Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be...

...another day, another vet visit.

Four of my six critters are having health problems.   I've lost track of how many times I've been to a vet clinic in the last several months.  I am hemorrhaging money at frequenting three separate clinics these days....one for the birds, one for the dogs, and one for Misty.

These little gals have been with me for 17 years.  Tessa is an 18 year old African Grey parrot and Newport is a 17 year old Maximilian Pionus parrot.  I take my parrots to the vet for regular check-ups, with blood work, because it is very difficult to detect illness in a bird and I like to catch any health issues early.  We usually receive a good report or have something minor to fix.   Newport had high cholesterol a couple years ago. This was unusual and we attributed it to too many peanuts.  So we cut peanuts out of Newport's diet completely, much to her dismay.  (Newport is a glutton.)  But this year's check-up showed her cholesterol is still very high and her blood is thick and milky.  Tessa, who was "healthy as a horse" (the vet's words) last year,  has developed a problem too. They both have poor liver function and Newport's pancreas is hardly working at all.   After three  visits with an avian vet, we know that Tessa is responding to medication but Newport is not.  There is not much else to do but keep giving Newport her medication and wait.  On the outside she appears to be happy and healthy, but I am braced to find her dead on the bottom of her cage one of these days.  But maybe she'll surprise us and live on for several more years.  It's hard to tell with birds. 

Sadie is a Dalmatian/Australian Shepherd mix, about 13 years old. She has been my constant canine companion for 12 years now.  Her last check-up revealed poor liver function also.  (Maybe I should have our water tested. It seems odd to have 3 critters with liver problems.)  She has been on medication with milk thistle for about a month.

Just a little warning...the picture coming up is not pretty.

We took both of our dogs to the groomer about 11 days ago.  They came home with that freshly shampooed smell; they looked pretty and felt soft & clean.  All was well.

Last Sunday evening I was petting Sadie when I felt some scabby, crusty bumps on her back.  As I checked more closely, her hair started coming off in patches.  "Oh no. What now?" I thought.  Monday was a holiday.  So today, Tuesday, I got her into the vet as soon as they could fit us in.  The poor girl has a raging Staph infection.

2nd warning: here comes the picture...

Fortunately Sadie doesn't appear to be in any discomfort.  She's not scratching or licking the infected area.  I never would have suspected a problem if I hadn't felt it when I was petting her.   She received a steroid injection and is on oral antibiotics for 10 days.  Twice a day I am to wipe her skin with a warm, moist washcloth and apply antibiotic ointment.  We expect her to heal quickly.  She's being a good sport about it.

And then there is Misty and the ongoing saga of the bad tooth.  I will drop her off at the Equine clinic again tomorrow morning and hopefully they can get that ornery tooth out once and for all.   I'm hoping for a positive outcome  (as in...that tooth positively must come out).

In the meantime, while I wait for Misty to heal from these extractions (3 of them to get the whole tooth out), I've scheduled some riding lessons on a school horse with Misty's new trainer.  That way she can get to know me and what I need to work on.  Then when Misty goes back into training, she will know how to work with both of us together.

I hope you and your critters are all in good health.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Even EHV-1 Has a Facebook Page

I recently stumbled upon a Facebook page for EHV-1 at this link.

I asked myself, "Am I the only person in the world who has not joined Facebook? For heaven's sake, even a virus has its own Facebook page. Am I not better than a virus? Shouldn't I have a Facebook page?"

I know I'm not the only living Facebook holdout but our numbers are declining.

I have nothing against Facebook, but I hesitate to join for these reasons:
  1. My free time is severely limited. Will I have time for Facebook?
  2. It really annoys me when I'm buried in work at the office and I see co-workers around me killing time on Facebook.
  3. It bugs me that Facebook insists that members sign up with their real name, threatening expulsion from the community if they choose a pseudonym. (I started to join, but changed my mind when I read this rule.)
Perhaps I should give Facebook a try.  I don't know. I keep getting invitations to join and I feel bad that I'm ignoring them. I'm receiving more and more invitations from equestrian friends and horse professionals. Will I miss out on some good information if I don't join? It's not that I don't want to be "friendly", I'm just not sure I want to give up my privacy and give into the Facebook frenzy.

I wonder how long I can hold out. If I join, will I forever be stuck in Facebook's database, even if I delete my profile? Will it consume my life? How long can I remain "friendless"? I just read this article:

You Have No Friends - Everyone else is on Facebook. Why aren't you?

A few months ago, I said I would never want an eReader such as a Nook or a Kindle. I would miss the feel of holding a real book in my hands and turning the pages with my fingers. Reading a book electronically just didn't seem right. But I decided to consider it.  Now I own a Nook Color and I'm hooked on eReading.  I like to read and now easily carry umpteen books with me in my purse and read just about anywhere, even in the dark.

I can be assimilated.
I hear of horses who have their own Horsebook on Facebook. But I can't see any of them because I'm not a member. 
Does your horse have a Horsebook page on Facebook?
Do you find Facebook to be a benefit or a burden?
Hmmm? I'll have to think about it some more.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

As Lady Macbeth Might Say

Out, damned tooth! out, I say!

Misty spent three days and two nights at the vet clinic last week while they worked on extracting her bad tooth.  

Day 1:  They patiently wiggled the tooth to loosen it.  We're dealing with tooth number 207 on the chart below. (the 2nd upper left premolar)

Day 2:  They spent almost five hours extracting the tooth but could not get all of it out.  It fractured more and they had to remove it in pieces.  Fracturing has been our problem since this ordeal began. The vet has several molar extractors that have worked well for 10 years on all dental cases.  But now they cannot get a good grip on the remaining tooth with their extractors.  They need to acquire some more specialized dental tools; extractors with multiple prongs on the end, I think.

Day 3:  They observed Misty to make sure she was comfortable and eating normally.  The decision was made to send her home for a break.  Misty will return later this week.  About 1/3rd of the tooth remains; hopefully they'll get the rest out without another overnight stay.  Worse case is they'll have to drill into her jaw and punch the tooth out.  I hope it doesn't come to that.

While Misty is home, I am flushing the left side of her mouth twice a day with Chlorhexidine solution mixed in water.  Coincidentally, my own dental hygienist has me using a Chlorhexidine rinse to treat periodontal disease.  So I'm very sincere when I commiserate with Misty on the bad taste.

The good news is we're seeing progress.  Misty is eating well and appears to be in no discomfort.  There is slight inflammation on her cheek from the diseased socket, but she is no longer pocketing a wad of hay the size of my fist in there.

The vet commented on how good-natured and easy Misty has been to work with.  Good behavior deserves a discounted vet bill, don't you think?  A horse owner can hope. 

Modified Triadan from Wikipedia

Misty is an 8 year old Percheron. Her xray is in this post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Next Door by Gayle Sliva

The Next DoorThe Next Door by Gayle Sliva

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I downloaded this very affordable and entertaining eBook from http://www.smashwords.com/ and read it on my Nook Color. I enjoy a good mystery/thriller and this one was extra fun to read as it is bespeckled with anecdotes of horse care and rural living. The ending had me guessing with its unexpected twists and turns. I couldn't put it down at the end until I found out Whodunnit!

View all my reviews

Monday, May 16, 2011

Misty's Monday Muse - Troublesome Tooth

Looks like my tooth woes are not over yet, but we have a plan.

I went back to the vet today and the Doc pulled the stash of putrid hay out of my cheek and found some new inflammation.  Something didn't smell right and it wasn't just my stinky rotten hay breath.

The Doc took some pictures of my troublesome tooth and said the root does not look healthy.   I was sneaky because I hadn't shown any signs of infection or abscess all along.

Bad Tooth - 2nd from the right.

At least now the decision is easier to make.  I will go back this week to have the remainder of my naughty tooth pulled.

Everyone is sad that my young tooth could not be saved.  But it is best to be rid of it.

 I should have flossed more often,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waiting for the Tooth Fairy

I took Misty back to the vet  last Friday for our 7th appointment due to her fractured tooth.  The deep pocket in her gum had to be cleaned and repacked many times because food kept getting packed into the root pocket and slowed the healing process. 

Finally, Misty's gum is healed.  That is good!  But now we have a new problem.

The slab removed was on the outside of tooth 207 (upper left).  Now there is a cup-like gap where the slab used to be.  The location of the fracture - left side and on the outside of her tooth - combined with the mechanics of how Misty chews with a motion from left to right, is causing hay to become wedged into the gap.  She has a huge, uncomfortable lump protruding from her cheek.   And since the gap is on the outside of the tooth, Misty's tongue does not come into contact with the wad of hay and she cannot dislodge it naturally.  The hay is accumulating and putrefying inside her cheek.  The only way to remove the hay is to have the vet sedate her and dig it out.  That certainly is not a good long term solution.

Our first thought is to go ahead and remove the rest of the tooth.  But the remainder of the tooth is large, healthy and solid. Misty is a Percheron; she's got big teeth and she is only 8 years old.  This would not be a simple extraction and might require a costly trip to an equine hospital.  My vet is consulting with some equine dentists to see what our options are and I'm anxiously awaiting a call back. 

I think I'll give them a call now and see if they've come up with a plan.  I'm tired of waiting.