Welcome to Shiba...What?

I chose that name because that was probably the first thing I said when I heard about the breed. And, I get that quite often when I have the girls out and they meet new people. Most people have never heard of the breed, although we do occasionally run into someone who actually knows what they are! I do know one thing and that is Shiba owners love to see other Shibas and read about other Shibas. I recently came across I Am Shiba and within a few days, read the whole blog. Many times I found myself laughing so hard I was on the verge of tears. LOL While not every dog is the same, there are enough similarities. Through this blog, I would love to share how I came to have these two beautiful girls, what we have been though and what we are up to. Occasionally even the girls will add their input, they can be very opinionated you know.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Histiocytoma in dogs

Many years ago, when Miko and Sami were pups, Miko developed this mysterious lump on the inside of her hear about the size of the end of a pencil eraser.  Sami, the resident ear cleaner seemed to be drawn to it and would lick it constantly. So, we took Miko to the vet only to find out it was a non cancerous tumor most often found on young dogs.  Our vet said that over a period of time, usually a few months, the tumor would go away and it did.  Well, that was a little over 3 years ago.

About a month ago, I noticed this tiny pink spot on the left nostril.  I didn't get too excited about it as Sami used to have a black nose before she got sick and her nose went from black to pink in no time flat.  It happened so fast, I can't recall it even happening, it's just like one day she had a pink nose.  Now, I'm sure it didn't happen that fast, but with all that was going on when she first got sick and the nervous wreck it made me, I guess I was just too concerned about the possibility of losing her that I didn't even notice the color change.  So, I just kept a close eye on the pink spot on Miko's nose.

It just so happened that both were due for their yearly shots this month.  We had to change vets 2 years ago because our vet was wanting to retire.  He tried to get a young vet to join his practice and take over when the time came to retire.  Well, he had no luck as most wanted to join a practice with several other vets as this gave them more options on just how many hours they wanted to be there.  So, he moved his practice to one of the larger clinics with several vets and this gave us the opportunity to try the different vets to see which one we wanted to see our pets.  We have chosen our new vet, but I had recently found out that our old vet was still there 1 day a week and I decided to schedule Miko and Sami with him as it would probably be the last time.  I had scheduled it for next week, but the pink spot on Miko's nose suddenly changed.  It got much larger and now it felt like a lump.  So, I moved their appointment to today, still with our old vet.

I was telling my daughter about it and she got to looking around on the internet and found out about this one dog that had the same pink spot on it's nose and it ended up being histiocytoma.  I had completely forgotten about the incident with her ear and it made me a little relieved to see that.  By time I took her in today, it already didn't seem quite as big as the day before.  My vet confirmed  that it is histiocytoma  He said it didn't look infected or anything, so right now we just keep an eye on it.  If it starts looking infected or gets any bigger in the next couple weeks, we might have to have it removed.  Here is a picture of what it looks like now. 

Luckily it doesn't seem to bother her at all.

Two is more fun then one.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I fixed her wagon......

well sort of.  If you read my post about the temper tantrums, this is sort of a continuation of that.  To refresh your memory, Sami has her ways of getting me to come into the kitchen and give her ice cubes.  First she scratches on the door of the fridge and if that doesn't get me out there, she starts chewing on the door.  From there, she knocks down all the pop and water bottles in front of the cabinets.  If I don't get out there by then, she then starts opening cabinet doors and drawers and looks for things to get into.  And, as a final resort, she rakes her nails across the metal heat vent cover.

All of this is pretty harmless, but I can easily see someone having an accident with the water and pop bottles all over the floor.  So tonight I decided to put an end to at least part of her obnoxious behavior.  I was going to get a milk crate to put all the bottles in. I have seen them many times when I'm not looking for them, but tonight, I couldn't find them.  But, I happened to go by the isle that had the laundry baskets and decided that would work as well.  So, I did my shopping and came home to set the stage.  First I wanted you to see what she does with the bottles, so I set all the bottles in front of the cabinets like I always do and went back to the dining room and got on the computer.  Pretty soon, Sami went into the kitchen and started in with her antics.  I waited until I heard several bottles hitting the floor and then went in to see what all she had done.

Here you can see her with her handiwork. LOL

Now I bring in the basket and she watches me while I put all the bottles in it.  Sami and Miko both go over to the basket to check it out.

Miko is still checking out the basket, but I think Sami is really thinking about this.  You can almost see the wheels spinning in her head.

I think she now realizes her bottle knocking over days are through.  Now she is giving me that look.  Not sure what that look means, but I'm sure I will find out sooner then later.  LOL

Two is more fun then one.  LOL

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Sad Tale

Our weather this week has been unseasonably warm and I decided to take Thursday night off to enjoy the weather Thursday and today.  Thursday I spent the day in the yard which Sami and Miko liked as well.  I hooked them up to their leads and they played and dug holes and had all kinds of fun while I worked.  Today I decided to spend some time at the Toledo Zoo to do some photography.  I really wasn't having a good day up there so I didn't stay long.

I got home to find a rather large raccoon in my front yard next to one of my maple trees.  It didn't seem to be in any hurry to go anywhere.  I didn't have a good feeling about this.  I saw the neighbor guy across the street and just jokingly I asked him if one of his pets had gotten loose.  He was just as surprised as I was to see the raccoon.  He came over and started talking to it.  It acted like it was going to climb the tree, but after only going up about a foot, it slid back down.  About this time, the two guys next door came home from work on their motorcycles and they came over to see the raccoon.  Three more people came over from next door and then the guy that lives on the other side came home and soon I had quite a few people there checking out the raccoon.

We stood and watched it for a little bit.  It did a little bit of twitching and panting and I was pretty convinced at that point that there was definitely something wrong with this raccoon. So, while I went inside to call Animal Control, everyone else stayed to keep an eye on the raccoon.  Well, they only had 1 officer on duty so they said it would be awhile before he would get there.  So, we watched the raccoon some more.  A couple times he would fall over and it looked like it was having some kind of seizures.  Then it would get up and start walking around, I should say stumble around as it wasn't moving very good at all.  I ended up getting one of my rakes out to corral it back if it tried to stray very far.  After about an hour, it just laid down on it's stomach and occasionally it would twitch it's ears or open it's eyes.  It didn't seem like it was going to live that much longer.

It took Animal Control 1 1/2 hours to get to my house. He got the stick with the noose to grab the raccoon.  At that point, the raccoon did some growling as he was put into the cage.  I asked the officer what he thought might be wrong with the raccoon.  He said it was most likely Distemper.  He said that they have had a lot of raccoons this year with Distemper.  In fact, he already had 2 raccoons in his van that were acting the same way and he said he had another one to pick up just around the corner from my house.  I have read that Distemper can really become bad in the raccoon population to the point that it will completely wipe out the raccoons in large areas.

So, since Distemper can be transmitted to dogs, that's a very good reason why you should make sure your dog has been vaccinated against it.  I did take a few photos of the raccoon before he took a turn for the worse.  In fact by looking at the pictures, you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with it.

  I hate to see any animal put down, but when you have a diseased animal like this, I think it's for the better.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.  I plan on doing some things with the girlies.  It's going to be another nice day so we will take a long walk in the park and then go to their favorite store.  We are also going to see about getting some of those AntlerZ.  I did find one store so far that carries them, but it's not one that we normally go to.  We will see if PetSmart carries them first and then if they don't have them, we will go to the other store.  I really think Sami needs something like this to keep her occupied when she starts into one of her ice cube binges.  She has really been driving me crazy today.  LOL

Two is more fun then one.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Almost Trajic Event Has A Happy Ending.....

Last weekend we had a dog show in town, the Old Fort Cluster Dog Show.  They had 13 people showing Shiba's.  When one of the owners was finished showing her Shiba Nara, she went to leave and the dog got spooked and slipped out of it's slip leash and ran outside, down the street and ran across one of the busiest roads here in Fort Wayne, Coliseum BLVD.  After crossing the street, Nara ran into the wooded area behind the Red Cross Building. 

The woman searched for Nara all day, but didn't find her.  She lived in Wisconsin and instead of heading for home without Nara, she decided to stay at the Holiday Inn next to the Red Cross.  She went into the woods and set up 3 dog cages like the one Nara was used to sleeping in.  Monday morning she went to check the cages and thankfully, Nara was curled up in one of them.  I'm so glad there was a happy ending!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do dogs have temper tantrums?

Has your dog ever had a temper tantrum?  If so, I would like to hear about it.  Sami had what I would consider a temper tantrum this morning, this is how it went.

I got home this morning and took the dogs out, fed them, gave them their medicine and then took them for their morning walk.  We get home and we have the Shiba 500 for about 10 minutes.  They wrestle, pull the blankets off the bed, shake up the kitchen rug and chase each other.  When they are done, I make their bed and Miko climbs on and lays down.  I had a few things I wanted to do on the computer before I went to bed and Sami goes into the kitchen.  Here's where it started.

Sami goes into one of her ice cube binges.  She starts scratching on the refrigerator door and I tell her, just a minute!  She is not satisfied with this and starts chewing on the door.  I yell, Eh Eh, No!  I tell her to be patient.  Still not happy, she starts knocking down all the water and pop bottles.  Again, I tell her to be patient!  Now she proceeds to the big box fan that is standing in front of the utility card.  She takes her paw and with her nails, starts pulling on the fan.  It starts to fall and she jumps back and when it hits the floor, the sound makes her jump again.  I don't think she was expecting that!  LOL

I finally get finished with what I was doing, go into the kitchen and pick up the fan and the water and pop bottles and throw her a couple ice cubes, grab a handful of ice cubes and put them in her cup and go back to the computer and throw her one when she starts scratching on the door again.  We go through this ice cube thing, several times a day.

One time we actually looked up ice cube craving on the internet and they said that some people or animals that crave ice cubes could be iron deficient.  So, we had her tested and the results turned out just fine.  So, I guess she just loves to eat ice cubes.  It used to be that she would only do this a couple times a day, now it is all the time.  Sometimes by the end of the day, I just feel ragged.

Two is more fun then one.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I just cringe.....

I'm sure a lot of you have watched the Shiba puppy cam.  I came across it when the first litter was about 2 weeks old. It was fun watching the Shiba puppies grow up and move on to new homes.  There is one thing that really bothered me by the cam, the fact that they let their dogs destuff the toys.  And, everyone thought is was so cute!  I don't think a lot of people realize how dangerous that seemingly innocent action can be!  There is a reason why most if not all toys for dogs have warning labels on them.

Dogs don't have the same abilities as humans to get things out of their mouths.  They are either able to spit it out, or swallow it.  Fluff tends to stick to wet surfaces like the mouth and most times it can end up being swallowed.  And, some dogs just seem to like to eat things that are not edible.  While small amounts of fluff rarely causes a problem, if large amounts are ingested at one time, it can lead to some pretty serious complications.  Let me tell you a story.

Sami and Miko were going on 2 years old when we decided to expand their horizons around the house and let them go upstairs.  Not the bedrooms, but the hallway and bathroom.  They had great fun going up and down the stairs.  One day it just seemed a little too quiet upstairs and I went to investigate.  Here Sami had figured out how to get the vanity doors open and she pulled the trashcan and it's contents out into the hallway.  I shooed her down the stairs and picked up the mess and closed the bathroom door.  The door remained shut to them until I could install baby locks on the vanity doors.

Fast forward 2 months and the girls celebrate their 2nd birthday with a venison and potato cake decorated with kibble and treats.  We used Sami's food since she has to eat a special diet.  She was diagnosed just a little over a year earlier with Inflammatory Bowl Disease.  She was doing great, so it was really a nice celebration.  But, little did we know that the damage had already been done when she got into the trash can 2 months earlier.

A couple weeks later, I noticed a change in her stools, they were the consistency of pudding.  I thought maybe she had eaten something she wasn't supposed to have and gave her just a little more prednisone.  By Friday morning, it didn't seem to be getting any better, but otherwise, she seemed to be doing okay.  I work 3rd shift and on Fridays I try to get as much done as I can before I take a nap.  Well, I was right in the middle of my nap when my daughter woke me up to say that Sami had thrown up.  She said other then that, she seemed fine.  Well, our vet was closing in just a few minutes, so I told her we would just keep an eye on Sami and if it got worse, we would just take her down to Indianapolis Veterinary Referral.

Saturday comes and she threw up a couple more times and her stools were not any better. So, I called down to Indy to see if Dr. Speiser was going to be on duty Sunday.  He was not, but they said a Dr. Smith would be there and that she had helped with Sami the year before and was familiar with the case.  So, I told them we would get there around noon on Sunday.  Another thing I had noticed that Sami had been doing the last couple days was pull her stomach up when I would put her harness on.  I thought that was just her way of protesting us putting the harness on.  (We later found out that that was a sign that her stomach hurt)

Sunday morning I got up thinking I would take a shower before heading down to Indy, but that was not to be.  Sami kept throwing up, over and over.  So, we just grabbed what we needed and headed down to Indy.  We took a trash can with us and Sami was very good about throwing up in the can.  We called on the way down and Dr. Smith was waiting on us.  She said that Sami was getting dehydrated and they would want to keep her on IV fluids at least over night.  She said she would run a few test so see if she could determine what the problem was and would call us if they found out anything.  So, we headed back home.

We were barely in the door when she called to tell us that Sami had Pancreatitis.  The only way to treat it was to keep her on an IV diet for three days to keep the pancreas from working.  She said she had never seen pancreatic values that high.  They actually had to dilute it to get the results.  Dr. Speiser called me the next day and he felt it was caused by the prednisone.  He said she was on such a small dose that he didn't feel she needed it anymore.  So, they took her off of it and after 3 days, the pancreatic values returned to normal and they had me pick her up.  They told me it might take a couple days to get her appetite back since she hadn't eaten anything by mouth for 3 days.  

Well, after a couple days, we still were not able to get her to eat much and when we did finally get her to eat something, she threw it up.  So, we called Indy and they said to bring her back.  They wanted to do an endoscopy to see if they saw signs of the IBD.  If they did, she would have to go back on Prednisone.  We had already discussed options on what to do if she still needed something for the IBD.  There were only 2 other options, the one medicine was known to cause Pancreatitis and the other medicine was so expensive, I would not be able to afford it.

So, they did the endoscopy and that is when they found the reason she got the pancreatitis.  They found a blockage in the duodenum which is the first part of the small intestine.  The pancreatic duct is located there.  Dr. Speiser called me and said it looked like a big wad of hair.  He said he tried to remove it with the endoscopy tools, but it wouldn't budge.  He said he would have to surgically remove it.  He said that since she didn't have a good appetite, he also wanted to install a feeding tube to use until her appetite returned to normal.  So, she had to stay there 2 more days and then we went to pick her up.

Poor thing, she had the big cone of shame on to keep her from messing with her staples and her neck was all bandaged up with a feeding tube sticking out.  He said he wanted the feeding tube to stay in at least a week after she was eating well on her own, just to be on the safe side.  He saved the hairball to show us and said it was the biggest hairball he ever removed from a dog.  It was human hair.  My daughter and I both have long hair and my daughter cleans out her hairbrush and throws the hair in the trashcan in the bathroom.  So, what we didn't know was that the day she got into the trashcan, she ate a big wad of hair.  Then over time, other things started accumulating with it.  This hairball was the size of my closed fist.  I ended up taking the hairball home to show my vet.  He in turn took it to one of the classes he teaches to let the students look at it.

So, something as innocent as hair caused a life threatening situation for Sami.  It was also a very expensive experience for me, her total vet bill came to just over $6,000.  But, she is so worth it.  She is such a good dog and she and her sister make my life so much better.  After all this, my daughter found a case on the internet about this dog that kept getting pancreatitis and they kept treating it.  The dog eventually died and they decided to do an autopsy.  They found out that the dog had chewed off the top of a rubber kong toy and swallowed it.  It too was stuck in the duodenum.  It has now been a little over 1 1/2 years since this happened and Sami has been healthy ever since, eating her special diet and taking a small dose of prednisone everyday.

So please everyone, keep an eye on your dog when they are playing with toys.  If they start tearing the fluff out or are chewing off pieces of the toy, it's cheaper to fix or buy a new toy then to have to go through what we did.  I don't want anyone to have to go through what we did.

Two is more fun then one.