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.

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.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Where are all the other Shiba's?

Before I got Sami and Miko, I had never heard of the Shiba Inu and had never seen a Shiba Inu.  When my boss came to work and told me his daughter had dropped off her two Shiba Inu to keep until she could find them homes, he looked Shiba Inu up on the computer so I could see what they looked like.  They were a certified breeding pair.  Now, I really wonder what exactly that means.  I never asked, but given the medical problems that we have had with both dogs, she must have gotten them at P*****d, you know that one store that sells puppies.

Before we decided to take them, I did a lot of research on the breed.  The two things that stuck out to me was that they needed to be socialized with people and other pets and they needed obedience training.  Not that they will always do what you want them to do, but I really think it makes them better behaved.  LOL  Another thing I remembered reading is that while they are the most popular breed in Japan, they are still considered a rare breed in the United States.  Still, you would think you would see one floating around here or there.

We didn't see our first Shiba until the girls were several months old.  We were at PetSmart at the obedience class and we met this guy that had a very tiny female Shiba named Isis.  Now, I remember questioning to myself if she was really full blooded or not.  There was just something not Shiba like to me about her.  Besides being very small, her coat pattern really didn't look Shiba like and the coat itself was not thick like a Shiba.  The guy asked me where I got my two Shiba's as he was looking to get a second one.  If I'm not mistaken, he also got his Shiba at P*****d.  And, he also eventually got his second one from there too.   He got another female and called her Meeka.  I guess he had some medical issues with Meeka at first that are often associated with puppy mill dogs, but they eventually got her all better and then they just disappeared into the woodwork.

About a month ago, this guy at work told me that had a black and tan Shiba puppy at P*****d and that weekend I decided to take the girls out to see it.  When we got there, there was this guy in one of the cubicles holding an Australian Cattle dog puppy.  It was really cute and sweet.  I went over to see it when one of the employees came over to see Sami and Miko.  I told them I heard they had a Shiba puppy, but was then told they had already sold it.  The guy holding the puppy asked me if I liked Shibas, he of course couldn't see Sami and Miko because he was sitting down.  I said yes and he then told me he had two.  Really?  What colors do you have?  He then tells me that he has a Black and Tan and a Cream Shiba.  I then tell him he needs to stand up and see what's on the other side of the wall.

He stood up and he couldn't believe his eyes!  He said Miko was bigger then his Black and Tan, but besides that, they looked very much alike.  He had one of the employees take the puppy from him and then we sat on the floor while he checked them out and petted them.  He went on and on about how he couldn't believe how calm they were.  He said his wife wouldn't believe him when he told her, so he took some pictures of them with his phone.  I asked him why he didn't bring his Shiba's to the store and he told me that they can't take theirs out in public like this because they don't behave.  What a shame!

Then 2 weeks ago, I went back there and as we were leaving, this woman stopped me so she could see Miko and Sami.  She said she has a Black and Tan Shiba at home.  I asked her why she didn't bring hers to the store and she tells me she can't because every time she puts the leash on, the dog just wants to run.

So, I now know that there are other adult Shibas around here, but I guess I'm the only one that will take theirs out in public.  LOL  Maybe someday.

Two are more fun then one.