5/17/2017 BETTER DAYS

So just as I thought a week or so ago, Bailley is now going through a good time. She is wagging her tail when I come home, eating all her meals, she potties outside, even going out and in by herself. We are now 12 days from 16.5 years old. Two years ago, I would have never thought she would make it to 14 much less 16.5. When you get this old half years matter!!

Bailley’s issues at this point in the game are:

  • She has hypothyroidism – controlled with meds
  • Cushings – controlled with meds
  • heart disease with a grade 5 murmur

Her symptoms are –

  •  hearing loss
  • her vision is very limited. Im thinking she only sees shadows and light.
  • Her right eye has become red and irritated, I assume it is possibly dry eye starting. I am controlling it very well with Genteal Severe Dry Eye relief lubricant.
  • She coughs when she wakes up and off and on throughout the day
  • Seems confused if you wake her. Like it takes her time to wake up
  • Gassy with panting and discomfort at times –  controlled with meds

On the positive side –

  • Her skin looks great
  • hair is full and grows quickly
  • mostly does her business outside
  • she eats her food, mostly unassisted
  • She appears to not be losing weight anymore
  • She takes meds pretty easy
  • She recognizes me and wags her tail
  • She loves her snacks and goes to the cookie jar when she notices others there
  • She runs and plays in her sleep like a puppy
  • She still digs in her bed and cleans her face after dinner

I have her on minimal meds at this point taking only her prescriptions and vibetra plus in intervals.  We took her to see Doc last month and her condition was not any worse than a year prior. I have decided with my vet’s advice, there will be no more trips to vet. Only refilling her scripts and keeping her comfortable and happy with some kind of quality of life. All I can do at this point is try my hardest to appreciate each day. I pray she will go home to be with the angels while sleeping.

4/10/2017 A STRESSFUL WEEKEND

This past weekend was not a good weekend for sweet”B”

Saturday was not a good day as she was not perky and slept a lot.  I laid on the floor, by her bed, Saturday evening as she napped. Wishing she could talk I contemplated how the end would be. Would she just go to sleep or will I have to make the hardest decision in my life. I know she is tired. She has ran her race and what an amazing race it has been.  But how will I know for certain what her wishes are? How will I know that I am not giving up and letting her down? Searching for answers online I have done the quality of life calculator https://journeyspet.com/pet-quality-of-life-scale-calculator/ and she scored 5 on everything. However, Sunday brought another attack (vestibular, stroke) I gave her the anxiety pill, 1/2 tramadole and prayed for quick relief.  The attack lasted a solid 45 minutes. The rest of the day was total confusion and weakness.  She was wobbly walking and had difficulty with vision and depth perception. She had to drink from her bowl because she could not steady herself enough to drink from the spout on the water bottle.

She did eat dinner on her own, out of her bowl. I gave her ribeye steak and rotisserie chicken with a couple tablespoons of wet food.  Maybe not a fair assessment of her appetite, who can resist this kind of dinner?  She took all her evening medication with little issues (in peanut butter)

As night time rolled in she settled down into her bed and had a peaceful nights sleep. She did not wake at all during the night with a 6:30 am wake up. I took her outside, she walked in the grass to find the perfect spot and peed. Now she is having her morning nap under my desk as I write.

A bit of disorientation still has a grip on her this morning and my stomach is sick worried about what the day will bring. I am really struggling with this whole grief situation. While losing my grandmother is still very raw with moments of tears throughout the day, I have entered into a sort of pre grieving for Bailley.  The pain is so intense at times I feel helpless to deal with it. I contemplate ways to avoid thinking of all this loss, emerging myself in endless chores to the point I am exhausted. At the end of each day I am finding being exhausted only feeds into a weak mind that is primed for grieving.

I look at the world around me and stand witness to just a fraction of the horrible things that take place every day. I have heard stories of the unthinkable that has touched so many lives. The things that are happening in my life are normal. It is the circle of life. My grandmother was was old, Bailley is old. No tragedy of sudden death. Life has been lived. Time demands restitution for a long life. How is it those who suffer such tragic loss emerge strong? How do they find the strength of mind to live a normal life? Do you just tuck it away and try not to think of it? Does time ease the pain of loss? I hope in time these answers will become clear to me.  In the mean time I will endure and push forward in hopes there will be a peaceful end to Bailley’s story.

 

4/2/2017 THE ATTACK

On Sunday 2/19 Bailley woke just as any other morning. Our routine started with her morning potty break. I put her in the grass and she started to pee when I noticed and felt an immediate change in her body language. I moved towards her and at that very second she started to dart off as if she was bit by something.  I snatched her up screaming and she peed all over me in the same manner that a woman’s water breaks just before birth. I knew this behavior all too well as she suffered a similar attach in 2015 which left her mostly blind. We have Trazadone on hand due to that incident.

I ran in the house with Bailley in my arms as she screamed, peed, and fought to get away.  My husband came running in to investigate the ruckus.  With both of us I was able to locate the Trazadone, crush it in a spoon of water and squirt down her mouth. Was this the end? I had resolved myself I would do whatever needed to be done if she could not come out of this. I knew before making any harsh decisions running to the vet for her final sleep, I had to be calm and give it time.

The medication took some time to work so we took her in a closed room and for some reason I put her down hoping she would relax. It was a very scary situation. I decided to film what she was doing so I could show the vet if we needed to go in. The video below shows her in an active attack. One video shows me holding her and the other after I let her go. It was best not to touch her as that made it worse. You can see she starts to calm

WARNING: It is very disturbing

 

It took around 20 minutes but she finally calmed down and slept most of the day. I did a lot of research to find out what this is. It was dignosed as some sort of stroke the first time but after much reading and research on the internet I believe it could possibly be Vestibular disease or Old dog disease, which is related to a stroke.

Causes of the condition can include chronic and recurrent inner and middle ear infections, overzealous cleaning of the ears resulting in a perforated eardrum, trauma from head injury, stroke, tumors, polyps, meningoencephalitis, hypothyroidism, as well as certain drugs like the aminoglycoside antibiotics, including drugs like amikacin, gentamicin, neomycin, and tobramycin.

Come to find out when a dog is experiencing these attacks, they are better not picked up because they cannot get their bearings without touching the floor. They liken the attack to humans having vertigo. Dogs have no idea what is happening and it is stressful for them. She has never had an ear infection so I am lead to believe stroke may be the cause.

She was doing much better the following day but I still noticed she seemed dizzy.  I found a natural medication that is supposed to help people with vertigo and was touted to help dogs with motion sickness. I ran to the vitamin shop at 8:30 pm and purchased the medication right before they closed for the evening.  It is called Boiron Homeopathic Medicine Cocculus Indicus

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I immediately gave her three tiny pellets crushed in a spoon of water. After about 10 minutes I noticed she was not tracking with her eyes and seem to calm and feel better. I have been using it ever since when I notice she is tracking and appears dizzy. I am so glad I found it.

So Bailley returned to pretty much normal a couple days later. A gift arrived for the dogs from a special Shih Tzu Mommy. I put the bag on the floor and was moved to tears when I saw Bailley acting like a normal dog.

I found out many people put their dogs to sleep when they have one of these attacks because they are so violent and scary they think the dog is dying and some vets dont understand the attacks either.  I wanted to make others aware of this so they can possibly make an educated decision concerning their pets. Most of the time a sedative is what is needed to calm them down. Do some research on it before your dog suffers from this just so you are prepared.

1/27/17 – WESTMINSTER BOUND

This year on 2/13/17 Cody and I will be showing in New York. What an exciting time for Tian Mi Shih Tzu. I invite anyone interested to watch live streaming of the Shih Tzu breed judging at 1:30 on the Westminster web site located at http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/ There will be links for each breed to watch them live. I don’t expect any big win but it will be a nice experience and we can hope to get an award of merit.

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1/21/17 NEW SUPPLEMENTS

I realized a couple weeks ago I realized that I have changed a few of the things I give Bailley and wanted to share these things with all of you as well as amend her medication page.

Cody brought a very mild case of Kennel cough home. He and Peyton were recently vaccinated. Peyton did not get it at all. Cody had a snotty stuffy nose. Phoebe (9) and Bailley (16) got it the worse. With Bailley being pretty bad. I had a couple days that Bailley did not want to eat. She had trouble standing and coughed so bad she could not sleep. Phoebe cough non stop. I am telling you this because these circumstances lead me to a couple new wonderful things.

To treat the kennel cough every one got nebulizer treatments twice a day for 10-20 min each. We have a human nebulizer with a mask that works well with the flat faced dogs. Ours is similar to the one below. I bought it on craigslist.

I used a saline solution which I keep on hand for different reasons. One for each treatment. The saline I buy is here https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XCQXXN0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have hydrocodone syrup on hand for Bailley when she has extreme attacks of coughing due to her heart. It was very nice to have but after a couple days I started to wish I could give them something else in the morning so they would not b groggy. A fellow breeder recommended this cough syrup. It worked with all the dogs and I have used it on the grand kids as well. The dogs got it twice a day. Morning and before bed. Bailley got Hydrocodone before bed as this helped her sleep for at least a few hours. You can give this syrup 1 cc every 6 hours.

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Another breeder friend told me about a supplement she used to get rid of Kennel cough. Vibactra Plus. I did some research on this and found it could be very useful not only for the distressed situation Bailley was in at the moment but also all the time.  Vibactra Plus

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It is around 30.00 a bottle. I got mine on ebay. About a week into using this I saw a marked difference in both Phoebe and Bailley. Phoebe was all but over it with a few coughs here and there and Bailley’s cough sounded more like it was a heart cough than a kennel cough

 

She was doing much better. As you can see in the video she started getting back to her old self. She was moving around like her body was not achy anymore. She started eating regular food (for her) again. We went through two rotisserie chickens over a two week period that is all she would eat. Since this video was taken she has shown more improvement.

After all seemed to be over with the Kennel cough, it seemed Bailley was left with a heart cough that was a little more often than before. Over the Christmas holiday her vet had to call in a new script for Lasix  (furosemide) For some reason the pill form was sent. She has always had the liquid. I noticed when she was sleeping there was a wheezing in her breathing. I suspected the Lasix was not doing its job. I had a little of the liquid left so the next day I gave her liquid just to test my theory. I was not sure if it was my imagination but she seemed better with the liquid. So I went to Walmart and had the liquid re filled. What did I have to lose? The script is around 11.00. It was worth it to me just to see if it would be better. There is definitely a difference in how her body responds to the liquid. She is almost back to her regular cough which is almost non existent. Only when she wakes from sleep or stress.

I thought it was important to tell the story about the Lasix because your vet is your dogs Dr but, you know your dog and your vet can be more effective with treatment if you are diligent at home with being observant.

So on top of all of this going on I realized Bailley was very gassy. I mean to the extent that every time she coughed walking down the drive outside to potty, she sounded like my husband when he gets gassy. For a little dog this was impressive but I felt like it might hurt her a bit. Not only that but it scared her. She would dart away from each one like someone was poking her in the bottom. Now she gets baby gas relief drops in the morning (if necessary) and after dinner. Her gas is much improved. I do believe the excessive gas is part of her health issues.

So one more thing I have to tell you about. Several months back I noticed she seemed to have chronic infection going on and it seemed to be bladder or urinary track related.  She has been on Ketoconozole for two years now as well as all the other medication she takes. Everything she is taking damages the kidneys and liver. I found a product called Renafood. She gets one every evening with her food. We hide it just like everything else. She has been taking it for almost three months and has not had infection since. Her bloodwork has never shown signs of kidney failure but I believe it is imminent with age and lots of meds.

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To see the modifications in her meds and supplements check out her meds page.

2016 YEAR END UPDATE

Her biggest birthday come and gone. I have to admit I did not buy a birthday dress this year and did not plan a photo session.

My grandmother passed away mid October and sent a crushing blow to everything I called routine in my life. She was my rock for so many years, I adored her, treasured her and placed her above all others in my life.  Those who know me knew I spent the last few years setting aside at least one day a week, most times two, to take my grandmother out or just sit and visit. I called her every night while I made dinner to discuss what road our lives lead us down that day. I told her everything and I believe there was not much, if anything she kept from me. She was diagnosed with cancer around the same time we found out Bailley had cushings. For the following year I lived in a constant fearful state. I was looking down the barrel of loss. Not only my sweet Bailley but also my Grandmother. To be honest the thought of losing either one was unthinkable. Losing both of them was debilitating. If I was not busy with work my mind was lost in saying good-bye to them both.

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A video I made for her memorial service

I never thought Bailley would reach 15. I thought she would pass before my Grandmother. Turns out it was opposite. I realized at some point in my journey with both of them that I I was spending so much time focusing on losing them, I was not treasuring what life laid before me. I started practicing every day to take it as it came. I took it to such extent, I cannot plan to far in the future because I am so focused on today.

So today, I am sad and miss my Grandmother terribly. Even though it has been since October, I struggle with living without her. For the first year there are a lot of first things without her. But for me most of all are the phone calls in the evening. Phone calls that were so dear to me. Phone calls that started when I was in my teens. My grandmother shaped a big part of who I am.  The waves of tears are starting to get less each day. The happy thoughts of her are starting to creep in. I am not sure if I will ever get over losing her but, life is going on.

Each day brings different joys and challenges.

Bailley is holding her own. Her cough has increased quite a bit and she is more frail as time goes on. She doesn’t hear or see much at all. Eating is sometimes a challenge but for the most part she does very well, considering. The following video was taken today before her bath. Excuse her messy face.

 

The photos at the top of the page were taken on the eve of Sweet Bailley’s 16th birthday.

I will try to continually keep you all posted on Bailley’s progression through this crazy little life of hers. For now, may 2017 bring all of us joy and a heart of acceptance for what life throws our way.

9/19/2016 BACK IN THE SADDLE

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9/19/2016

Yesterday I rallied myself to start the task of a hair cut and bath for Sweet “B” Thinking she could go see Jesus soon I did not want her to look like the woofa wafus. Yes that is a real term my Nonnie has always used.

So I carried her in the laundry room and did not give into her demands. Panting, crying, fighting, yes, it was all part of the ritual. Two hours later we both emerged. Bailley looked cute as a bed bug, I on the other hand had patches of fur in my eyebrows, eye lashes, nose, mouth and every other orifice that was available. My hair was askew and I was exhausted. Bailley on the other hand was running, yes I said running, through the house like she had just single handedly taken down the Alamo. I am not quite sure what transpired in the laundry room but she obviously did not look like she was straddling the fence of life and death.

So here we are, back in the saddle again. She had a decent night and has not had a single episode of panting and pacing. Is this God’s way of preparing me? Is God being merciful and giving me just a little more time? One can never know what the future holds but between my grandmother and Bailley, I have learned a very valuable lesson as the events have unfolded over the last year. It’s not over, until it’s over. Until the final breath is drawn There is still a story to be told. God uses tragedy for good. We are all certainly headed for death but until it happens, life is something to find joy in, even if only for a couple hours.

On another note, I have been breeding dogs for 15 years. I can certainly say I have had more than one litter of puppies in that 15 years. This weekend was spent sleeping with a flash light, waking every time any living thing in our bedroom breathed funny. Those living things included, three dogs in bed with us, Bailley, Phoebe, and Peyton, Cody in his crate beside my bed, and Ella in her bed enclosed in a baby gate. Ella was the main culprit so every little bustle I heard I sprang to my feet, flashlight in hand, searching for her bottom to see what was going on. By the end of the second night I was exhausted and Ella was looking at me through her great big brown sleep deprived eyes like I was insane. I think I may have finally flipped that switch. After realizing the girls have just been running around all day like its party time I decided to take yet another look at the dates they were bred. Sure enough, I found the notes on the calendar written in big black letters were not the day of breeding, it was the day they started their heat.  So now their due date is not until NEXT MONDAY!