Life with Jasmine and Juliet, Our Rescued Dachshunds

Random notes on our experience with our two rescued miniature dachshunds

She’s Gone

I know I haven’t written on the blog in some time. I guess I should have, because then you could learn more about the aging process. Looking back, I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since Jasmine starting showing signs of age and decline. And on Friday, February 16, 2018, we made the terrible and loving decision to put Jasmine to sleep.

Jasmine the Dachshund

One of my favorite pictures of Jasmine

When we first adopted Jasmine, my husband Tom suggested I get the youngest of the rescued Dachshunds so I’d have a better chance for a longer time with the dog. I remember he said, “I know how attached you’ll get.” What he didn’t bargain for was how deeply attached he was to this love of a dog. We are both devastated. But Jasmine was “my” girl…we had a special bond from the very beginning. When she finally trusted me, which really didn’t take too long, she was my shadow. All she wanted was to be with me. That sounds a bit egocentric, but it’s true. I was her sun and moon. And she…she was mine.

As I started to detail in the post The Sadness of Aging: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, Jasmine has been showing her age. Jasmine was incontinent, and she also started wandering around the house, sniffing and pacing, more and more often. She had times where she would stare off into space, with a vacant look on her face that I had not seen before. She started banging into things as well, so we knew that she was losing her eyesight. It was sad, but she managed well and still was a happy dog. She had her routine. She had us.

Last August, we moved. We downsized our house to a one-story house with a lovely deck and yard. We now had a walkable neighborhood. It was a good choice for us, but it took Jasmine some time to adjust. By this time, she was completely blind, and all the new smells, the new layout and the chaos of packing and moving…it was a lot for her. However, over the last six months, Jasmine had adjusted well to the new house. She found her way around. I made sachets and put some scents in different areas—in the kitchen, near the water dish, near the couch—so she could better find her way around. While the Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) was getting worse (she was wandering more, her incontinence was getting worse), it was still relatively easy to manage. She was with me every day, and she loved her routine.

A couple of months ago, Jasmine started to drink water excessively and to urinate more. Her incontinence got significantly worse—she was wetting the pads up to three times a day. We found a local vet and took her in for tests. She had a UTI, but worse, her blood tests suggested she had Cushing’s Syndrome. The Vet suggested we clear up the UTI and then put together a diagnostic plan.

Jasmine had finished the antibiotics for her UTI. She seemed fine. She had two bouts of loose stools, but nothing else. Her incontinence was bad. We had to do one or two loads of laundry every day, washing incontinence pads and blankets from overnight, during the day, and in the evening. But again, this was more inconvenience than a huge issue. We knew we were moving forward with diagnostics and a treatment plan.

Then, it happened. I went out of town to visit a friend, and a day later, Jasmine was greatly lethargic. She was barely eating. Tom took her to the Vet on Monday morning, but they didn’t have anyone ‘in’ that morning. Seriously? They referred us to another Vet, and Tom took her there. She had a raging 105-degree fever. The Vet put her on an IV, gave her IV antibiotics and that reduced her fever. But she was lethargic and wouldn’t eat. Blood tests and an x-ray didn’t show anything diagnostic. The Vet suggested we take her to a 24-hour emergency clinic so she could get round-the-clock care. Tom took her down immediately. In the mean time, her fever had spiked again, she had black diarrhea, and was listless.

She was so sick…so tired

I was able to hustle home the next day, and Tom picked me up from the airport. We went to the emergency clinic so I could see Jasmine. She was ‘better’ according to Tom, but what I saw was an emaciated Jasmine who barely sat up. I held her and she fell asleep in my arms. She did take treats from my hand—a great sign. Her fever was down, and she was improving. She was scheduled to have an ultrasound the next day to see if they could determine the cause of her infection.

The ultrasound could not pinpoint the cause of her infection, but it did show clear signs of Cushing’s Syndrome. She had a highly enlarged Adrenal gland. The doctor guessed that her Cushing’s was caused by a Pituitary tumor, and given her other symptoms, he hypothesized that the tumor could be invading her brain. She’d need an MRI to confirm the diagnosis and to develop a treatment plan, but he thought a potential course of action would be radiation treatments.

However, he still could not explain her infection and black stool (an indication of blood in her upper GI tract). He said she was well enough to go home since she was eating a bit and her fever was down. So, we took her home. The next day, Thursday, she ate a little, drank some water and mostly slept. She still had black stools. She also was alert for a short while. She didn’t seem to have a fever. But there was no improvement.

Friday, she was worse. She was refusing water. She wouldn’t eat. It was a struggle to get her meds down. She wouldn’t take treats. She was barely awake. She didn’t respond to touch, to my voice.

We called the emergency clinic, but they wouldn’t allow us to talk to any Vets without coming in for a ‘recheck.’ We had just paid them over $1600 for 48 hours of care. I was disgusted. We called the other Vet who had taken Jasmine on with no hesitation. The emergency clinic had already transmitted her records back to the Vet, so she went over them and told us, honestly, that even if we took extraordinary measures to get Jasmine over this infection, her prognosis wasn’t good. The test results indicated the Pituitary tumor, and with the totality of her symptoms over these last months, it was a probability that the tumor had invaded her brain.

The Vet said that while we could take measures to extend her life, we also had the choice to humanely end her life. And I told her that we didn’t want Jasmine to suffer. So we brought her into the office an hour later.

The Vet and the techs were supremely kind and careful. They sedated Jasmine so she didn’t feel anything. Jasmine slept peacefully through it all. I cradled her and whispered to her the entire time. I told her what a good girl she was and how much I loved her. And then she was gone.

Yesterday, we got a card from the Vet with her paw print. Today, we went over to pick up her ashes. I’m numb. I keep looking over to where she always cuddled up on the couch, burrowed in her blanket. I look down and think of her little face, excitedly awaiting her “Good Girl” treats. I listen for the tick-tick-tick of her nails on the hardwood floor. I look around to find her. And she’s gone.

Jasmine was with me for over a decade. She brought me joy every day. She connected with me and touched me like no other.

She was mine and I was hers. And she’s gone.

Jasmine

Run free, my little love

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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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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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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.

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With Experience Comes Calm

Jasmine woke up early this morning–and of course, she woke us up with her tag-jingling, ear-flapping body shake.  However, instead of the usual next step–jumping up on the side of the bed to signal that she wanted to come up, she trotted out the bedroom door and down the hall.

I jumped out of bed, threw on a robe and immediately took her outside.  Experience told me that she was doing this because she HAD to go and there was no waiting.  And I was right.  Jasmine had a mild case of indigestion and loose stool.

This is the third time this has happened.  The first was bad–whipworm.  The second was nothing–just a bit of indigestion (and a $200 vet bill to prove it).  This time, well, let’s just say that we’re doing what we need to (bland diet of rice, cottage cheese, a tiny bit of wet food for flavor and some water) and watching her closely to ensure that she doesn’t get worse.  If she gets worse or  if she doesn’t get better in a few days, we’ll have her checked out, but the experiences I’ve had with her make me less inclined to panic and more inclined to just deal with her issues calmly.

Well, I guess that’s relative.  She leapt out of Hubby’s lap the other day and landed on her face.  Panic is a light term for how I reacted.  Of course, she got up, shook it off and feigned ignorance that she did a face plant in front of me (looking very silly in the process).  She looked at me like I was the one who embarrassed herself.

Dachshunds. *snort*

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False Alarm–Thank Goodness

Sunday morning, Jasmine didn’t eat her breakfast.  Later, she had the beginnings of some tummy problems.  They persisted yesterday to the extent that she soiled the house a couple of times–she obviously couldn’t control it (thank goodness for OxyClean, Nature’s Miracle and Febreeze!).  I was concerned that her whipworms hadn’t been irradicated, and I was not about to let it get as bad as it was last time.

I called the vet and got an appointment for late afternoon.  Jasmine wasn’t acting lethargic or vomiting, but I wanted her checked out nonetheless.  She also had developed a second abscess–this time on the bottom of her left paw–and I felt that it would be best to have her checked out.  Maybe she knew she was going because she gave me another “sample” to take with me.  Yuck.

We got to the vet, and she really freaked out when we were walking in.  The golden retriever in the waiting room must have spooked her because she became a bucking bronco, trying to get away from the office.  I dragged her in and got her situated on my lap.  She calmed down a bit but was still shivering.

The vet I had been seeing, Dr. Kirsten Krick at West Valley Pet Clinc, went on maternity leave and never came back.  So for the past few months, I’ve been seeing the lead vet at the clinic–Dr. Timothy Govers.  I really liked Dr. Krick–she was very kind and gentle.  Dr. Govers is very nice and he obviously knows his stuff.  His exams are very thorough as well.  Every time I bring Jasmine in, regardless of the cause, he gives her a full exam.  I like that.

Dr. Govers spent lots of time examining Jasmine, asked lots of questions, and finally drew some blood and took her sample for evaluation.  He also told me that we were doing the right thing with her abscesses.  The interdigital cysts were probably chronic, and she would take care of them.  If they became infected, we should bring her in; otherwise, they would probably recur over her lifetime.

The doctor then gave us some mild antibiotics for the diarrhea, gave her a nail trim (at my request) and sent us on our way.  The antibiotics have worked to ease her distres and she’s now doing better.  Dr. Govers also called to follow up this morning to check on her and to let us know that her tests came back from the lab–her bloodwork was excellent, and she is negative for all types of parasites.

So, her tummy ache was just that–a tummy ache.  No whipworm.  No horrible disease.  She’s fine.  And while I feel a bit silly and overprotective (and a couple hundred dollars poorer), I’m glad that I’m now SURE that she’s fine.  She’ll have cottage cheese and rice for a few days until all is back to normal.  False alarm.

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Good For Jasmine, Good For Me

Jasmine doesn’t like walkies.  She gets very hyper-sensitive.  She jumps at fast movement (oh, those EVIL tumbling leaves jumping out at her to bite her), slinks her shoulders and tucks her head down, peeks around every hedge and tree to make sure nothing is threatening is there…oh poor ‘Fraidy Dog!  Jasmine would rather be smack dab in the middle of one of her fluffy pillows than doing something as frightening and taxing like exercising!

Truth be told, if it wasn’t for my concern for Jasmine’s health and well being, I’d be smack dab in the middle of one of my fluffy cushions rather than walking her around the neighborhood.  It’s simple–we both don’t like walks. I hate exercising.  I always have, with the exception of some cardio/aerobic/dance classes that are more fun than exercise.  Otherwise, I find exercising tremendously tedious, boring and a pain in the rear (literally and figuratively).  I’d rather be a couch potato.  So would Jasmine.

When I got Jasmine, I knew that the responsibilities would make me do things I don’t like to do.  I walk Jasmine to help socialize her and because she needs the exercise to stay healthy.  That it benefits MY health is a bonus.  That we both DON’T like it…well, I know that it’s my responsibility as a dog owner to do whatever I can to give her a healthy, happy life.  So, daily walks are going to be in the cards for a long, long time.

I DO like walks when my husband is along with us.  He and I get to spend time together, stroll, enjoy the day and talk.  It’s a nice way to just be together without the hustle and bustle of daily life.  🙂

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Reverse Sneezing

We were out for our daily walk yesterday evening when we encountered a little cock-a-poo-ish dog and its owner.  The dog was doing this wheezing gulping thing that was SO familiar–Jasmine does this every so often.  It’s almost like she has the dry heaves but she also gulps for air.  I thought it was something serious, but as I described it to the vet, he didn’t think it was anything to concerned about.

The owner just said, “Don’t worry, it’s just reverse sneezing.”  The owner did something I didn’t think of–he took a video tape of the incidents and took it into the vet (symptoms mysteriously disappear when you take a dog into the vet).  The vet took a look and told him that it was nothing to be concerned about–reverse sneezing.

I looked it up on the Internet.  While it sounds like the dog is going to pass out and die, it’s relatively harmless–and mostly untreatable.  It could be an allergy, an irritant, a result of eating or drinking, driven by overexcitement…anything.  So Jasmine’s wheezing and gulping, while loud and disconcerting especially in the middle of the night, isn’t dangerous.

Strangely, she often stops this if I take notice and pet her on the head.  Attention ploy?  Probably not.  Distraction cure?  Maybe!

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