medrol – it seems many people feel it should be BANNED. Apparently they had very bad reactions…and some scary ones, too. It’s worth a look.

I like our vet, but if this rash continues after the spaying is over and done with, I’m going to get a second opinion from a local vet who combines traditional and alternative veterinary practices.

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