Life with Jasmine, Juliet and Buttercup, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with THREE rescued miniature dachshunds

The Sadness of Aging: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Jasmine says What

Last fall, Jasmine started becoming increasingly incontinent. She would be sitting on the couch, and all of a sudden, there was a puddle underneath her. It usually happened when she was sleeping. She had experienced incontinence issues in the past, but they went away after a few weeks. But not this time.

What was more disconcerting was that she was showing other signs of not being ‘right’. She was not just urinating, she was also defecating in the house…little nuggets here and there. Jasmine also was getting confused at times, and often sat with a vacant look on her face.

We took her to the vet, had some tests run (she’s in fabulous health) and were told that she was showing signs of CCD — Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. Doggie dementia. The vet said that most of the supplements and ‘special diet’ solutions were not proven effective.

Since the fall, she has good days and bad days. There has been a bit of decline, but all in all, Jasmine is still a happy dog. What has really been hard is that, at the same time, she’s losing her eyesight. Hubby likens her to a “Roomba” vac…she bumps into things and changes direction. 😦 This doesn’t help her situation.

I did find a great website and book about the experience: Dog Dementia. This site has helped me internalize what’s happening here. Since I’ve been through being a caretaker for a family member with dementia, I understand (but still agonize over) the journey, but it still doesn’t make it easier. I also am on the fence about giving her prescription medication; it may help slow the progression of her disease down, but it won’t cure her. And will slowing the progression be better for her? After seeing my loved ones progress through dementia, I’m not sure that prolonging the progression is the kindest thing.

Jasmine still enjoys treats, “going to work” with me in my home office, naps on the couch, rays of sunshine and mealtimes. She has recently stopped being as happy about rides in the car, which makes me sad. All of this makes me sad. Jasmine has given us so much love and joy these past ten years. I wish I could have ten more.


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Almost Good as New

Jasmine dachshund crate rest

Poor little pup!

Jasmine has been on crate rest for about two weeks now. She’s not happy about it. It’s very apparent that she’s feeling better and that she’s NOT happy about being crated.

For those of you who haven’t had a pup that has been on crate rest…well, you’re lucky. Imagine being in prison; your cell is just about large enough to stand, lie down, turn around and sit in. Your meals are all served there. The only time you get to go out is when you have to use the bathroom. Your friends are walking around you and taunting you through the bars. Your family is sitting outside your cell, giving you treats and pets, but you can’t go out and hug them.

You stare at them with sad, lonely eyes. For hours and hours on end. You finally relent, bury yourself in your blankies (yes, your prison has blankies), and in a huff…you nap. But at every move, every crackle of a plastic bag, you jump up, ready for action.

That’s what the last two weeks have been like. Now, when Jasmine had IVDD the last time, this lasted EIGHT weeks. Of course, some of that time was spent at the kennel (it was right in the middle of our move from California to New Hampshire). It SEEMED easier. Perhaps because Jasmine was a different dog back then; she was much less playful, energetic or demonstrative. And she didn’t have Juliet traipsing around either!

Jasmine’s sentence is officially over on Friday. Thank goodness! And it seems that there are no serious/lasting injuries. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort.

What’s also nice is that the vet and the vet tech both noted how very different Jasmine is today. When she first started seeing the vet in NH, she used to shake in fear so badly that they could barely keep her still enough to do blood draws and exams. Even though she’s still scared, she’s a much more calm and ‘normal’ dog today. It’s good to see that other people notice the positive changes in her.

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IVDD Strikes Again

If you have ever had a dachshund, you know that one of the most dreaded (and common) health issue with the breed is IVDD–Intervertebral Disc Disorder. Basically, it’s a spinal cord injury due to a herniated or ruptured disc in the spine. Jasmine had this before we moved from California to New Hampshire and fully recovered with crate rest.

Late last week, Jasmine came out of the sleep crate a different dog. Instead of her bouncy, happy self, she was timid and off. She barely wagged her tail. She didn’t play. She was like this all day, and I was worried. However, her appetite was good and she wasn’t yelping in pain.

When she woke up the next morning with the same disposition, I immediately made an appointment with the vet and took her in. He gave her a thorough exam, checked her bloodwork, and then prescribed some pain medication to see if it would help her disposition. It did. Within a few hours, she was perkier. The next morning, she was back to her old self.

Given these signs (including a slight tenderness in her back during the exam), he’s thinking that she injured her back again (or it’s flaring up). She’s on strict crate rest for at least two weeks; the Dodger’s List group recommends eight full weeks of crate rest. Oh, she’s not going to be happy. But I need to make sure that my pup is okay.

If you haven’t done crate rest with a dog before…well, it’s not fun. It means that the only time she should be out of the crate is to go potty. No running, no jumping, no playing. She eats in the crate. It’s intended to restrict her movements so she can get the rest her back needs. Given that she’s feeling better now, keeping her contained is not going to be easy OR pleasant. But it’s what we need to do to help her heal.


Jasmine Dachshund

Hello there

Jasmine Dachshund
Find Jasmine (no, it’s not the black spot–that’s a blanket)


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Giardia, Abscess and Poop–Oh My!

Well, it’s been an exciting three weeks with little miss Juliet. Not all of it smooth, but we’re coping.

First, Juliet came to us with Giardia–an intestinal parasite. That in itself isn’t that rough–the bug is treatable with some de-worming medication and antibiotics. But, she had a scathing bout of diarrhea as a result both of the Giardia and potentially from the stress of being kenneled (we had to go away for the weekend right after we got her). Of course, she had to go in the middle of the night, and like a smart dog, she “aimed” outside of her crate and nailed the bedroom carpet. Let me tell you, steam cleaning that stain…beyond nasty. And she gave the Giardia to Jasmine.

We put both dogs on the meds, and Jasmine got worse. She was getting very sluggish and was running a temp, so we took her to the vet. While on the table at the vet’s office, an abscess (which we missed) popped and she gushed all over the table. Ew. But it was the source of her temp and issues (she had a particularly nasty infection–far worse than we’d seen before), and we were able to get it treated. She was also placed on a bland diet to help calm her tummy. Rice is NOT her favorite food, but being the trooper that she is… she tolerates it as long as it’s accompanied by boiled chicken! 🙂

Now the third issue in the new dog tri-fecta is house-training Juliet. Up to yesterday, the only place she would poop was…in the house. We’d take her outside, spend hours going in and out, but as soon as she was off-leash in the house–BOOM. She started by stealth-pooping as she was running down the hall, but became brazen about it and began just squatting right in front of us! We’d try to take her out and get her to go outside when we caught her in the act, but we weren’t able to get her to go any more to mark the behavior. So yesterday, I spent five hours going outside with her, taking her back in and crating, back out, etc. I finally took her on a long walk, and she finally pooped. Of course, we still haven’t been able to get her to go in the yard. We’re following some advice and getting an outdoor wire pen to put her in to give her some off-leash experience “going” in the yard. We’ve been successfully getting her to pee outside in the yard, but not poop.

So I’ve stocked up on Nature’s Miracle and we’re trying positive reinforcement (praise and treats, marking actions with her go words) just like we did with Jasmine. But I have a feeling this stubborn little gal is going to be a challenge!

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A Clean Bill of Health

Jasmine went in for her annual vet checkup yesterday. Hubby took her over to the clinic (which just so happens to be across the highway from our house) to get poked, prodded and jabbed. 😦

Apparently, Jasmine has become a braver soul. She tolerated other dogs in the waiting room. The vet noted that she was significantly less freaked out during this visit than a prior checkup. Yay Jasmine!

She got all of her shots (who knew there were so many of them?), a blood test, a fecal test (ick), and was weighed in. Unfortunately, Jasmine is now up over 12 pounds. While the vet said that she was still within a normal weight range, I think a little less kibble (or treats) might be in order!

However, Jasmine is going to need to have her teeth cleaned. That means she has to be put under anesthesia. I’m not thrilled about this.

And her nails are super long. I can’t seem to clip her nails without her squirming (and I’d hate to cause her harm or pain). Even though the vet clipped them, they’re still long. I’m thinking about having the vet clip her nails very short when she’s under for the cleaning to help us get a head-start on keeping them short.

Does anyone have any words of advice on how I can get a dog who hates having her paws handled to submit and stay still for nail clippings?

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Spa Vacation

We just got back from a lovely 7-night cruise in the Caribbean. During our absence, we boarded Jasmine at the Country Club Kennel. It’s a good, safe place for Jasmine, and I know the owner knows dogs. The hundreds of photos of dogs and their owners in front of the kennel is a testament to the longevity and quality of the place. We even saw a picture of our realtor with her dog on the wall.

Jasmine doesn’t do well when we go away. She doesn’t eat for days. She always comes back to us lighter than when we dropped her off. I don’t expect her to be in tip-top shape when we return. However, this time, the stay was healthy for her.

Jasmine got chunky over the winter. I was getting a bit worried about her weight–she was over 12 pounds. When we picked her up on Monday morning, she was back to a very healthy weight. She looked as slim and trim as she was when we first arrived in New Hampshire last year. So one week  (hunger strike and all) made up for a winter of being cooped up and not exercising. Now we just have to get walking more often to keep her weight at a healthy point and her overall health in check.

Now I wish I could say that I came back from the cruise lighter than when I left…but no.

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Tick Season

Jasmine has been on Frontline Plus since I had the unfortunate tick experiences last year. Now that Spring is here and the grass is growing faster than you would believe, I’ve been dreading the onslaught of fleas and ticks. I’ve been pretty vigilant in applying Jasmine’s Frontline. Today, as she was laying next to me, I saw something crawling on her head. I grabbed it with a napkin and tried to crush it between my fingers, but it was tough. I finally killed it. It was a very tiny tick.

I’m amazed that I even saw it–a black tick on a mostly black dog. Maybe it was the movement. I wasn’t quite sure how the topical medications worked, so I looked it up. The meds actually kill the fleas and ticks, but it can take up to 48 hours to do so after exposure. The ick factor is still there…a tiny crawly blood sucky thing on my poor little pup–and in my house. But at least I know that since starting Jasmine on Frontline, she hasn’t had one embedded tick on her.

I know that there’s some controversy over the toxicity of some of these medications. However, I’m more concerned about what NOT protecting Jasmine would mean.

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Winter Weight

It’s still cold and snowy here, and since we started getting snow, Jasmine’s physical activity went from a crawl to non-existent (as mine did, but that’s a different story). Her exercise consists of following me from the den to the kitchen, outside to her bathroom spot, and around the house for various activities. Due to the cold, ice, and salt, we haven’t really taken her for walks since winter came. And it shows. She’s, um, pleasantly plump.

Hubby’s daughter came by the other week and noted that Jasmine’s butt was getting big. When you’re around someone, that gradual weight gain is…gradual. It doesn’t seem as pronounced to you as to someone who hasn’t seen you in a while. Well, Jasmine’s weight was noticeable. When you’re an 11-pound dog, another pound is almost 10% of your body weight–a significant amount. I know that my actions are the ones that keep her healthy, keep the weight down, keep her in shape. And I haven’t been as active with her as I should be.

So Jasmine is a cute, pudgy little dog. And it’s up to me to make her a cute, fit dog.

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Jasmine the Jumper

The worst thing in the world to see is a dog that has had IVDD jumping off a bed or a chair. Our sometimes squirrely little pup did just that–not once, but twice–this weekend and put me into hovering, overprotective mom mode.

We are now letting Jasmine sleep with us on the big bed (I got tired of being woken up in the middle of the night to an overly anxious little pup who just wanted to snuggle). Yeah, I know. Sucker. Well, she decided yesterday morning to jump off the bed when I was in the bathroom. Hubby was just trying to pet her, and her “scaredy dog” attitude towards him went into overdrive yesterday for no apparent reason. She leapt off the VERY high bed onto the carpeting. Hubby called to me and I ran in to see what the hullaballoo was all about. He told me, I called Jasmine out from under the bed, and I checked her. Thank goodness there wasn’t any damage to her back!

The implication is that I can’t trust her on the bed at all when I am not in the room. Hubby seems to think that dogs have some natural instinct for danger. Um, yeah maybe when there’s a predator that’s about to eat them, but jumping off a bed? Nope.

The second incident occurred yesterday evening. I placed Jasmine in hubby’s lap for a little peanut buttah treat. He finished giving her a little bit of peanutty goodness when she leapt off the recliner and onto the floor. My heart was in my throat! She was once again unharmed, but it’s just so disconcerting to see her do these things…I know that doxies jump off of furniture all the time. But a dog with a history of IVDD…there can’t be any latitude.

So I’m watching her like a hawk. I don’t want her to hurt herself again. Okay. My heartbeat is back to normal now.


Canine Urinary Incontinence

Yesterday was not a fun day. It started out fun, but didn’t turn out that way.

In the morning, we took a walk to the little store down the street. It’s a little less than a mile away from the house, and we felt a bit stir crazy. Jasmine hadn’t been out for a good walk in a while, so we decided that a sunny Sunday morning was the perfect time to get a bit of exercise.

We walked to the store, got some beverages and sat for a rest. Jasmine was fine, albeit a bit warm (she wouldn’t drink any water–she’s not a water lover). We sat for a few minutes and then took a leisurely stroll home. We even stopped at the local antiques shop (nice air conditioning) on the return trip.

When we got home, Jasmine and I both took showers. Jasmine was smelling a bit doggy, as was I. I also wanted to cool her down a bit from the warm walk. So we both were showered, towel-dried and cool. We went back downstairs, and Jasmine plunked down into her bed. She went out…coma dog. A few hours later as I was petting her, I noticed that she was wet. And then I noticed that her bed was soaked.

I picked her up and took her into the bathroom to get cleaned up. I then checked her bed–it was really soaked. I tossed it into the washer and put down a clean, dry bed for her. Of course, about 30 minutes later, I found that she soiled that bed too. I cleaned her up again, now very concerned.

We had some errands to run, so I put her in the kitchen. When we got home, everything was dry. So I put a 3rd bed down in the family room and let her on it. A few minutes later, I found that she not only soiled the bed, but she also dripped a bit around it.

Oh, I was beside myself with worry. Did her IVDD come back and her incontinence was due to a back injury? What was going on? I cleaned her up once again and tossed her beds into the wash. I then went right out to the drug store and got her some underpads (used for people with incontinence). I put a pad under her in her 4th clean bed (glad I had a few on hand!) and gently let her rest. She seemed fine. She was bouncy, happy and generally looking normal and healthy. I was puzzled.

She did well overnight. I put another pad down, but she didn’t soil her bed.

This morning, hubby took her to the vet. He detailed what happened, and the vet gave Jasmine a thorough exam. He said that Jasmine showed no signs of a bladder infection, and that incontinence sometimes happens in spayed females. He also said that some dogs are incontinent when they hit a very deep sleep. Jasmine’s fatigue after the long, hot walk could have been a big factor.

There are other causes of incontinence (do a google search or go to this page on the Mar Vista web site)  If it occurs again, we should do further tests, but the vet said that there were no signs of infection. If it wasn’t caused by deep sleep, a weakening urethra sphincter can be controlled with drugs if it continues.

She’s been fine today, thank goodness! She even let hubby pet her. Good doggie!


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