We have a new boy, Snickers, who arrived here about a week ago from the Humane Society. They called us to say they had a 13 year old Collie – they know we’ll take in Collies. He weighs in just under 50lbs, very thin, weak hips but x-rays show good hip joints and bad spine. Snickers isn’t a collie. He has a Sheltie coat and is a mix with a border collie or a retriever. He arrived drinking and pee’ing up a storm so we did blood work the very next day and then again a few days later because the first blood work showed nothing. Actually, I hadn’t been given CBC results, just the organ results. It was definitely not kidneys — those values (BUN and creatinine) were just right.
The re-test where we did pay attention to the CBC results showed infection which turned out to be a urinary tract infection — yoohoo! It was the least of the evil possibilities for drinking and pee’ing a lot! What a wonderful thing that was! So we started this Snickers sweetheart on amoxicillin 500mg twice a day. He was also on anti-acid which I start all older dogs on that are having any eating issues or light vomiting. He had just started coughing and I’ve no doubt we were looking at kennel cough (mucousy nose, etc.) so we started him on Doxycycline 100mg, 1.5 tablets twice a day. He had diarrhea on arrival here so he was on a low dose of metronidazole, 250mg twice a day. To help him with his arthritis he was getting .75 of a 75mg Rimadyl tablet. His liver enzymes had looked good on the blood work so we decided to try him out on Rimadyl.
The turn-around we saw after a couple of days was really rewarding. He went from just hanging out on a dog bed all day and being a picky eater to picking up toys and asking us to play with him and enjoying his meals so much that now he’s among the social directors here who need to notify me, like I can’t tell time, that it’s almost meal-time! The feeling I get from seeing that turnaround is indescribable.
I have to mention that although Snickers developed a full blown case of kennel cough in a house full of 16 other dogs — only one other dog here came down with what I THOUGHT MIGHT BE kennel cough. I heard Cameo cough one morning the day after she’d been spayed and one week after bringing Snickers into the house. I didn’t wait for more evidence but started her on doxycycline that day. I’ve noticed before that kennel cough might only be picked up by a few of the dogs here. And I’ve noticed that spayed girls are more vulnerable to picking it up. Bordatella vaccines probably account for some, but definitely not all of the dogs escaping without getting sick.
This morning my reliable alarm clocks, Bitsy and Colin, went off earlier than usual – at 7:15. Bitsy and Colin are doing something weird lately. In the evening they retreat to their sleeping area and don’t want to go out and go potty when it’s late and cold outside. The more I try to coax them the less inclined they are to go outside. I got up, whipped on my clothing, released two of the dogs in the bedroom from their crates (Jake and Sandy) and brought those two plus the others who sleep without being crated (Honey, Sport, Tommy, and Star) downstairs with me. Abby and Jodie like to sleep-in with Dad.
I got downstairs and let the bedroom crew out into the backyard. Went back and released Bitsy and Colin from their sleeping quarters and saw that they’d already pooped in there — so I shut their gate so nobody could go in and dance around in the poop and then skate around the family room with it. Clean-up would wait until I was done with the morning potty’ing.
My other two girls that kick up a fuss to go potty in the morning are Sienna and Jet, mother and daughter respectively. They sleep in crates in the dogs’ food room. I release them and then have to stand way across the room from them and call them to go outside — keeping the door to the backyard open. These girls, from a puppy mill, know us but still worry about what we might do to them despite being here for quite awhile.
There’s a bark from somewhere inside the house. Who’s bark is that? I listen for another bark. There it is…who could that be? Oh…it must be blind and deaf Tommy. He must want some help getting outside although generally he doesn’t need any help getting from the upstairs bedroom to the backyard. I look for him in the hallway…no Tommy. I look up the stairs to the bedroom and there’s Tommy — at the top of the stairs barking. Well, perhaps today he wanted help? So together we go down the stairs and I guide him to the doorway. Most of the other dogs have completed their mission and are wandering, playing or hurrying back inside.
During all this activity Snickers, who had been laying on the floor near the back door, got up and went outside and pee’d. I no longer worry about watching what he’s up to because I know that he’ll try to hold it until he can go outside. His pre-antibiotic 3 or 4 days here was a reminder to me of how much I like the washable puppy pads. They’re currently strewn around the family room floor and it amazes me how the dogs learn so quickly what the pads are to be used for. I get them from ezwhelp.com. Their prices are good and you can buy used, washable puppy pads! I thought that was pretty neat.
I’m going to get the last dogs back into the house. Tommy was standing on the lower part of the ramp facing away from me, waiting for my familiar tap on this back to let him know I was ready for him to come inside. Closer to me, Snickers was also facing away from me but he’s standing in a strange crouched position like he’s holding onto the ramp for dear life, as though he might tumble down or off somewhere. I see that he’s moving his head to the left, forward, to the right, and then repeating this. His body is acting as though he’s on alert but he doesn’t have control of his movements. I don’t know how, but I realize that he isn’t going to move or he can’t move. I manage to turn him around to face the doorway into the house. I have to do this slowly because moving him seems to cause some discomfort but perhaps he was expressing fear? Step by step I move him into the house where he melts to the floor and I can get Tommy inside and close the door on the cold air outside.
I watch Snickers. I hold him and talk into his ear. I stroke him. He continues to move his head in that jerky, repetitive pattern. Some of these symptoms can be seen when a dog is overdosed on metronidazole. It does look and feel seizure-like but I’m sure Snickers didn’t fall over and have a full out seizure. After about a minute he stands himself up and walks to the water bowl. Ah…I’m breathing a sigh of some relief but he doesn’t take a drink, which I’d like to see him do. It’s a vital, normal behavior and it’d make me feel even more relieved. He walks near where I’m sitting and I hold him again and stroke his tummy. I see the head movement repeat. Snickers is getting over whatever it is that happened to him but he isn’t over it completely, yet. Another couple of minutes and Snickers brings me a toy and I know he’s okay for now. To my relief he couldn’t wait for his breakfast and ate very well.
He could be a dog that’s hypersensitive to metronidazole so I’m excluding that from his medications. I’m stopping his Rimadyl too — just to be on the safe side. I’ll watch him for a few days and see how he does off of these medications. Obviously I could use more insight into what might have happened to Snickers. Further understanding will have to wait until another episode occurs, if it occurs. We’re due to re-do his blood work after he finishes his antibiotics but that may not tell us anything about this problem.