Monday, 26 January 2009

The latest

Okay, briefly, Alan and I are trying again, we have talked and talked and tried to sort things out, so have spent the weekend together and it went well, weather fab, went to beach Saturday (New Quay) and Sunday (Llansteffan) ate lots of bad things (like chips, ice cream, cakes, sweets)

Just a few photos below, the first are of his sister's two dogs, who have just been clipped, Milly and Molly, so cute, like little teddies.

Frank the Robin been a regular, at least once a day for his mealworms and pellets, came in the kitchen window.

One of my tame young male blackbirds (his beak hasn't yet turned orange..) had been missing a couple of days, and then he appeared again much to my relief, but he seemed to have broken his foot, poor thing. So now I have Jakey who has been around for three years with his broken foot, and now this one, however, today he came round front and was putting a bit of weight back down on it, not sure if the toes will move but looks promising. He will come right to my feet for the worms and pellets.

Emma news, well, due back at the vets tomorrow for repeat blood tests. She has been absolutely great on the kidney diet, tinned, and loved it, no problems. UNTIL yesterday evening. Almost two weeks of being fine, no sick, no stomach upsets. Then last evening she turned her nose up at it, and wouldnt eat anything. So my heart lurched because every time this happens before, its a prelude to her being sick. So I'm on tenterhooks all night waiting for the inevitable. She got me out of bed in the middle of the night to go out, and had diarrhea. Then this morning she still wouldnt eat any of the tinned food, but would eat some of the dry biscuit version, which is weird because normally she won't touch them at all. Anyway, took her for walk, came home and then she has been fine tonight, back eating normally. I wish we could find out for sure what this problem is though, it seems to take a week or two each time on a different diet, and then she feels sick, won't eat, is sick (or diarrhea) and then she is fine again for another couple of weeks. Have changed the diet 5 times now and really thought we'd hit on the answer this time. See what Damien thinks tomorrow anyway. Sigh. Blood test results won't be back till Friday again though, so won't know much till then. Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Yesterday had two appointments in town - dentist and SpecSavers. Great news was nothing needed doing at either, makes a pleasant change. I had an hour or so to kill in between and didn't fancy a cafe on my own, so got a baguette and bun from Greggs and sat outside on the bench to eat them - yes, it is January, but it was dry and sunny and not that cold with a coat on. Well got inundated with pigeons, it was great! They were landing on my shoulders, my arms, eating from my hand, I think they had a good half of the baguette, including the sweetcorn and tuna contents.

Anyway, a couple of guys came along and were giving them bits of their pies so gave me a bit of a break to eat my Belgian Bun..... when I noticed that one of the birds had brown cotton tightly round both his feet, joining them together so he was having trouble walking. It was cutting right in to the poor things toes on both feet, so me being me, had to try and do something. I managed to get hold of him by hooking my finger through the cotton, and then tried to unravel it without success. I looked around and was about to put him under my coat and go into Boots to buy apair of scissors, but a lady came out of the bakers smiling, and on the off chance I asked her if she had a pair of scissors in her bag, and bless her, she found some. I was then able to completely remove all the cotton from his poor little feet and he flew off happily. One successful result anyway, there are lots of the birds there with toes missing, and even whole feet, poor little devils. Anyway, in the panic to grab this one, my bun went down on the floor and the pigeons had the bulk of it, icing and cherry included!

Today went to my friend Pat's for nice lunch and catch up chat, and took dogs for a walk up the hill. Emma fine still thank goodness. We had a bit of snow overnight and I actually drove through a blizzard on the way over and nearly turned back but it was fine after thank gawd.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sandy Water Park

Went over to Alan's today, and we took Emma for a nice walk round the lake at the above place, weather surprisingly good, after last night's strong gales here, and a hailstorm and thunder and lightening about 3.30 am. He said the weather was good and was right - it's like a different world only 25 miles away, here it was black and I drove through a bit of sleet on the way. Got over his side and it was blue skies and sunshine.

He brought along a big bag of bread to feed the birds, we learned our lesson from last week when we went there and felt very mean. Mind you, I think they are well fed, everyone and his aunt seems to turn up to feed them. Lots of black headed gulls, around 12 or so swans, two male muscovy ducks and one hen, lots of coots, moorhens, mallards and three lovely male tufted ducks who kept diving down for the bread that sank!

We went along to North Dock after and went in the cafe there and had a lovely coffee and toasted teacake looking out over Carmarthen Bay estuary. The cafe was packed at 3.30 on a January afternoon, just shows that you don't need tourists, and that local people still want to get out and about in January!

All this was a bit of a surprise really, I didn't post before because we had sort of broken up as of Friday, but I'm not going into great detail at the moment, still getting over it, but we are going to remain good friends for the time being, so hopefully status quo for now.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

More about Emma

Damien rang me last night with the blood test results. There is still a problem with one thing in her blood, a word which I am finding hard to understand (with his accent mainly....)but it is apparently urea, which is a waste product produced from protein metabolism and it is found in increased levels in the bloodstream when a dog has renal failure. This level is pretty high, but other levels that have been tested for are improved slightly.

So for now, she has to stay on the special diet of the tinned food for dogs with renal/kidney problems, and she mustn't have anything other than this food, and I've to take her back in two weeks to see him again and have some repeat tests.

Since Tuesday, when she started on this stuff, she has been good. No diarrhea, no sick, and pretty lively, took her for a nice walk round the park today and she was huffing round on the grass, something she hasn't done for a while, it was so good to see.

I called in the vets this morning to get some more tins, and they will order some more in for me for next week. Damien popped his head into reception to see if everything was ok, and I managed to ask him a few more questions about things that have been bothering me, they went completely out of my head when he was on the phone last night.

Oh well, feel quite optimistic about Emma now anyway, if she has to stay on this diet forever it won't be the end of the world I guess, but it is hard with all the dog treats she was used to before, but if it means that or her being ill, there's no choice to make. I am able to cut up the tinned food into little dollops and spoon feed her these as treats actually, and she seems happy enough with this. I think you tend to humanise them too much really, she's probably forgotten the other stuff already (says she, hopefully....)

Little Frank

Not sure if I've mentioned before lately or not, but one of the little robins I was hand feeding as a baby made a very welcome return a few weeks back. Had a very upsetting thing happen with one of the others, the old lady next door brought one to me and am pretty sure it was Sage, and he was dead. She'd had him indoors for a few days, and he hadn't eaten anything at all. I couldn't quite get to the bottom of it, but I wish she'd asked me before he died, but won't go into that now.

Anyhow the cheerful news is that despite getting chased off by three others that have taken residence in various parts of the garden, this one has managed to fight off and returns daily now. In fact, he even flew up into the tree where one of the others (which I call "The Git") and perched with it today, so am thinking they are starting to pair up maybe.

Anyhow, because of the breast markings, am pretty sure it's Frank, so have been calling him that anyway. Wonder what happened to Pepper, best not to think about it I guess. When we had the freezing weather, there were five coming to feed, calling a temporary truce, but none of the others are at all tame.

Frank was coming to the front porch to feed, but now has been to the kitchen window, and also round the back door, anywhere he spots me actually! He normally flies off with his last worm when he's full in the direction of the hillside so I guess he's found another garden over that way as his territory. He still happily takes worms and suet pellets from my hand, which is so rewarding of course. He also has a habit of appearing out of nowhere and making me jump, and I've nearly trodden on him a couple of times too, but I don't think that will happen, he's too fast for that!

At last managed to get a few decent shots of him this morning anyway.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Emma update

Well since the last time, Emma hasn't been too good again. All the chicken and rice was coming out of her in the same condition it went in for a while, undigested. Then on Friday just gone, she had bad diarrhea all day, about eight times in all, culminating in doing loads of it in the hall (21 different blobs to be precise...) at 10 pm in the evening, some of which had blood in it.

So I'm back on the phone to the vets, Damien wanted to know if there were any developments, and I thought that warranted reporting pretty quickly. Spoke to Sian this time, and she said to bring her down on Saturday morning, meantime she would speak to Damien.

So off we went, Damien popped his head in the door to see how she was, although he wasn't supposed to be working. Anyway, came home armed with some new tins of food for dogs with sensitive digestion. Guaranteed to settle the most iffy stomachs. No so Emma of course. Continued with the diarrhea all day, and into Sunday too.

She had the most awful wind you could ever imagine, and at 6am yesterday morning, she was sick three times, and the diarrhea continued all day.

So today, back to see Damien. Told him everything and he was most worried about the sensitive food not doing its job. Emma can't have the Addison's Disease, her level of sodium is completely normal and a dog has to have a very low level showing in the blood for this to be the problem. He agrees she has a food intolerance of some kind, that various nutrients aren't getting to the right bits, and this could be caused by kidney problems. The trouble is the only way he can be sure is to take a biopsy using a gastroscope in the gut but this can't be done without a general anaesthetic of course, and we can't risk that because of her heart condition. He is pretty sure she wouldn't make it. So for now, we have to find a diet that won't upset her, to build up her strength, to get the levels back as they should be hopefully and then her heart condition should improve. So I came home armed with another type of food for dogs with Kidney/renal failure or problems. She likes it which is the main thing.

Damien took some more blood tests to check on the four things that are wrong, and will ring me on Friday with results and see where we go from there. So again it's a game of wait and see, and hope that this time her stomach will settle a bit.

I can even try her back on her old original food that she's eaten for months, but will have to soak it because of her bad tooth, so there's another possibilty.

That's all for now, so feel a little bit more optimistic than I did, she seems okay in herself anyway.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

All about Emma...(and it's very long )

Well most of it will be anyway. Far too much catch up on otherwise.

All my good intentions of keeping up with the blog have, for one reason or another been put on hold for the time being. I still can't get motivated enough, always thinking of something else to do. I don't use the internet so often now either.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about Emma. I purposely haven't written anything about her for a while as I have been, and still am waiting for news about what can be wrong with her.

I'll start at the beginning.

About three weeks before Christmas, I noticed how thin she was getting. Now this was good in a way, as I had been feeding her less and giving her a "Senior Light" blend of dog food, but she still had been getting as many titbits, biscuit treats, chips and other naughties so was wondering why she was suddenly getting a bit "ribby". Also over the previous month or so she had a couple of days where she didn't want to eat anything at all, which is very, very unusual. Turned her nose up at everything. Occasionally a spell of being sick.

That sets the scene, so I thought I'd take her to see Damien for a check up. He listened to the above, and decided the way forward was to do a blood test to check out for anything not right. Her heart was checked, and it's none too good at present, plus the fact she has a bad tooth which needs to come out and maybe causing her some discomfort, but we can't risk the anaesthetic at this time, because her heart probably won't stand it. Anyway, the test came back within a few days, Damien rang me to say it she is very low in protein and albumen. I was to start feeding her up with higher protein food, and more of it, little and often, to get it up to normal level (she was something like 16% and it should be 25%)

This was on the Friday of the weekend before Christmas. So I went out and bought the same brand of food, but the normal one instead of Light, with higher protein. That night she was sick. Next morning, fine, and ate normally all day. That night she was sick again, and brought everything up. Same again on Sunday. She threw up so many times I lost count. Then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, she was fine, ate normally, was lively, happy and waggy, so I thought thank goodness, just something she'd eaten (I forgot to mention she ate cat's sick up at the farm on the Friday, so thought that was the explanation for that episode)

Christmas Eve, about 9.45 pm Alan and I sitting watching tv, Emma asleep down the side of the sofa. She got up and staggered across the room, screaming and screaming like you've never heard, near tore me apart. She collapsed on the floor on her side and was violently trembling, her eyes rolling, legs jerking, and then she stopped breathing. By this time I'm down on the floor sobbing, and holding her head, and I stuck my fingers down her throat and got her breathing again. Meantime, she'd lost control of her bowel and bladder.

So at 10.15 we are down the vets, and had to wait with her limp body, whilst the duty vet, lovely girl called Annwen was tending to another sick dog. Carried her in about 10.30. Told her all the symptoms and as much previous history as I could, and she thought it may point to liver failure, causing her to reject food with protein in, which would account for the fact she was so low in her system. Emma managed to stand up after about 20 minutes, and laid down in the corner. Had to bring her home and see how she went on, and phone up if any more problems. We got home Christmas Eve about 11.15pm, and I was going to sit up with her all night. Well it got to 1pm, and she got up, shook herself, and went to the door to ask to go out for a wee as if nothing had ever happened! So decided to get some sleep.

At about 3.15 am, I heard her get up and she wanted to go out again. Let her in front garden, she came in all waggy and excited and wanted her treat for being a good girl and going asking to go out, so I gave her one of her tiny little treat biscuits. Within 10 minutes, she was screaming again and had another fit. She then settled down and I managed to get about 3 more hours sleep. 8am came round, and the same thing happened, another fit, but no screaming this time. Fits only lasted about 1 minute too.

Anwen phoned to see how she was, and said to bring her back down. So Christmas Day, 10 am back down the vets. She gave us some food especially for liver failure in dogs, and I was to give her one spoonful every hour, nothing else.

The next bit is going to be hard to believe, but by midday on Christmas Day, she was right as rain, again as if nothing had happened. We were going to Alan's daughters for dinner, and we were still able to go, with Emma in the car on her beanbag, she was fine, we went out to check her about every 20 minutes and no problems at all.

By Boxing Day, Emma was livelier and fitter than I'd seen her in years, I had to do the farm and she was running round with the dogs up there like a 2 year old. This carried on for many days, three days of farm especially.

Had to take her to see Damien on the Tuesday between Christmas and New Year, and he did a blood test for liver, had to leave her there all day for some other tests. They all came back clear on Friday, and again he said I needed to feed her up with something she likes best, but preferrably, chicken and rice, with white of egg added or some fish. So I gave her half a tin of tuna. We went out for a few hours, shopping for the chicken and rice etc and during the day, she had various dog treats, and when we got home, she didn't want the Tuna. That in itself is so amazing, she would take your hand off for tuna normally. So I cooked the chicken and rice, she didn't want that. So I tried her on the special food she'd been on and devoured with relish for the past week, she didn't want that, or any other food I offered. About 2 hours later she was sick again, and brought up everything she'd eaten all day, undigested.

Damien had said if there were any developments to phone the surgery. Of course, it was after 6pm by then so I only got someone to answer who said they would get the duty vet (John) to phone me back asap. However, Damien phoned me within a few minutes, and told me to come down and he'd give me something to settle her stomach, and to give her nothing for 24 hours, but then to try again with chicken and rice.

He phoned me from home in the evening to say could I take urine sample (Emma's not mine...) down on the Saturday morning, and John would test for kidney failure, as the symptoms were pointing toward that now.

Was fun doing same, following her around the garden in the dark in my dressing gown at 5.40am when she asked to go for a wee.... anyway, did the deed, got loads of wee in the dish, and on my hand...

Dropped it into vets first thing, and John phoned within about 20 mins to say kidney function seemed ok for a dog of her age, and Damien wanted me to take her in again Tuesday (the one just gone) for a further update.

So (nearly finished now) have to feed Emma as before, brown rice, chicken, white of egg and some vegetables, carrot or beans. I've been busy cooking up a big batch, had to find boneless and skinless chicken to cook, else I would be the one throwing up, it makes me want to heave if it still looks like a bird, sorry...

So she's on little and often, splitting it into about 5 or 6 meals a day, and back to see Damien on Tuesday. She's already gained a fair bit of weight, not sure I'm too happy about that, don't want her being a fatty again, but will have to sort that out later I guess. Damien is going to do some more tests for something called Addison's Disease. I looked it up on Google, and everything seems to fit her symptoms. Fingers crossed we will get to the bottom of this.

So there you have it. Still a worry of course, but I don't think it's the big "C" which was my first thoughts with her vomitting everything back, like a tumour, she's far too healthy and lively and would be in more pain more often. Also the blood tests would show anything like that I think, and she's not diabetic which was another possibility.

So as it stands, Emma is happy, waggy and huffy as ever, but always that worry round the corner of will it happen again. Fingers crossed for her then everyone.

One of the sad things for me about all this is that Emma has her little Christmas stocking, stuffed full of goodies, still wrapped hanging up in the larder out of her sight, because we couldn't open any of them for her, until we know if she is able to eat any of the contents. It could be she has developed an intolerance to the additives in dog foods for instance, just not worth taking the risk at present till we know. :(

Sorry this is so long, now you know why I've not posted before. Will keep it updated with any news.