just checkng to see, ya still there? …BB 2 yrs old. Regardless, he’s still as silly fun as a 9 wk old pup.
All posts for the month November, 2010
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on November 28, 2010
Oooo… “Twilight”, Kenai style–who needs vampires when you’ve got bats!
I apologize about the fuzzy pic–most of what I take is because of the tremors. But I decided not to just delete this one. First because of the catchy subtitle I could get from it (we do have a handful of bats that come out). Secondly, and sadly, because this is a great shot of how to recognize the sutble signs of pain in a Dane at a mere glance.
Look at the shape his rear makes: the hips are slightly tucked under, moving his hind legs forward. It makes his butt look taller than the shoulders, creates a hunch in the mid-back with a corresponding slight sway behind the shoulders, and reduces the range of motion. Now think about those yummy pics of show dogs: the hind legs stretch back, right?
You’ll see this in old Danes as their hips start to wear, or dogs with sore backs or knees. If you watch Kenai, you’ll notice he will stretch his hind legs forward laying on the couch or bed when they’re uncomfortable. He will sometimes spend extra “cleaning” time licking the knees. On really bad days, he’ll wimper and chew at the hock tendons.
Thankfully we haven’t had wimper and chew days in awhile, but I can tell when he’s not at his best. Subtle by nature or not, Kenai has his “tells”. Many of which are common to arthritic dogs. Like most things, Danes just show it on a bigger more obvious scale, so you can catch it before they need help getting up kinda thing.
An incomplete list, but some ideas
The single best supplement I’ve ever found for inflammation or arthritis is called “Flexicose”. Knuckleheads who don’t want to eat won’t eat it, though, (hint hint Kenai…). There’s a noticable improvement in the first or second dose with less severe problems. That and a pain rub called “Traumeel” can dramatically improve a dog’s comfort.
In addition, a really good bed right from puppyhood can make a big difference in how long it takes for your Dane to start losing his joint comfort. The official doggie beds are absurdly expensive, so unless you have a serious bed shredder and need the chew proof kuroda, just get yourself a crib mattress or perhaps a twin.
Matresses are much cheaper, and I’ve gotten vastly more wear out of them. Not to mention bedwetter pups or incontinent elders can have a waterproof mattress pad that just gets tossed in the washer–no zippers, no stuffing a round blob through a slit in a cover every ‘accident’, no padding gone lumpy in 6 mo. A simple sheet change, maybe a fresh fleecie and voila, all clean soft bed for buddies.
For the really pained, stiff, worn out ol’ hips, a heated matress pad on low can make getting up in the morning less of an ordeal. A horse-blanket style fleece coat can make a turn around the wintertime yard enjoyable a bit longer. Accupuncture and gentle massages help too, sometimes more than we realize.
If you’re thinking, “oh my love is just a youngster, barely 3″ or something, stop yourself right there. We only get 8-10 years on average with our extraordinary big guys. Even the 3 year olds can have joint changes without showing outward symptoms yet. Young or not, know the days of stiff and sore are coming for ‘em.
That’s why I never ever ever ever EVER recommend exercise and play that involves repetitive jumping for a Dane. I don’t care how young and spiffy they look, they can’t get away with that any more than we humans can without wrecking our knees or back. And our spine had only a vertical movement when we jump, whereas a Danes’ back will bend horizontally with every landing.
The same holds true with extended periods of running. Some folks like to go jogging with their dogs, but I don’t recommend it with a Dane. “Joggers knee” can be fixed in humans, but the knee replacements for dogs just aren’t as successful. It may be fun when they’re young and vigorous, but they will pay for it big time later.
By the time their new food came Friday, both boys where wracked with die-in-the-rears, vomiting, skin infections and the like…uhg.
BB has more vomiting than Kenai, as usual. Kenai’s the one with the worst die in the rears. He could melt the ground into sinkholes with what comes out of his back end poor baby.
I couldn’t decide if they had some rampaging bacteria or if the old raw food had flared their inflammatory bowel. They sure felt awful, the sweet stinks.
When it’s IBS, none of the anti-diarrhea treatments will work. Nothing. No OTC pills, not cheese or pumpkin. I mean ta tell ya when them bowels of theirs go off they seriously go off.
It was so bad Friday night (after hours naturally), I made a command decision rather than try to explain their history at the e-vet. I restarted their steroids, skin staph or not, at a slightly higher dose than they had been on. I also keep the nausea meds handy.
Is that not the face of “momma, me no feel good”? That’s my bed, btw, or at least it used to be my bed. Now it’s ours. He wants first his comfort-me, complete with footie massage, cheek rubs, and gentle smootches. Then he wants his space to nap awhile.
I call that don’t-bother-me-but-be-right-here “closenesses”–Kenai wants to be able to reach out and touch you if he decides, but he doesn’t want to be messed with so he can sleep. Once he’s asleep, there’s no sneaking off, either! Such a baby, my little love. He may be a golden grizzly, but he’s the world’s biggest momma’s boy too.
They felt so poorly I had to do something, but Lord I was sweating blood. If the trouble was infection, it’d go out of control really fast because of the steroids. We’d know definitively in a couple days, that’s for sure. I had BB’s brush with death via resistant staph a year and a half ago in the back of my head.
The weekend was tough, lots of babying and staying up all night watching them. The diarrhea and vomiting continued, though at a lessening severity and frequency. The steriod also has kept them eating and drinking, thank heavens. But gosh I wish they’d turn around faster. I know better–autoimmune flares come outta nowhere, and take a perverse amount of time to go away.
Then Kenai scared the living h-e-double-toothpicks outta me.
I had taken them outside to have some fresh air and play time, just to brighten up their day. They were playing just fine, and after about 10 minutes I took Beebs back inside. Just as I was getting him into the living room, he suddenly turned and scrambled back to the door crying. Huh?
Beebs got scolded a bit and put back in the room, and I went out to bring Kenai in. He was at the gate, holding up the left front leg, head hanging and hunkered down like a dying mule. I ran. Picked up my fat aching butt and ran to the playpen.
When I got there, I gently felt his leg and moved it some–nothing broken or dislocated, no bite marks or puncture wounds from snake bite, no sign of damage in the shoulder. After a minute or two, he limped along to the door with me. After a minute or two inside, he walked more normally to get Mom outta bed.
By the time she was up, you had to look really hard to see him favor it. He’s done this three times before with that leg, and those three times we went straight to the vet. Nada. I don’t know if he pulls a muscle, strains a tendon, pinches a nerve. All I know is how extreme the pain reaction is, and how quickly he sucks it up. Scare me to death.
Here’s something for the animal behaviorists to ponder, and perhaps they will have an explaination: BB knew the second it happened, from inside the house. There was no yelp, no crying. But little brother knew, and little brother wanted to go to him right now.
I know this is a long and probably too-detailed ramble of a post. Yeesh, I can yabber an Irishman to death sometimes! For all the sorry saga, there is a Bright spot: their skin and coat already seem to have improved a little. There hasn’t been the explosion of staph sores I worried about, nor nearly as much itching. There’s some shine, less shed…The new food?
Today is Monday, and I think I’ll stop using the promethezine for nausea in a day or two to see if the pred and new food are calming their GI tracts on their own. Oh these babies gotta stop scaring me. I’m goin grey like some wore out ol’ mare.
Seems like a downer post, talking about the pain that comes when they age, the worries when they don’t get well, the fear when they get hurt. Ya can love them, vast as the ocean, and still sometimes it makes ya question if it’s worth it. Then the answer comes: yes.
When you bring home a ball of feet and fur, you know you will loose them someday. It will tear your heart out, and yet you bring that ball of feet and fur home. You take them to the park to run and play, and you run them to the vet in tears sometimes.
The answer to if it’s worth it is in those beautiful eyes, in a soft muzzle nuzzle. They don’t ask why, they don’t say it shouldn’t hurt, and don’t believe they should live forever. They just live, they love, they do what they do and are purely what they are.
Life comes with death, love comes with sorrows, companionship comes with loss. A dog lives pure, a dog loves pure, and keeps you pure company right now. Dogs are pure, a glimpse of what life can be without all the complication and reminders of hurts we stuff into it.
They will live with the pain and love without as perfect a love returned to them. They live with it, and when it’s time to not live with it any longer, they tell you. They also tell you when it’s time to come out of your sorrows, and come back to living pure. They tell you to let go of your worries and play like tomorrow won’t come.
They’re just such pure creatures, dogs.
“Silhouettes, sent from heaven, paint a portrait of eternal things…” –David Phelps
Maybe we could learn something from the buddy napping at our sides? Even if we loose a slipper or two to puppy teeth for the privelege, it’s worth it.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on November 15, 2010
His majesty is certainly awake now…Kenai 2 yrs old
Kenai has discovered the difference between seeing critters on leash and seeing critters in the playpen. When he’s leashed, there is no running along with them, you see. But…but if HRH actually WALKS to the playpen, he gets turned loose and can run back and forth like a banshee all he wants.
Now he just hurries along to the pen rather than trying to jump and lurch and get loose at the sight of critters. (TG for head halters…) He knows he will be let loose if he makes it to the pen. With the natural proviso that I make it to the pen intact, of course. (grin)
The pic above was taken right after the deer behind the garage had made their escape and Brown’s banshee routine had wound down. It seems to take a certain amount of extraordinary to wake him up in the mornings. How is it I have a night owl doggie? Me? The world’s original morning person? Stinkpot.
For some reason it’s also taking longer for me to adjust to the cooling temps of autumn. For the amusement of northerners who have serious cold-toes, get a load of this:
All of 5 layers already, and it’s only November. Just wait for January, right? The absurdity will worsen, no doubt! I’ll look like some female version of the Michelin tire cartoon…
While we’re on the subject of layers and spare tires, I went off my diet for 4 days. Two months of not a single pound lost, grrr. I didn’t go hog wild or anything, just had a couple peices of pizza one day, spaghetti another, toast for breakfast, you know.
In four days, I gained 12 pounds. Cripes. Whadda ya do when ya can gain pounds per day without the slightest effort? So anyway, I’ll be back on the low carb diet again when the leftover spaghetti is gone. Discouraging.
I am the proud owner now of a bouncing baby chest freezer! We decided to do without other stuff after watching a local TV news interview of some ranchers. They were talking about proposed new regulations via the FDA and EPA, and expected their costs to rise as much as 20%. Steaks, the cheap steaks, are already running around $8 a pound, now add an extra 20%? Ouch.
So off to the megabox DIY store we went and bought a second chest freezer. The one we have will have will be dedicated to chicken, turkey and fowl. The new one will be for red meat, and the old upright is for frozen veggies and such. This week I’ll pick up 100 pounds of ground beef. The steaks and roasts will have to wait ’till next month.
This week I’ll also be ordering the boy’s raw. Kenai liked the Bravo turkey and the duck too, but not the chicken or lamb. BB didn’t like any of the above, he wants the old Nature’s variety chicken, silly boy. I think I’ll order a case each of the Bravo turkey and duck (boneless) as well as a case of the organ meat.
The store we can get it at also carries a brand called Primal, so I’ll give that a try in various flavors. Heck, I might spring for the more unusual–buffalo, pheasant, elk–though the price would kill ya. I’ll just use it like seasoning, rather than the bulk of the meal. They’ll have a taste of it anyhow.
Dang, I’m tellin ya the expense is enough to make ya consider becoming a hunter. I can shoot quite well. It’s the sitting motionless for hours in the cold, then hauling hundreds of pounds of deer out of the woods that probably is not a good idea! I sit too long in the cold I need someone to haul me out of the woods.
I’m starting to ramble, aren’t I? Haaaaa, that’s what happens when you wake up at 4 am on a Monday morning…DUUUUHHHH. Brain dead.
ICING ON THE CAKE—after a week on the Bravo Raw, Kenai had his first normal, acceptable stool in 2 months last night. Few would understand the rejoicing over doggie poo, but the change in food seems to be agreeing with Kenai. Finally! And he feels so solid all over, solid strong muscle. His coat is shining, filled in where it thinned out…He looks gorgeous.
Beebs is lagging behind his bro in the happy scrap pile contest, and is still nauseated in the mornings. All my teasing about giving him a pregnancy test is really just teasing–it’s the 12 hours or so he goes with nothing in his tum overnight.
When Kenai and I get up there’s at least an hour or two before we get BB and Mom up, so I’ve been sneaking in giving him a little bit of tummy medicine in cream cheese. It seems to help him, and he eats his breakfast better. Poor funny little toots, gotta help him feel better too, even if his bro is put out with him.
BB has been a dud about playing outside with Kenai. Remember not so long ago how totally fixated they were on each other, running along the fenceline in almost perfect tandem? BB doesn’t seem too interested in his bro after a turn or two around the play pen. Then all he wants is to play fetch or follow me.
I don’t mind much, since it’s something of a novelty these days to have a dog that actually pays attention to me because he wants to…but Kenai is not happy. It seems to almost hurt his feelings, and it certainly frustrates him. He actually cries as well as yips, and gets a sad look on his pretty self.
So I’m going back and forth; toss BB’s stick, sneak in and play goose a tushie with Kenai, then back to the stick. I’ve become Brown’s play buddy by default? Silly boys
Lately I’ve had/heard lots of questions about food for Danes, both on the internet, and from people I encounter. The old myth of “protien is bad” is still hanging around, probably will for another 20 years. To help clarify what actually causes the ortho problems Danes are prone to, I’ve copied a small segment from the “feeding and growth” page (at right), which is mostly concerned with growing puppies.
Nutritionally, Danes are very delicate. So finding a puppy food that has a relatively low protien level of 23% or less, and a safe ratio of calcium and phosphorous is a serious business. I need to bust a big fat myth here: The orthopedic growth problems are not caused by protien!! This has been documented by vet studies since the 1970′s.
Protien builds muscle, not bone. Studies have proven that protien levels do not affect bone growth, or the bone and joint deformities we worry about, in Great Danes. http://intl-jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/121/11_Suppl/S107 This doesn’t mean you should think the high protien, grain free diets becoming popular are neccessarily safe for a growing Dane pup though. Many of them have dangerously high mineral contents.
Excess protien can affect a Dane by causing diarrhea, and packing on more weight than their growing bones can bear up under. This can obviously cause joint pain both as a pup and later in life, so limit the protien levels in young puppies’ kibble to around 24%. Some dogs handle up to 28% just fine. (The exception is a raw diet, for which you want to limit the bone content.)
It is the amount of calcium and particularly phosphorus that causes bone and joint problems. A study by the Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals in the Netherlands specifically tested the calcium absorption of Great Dane puppies, and found that pups fed a diet high in calcium absorbed excessive percentages of calcium, even after the dietary calcium was restricted later.
That makes minerals a deciding factor in the health of your Dane pup. If the puppy begins to absorb too much calcium, they will continue to absorb too much the rest of their lives, no matter how low a new food is. That is the term “malabsorbtion”, and it is strongly related to HOD, Panosteitis, and other growth problems.
A 1.1% calcium thought to be ideal, which can change. I don’t feed pups a food with more than 1% calcium because it is getting high enough above that to increase the risks. I’ve had a dog that developed nutritional HOD from a food supposedly designed for Danes, and it was horrible, so I don’t follow claims–I look at the nutritional analysis!! Especially if your pup is knuckled over, has splayed feet, or has family members with orthopedic problems already.
One diet I hadn’t put thought into when the page was written was a raw diet. I was kinda “forced” into facing my e-coli fears because my boys literally could not digest anything else. But knowing what I know about the affects of high minerals on Danes, it is only sensible to be extra cautious about the run of the mill raw diet for growing puppies.
Most raw feeders give their dogs whole chicken backs, turkey necks and such with larger porportions of bone than I’m personally comfortable with. I actually de-bone the chickens and meats I feed my loves. I know both my guys have a malabsorption issue to begin with, and that’s why.
I also was thrilled to find that Bravo has a line of boneless meats. Those pesky minerals can sneak up on ya, though, as I found out from my vet–ground beef from the grocery, the muscle meat, has a high phosphorous content all by itself.
So when doing raw for Danes, always always find out which meats are higher in minerals and keep that in mind, ie don’t add bone to such meats. There are some amino acids though, that are found only in red meat, so don’t just stick with chicken. Mix things up. You want a balanced diet, but a varied one too.
One of the most amazing things I discovered about my boys is that they seem to just crave what they need in a food. It’s not a scientific sort of finding, but they never seem to get it wrong, ya know? They will crave chicken meat and livers for awhile. Sometimes they will refuse chicken and want venison, or turkey gizzards, etc.
Kenai just went all lady ga-ga about the duck last week. He has never ever before been willing to eat it, at all, ever, in raw or kibble form. But he just chowed on it last week, and low ‘n behold, his coat filled back in.
I realize my guys are something of an extreme case of digestive ills, but oddly it is the extreme cases in medicine that teaches us things too subtle to have been picked up before. The boys and their cravings/refusals drive me bonkers, but I’ve learned to just go with it–find what they are wanting and let’em have it.
Yes, Virginia, the dog is smarter than me…
Today is Friday and the boys’ Bravo and Primal raw food should be in at the “other” puppy store this afternoon. We ran out of what I ordered via internet, and it showed–we have more upset tums, itching, sore legs, shedding and the like. Got my paws and ears crossed they like the flavors I ordered for them. (I think there were 5 or6)
Kenai’s been on the feelin’ pooky side for a couple days now, not even running much out in his play pen. Poor baby. Maybe the new food will have the same pick-him-up effect it did last week. He’s been a serious cuddle monster. Not that I mind–we’ve arranged ourselves on my bed, small or not, so we’re both comfie enough.
Unfortunately, BB’s skin is again giving us fits (in less than a week?). He’s got everyone in the house itching, so he’s getting both a chlorhexidine wipe down and some momentamax lotion every day. I steamed the floors with a steam mop, but it’s looking like I’m gonna have to break out the steam iron for the couches and carpets. Yeesh, boy, you’re killin’ me..
BB’s always had a stronger odor than I’d noticed in my other dogs, and I wonder how much of that is just being high strung? Still, he’s prone to skin staph, and since he’s got all of us itching wherever our bodies come in contact…especially if we get his slobber on us, and he’s also the slobberin’-est Dane I’ve ever had. Like cujo on a calm day.
Well, it’s time to get this post up, so I’ll quit blabbering for now. Ya’ll love your pups, even the ones that make ya itch!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on November 12, 2010
We, me and He, have been in our new bedroom for a few days now! Kenai vastly prefers my ever so soft bed, but I’m convincing him to stay on his own when it’s really, really time to go to sleep. He has a futon mattress by the window—couldn’t manage a couch moving, no surprise huh?
There’s still some stuff-shifting to be done. You know: cleaning off shelving, organizing odds and ends. But the room is usable, and thanks to a space heater, livable. I’ve gone from the warmest room in the house (upstairs) to the coldest (north east corner) and cold does iniquitous things to my fibro…
The little boys are loving their new playpen. Kenai’s spirits have certainly picked up, outdoorsman that he is, being assured of no less than one good gratifying frolic per day. Usually two. Adds a whole new meaning to the phrase “stomp the yard”!
He’s walking better on leash with all the exercise, no surprise there either. A tired, satisfied dog is a better behaved dog. Gotta love the side effects of endorphins, those marvelous happy hormones. His appetite has had some improvement as well, though not as much as I’d hoped for.
My golden grizzly begins his morning late, 7 am or so. At least until daylight savings time moves us back an hour. Hopefully that will get us out earlier. He does his “weed-watering” and goes straight to his playpen for a quickie “morning constitutional”. A pleasant way for HRH to wake up: fresh air, frostie toes, critter scents…
Then it’s to the house for waking-up-grammy-time, one of the highlights of his day. I make sure she’s sitting up in bed, else she gets a bit of the sasquatch treatment. Kenai will leap onto the bed, get his morning-breath smoochie, and go straight to the bathroom. Ignoring little bro having a fit in his nighttime pen, of course.
Life has definitely improved for Brown since the new playpen made its appearance. We still have icky poo and upset tums, though. I’m waiting for the Bravo raw to be delivered, so hopefully the change will help them. A different store from our usual actually carries Bravo (now that I’ve already paid shipping…), as well as a brand called Primal so it seems I will have lots of choices.
The Bravo has a line called ‘basics’ with just four ingredients, a line of boneless raw food which is good for dogs on limited calcium/phosphorus like giant breeds or pups prone to bladder troubles. Bravo also has a product that is all organ meat—that’s where the real vitamins are.
I’ll check out the Primal when I’m done blabbering here, but it sounds like there’s a lot of different flavors for the guys. Oh, the blood test results are that Kenai’s TLI is okay, so there’s no pancreatic inflammation. Just intestinal inflammation (just is enough), and I’m hoping the new food tones that all down without having to hit the steroids again.
Me and He are really enjoying the time together again. I hated leaving him when I had to go upstairs to get away from the noise of the TV. Now we don’t have to part company! Me and He can have our “nippy naps” together again, such luxury. I couldn’t call them cat naps, now could I?
Believe it or not, we’ve found the way for both of us to fit comfortably on a smaller mattress (a full). Anyone who doubts a Dane can find a way to fit has never had one…grin! When I’m not sleeping, I’ll open the curtains for him, and he “stands guard” at the window in case a squirrel tries to break in. Ya never know.
I’ve mostly come to terms with my disappointment about Kenai washing out of SD training because of the noise phobias. He can’t help it, his body and brain was so messed up by the tick diseases. Every once in awhile, though I’ll feel a twinge about it.
When I went to vote Tues all the disabled spots were taken, and the high school lot was crammed with the regular daily folks–kids, teachers etc. I drove around awhile, but eventually gave up and parked in the back forty. Jeez that wasn’t a long walk, that was a flippin ironman event.
I was so glad to have had the foresight to grab the cane from the car. But how much more I wanted to have some big brown shoulders to lean on. There are times I miss what he could have done for me acutely. But what is is what is, and it’s not like I didn’t manage to make it to the voting booth.
Despite the downers, there are things to be grateful for:
I’ve still got my lovely boy after 2 years of fighting life-threatening illnesses. I didn’t lose him, despite the fears and tears and bank busting costs.
I’ve got a lovely boy snoozing in the bed next to me, so loving and gentle. He cries when I leave him, and wiggles all over when I come back to him.
I’ve got a roof over my head, and food in my lovely boy’s bowl. The cost of it may be going up, but I’d live in a cardboard box before Kenai did without.
I get the best wake up call on earth–muzzle nuzzles and tickly whiskers every morning without fail. An extra warm body to hug on a cold morning just hits the spot.
I’ve got a sense of purpose. My lovely boy needs me to get off my butt, his requirements keep me from wallowing. What I want doesn’t count as much as what he needs, and it keeps me from too much self-absorption.
Now that’s a way to end a post, huh? Gratefulness for what I got rather than whining for what I not got. It really does alter your mood, and sprinkle a bit of sunshine over a tough day!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on November 4, 2010