Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gartrell PetSmart Adoption Event

Mya and Sam looked extra beautiful for the adoption event today after their foster daddy got them groomed this past week!  

They enjoyed getting lots of attention and treats from all the nice people, but they would much rather have a forever home to give them love and attention ALL the time!

Email us if you are interested in making one or both of these babies part of your family!

They are good buddies and would like to be adopted together, but can be adopted separately if they find PYRfect families apart! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Poopy Situation

Tonight's post has been prompted by the following little scenario:  As I was walking Reg & Reese tonight we came upon a lady walking her three small dogs.  Reg stopped to do his business about half way down the block from them, I bent down to pick up his poop and as I stood back up, one of the small dogs was doing his business about 10 feet from us, when he finished the lady just keep walking right along...I passed her and very nonchalantly handed her a poop bag said "here you go".  [Note:  My apartment complex has doggie stations with well-stocked bags, so nobody has any excuse for not picking up after their dogs]

Yes, I am that person.  Why, you ask?  Because in what part of the adoption process did you think your dog came with their own little poop fairy who cleans up after them every time they need to relieve themselves?  Picking up poop is part of owning a dog--your dog gives you unconditional love, joy, and give them food, water, shelter, a loving home, and you pick up after them.  It's part of the responsibility of owning a dog, not to mention that here in Denver, it's the law (which is also the case in many other municipalities), and failure to comply if caught in the act results in a fine!

We have all done our fair share of stepping in dog poop.  Scrapping it off the bottom of your shoe is not fun, it's messy, and it's rather disgusting.

If that's not enough for you, consider these Poopy Facts:
  • "The US pet dog population reached a record 78.2 million in 2010, and at 3/4 lbs. per day on average, waste production per dog comes to 274 lbs./year--or 10.9 million tons dropped on the landscape" (The Wall Street Journel
    • Just think what would it would be like if nobody picked up after their furbabies...
  • Dog waste is RAW SEWAGE and the only bacteria source that people willingly leave on the ground--GROSS!
  • "Unlike wild-animal feces, dog poop does not biodegrade quickly" (The Denver Post)
  • Not picking up after your dog poses a public health hazard:
    • Pet feces carry bacteria, viruses, and parasites into waterways that can cause unpleasant infections such as giardia and E. coli
    • More indirectly, the excrement also releases nutrients into the water that can feed algae, kill marine life, contaminate beaches, lakes, and rivers, and send unlucky swimmers home with bouts of diarrhea or hives.

Because of contamination as well as smell and mess, dog waste is highly offensive to many people in the community (especially those who don't own dogs).  This often results in dogs being banned from different areas and locations.  Since your dog did not in fact come with their own little poop fairy, they can't clean up after themselves, which makes this issue a people problem rather than a dog problem.  It's easy to enact "no dogs allowed" rules, and then responsible dog owners who do clean up after their pups suffer right along with the ones who don't!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Don't Overlook Teary Eyes

We've encountered several Pyrs who seemed to be prone to teary eyes.  While this can be a simple response to a superficial irritation, there are other conditions that should be ruled out.  Some breeds are predisposed naturally to runny eyes, or "epiphora", and this includes Poodles, Lhasa apso, and Maltese Terriers.  Breeds with excessive nasal folds like Pugs, Pekinese, Bull Dogs, and Persian cats are also prone.

The condition we've encountered with our rescued Pyrs is something called Entropion.  Chows, Shar-peis, St. Bernards, and Bull Dogs are all predisposed to this.  With the hundreds of Pyrs who came through the rescue, I can personally recall about maybe 5 Pyrs with Entropion.  What happens, is that the top eyelid (dogs only have eyelashes on the top) curls under and the hairs scratch their eye's surface, thusly the tearing.  Untreated, it can scratch the corneal surface to a degree which may cause damaged vision or even blindness if left long enough.  Some young pups can be born with this, and end up outgrowing it in a short period of time; it would hardly be noticed. 

While usually congenital, it can be acquired through trauma or introduction of a foreign body.  This can also result in "pink eye" (conjunctivitis) and other conditions.  It can be treated with anti-inflammatories and/or anti-biotics.  In it's congenital form, surgery is usually required to fix it.  Think of it as an "eye lift". It's not a serious procedure, but it's not cheap.  It is, however, necessary to ensure your dog's eye is not damaged.  Recovery from the surgery is minimal. Visualizing if the eyelid is curled under is easy, in my experience.  You can easily take a close look and determine it.  I'd be willing to bet, though, that less severe cases of Entropion may be harder to spot and you'll definitely want to ask your vet if you see tearing.

Conversely, there is the opposite of this condition called Ectropion which impacts the bottom eyelid versus the top, and the lid is everted.  Also congenital, this dog may not be able to properly keep their eye moisturized while blinking and can get chronic dry eye.  This condition is common in loose-skinned dogs; we think of Bassets, Hounds... that "droopy eyed" look.  If not congenital, some dogs can acquire it from fatigue of facial muscles (hunting dogs) or due to paralysis from damaging a facial nerve.  Often this condition doesn't need any treatment.  In cases where the health of the eye is compromised, surgery may be needed to replace the lid against the eye.

So while sometimes tearing can be normal, there are other things which may be the culprit.  Always be concerned about bilateral tearing, and any time the tearing is cloudy or mucousy.  Always have your vet check out your dog's eyes to determine if their tearing is normal, to rule out any infections or eye conditions.


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Note from Huey's Foster Mommy!

Hi!  I'm Huey's foster mom.  And I've got to tell you, Huey is the best dog ever!  I always say to him, "I can't believe someone hasn't adopted you yet."  He is such a good dog.  He likes to follow me from room to room and just be near me.  He watches everything that goes on in the house, and can almost always anticipate my next move.  He will flop down somewhere where he can see everything but is not underfoot.  His favorite spots are somewhere soft, and squishy.  He really likes blankets because they can be pawed into the position he wants them.

Huey is still very much a puppy and wants to play.  He gets the crazies every couple of days where he will pick up a toy and throw it around, jumping and pouncing on it.  Sometimes he will get so wound up he chases his tail...and he will usually catch it!  Watching, "The Dog Whisperer" is one of his favorite things to do!  As soon as a dog on TV barks, he becomes transfixed.  I make him stay on the couch next to me and just watch.  No barking back at the dogs or trying to get inside the TV is allowed...he just trembles with excitement.   I think he would love to have a playmate; a dog who would wrestle and run around the yard with him would be great.  I also think he might like to be adopted by someone who runs.  Huey likes to explore on our walks and always wants to check things out. He does great on a retractable leash and loves to stop and sniff and then will shoot ahead in a gallop.

Shannon & Christie think Huey might have some Beagle in him, and I agree.  Huey is very talkative like a Beagle.  He will start out with a groan that turns into a yawn and becomes a yowl.  There are different sounds for different things..."I want to play" noises...or "let me out of the crate" noises.  Everything has a unique sound!  I only pay attention to his sounds half the time because if he figures out that "talking" to me will get him what he wants he will never stop!

Huey is a good dog, who never causes me any trouble.  He is a wonderful companion who will bring someone lots of love and happiness.

If you are interested in making this sweet boy a part of your family please email us!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When Is It An Emergency?

I tend to think, if the owner thinks it's an emergency, it is.  It is to them, and a clinic should address their concerns as such, even if they are freaking out a bit too much over something minimal. I would have a fit if someone talked down to me because I didn't understand that whatever was freaking me out was minimal.  I've had it happen; we don't return to those clinics!

Many years ago before I knew any better, I saw blood coming out of my cat's ear.  Just a tiny bit, but I sorta' freaked and thought his ear was truly bleeding from the tympanic membrane, or ear drum. After I calmed down, I was able to discern he got a scratch from playing and it just went deeper into his canal than what seemed obvious at first.  Another time, I took my other cat to the emergency vet because he didn't eat his dinner.  Yep.  He is such a huge, huge pig, that I figured if he was skipping dinner that something must be really wrong.  On top of it, he hissed at me when I went to palpate his abdomen; I think I feared a urinary obstruction at the time. The vet was nice, and my cat ended up just having a fever of unknown origin which was easily treated. 

Here is a quick list I extrapolated from an emergency brochure, regarding when to treat the condition as an emergency:
  • hit by car, or trauma from a fall
  • vomit and/or diarrhea
  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing, and/or discolored gums (pale, blue, bright red)
  • unconsciousness
  • broken bones
  • bleeding from eyes, nose, or mouth
  • blood in urine or feces
  • collapse or inability to stand
  • ingestion of a suspected poison, antifreeze, human meds or household cleaners
  • signs of extreme pain such as whining or shaking
  • disorientation; bumping into objects, wobbly walking
  • swollen abdomen that is hard and/or painful to the touch
  • has gone 3-4 hours between delivering babies
  • strains or is unable to urinate, especially in male cats

This list is not inclusive of every imaginable thing which would constitute an emergency, but it's a helpful guide. When in doubt, call your clinic and ask them.  It's always important to note anything you think may have caused the emergency, such as ingested items, or how long your dog's condition has persisted. If your dog has had a seizure, it's of extra importance to note the duration of time between seizures.

Treating Your Dog With Steroids

The two categories to treat inflammation and other conditions are steroids and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  Because there are many side effects with the use of steroids, I felt it would be interesting to review them here.  This isn't to scare anyone away from steroids, as they are an essential drug and used to effectively treat many conditions. 

Many things produce inflammation, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, trauma, allergies, and neoplasias (tumor growth or growth of new tissue). Trauma itself can be defined as occurring outside the body (what we tend to think of) or inside the body, such as an allergy or reaction to a chemical. 

One of the defenses our body mounts in response to inflammation is the release of hydrocortisone from the adrenal cortex, with the help of the hypothalmus and the pituitary gland.  The adrenal cortex produces and releases 2 key hormones: mineralcorticoids and glucocorticoids.  Ah, now these words sound familiar I bet!  Steroid therapy replicates these naturally occurring hormones, while I bet some people weren't sure that they are already naturally produced in the body, and the drug therapy mimics their effects.

Without going into too many boring, technical details, understand that these naturally occurring hormones do many things when everything is working as it should.  From metabolizing food into energy and/or suppressing the body's way it produces pain and inflammation. 

Steroids can be used for patients with arthritic conditions; a steroid can be injected directly into the site of pathology, avoiding many negative side effects.  The main disadvantage is a condition called "crystalline arthropathy", where the steroid suspension can settle out in the joint, but that effect is treatable. 

There are many side effects of steroidal therapy.  A large concern stems from the fact that we are administering drugs to the dog which the body should be naturally producing.  This can inspire the body to stop producing those chemicals itself.  This is why steroid treatment must be weaned down, and can never be stopped suddenly.  By slowly removing your pet from the drug, it allows the body time to "kick back in" and produce appropriate levels itself.  By avoiding this key aspect of steroidal use, we can create diseases in our pets such as Addison's Disease (hypoadrenalcorticism) or Cushing's Disease (hyperadrenalcorticism). 

Other side effects can include immunosupression, so if your animal is healing from some other injury, while on steroids that process will be slowed down.  A suppressed immune system also means they have a diminished natural ability to fight things off in general.  They may have an increased appetite in addition to muscle wasting.  GI irritation and ulcers are a potential problem, but they are a potential side effect of pretty much all drug use.  You may see some hair loss due to the break down of proteins in the hair follicle. 

If your vet prescribes a steroid for the treatment of your dog's condition, review all the potential side effects in detail with them.  Always follow the treatment regimen closely, and never abruptly stop giving your dogs steroids unless advised by your vet. 

Hypothyroidism and Your Dog

While cats are at risk of hyperthyroidism, our dogs tend to get hypothyroidism.  It can go undiagnosed, as many symptoms can be brushed aside as "he's just getting older".  Slowing down, and especially weight gain; owners tend to assume their metabolism is slowing down and the weight gain is normal. 

Hypothyroidism is generally caused by the destruction of the thyroid gland, and is referred to as an "underproducing thryoid", as it makes less of the hormones T3 and T4.  The thyroid controls body metabolism, and many other functions in the body such as protein production.  Protein in and of itself is essential to pretty much all vital body functions.  Your dog could have an autoimmune disorder which impacts it's thyroid, but it can merely due to degeneration of the gland with age.  This condition is mostly seen in older dogs due to this fact.  Some pre-disposed breeds include Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Irish Setters, Dachshunds, and spayed females.

The general clinical signs include weight gain without an increased appetite, lethargy, decreased energy level, weakness, exercise intolerance, slowed heart rate (bradycardia), and cold intolerance/"heat seeking" behavior.  Dull, dry, coarse haircoat, thickened skin, bilateral hair loss, and secondary skin infections can all impact the skin.  You can see why someone may dismiss these symptoms as just "he's getting old".  Your vet will likely want to run a thyroid test on your older dog; let him.  Hypothyroidism is effectively treated with daily oral meds.  It's very treatable, but don't dismiss any of these signs in your middle-aged to older dog, and always  follow the advice of your vet regarding running blood work to rule out something like this.

"Bloat" and Gastric Dilative Volvulus

"Bloat" isn't the condition we fear as large breed dog owners.  The term is used to describe a condition that is actually called Gastric Dilative Volvulus, or "GDV".  Bloat describes a different, less severe condition of gas buildup on the abdomen, think "I feel bloated today".  Your dog can have abdominal distension and perhaps pain, but it is not the condition where we think of their stomach "twisting".   Some believe that bloat may hold the potential to become GDV, but I don't have the impression there is research to back up that theory.

GDV is a serious, life-threatening condition where our dog's stomach can twist or dilate. Pressure in the stomach will increase, and blood supply may be cut off, and your dog will die without treatment.  There is no definitive theory as to what causes GDV.  In general, medicine tends to revere it as a condition to which deep-chested dogs are prone. There are no varying degrees of severity; GDV is serious, period. 

Your dog will show abdominal pain (and probably will react painfully to your touch in that area), stretching (to try to compensate for the pressure build up), and difficulty breathing.  Their abdomen will be distended and they may make attempts to regurgitate.  Their heart rate may  increase and they may show weakness or collapse.

Possible secondary complications include decreased cardiac output resulting in shock, arrhythmia, cell death and sloughing of the intestines due to lack of adequate blood supply, and perhaps bacteremia (bacteria in the blood stream) and sepsis (invasion of the body by toxins). 

If you believe your dog to be suffering, act immediately.  Time is of the essence, as this is a very treatable disease and the survival rate is very good if they get care quickly.  When transporting your dog to the vet, try to provide a board or something you can lay them on for transport, so as to not ask them to cuddle up their body in any way that will be painful.  Your animal will find the position it is most comfortable in, and don't try to manipulate that position, ie. "come on buddy, sit up".  When you get to the vet, they will do a radiograph to diagnose the condition; it's easily diagnosed and seen in an x-ray.  They will get him on fluids but if he is suffering from GDV, surgery needs to happen right away to fix the stomach. If treatment is sought within a few hours, the survival rate is 85%.  Aftercare consists of limited activity, fluids, and monitoring the diet. 

There are some theories regarding prevention, but because there is no true understanding of what causes this, none of these theories are proven.  Some suggest a gastropexy, and a dog who received surgery for GDV may get a gastropexy performed during the procedure.  This is a procedure where the stomach is sutured to the abdominal wall to prevent the volvulus.  Some vets may recommend this procedure during the spay/neuter of a deep chested dog, some may tell you they think it is an ineffective idea; I've heard vets have varying opinions on gastropexy.  Another theory, is that our dogs become at risk by eating large amounts of food too fast, and/or then going out to play right afterward.  If this theory is correct, then we need to install methods of slowing our ravenous eaters down, such as bowls they sell which have elevated portions to make eating more of a challenge.  Someone even suggested to me once that you put a very large rock (too large for them to ever swallow) in the center of their food bowl to produce the same "slow down" effect.  Dog dishes that are elevated can help the movement of food through the body and theoretically prevent GDV.  Elevated bowls are good anyway.. especially for animals who have to constantly bend over.  Arthritic or dogs with back problems benefit from not having to constantly stress those body parts.

Distinguishing between bloat and GDV isn't the job of the owner, and any thought that your dog may be suffering GDV is an extreme emergency and need immediate veterinary care.  If your dog is suffering from GDV, there is no cure except for surgery.  If you own a deep-chested dog, speak to your vet proactively about how you can prevent this condition.  There is a lot of information on the internet, and nothing ever trumps the advice of your veterinarian.

Recently I was speaking of this condition with a Colorado veterinarian who has been practicing for many decades.  When speaking of the Great Pyrenees breed, he mentioned to me that that was the only large chested, large breed dog he didn't try to convince the owners to perform a gastro pexy on.  He told me that in all of his years of practice, he's never known a Pyr's stomach to twist.  I thought this was great to hear, and knew I needed to share it with other Pyr owners.  He told me if I ever heard of one who did, to let him know.  This doesn't mean we should drop our guard with our big angels, but it's good to hear that feedback when considering the prevalent conditions of the breed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reading Pet Food Labels

Every owner wants to be good at understanding their pet food.  Labels can be misleading, and often they leave the owner wondering if it's truly good for their dog, despite it's claims that it's natural and healthy.  Bags can all start to look the same, and it can be challenging to really understand what it all means.

If your main ingredient reads merely "beef", "chicken" or "lamb", it means that portion of the ingredient is no less than 95% of the protein it specifies.  If it reads "dinner", "formula", "entree", "platter", or "stew", it will contain only 25% of the stated protein.  "With", ie. "chicken with rice" means it contains 3%.  "Flavor".. means, well, nothing.  There is no protein, just a flavor.  "Meat by-products" describes lungs, bones, and other organs.  There is no hair, hooves, teeth, or horns in by-product.

Ingredients must all be listed on dog food, and they must be listed in descending order by weight.  The AAFCO, "Association of American Feed Control Officials", "develops and implements laws, regulations, standards, and enforcement policies for regulating the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of animal feeds."  It's often the common terminology we struggle to understand, with regards to what it really means and what, by law, it implies about the food content.

"Natural" means an ingredient solely derived from plant, animal, or mined sources.  It can be either processed or unprocessed, so long as it is not produced or subject to chemically synthetic processes.  It cannot contain additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic.  "Organic" means 90% or more is in compliance with the USDA National Organic Program.  "Holistic" can mean nothing; it's not defined by the AAFCO and can mean virtually anything they want it to mean.  Regarding "human grade/human quality", the AAFCO suggests those claims are false and misleading.  The term "proven" can only be used if the claim is substantiated by scientific or other evidence, requiring a minimum of 2 trials.

Formulas for puppies are the real deal.  Don't feed your puppy adult food until they are either 1 year old, or have reached no less than 80% of their ideal body weight.  Growing puppies need more protein than adults, and large breed puppies especially have different nutritional needs.  Avoid foods claiming "good for all ages".  There is no way a food could offer everything all ages would need.  Food allergies are real, and with cats they tend to be allergic to beef, dairy, or fish.  Dogs tend to be allergic to beef, dairy, or wheat.  Most people overfeed their dogs; a dog should get 1 cup of food for every 20 pounds of ideal weight.  Ask your vet what your dog's or cat's ideal weight is!  Every animal is different, so while guidelines are established, always ask your vet if it suits the needs of your animal and breed specifically!

Pet treats are not regulated by the AAFCO.  Buyer beware!  With snacks, it's up to you to really examine those ingredients to be sure they are appropriate and natural.  I always ask owners to read the ingredients and answer, "would I eat this?".  There are snacks which contain cocoa (chocolate) or garlic, both ingredients which are not healthy for dogs.

Weight Gain Comparisons: your animal and you

Hill's makes this handy wheel that can be used to show owners what being overweight really means for our pets.  People think pudgy animals are cute, not realizing that a few pounds for them is much more than it seems.  Here is a quick snapshot of the reference tool.  You may be shocked to realize how much being 1 pound overweight for your friend may really mean!  (Remember that our pets can get diabetes too, and it's expensive and time consuming to treat.)

TOY BREEDS(4 pounds) :

1 pound overweight in your pet = 31 pounds overweight in a person
2 pounds = 63 pounds
3 pounds = 94 pounds
SMALL BREEDS (19 pounds):
2 pounds = 13 pounds
4 pounds = 26 pounds
6 pounds = 40 pounds
MEDIUM BREEDS (35 pounds):
4 pounds = 17 pounds
6 pounds = 25 pounds
8 pounds = 33 pounds
LARGE BREEDS (70 pounds)
6 pounds = 11 pounds
8 pounds = 14 pounds
10 pounds = 18 pounds

Giant breeds, averaging 130 pounds, have an equal comparison to us.  So ten pound in them is like ten in us too!

The Truth About Rabies

Rabies is likely the most well-known threat to animals.  It is an acute viral neurological disease causing behavioral changes, ascending paralysis, and eventually death.  There is no cure for rabies once clinical signs have appeared.  While most animals have their own strain of this virus, each strain can cross species lines to infect other mammals.  The true canine version of Rabies has been eradicated in the US thanks to our vaccination programs.  The biggest threat is to our dogs, cats, cows, horses, sheep, goats, and us. It comes from strains of rabies found most commonly in foxes, raccoons, bats, skunks and coyotes.  Contrary to common thought, animals like mice and squirrels are an extremely low rabies risk.  One theory suggests it may be due to the fact that a mouse or squirrel attacked by a rabid animal wouldn't survive long enough to pass the virus on.  "Primitive" mammals such as opossums and rabbits are very resistant and low risk.  Birds and reptiles are resistant.

 There is no "vector", or animal that passes rabies from host to host, such as a flea or tick. It can only be transmitted directly from rabid animal to the next mammal.  Rabies *cannot* be passed by blood!  The virus lives in saliva and neural tissues, ie: the brain.  Infected saliva enters through a bite wound, open cuts on skin, or into mucous membranes.  For instance, if an infected dog licked your face and got into your mouth a bit.  There have been theories that Rabies can be aerosolized;  for instance, if a hunter killed a coyote and then severed it's head or somehow cut into the skull, exposing infected brain tissues.

Dogs, cats, ferrets, and humans can all be vaccinated.  There is a vaccine for horses and cattle, but may only be done when there is interstate transportation.  A person exposed to rabies, even if they've been vaccinated, will still have to undergo rabies treatment.  Wild animals cannot be vaccinated, nor can 'hybrid' dogs.  There have been programs where they were dropping vaccines into the woods in the hope of vaccinating raccoons who ate the bait, but technically if you had a 'pet' raccoon, you cannot get him vaccinated.

Even if you think your dog is at low risk for Rabies, vaccinate him.  If he were to bite and have no vaccination history, law requires him to be put down or put in strict isolation for 6 months, where neither you or any humans can have contact with him.  Rabies cannot be tested for on live animals; only by evaluating brain tissue post-mortem.  If you suspect your vaccinated dog may have come in contact with a rabid animal, don't panic.  Bring him to the vet where he will be revaccinated again.  You then just need to observe him for 45 days in your home.

Don't believe everything you see in Kujo.  The most threatening stage of rabies in an infected animal is when they show no symptoms.  This is called the "prodromal" stage which lasts 2-3 days.  It's the threat because our dog is still behaving perfectly fine.. kissing our faces and transmitting the virus.  The Kujo phase is called "furious" stage, where we see biting, roaming, photo phobia, and hypersensitivity to external stimuli. Animals act opposite of how they should.  A fox will become friendly and out in the daytime, a mean dog may become sweet.  2-4 days after clinical signs appear, they enter the last phase, "paralytic" or "dumb" form.  Their hind limbs become paralyzed, and that paralysis slowly moves up their body.  Eventually their jaw will drop and we will hear a change in vocal sounds due to paralyzing of the throat as the virus ascends.  This is also why there is excessive drooling and choking; they can no longer swallow.  The animal dies 2-7 days after 1st clinical signs appear.  The scary thing, is not all animals show their first signs of infection right away.  This can take 1 week to 1 year, and they will start to pass the virus a few days before their signs being to appear. 

Rabies scares me more than pretty much anything.  It's a horrible virus that is painful and deadly.  While law requires rabies vaccinations on our animals, do it anyway.  You do your puppy series of shots and then a 1 year rabies vaccine.  Following that, you can begin to get them vaccinated every 3 years.  Rabies risk to humans is low, because we know to avoid the fox or coyote that seems overly friendly or in places it shouldn't be.  Our vaccine is just about a grand, so people only tend to get vaccinated if they are biologists or veterinarians.. someone with an increased threat of exposure.

There has been one case of a girl who survived rabies after her 1st clinical signs appeared.  She is a sort of miracle case and the subject of many studies since.  Her mistake, was she saw a bat and figured that because it looked lethargic and sickly, it wouldn't be infected.  They thought that rabid animals always seem aggressive, and they were wrong.  She handled the bat, and it didn't even bite her.  The bat must have had saliva make contact with an open spot on her hand, and that's all it takes!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sedatives vs. Tranquilizers & Acepromazine

While people tend to think sedatives & tranquilizers are the same thing, they are different and have different effects on our dogs.  In addition, no 2 drugs are the same within each definition.  I wanted to share some information regarding a popular tranquilizer called Acepromazine, or "Ace".  Ace is used incredibly frequently in our animals during any procedures where they are "put under", but it is often prescribed for use at home.  A lot of owners give their dogs Ace to calm them during thunderstorms, moving, etc. so I figured it would be of interest for some to read more about it since it is a commonly used drug in veterinary medicine.

The largest difference between tranquilizers and sedatives, is that while they both produce a calming effect, sedatives also offer some analgesia (pain relief).  A book of mine also suggests that while on sedatives, your dog isn't aware of it's surroundings, while on a tranquilizer they are aware, but don't care.  A sedative with an analgesic effect is a great option for use before a surgery, so they have some proactive pain relief on board.  But your vet may also use a tranquilizer before a procedure, to merely calm your animal down, and additional analgesics are used.

Ace is very effective in producing a calming effect, and it decreases motor activity.  It lasts about 4-8 hours, but in older dogs or ones with liver disease, effects can last up to 2 days.  This may be a reason why your vet doesn't want to give your dog Ace if they are older.  You may think 'something went wrong' and not realize that this drug, and some others, take a while to run their course. 

Ace can cause your dog's thermoregulation center to get a little screwy, resulting in lowered body temperatures.  It also has a slight anti-emetic (vomiting) effect.  Contrary to what you may think, a drug like this may actually elevate your dog's heart rate.  We think "tranquilizer", but in reality this drug may slow your dog's blood pressure.  It's body will try to compensate by raising the heart rate.  Always ask your vet what to expect, and what would be considered normal for your dog specifically.  This drug can also cause your dog's third eyelid (nictitating membrane) to pull over his eyes, but as a side-effect, not as a permanent condition.

The most interesting side effect I read about Ace, is personality changes.  One of my books suggested your dog may even bite.  It's important to understand this is a potential side effect.  I could imagine an owner bringing their dog home after a procedure where Ace was used, and thought the dog must have had a bad experience emotionally, since now they are behaving negatively.  I imagine if a dog snipped at it's owner, they'd apply human emotions and assume their dog was mad, or that it hated the vet.  Or worse, something 'bad' happened to him while he was there.

I had a friend use a tranquilizer on her cat during plane travel.  I don't recall which kind.  Her theory was that it didn't appear to be working, so she gave her cat more until she thought she reached a desired effect.  The thing that is crucial to remember, is that "more is not better".  Your recommended dose will achieve the best effect possible, and more unwarranted amounts may only serve to increase the amount of negative side effects.  Remember all drugs have negative side effects, and some may even seem to go against the drug itself.  Cats, for instance, can tend to have strange reactions to some drugs.. even becoming more alert while they should be more calm.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fun Puppy Play Date + Event THIS SATURDAY!

If you don't have anything going on this Saturday, consider joining us at Stapleton Dog Park from 9:00am - 12:00pm for this fun event and puppy play date!  

Paws & Give is an initiative of The One World Heart Project, and they are relatively new to the Denver with their first event taking place this past May (2011)!  Paws & Give is starting small, with gatherings at dog parks to bring people and their dogs together to support small non-profits with unmet, non-monetary needs.

At their first event in May, in two hours they were able to fill an RV with donations of gently used pet toys, paper towels for clean up, pet food, and peanut butter to "help the medicine go down" for the shelter animals of MaxFund!

Every month they will partner with a new nonprofit!  This month's non-profits are P.A.W.S. and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.  See event details below about what donations to bring.

July 21, 2011, Vol. 1, No. 3  

Don't let the heat keep you away!
It may be hot outside but we will be ready and waiting for you on Saturday with an ice-cold bottle of water and a biscuit or two. We have two great nonprofits that need your help and bunch of cool stuff we need to give away! 
  • "I pledge to be the human my dog thinks I am"  bumper magnets/stickers  
  • Dog Tags
  • Drawings for Starbucks cards, books and coupons for Cold Stone Creamery
  • A Paws & Give t-shirt (t-shirts will also be available for a donation of $15)     

Saturday, July 23rd from 9 am to 12 pm
Stapleton Dog Park

We will be collecting for two nonprofits! You're choice. 

Dry Dog Food

P.A.W.S. -- Pets Are Wonderful Support 
P.A.W.S. provides supportive care for companion animals of senior citizens, the disabled, and those coping with life-challenging illnessJust when a person needs their pet the most! 

Pencils, Crayons & Spiral Notebooks

Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
To help children living in shelters or transitional housing get ready to start school, theColorado Coalition for the Homeless conducts a Back-to-School Fair. In addition to passing out school supplies, they provide basic screenings and immunizations that these kids would otherwise miss.

See ya Saturday!

--Dr. Barkus

P.S.  Dr. Barkus prescribes regular giving for your heart. Did you know that giving protects overall twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease?!!!!! 

Hot Tip: Giving for under a buck!
King Soopers, just around the corner from the dog park, was having a back-to-school sale. Not sure if prices still apply but I am crossing my dog toes! They also have lots of dry dog food too!
  • $ .25 - Top Flight Wirebound Notebooks
  • $ .50 - 10pk of Pencils
  • $1.50 - Crayola classic markers or colored pencils

Get the latest! Follow us at
For more information email or call 303-478-8600  

 OWHP Logo
Paws & Give is an initiative of the One World Heart Project, a Denver-based nonprofit dedicated to expanding the idea of giving to encourage heartfelt living. For more information, please visit  

One World Heart Project /P.O. Box 101121 /Denver, CO / 80250

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heartworm: The Most Important Blood Parasite in the U.S.

Growing up, my dog's vet had a heartworm infested heart preserved in a jar in the lobby.  The point of this awful image is to drive home how horrible, and preventable, this disease is.

Heartworm is a parasite called Dirofilaria immitus.  It's host is primarily dogs, wild canids, sea lions, seals, ferrets, horses, beavers, bears, raccoons, pandas, and occasionally cats.  Humans are accidental hosts, and can contract a younger 'form' of this worm, though it never impacts the human host negatively.

This parasite is found world wide, and in the US is very bad in the south and south east.  In Colorado, the south and western parts of the state.  60% of dogs in Japan have heartworm, and Great Britain has no cases.

Adult males are up to 16cm and females are up to 30 cm.  Adults can live up to 8 years.  Microfiliaria, the "babies", can live up to 2 years in the blood.  The microfilaria are ingested by mosquitos after a blood meal.  After, they move up to the mouth of the bug and enter through a bite wound.  At this point, they are considered "migrating microfilaria" in your animal's blood.  Then, they live in the connective tissue for several months before maturing into adults.  Afterwards, they migrate into the pulmonary arteries through the tissues.  They reach the right heart ventricle as adults, and then start producing more "babies" 6-9 months post-infection.  Their babies, the microfiliaria, can live up to 2 years in the blood.

While often the parasites enter their host through the skin via the mosquito, our animals can be infected in utero if their mother has both adults and babies in her blood.  Puppies will only get "circulating" (the babies) which usually will not become adults, but they can still pass the parasite through the mosquito.

There are 2 kinds of infestation, "full blown" and "occult".  Full blown means that the animal has both adults and microfiliaria.  Occult means they have the adult only.  One of the reasons why they may only have adults is because the worms may all be male or female, and cannot reproduce.  Sometimes, the microfilaria can be destroyed by the immune system.  Your pet can be reinfected multiple times, causing different stages of the worm to be present in the body.

The worms infest the right ventricle (de-oxygenated blood enters the heart into the right atria, then moves to the right ventricle before going to the lungs for oxygen) and pulmonary arteries (they take the blood to the lungs for oxygen replenishment from the right ventricle), potentially resulting in failure of the right heart, hepatic cirrhosis (hardening of the liver), ascites, pulmonary embolism, acute respiratory distress with coughed up blood, and worms.  Basic signs are exercise intolerance, leathargy, and dyspnea (difficulty breathing), coughing, blue/purple skin discoloration, fainting, and nose bleeds.  With adult worms, they obstruct the vessels, heart chambers, and heart valves.  Smaller dogs tolerate heart worm worse than larger dogs, merely due to the size of the vessels and of the heart.

Your vet can test for heartworm through blood analysis.  Heartworm tests are not expensive.  If your dog has not been on heartworm preventative, always test them before putting them on preventative.  If their preventative regime has missed some weeks or months, test them again.  Heartworm is too serious to leave anything to chance, and I've seen too many owners pay 100 bucks for blood work, and yet skip out on the 30 bucks to test for heartworm.  Please just pay for the test!

Heartworm is treatable, but the fact it is treatable should never cause an owner to not take it seriously.  Heartworm can be fatal, and treatment has a lot of risks.  There are a couple of forms of treatment regarding dosing.  Lately I have been reading several different approaches regarding frequency of injection of the arsenic drug which kills them, and how long the treatment is.  It's best to just ask your doc.   Because the method is using arsenic, there are some real risks including death.  They are hospitalized to watch for symptoms such as vomit, diarrhea, and jaundice: remember that all medications take their toll on the kidneys and liver.

Following treatment to kill the worms, your vet will advise that your animal should be restricted from exercise or excess exertion for some months.  How long that activity is restricted will be based upon level of infestation as well as the age and overall health of your dog, as well as any other conditions.  The worms, now killed, are still being "broken down" by their body and are still circulating (recall what I wrote above, about how BIG they can be!)  You want to give your dog's body time to expel these worms, and too much excitement (thusly, high blood pressure) may push those dead worms through your dog's blood steam at a rate that is too much for their bodies to bear.  Always ask your vet every question you have in your mind, and never trust any informational outlet over the advice of your vet. Following the treatment to kill the worms and/or  microfilaria, your vet will have your dog on drugs for several months.  I have seen varying approaches to what meds docs have sent owners home with, anything from anti-inflammatories to a doc who was sending dogs home with anti-biotics.

If your dog was treated for heartworm and sent home with you with all their meds, you restrict their activity but you also look for other symptoms of complications.  The idea of restricting activity is met by many owners with a 'sigh'.  Some have high energy dogs, and they 'feel bad' confining them.  Several weeks of changed routine for them is far better than complications or death resulting from treatment not followed by the owner following the advice of the doctor.  Complications may look a lot like the symptoms your dog had *before* you treated them.  Our doctors know that heartworm is very scary, so call your clinic any time you feel concerned.  Never fear they will think you are 'over reacting'.  You know your pet best, and it's our job to reassure you and educate you.

There is a lot of information available regarding prevention and treatment.  Felines can also contract heartworm, though less frequent.  I think it's less about understanding the life cycle of this parasite, and more about understanding how incredibly awful it is, and how easy it is to prevent.  Ask your vet about a once-a-month preventative.  Don't assume that since the area you live in has few mosquitoes that your animal is safe.  It only takes one infected mosquito, and the risks to your animal can be fatal.  Take another look at the picture of what a heartworm infested heart looks like, and ask yourself if it's something you should take lightly.

Some doctors I've spoken with say they saw cases of heartworm increase considerably in the last year.  While we may not think that mosquitoes are an issue in dryer climate, consider all the dogs rescued from out of state who have the disease.  Just one monthly pill may save your dog's life, and most pills also prevent other parasites at the same time.  Let's get all our dogs on preventative and tell this parasite we don't want it in our dog's hearts any longer.

Success Story - Dags

Formerly "Eli"

Dags is loving life. He is a playful loving puppy. His little big sister Sadey has him wrapped around her paw, while he has us wrapped around his. His favorite place to sleep is between us perpendicular. Which usually makes for a very uncomfortable night for us, but he is so cuddly and loving we can’t bear to tell him no. He has learned a lot of tricks, but his favorite is Hi-Five. He does this anytime food is out (even if it is not for him.) He loves chasing the birds in the sky and bouncing all over. Recently he got to go on his first camping trip to Lake McConaughy where we truly learned his love of water. Although we had our suspicions when we found him belly deep in my parents coy pond on numerous occasions. He has also grown very fond of taking car rides and shows his appreciation by placing his head on our shoulders and pushing down. He gives us the best hugs and kisses! Dags is such a blessing to our little family and we could not imagine life without him. He brings joy to us in ways unimaginable. We look forward to all the years we get to spend laughing at his silly antics and sweet personality.
-Josh & Liz Martin

 Dags & Sadey
 Dags loving the water!
Such tired babies!

Understanding Giardia

Giardia is a parasite belonging to the "Protista" Kingdom.  Protista, in simple terms, describes a unicellular organism or a simple, multi-cellular organism.  This parasite can find a host in pretty much everything: your cat, dog, horse, even you!  They are found worldwide, and are of notable concern due to the fact that we can get them from our animals, or even pass them ourselves.  My schooling suggests that 7% of all humans harbor them in their small intestine.

The cysts (protozoan eggs) are ingested orally from a fecal source or route of other contamination such as water.  They live in the lining of our small intestine, and the eggs leave the body via feces to be ingested by the next unsuspecting host. 

Sometimes the human, dog, etc. will show no signs of this parasite.  For others, they may experience cramping, rancid diarrhea, and/or mucousy or frothy stool.  The average tech will tell you that the odor of a stool from a Giardia infected patient is very distinct.

Your vet and their techs can diagnose your animal by doing a microscopic evaluation of their stool.  Giardia is treatable, and is treated for 1-2 weeks. Your veterinarian will create a treatment regime specific to your dog.  Prevention is enhanced by disinfecting your environment (Lysol), and by avoiding drinking untreated water.  There is also a vaccine available, but I am not certain as to how prevalent it is.

I think it's key to understand that your dog or cat does not need to contract this directly from eating the poop of an infected animal.  An infected dog may have cysts in his mouth from consuming infected stools, and him lapping up water beside your dog may be all it takes for the water to become contaminated.

Giardia is very prevalent, but as mentioned, some dogs will suffer no ill symptoms from it.  A research study through Fort Dodge suggested that 10% of all dogs and cats carry it in their systems, 35% of all puppies and kittens,  and 80% of all dogs in Colorado carry it. There is no vaccine to prevent Giardia.

It sounds like scary stuff, but remember it's treatable.  There are a million reasons to not kiss your dog on the mouth, and always ensure you wash your hands frequently enough to ward off any potential cooties our sweet friends may be carrying. You may notice your vet or tech wearing protective gear over their faces while doing dentals on your pet.. this is why!  I admit.. I kiss my dog's face and I am putting myself at risk.. but it's tough.  She's just so damn cute.  Just remember, a lot can be determined by watching the nature of your animal's fecal output, regardless of how strange it may make you look to your neighbors!

What Are Ear Mites?

The common ear mite is a parasite called Otodectes cynotis.  Their host is our dogs and cats, and they infest their ear canal.  They are found world wide, and are transmitted from animal to animal.  Eggs are laid and hatch to the "lymph" stage, and then males and females go through another stage before maturing to adults and breeding.  It takes just under 2 weeks for this life cycle.

I can assure you from personal experience that these mites can look a lot like "regular" ear gunk.  Any excess of material buildup in your pets' ears is of concern.  Either ear mites or an infection, this condition is not normal.  A small amount of build up is normal in everyone's ears.. but I think we can all agree we understand the difference!

Symptoms of ear mite infestation includes head shaking, head tilt, and discharge.  This condition can cause inner ear damage if left untreated too long.  Your vet and their techs will take an ear swab and look under the microscope to determine if it's mites.  It's very treatable, and your vet will send you home with meds to clear it up.  Never think mites will go away by themselves, or that a small amount of mites isn't such a bad thing. 

Every animal (namely my cats) that I adopted with a background as being birthed from a stray momma' all had ear mites.  On the whole, they had mites, fleas, and ticks!  If your new baby looks healthy, don't skip the vet visit, especially if they have a stray or feral mom background.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

10 Canine Commandments

Something everyone should read BEFORE adopting a furbaby!
  1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years.
    Any separation from you will be painful to me.
    Remember that before you adopt me.
  2. Give me time to understand what you want from me.
  3. Place your trust in me.
    It's crucial to my well-being.
  4. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment.
    You have your work, your entertainment and your friends.
    ...I only have you.
  5. Talk to me sometimes.
    Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when it's speaking to me.
  6. Be aware that however you treat me, I'll NEVER forget it.
  7. Remember before you hit me:
    I have teeth that could easily crush the bones of your hand, but
    I choose not to bite you.
  8. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate or lazy,
    ask yourself if something might be bothering me.
    Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, or I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.
  9. Take care of me when I get old...You too will grow old.
  10. Go with me on difficult journeys. 
    Never say: "I can't bear to watch it", or "Let is happen in my absence."
    Everything is easier for me if you are there.
Author Unknown

Monday, July 18, 2011

Understanding Ticks

There are many species of ticks, and some are more relevant depending on where you live in the country.  If you have adopted a dog from out of state, be sure to always inform your vet of their history.  Should any illness arise, understanding their regional background will be very helpful in making a diagnosis.

Ticks can potentially cause bite wounds, toxocosis from tick saliva, blood loss, and/or paralysis.  Paralysis is rare, and is caused by toxins secreted into the host by the female tick that is embedded close to nerve endings; this requires heavy infestation.  Blood loss, due to heavy infestation, is quite obvious.  Ticks feed on blood, and never underestimate the amount of blood that could be lost to heavy infestation.  I don't assume the average dog who goes hiking and comes home with a tick or two should worry about blood loss, rather the potential diseases that ticks can transmit.

When removing ticks, try not to break off the organ of attachment.  Hold the tick with thumb forceps as close to the skin as possible before pulling it out.  Pull straight back, don't twist.

There are many tick preventatives on the market.  Some will fight off mites, heartworm, and ticks.  Speak to your vet and decide what will work best for your pet.

Two conditions our dogs can contract are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme's Disease.  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever causes fever and/or rash.  Lyme's disease is spread by the Deer Tick and is found in 46 states.  There is a vaccine for Lyme's; if you live in an area prone to this tick, your vet will be well-versed in this vaccine.  Signs can be subclinical, but can be severe: fever, anorexia, joint involvement, round red lesions, or enlarged lymph nodes.

The most important thing regarding ticks is to understand the region you live in, and to have conversations with your vet regarding what your dog is at risk of contracting.  Many things are treatable, but as always, prevention is the best medicine.
Image from

Saturday, July 16, 2011

World Vets, Ibarra Ecuador

Over the March spring break, I traveled with the organization World Vets, in coordination with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, to Ibarra, Ecuador for a huge sterilization program.   World Vets travels to 3rd world and undeveloped towns in foreign countries to provide medical care for the animal populations there.  They do both small & large animal trips in places like Nicaragua, Mongolia, and Peru, to name a few.  Trip focus can be sterilization programs or rabies eradication.  The plan for this trip to Ibarra was to spay & neuter as many dogs & cats as possible over 3 clinic days.  

Ibarra, Ecuador is a very old town originally settled in the early 1600’s.  For a lucky minority, they live in apartment buildings.  The majority live in “houses” that are truly more like shacks; the average American’s garage is a million times nicer than most houses.  They love their dogs & cats, but they have little to no access to medical care for them.  Dogs sleep on the dirt floors or just outside.  The ‘owned’ dogs still wander around the hillside, mingling with the true street dogs, which are many.  You can hardly look down any road in the town and not see more than 1 street dog running around.  While I didn’t see many feral cats, the amount of homeless dogs was sad.  

Our liaison group there, an organization called PAE (Proteccion Animal Ecuador), runs a dog rescue.  Their “rescue” holds 6 dogs, while 60 more dogs are in foster homes.   During the clinic days, their volunteers helped us communicate with the animal owners and helped the intake process of getting the owners to fill out forms for their pets.  

Our set up for the operation was in the PAE building in downtown Ibarra.  We only had 1 true sink, so we needed to use that to wash the instruments in between surgeries.  With such limited money & supplies, the best we could manage was cold tray sterilization.  The surgery room had 4 tables lifted up on top of bricks. Vets needed to wear head lamps so they could have adequate lighting. Dogs & cats entered our 1st room where they were prepped for surgery, catheters placed, and off to surgery.  We had to rely entirely on IV anesthesia, since we didn’t have the supplies to intubate any animals.  Dogs were anesthetized with Ketamine and Valium, and cats were anesthetized with “Kitty Magic”, which is Dexmedetomidine, Butorphanol, & Ketamine.  Without an additional sink, bladders had to be expelled into a bucket.  No animals had the benefit of pre-anesthetic blood work, nor did they have the luxury of heated pads during surgery or exemption from surgery due to being under weight or having URIs.  The locals don’t have the luxury of waiting for their animals to be in perfect health for surgery. Without World Vets, so few residents can afford to spay & neuter their pets.  For religious reasons, local veterinarians will not spay pregnant animals, while many owners were very willing to have us do so.  

I ran the recovery room with 2 other World Vets volunteers.  We had no mop, so resorted to scrubbing with  anti-bacterial wipes on our hands & knees.  Towards the end even paper towels were a commodity, and we had to use needles sparingly as they were in short supply also.  Animals didn’t have the luxury of a nice, clean surface to recover on.  We had 2 large mattress pads, and still many animals we had to make room for on the floor. We were not able to hospitalize them until they were fully recovered. Once they were sternal and alert, we returned them to their owners.  I dispensed Rimadyl for most owners, and had to quickly learn how to write prescriptions in Spanish.  We also had a limited supply of Cephalexin, Doxycycline, and Clavamox.  I had 1 bottle of Tramadol that lasted 1 day.  I had a crash course in how to communicate in Spanish that their dog was “too cold” and had to stay until their temp improved, and I had to learn how to say that a dog or cat was “ready” to go home.   We had a Dachshund come out of surgery hypothermic.  While in recovery, she started bleeding.  I called for a vet, who put her back under and returned her to surgery where they accessed her likely had a bleeding disorder. Without being able to run blood work, there was little more that could be done to diagnose her. Her owner sat with her all day at the clinic, wrapped lovingly in a blanket receiving fluids, and was able to bring her back the next day for another exam by our vets.

In recovery, every animal received Vitamin B, Combi-Pen, Ketoprofen, Pyrantel, and Frontline.  We did our best to trim nails and clean ears and look for ear infections.    The only blankets we had were the ones the owners brought for their animals, so we made due the best we could.  Without any fluid bags as “extras” to heat up in the microwave for our many cold patients, we filled gloves with water, tied the end, and heated those.  We had many dogs that were seniors, and were pregnant at the time of spay.  We had 1 very bad pyometra, whose puppies had gone past term and passed away and mummified inside of her.  Some dogs had tumors removed at the same time, and we had 1 very old street dog that had to have several of her teeth removed.

We ended up doing a 4th, unplanned clinic day.  The PAE volunteers roamed the local streets and tried to catch street dogs.  We knew that once they recovered and got a couple of days of pain meds, they’d return to the streets, but at least we were doing something.  In the end, we did about 70 dogs/cats each day, and an additional 20 dogs/cats the 4th day.  To say we were all exhausted is an understatement. 

The happiest story of that week was meeting the luckiest little street dog in Ecuador.  While in the center of Quito, before we traveled to Ibarra, we were taking in the sites, which naturally included an unfortunate slew of homeless dogs.  One little dog, probably about 7 months old, greeted me as I entered a square.  She was eating someone’s left over chicken bones out of a Styrofoam container.  She was skinny and full of parasites, but the smartest little dog in Quito!  She knew the right group of people to follow was a dozen World Vets volunteers!  She stuck by us, often times greeted with affection from locals but greeted equally by kicks from others.  She waited with us for our bus, where she used her charm and licked the face of our PAE liaison, Betsy, who promptly scooped her up and brought her on the bus.  She was named “Brigitte” after Brigitte Bardot, and was bused to the clinic the next day to receive her spay.  One of the vets, a doctor named Holly, decided to adopt Brigitte.  She went from eating bones and drinking from filthy puddles to being flown from Ibarra to her new home, on 5 acres in the northwest with her veterinarian mom.  Brigitte alone made the whole trip worth it.

Success Story - Denali

Current (1/24/2011)
Denali with her new mommy (Rhonda) and brother (Tundra)!
 Denali & Tundra
 Denali at her new home!

Before (9/19/2010)

Success Story - Samson

Formerly "Kyle"
Current (5/30/2011)
Adoption Day

Samson with his new mommy, Sherri!

Before (8/8/2010)

Success Story - Lilah

Formerly "Kora/Delilah"
 Current (5/22/2011)

Lilah, originally named Kora, originally came to the rescue in August of last year (2010) with her friend Kyle.  They had been picked up as strays from Oklahoma and were literally skin and bones (two of the most underweight babies we ever had--see the picture at the bottom).  Additionally, they were covered in fleas, ticks, and other bugs!  They went to a foster home together for more than 6 months, where they gained weight, got healthy, and were renamed Samson & Delilah.  

At their foster home, Samson tended to bully Delilah around food and wouldn't let her eat; Delilah showed signs of nervousness in some situations especially around some other dogs.  Their foster family seriously considered adopting them, but due to their separate issues decided they could not adopt them or foster them any longer, so they came back to the rescue.  

We originally thought that Samson & Delilah were a bonded pair who needed to go home together, since they survived the streets together, so we really struggled with what to do when they came back to the rescue.  It is much harder to adopt out a "bonded pair," so we ultimately decided that we would attempt a trail separation to see how they both faired apart from each other.  Turns out, it was the best thing in the world for them!

Delilah went to a WONDERFUL foster home with Melissa Thede.  Melissa adopted one of our furbabies (Jill) and has fostered 3 other dogs for us, one of which she personally paid to have an entropian surgery performed on (Kimble)!  Melissa has been absolutely wonderful at finding fabulous and loving homes for all of her foster pups!  Well...Lilah (as she is now called) fit right in at Melissa's and stole her heart, so much so that Melissa decided she wasn't letting Lilah leave the family!  Lilah is going to be adopted by Melissa's parents!  

Her parents have an older dog who they are letting live out the rest of his life, and then Lilah will be going to live with them where she will get more attention than she knows what to do with!!

Since being with Melissa, Lilah has gone to the groomer (and looks very pretty), has gotten along with her foster sisters--Elly & Jill, and has really gained the confidence that she previously relied on Samson for!  

Before (8/8/2010)