Monday, 23 December 2013

Blue on the mend in time for Christmas

Blue is still on the mend, in time for Christmas, though not yet fully recovered.

Poor Blue has had a few issues recently with his hot spot and loosing the fur on his left ear, and required a further visit to the vet on Friday evening.

To bring things bang up to date, Blue has had all swim sessions cancelled until further notice in the new year, it is now over three weeks since he enjoyed the pleasures of the pool. But until we get on top of these infections, it would be fool hardy to return prematurely.

So how did it go at the vets Friday, we began with a refusal to get in the car, end result was we had to physically lift Blue into the back of the car, stubborn, apprehensive, feeling too weak to jump, or a combination of the afore mentioned. But time was against us and at this rate we were going to be late for our 5.00pm appointment.

As the last visit, we were the first appointment for the surgery, with only a few minutes to wait, time enough to weigh Blue, 47.2kg, slightly down on his last visit, understandable in the circumstances.

We were summoned into consultancy room one, and then as we entered to see the same lady vet as before, Blue made his feelings very clear. Today was not a day for handling touching or even looking at, vociferous barking, offensively stances and general gnashing of teeth and snarling like a dog possessed. Blue was expressing an opinion of not being a happy bunny.

We were all safe, Blues muzzle prevents teeth contacting skin, and a firm hold of his short strong lead preventing any contact, the barking though we had no protection against.

Like all good vets, through all the mealy, she managed to get a good look at his hot spot and his ear, and sufficient to recommend a course of anti-biotic to deal with infections and a course of steroids to boost his immune system. 

I did wonder before, if on this visit they may need to take a skin sample, however by leaning over the operating table, looking down on Blue, totally unaware of the close examination, her feeling was the ear fur loss was down to an unknown allergy, which could be difficult if not impossible to identify with a degree of certainty.

By the time the consultancy came to an end, the noisy snarling dog, had returned to the placid, companion we live with. (As a puppy, Blue was taken to the vets for familiarisation and to remove any fear and/or anxiety, sadly the problems with his back, changed his view on vets, but we manage it and live with it, and the vets at Abbey Vets in Reading, know Blue, and he does get a lot of oohs and aahs when he arrives).

Taking Blue out into the car park, we had another refusal, so he was lifted into the car, Sue at the rear and me at the front, safely in the car his muzzle was removed and the door closed.

The vet did advise there would be a some changes in Blue while on the steroids, his thirst and appetite would increase and he would wee significantly more, and boy does he wee more.

Over the weekend the incessant scratching has abated, and Blue seems to be happier within himself and enjoying playing with his toys. No longer do I have to get up and sit with him through the night, his scratching would wake us up, but as soon as I went downstairs and sat on the sofa, he would get into his downstairs bed. or spread himself across the lounge floor and enter a deep sleep.

Now we have finished work for the Christmas holidays and Blue is feeling better, it will be a good time to break out the balloons.

My sister Kay and her husband Andy called in yesterday to exchange gifts, Blues behaviour was impeccable. Neither of them are doggy people, but by the time they left, Blue had licked both their hands received a treat and even a bit of petting. Blue remained on his lead the whole time, to ensure everyone was comfortable with the situation.

We do need to work on Blues greetings, they normally involve open mouth and teeth, but because of his size and exuberance could easily be mistook for an aggressive action by those not familiar or comfortable with dogs.

We are all now preparing for Christmas, so below are a few shots of Blues preparation.

As you can see, Blue takes the laid back approach, saving himself for the big day.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 



Sunday, 8 December 2013

Feeling blue for Blue

The events of the last week leaves Blue with a troubled expression, in his eyes, you can tell he is not his normal self, even playing in the garden is very reserved.

Sunday morning and Blue has been out done his walk and business, in the night he had to have his buster collar put back on as he could be heard "licking" his wound.

Despite clearly being troubled by the oozing of the hotspot, he rarely has to be told not to lick the wound, and if he does, just the mention of his name and he stops.

It will take a while for the antibiotics and bacterial spray to kick in, and he is now having the Yumega oil put on his evening meal, so we are attacking this hotspot from outside and within.

For those that are unfamiliar here are some pictures up close and personal of Blue's hotspot

As you can see they are an unsightly sore, which must be kept as clean as possible, we have successfully removed some of the fur around the infected area, but at the moment it has spread a little further.

What is the cause, and why has Blue had them for a second time?

Searching the Internet, the most likely cause is anything which breaks the skin, such as a nick from a bramble, a tic or flea bite or anything that has broken the skin, which has become infected, due to the thickness and insulating properties of Blue's fur, bacteria has formed, which has also been moistened by the dogs natural tendency to lick their wounds.

Dogs with a naturally dry skin will also be more susceptible.

Thus you have the perfect breading ground for bacteria, an open wound and  moist warm environment to propagate growth.

Prevention is better than cure;

The lessons we have learnt from Blue having these hotspots for a second time;
  • Many breeders and knowledgeable dog owners provide their dogs with a supplements such as coconut oil or an omega rich formula, within their food diet.
  • Act sooner, with hot spots, the sooner you are fighting any infection the better chance you have of combating it, don't delay a visit to the vets.
  • Regular grooming, especially with medium and long haired breeds. As well as a health check the benefit is the continuing strengthening of the bond between you and your dog
  • Change routines, share grooming and inspections between family members, extends the bonding, and each of us has our own way in handling / grooming / inspecting our dogs
  • Be more patient and pick up on the "postcards" normally a change in behaviour or posture is an early indication that something has altered.
Dare I state the obvious, the Internet has a wealth of free information, select the key word to search and knowledge, experience and free advice is there at your fingertips. But the real experts are the Veterinary profession, it is wise to be knowledgable and understanding, but consult with the professionals.

Blue has missed out on his usual swim last week, and will again not be going this week, once the sore has healed he will back in the pool having fun like before.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Back from the vets

Poor Blue has had a poorly week, culminating in a trip to the vets tonight.

Blue began the week with a ear infection, which caused some scabbing and loss of fur to his right ear, so we decided to miss his swim session this week, and all of a sudden he has also developed a "hot spot" on his right rear flank.

At an empty vets, we were seen by the local Vet, who confirmed he had a hot spot, and talking things through, it is difficult to pinpoint the cause. The problem with his era could be the root or primary cause. 

It is likely that he is a little run down and has sensitive skin condition, which has progressively worsened. I asked if there was something lacking from his diet or because of swimming, it is difficult to pinpoint any one or combination of causes.

The Vet, Sophie, has prescribed a cause of anti-biotics, continuing with the spray brought in the early part of the week, cleansing and drying around the infected area. Returning in two weeks to check progress.

Blue now weighs in at 48.5kg and used every gram of that tonight and his full vocal power to prevent close inspection, but between the Vet, my wife Sue and myself, Blue succumbed to a close visual inspection.

The hot spot is now effectively an open wound, so plenty of TLC is required.

Although we parted with over £150.00 to date, he still got a cuddly Santa for his troubles. 

Before we left, poor Blue had bleed a bit on their floor, but they were very understanding, and were going to clean the floor after we left.

Feeling for the poor thing, who is thankfully laid out resting at my feet as I type this blog.

Below is a small snippet of today's encounter, and his new Santa Buddy

Morning started in a cone

Hot Spot

Spray for his ear

Santa wants to go out and play

Santa gets it, as you can see his left ear and the missing fur

Monday, 2 December 2013

Blue's Ear infection

We managed to get a picture of Blues ear on Saturday, which may be useful if we need to go to the vets tonight.

Over the weekend Blue has had Tea Tree oil and Flea & Tic Spray. Both of which he has accepted very well. My wife Sue has put Blue's muzzle on and he immediately conforms, so that she is able to rub the oil over the effected area.

Fortunately he has not had an urge to scratch, which is evident by the fact the wound / affected area is still clean and free from any evidence of scratching.

Since we noticed the loss of fur on his ear last Friday, it has remained localised and not spread.

Apart form a bit of a touchy temperament on Saturday, he seems generally relaxed about life, and seems to be very content about things.

More updates to follow after checking him tonight, also by taking pictures there is a direct comparison to monitor any changes, good or bad.