With the weather warming up, I think it’s time for a reminder about dogs (or any living being, really) being left in hot cars.

Let’s face it, people who leave their dogs in cars are generally not evil, dog-hating, people. After all, dog-haters rarely pack up their beloved family dog and take it in the car to run errands with them. People who leave their dogs in hot cars are people who make mistakes– they simply do not know. So let’s educate them.

– Perhaps they don’t realize that dogs do not sweat, & therefore rely on panting/breathing in cool air around them in order to lower their core body temp. Being trapped in a warm car, with warm, stagnant air makes it physically impossible for them to cool themselves. So their body temperatures rise as every second passes.

– Perhaps they don’t realize that even just 20 minutes in a car on a hot day (70 degrees F+) is long enough to kill, or seriously injure their companion.

– Perhaps they expected their errand to be really quick (I just ran into the post office to buy stamps!) but they didn’t bank on a long line, and then running into their 3rd grade teacher and needing to stop and chat for 10 extra minutes.

– Perhaps they cracked a window, and thought that since Fido could poke his/her nose out, things would be fine (wrong!)

– Perhaps they really were only gone for 10 minutes, but they didn’t realize that when they leave their dog in the car alone, the dog tends to get a bit stressed out. As the dog pants, paces, and barks due to this anxiety, his body temperature skyrockets at an alarming fast rate.

– Perhaps they thought that since they “parked in the shade” it would be okay.

– Perhaps they think that as long as it’s not crazy-hot out (let’s say, 90+ degrees, or 27+ degrees) that it’s okay to leave the dog in the car.

– Perhaps they didn’t realize that the even though it is “only” 70 degrees F (21 celsius) outside, the temperature INSIDE the car climbs drastically as each minute passes.

  • 75 degrees outside = 118 degrees in your car
  • 77 degrees outside = 123 degrees in your car
  • 81 degrees outside = 138 degrees in your car
  • 90 degrees outside = 143 degrees in your car
  • 94 degrees outside = 145 degrees in your car

Talk to the people in your life about the dangers of hot vehicles. Don’t assume that everyone understands and knows all that there is to know. And if you ever see a dog in a car, call 911. If you feel silly about calling 911 about a dog in a car (you shouldn’t!) then look up and call your local Police Non-Emergency line. Stay with the dog/car if you can until help arrives.

And above all, if it’s warm out (not ‘hot’, just warm) leave your dog at home. It’s not worth risking it. Leave the dog at home.

Spring seems to have sprung a few weeks earlier than expected out here, and the dogs & I have been loving every minute of the warmer temperatures. Our front porch is cleaned off, the porch rocking chairs are ready for use, and the dog’s ‘outside bed’ is laundered and ready for the season! We’ve spent quite a few afternoons lately sitting on the porch together, watching the world go by. I think Oslo & JB would agree with me when I saw that it’s truly my happy place.

Other than welcoming Spring, I do have a bit of news for you all::

We have decided to go ahead and have Jersey’s ‘Stenotic Nares’ operated on.

‘Stenotic Nares’ is a common ailment in smushed-faced dogs like pugs & frenchies. It essentially means narrowed, squeezed nostrils. Having narrow nostrils can present a lot of issues… Most obviously of which, they make breathing quite difficult. Dogs with Stenotic Nares often snore loudly, breathe with their mouths open, and don’t tolerate heat or physical exertion very well. Not only that, but the constant struggle to simply get air into their lungs can lead to pretty scary issues over time– collapsed larynx, obstructed airways, and even hypertension. Imagine if YOU had to breathe out of a nose that was pinched half way (or more!) shut! It would be misery.

Surgery costs about $700, and is fairly simple. They will put Jersey under, then they will cut away and widen his nostrils. Very literally, they made them wider. A few stitches will be put in, and that’s that. Most surgeries take 10-15 minutes tops, and recovery takes just a couple days. It’s a VERY straight forward procedure.

nares

I would have loved to do it a long long time ago (it’s actually ideal to do this surgery while the dog is young– perhaps during their spay or neuter).. But with Jersey’s heart issues, my vet(s) & I have never felt comfortable with the idea of anesthetizing him for it. However! Since he surprised us all and did SO well with his neuter & tooth extraction last fall, we really think it’s worth while to attempt this surgery now as well.

Of course, as with all surgeries, there are risks. Anaesthetizing him again scares me a lot— sure, he did great last time, but what if we are not so fortunate this time? What is he totally crashes while going under, or coming out of the anesthesia? What if he gets a terrible infection afterwards? What if he suddenly swells up, and his airways totally block off? WHAT IF WHAT IF WHAT IF!! Surgery is always super scary! On a more shallow note– I worry about how the wider nostrils will make his face look. He’ll look different! I don’t want my baby to look different! Waaaaaah!

Ultimately, though… Correcting his Stenotic Nares will help us to avoid some pretty scary, awful health issues in the future, thus increasing my chances of keeping this bundle of love with me for a long, long time longer. In addition (and perhaps, more importantly?) fixing his Stenotic Nares and thus improving his ability to breathe, will HUGELY improve Jersey’s general, day-to-day well being. His quality of life as a whole will be increased across the board. He’ll be able to breathe easier, enjoying playing more, sleep better at night because he can actually breathe at night, lay out in warm weather longer, etc etc etc. For those reasons, I think it’s an absolutely worthwhile risk to take.

Jersey’s surgery is April 22nd. Prior to surgery, we will do a full blood panel to make sure that he is in tip-top condition and surgery ready. Send good vibes his way!

It’s been a stressful month, you guys.

Since Oslo came out of crate rest a few weeks ago, we’ve had another run in with pain. He spent another 2 weeks of this past month crated, while I ushered him back and forth to the vet and generally completely lost my friggin mind. After a lot of stress, a lot of hours talking to his vet, and many tests, his Doctor & I have come to the conclusion, that Oslo is likely dealing with chronic, neuropathic spinal pain.

We suspect that he has something going on, somewhere in his spine (could be at his old surgery site, could be somewhere new) that has ‘flared up’ and is hurting him.  So far whatever it is, isn’t catastrophic because he has yet to show any neurological deficits (loss of coordination, loss of bowel control, etc). Whatever the issue is, it’s not affecting his mobility– which is great.

His vet *would* like us to get an MRI done at some point so that we can have detailed imaging of his spine & see just what exactly is going on… But there are no veterinarians that do MRIs near us. Not to mention, the closest ones (several hours drive away) charge $1000-$2000. Unfortunately that’s just the going rate for canine MRIs. It’s money that we just can’t spare at the moment. Plus, to be perfectly frank, I have a hard time swallowing the idea of spending that sort of money “just to know what is going on”. That is a LOT of money for a purely diagnostic procedure.

So instead, for the time being we are going to continue treating this as an issue of chronic pain. We have been able to get Oslo onto a routine of pain killers that has really helped him. He started out on 3 different medications, however I am already in the process (since it’s been almost a month now) of weaning him down. In the next week, we will get him down to just one medication– Gabapentin– which he will likely remain on, at a med/low dosage, for the rest of his life (assuming his diagnosis of ‘chronic pain’ doesn’t change).

He’s not needing to be crated at the moment, however we are still keeping him quiet & generally limiting activity. We’ll continue to watch him closely over the coming weeks and cross our fingers that the worst of it is behind us. Living with Chronic Pain is certainly not something I would ever wish on my darling boy… but if the pain can be easily managed with medication, I’d certainly take that over him needing to be rushed off for another emergency spinal surgery.

These dogs! Oy!

Hi everyone! I’m happy to report that Oslo has continued to do well, and is now DONE with his crate-rest! It has been 9 long weeks since he started showing some scary signs of spinal pain, & I am so relieved that he is back to his normal self.

Having him crated over Christmas was certainly not ideal, and definitely put a damper on the holiday spirit over at our house. Ultimately though, I am just glad that he was treatable with crate rest, and that we didn’t have to jump straight into another surgery. To be honest with you, I am not sure how we would afford another $7,000+ surgery… Oslo is insured, however since we got him insured AFTER his first spinal surgery, all his IVDD stuff is now considered ‘pre-existing’ and is not covered.

(Yet another reason to not wait until your dog is ill before you think about insurance!)

Anyway– he is much better now and we are all very happy about it… Most especially OSLO! He is thrilled to have some freedom around the house and to be able to cuddle up with Jersey again. We’re keeping the (ugly) rugs down on the floor for the time being, and we also do not allow Oslo (or Jersey for that matter) free run of the house while we are home… but those are just general, basic precautions. The dogs get put away safely in our office while we are out of the house, where they have several cozy beds, fresh water, and just enough space to stretch out and relax safely.

This morning we all piled into bed and had ourselves a Saturday Morning Lay-in. It was lovely.

Sorry for the lack up updates over these last few weeks, everyone! I’m happy to report that my absence has very much been a case of there simply not being a whole lot to report. Oslo is doing very well!

Since my last update (on January 9th) I’ve been able to fully wean the pig off all of his meds. He done really well with the transition and hasn’t had any noticeable issues with pain of discomfort. So, in the last week I’ve slowly begun ease up on his crate rest, too.

Before I could let him out of his crate, I had to goto Walmart and stock  up on some cheap rugs/runners to cover up our slick hardwood floors. Taking a corner in the house too quick & slipping/twisting in the wrong way could be disastrous to my unsteady little guy– so area rugs were a must. Even though I don’t like the look of the rugs, I realize that they are necessary at least for the next few months while Oslo builds up some muscle, coordination and stability.

So with new, large, non-slip rugs placed strategically around the house, Oslo has been allowed some freedom from the crate. Only while we are home, and only while things are calm in the house. At night time, and while we are out, he is still crated… and any time he starts acting silly (which is often– Oslo is quite the nutcase!) he goes back in the crate until he calms down. We can’t risk him hurting himself while zooming around!

As for potty breaks, I walk him at a slow & steady pace (with no leash pulling) to the end of the block and back. He handles the distance well and I think the slow walking is important in building up his strength again. In the coming weeks I hope to increase the distance that we can walk together, as well as relaxing the crate rest rules further.

All in all, he is doing great!

We are half-way through Oslo’s 8 week (or so) crate rest period and things are going well. There isn’t a whole lot to report, really.

He’s bored and increasingly anxious to be free. He will whine whenever he sees me sitting on the sofa because he knows that I’m weak and will usually cave in and let him sit with me up there. He likes to snuggle under my throw-blanket and  press himself up against my legs. He’d be up there all day if I let him, but he can’t be left unattended for even a minute (lest he have a moment of bravery and try to jump down on his own— disaster!) so it’s usually just for an hour or so at a time… or however long I can manage to sit in one spot. I’m not much a sofa-sitting-tv-watcher myself, so even an hour feels like a LONG time for me.

I’ve cut back on his pain-meds to about half of what he was taking, and will probably continue to cut back on those over the next week or two. I want to make sure that he is comfortable, without being OVERLY &/or unnecessarily medicated.

His rear legs do seem stronger though… and when he stands and takes steps when he goes outside for pottying, he seems a lot more steady & stable. So, progress is definitely being made. Now it’s just an issue of making sure that he is rested until his back is FULLY healed. The hardest part of crate rest is following through with the entire prescribed 8 weeks, when they seem “better” after 3-4 weeks.

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