Posts tagged ‘Mic’

Mic-ster update December 2015

Update on our old boy, Mic. He is doing pretty well. Still has his doggy Parkinson’s, still a little stiff – especially when he first wakes up – but mobility-wise is hanging in there. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are keeping the spondylosis under control (he has never dragged his feet since starting those) but we have had other challenges.

Late this summer he developed this habit – or we thought it was a habit – of obsessively licking his feet. Then they got infected – red, swollen, ugly. We tried Chinese herbs, antibiotics, steroids, special shampoos, antimicrobial foot washes, Prozac, and so on and so on. He would get better for a bit but symptoms would return – red, swollen feet and licking. Plus his coat had changed (kind of greasy) and he had some black-head like things on his belly which we had chalked up to aging – and at least two different vets thought so too. Because his feet kept turning into hamburger, though, we asked for a dermatology referral. We saw Dr Miller the week of Thanksgiving and after scraping the hell out of Mic’s feet and belly she found demodicosis. Or red mange. Apparently the mite that causes this is a normal element of the biosphere of a dog and does not cause problems unless the immune system is compromised. So somewhere Mic is immunocompromised. We did a battery of blood work which was all normal. Undoubtedly there is a cause, but finding it is the challenge and 50% of the time, no cause can be found. That leaves management. Which is a very nasty tasting liquid medicine (Ivermectin) and TWICE WEEKLY baths with prescription shampoo. You can imagine how much fun that is with our prissy boy who HATES getting his feet wet. At any rate, we are a month into treatment and he is markedly better. Feet are not red or swollen. Licking is almost non existent. One little success. Actually it a HUGE success because our boy is obviously not having discomfort anymore.  And for the first time in months, I can do his nails.

His dementia seems to be progressing. Not dramatically – just little things like seeming to forget where he is when he wakes up. Starting about 4 weeks ago, he started this thing where no later than 7-7:30, or within 15 minutes of realizing we are awake (some days we are up at 5 for Sue to go to surgery), he makes the most unusual, tragic vocalizations – kind of a cross between a hound baying, a wolf howling and a whimper – until we go and get him up. The other kids have gotten to the point where they just ignore him (and us) when we come to get him. He then comes and hangs with us in bed while we have our coffee and then we all go walking. We used to think he needed to pee, but when we would take him outside, he would just sit and look at us. So now we just bring him into bed and he is HAPPY!

He sleeps a lot. He LOVES his food and cookies. Which he gets without restraint – anything to keep his weight up. He offers his favorite tricks if he thinks you have food. And he still loves to cuddle in front of the fireplace. If he even blinks funny, we give him a pain pill. We will not let him be in pain. But for the most part, if the nasty girls are out of his hair, he is a happy boy.

The snow picture is bad – I am not good with a camera and snowshoes – but you can see he still wants to go frolic in the snow. And you gotta love those ears!  Will we still have him in a year? Probably not – but until then, we are going to try to make every minute count. Don’t tell him I told you his nickname is LoveMuffin….

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State of the Mic-ster…

My husband and I have known for quite a while that we have a senior dog.  But it is the rapidity with which it happened that still amazes us.  I mean, I know I am a bit oblivious but it seemed like we were seeing no signs of aging at all and then one morning we had an old dog.  A year and a half ago we began noticing Mic having some tremors – mostly in his back end.  Soon enough however he was having tremors head to tail, or bunny butt as it were.  Not continuously but intermittently and with varying degrees of severity.  He never seemed to mind.  I describe it as his Katherine Hepburn impression or Doggy Parkinson’s.

He started having a great deal of difficulty going up and down stairs. He also had developed foot drop in his left front paw.  We would come home from even short walks and he would have bloody knuckles.  We found a great product called ‘Pawz’ which look like balloons and are semi disposable booties for dogs (avail at Petco).  This fixed the bloody knuckles but not the underlying problem.

We had him in to the vet and Dr Wachtel discovered on exam that he did seem to be having pain.  Spine and hip x-rays later, he has spondylosis and arthritis, especially in his left shoulder.  So we started on a round of treatments to see if that would help.  We also had him tested for DM just in case and he did come back at risk but his symptoms don’t really follow the natural progression of DM.  We did anti-inflammatories, tramadol , prednisone.  All of which seemed to help with his energy level so clearly he was in pain; none made any difference in his tremors or foot drop.

After a couple of months of suboptimal response and concerns about chronic medication use, we saw our vet again and asked about acupuncture.  She was enthusiastic and recommended a holistic vet who not only could do acupuncture, but was a practitioner of Chinese medicine and would, she hoped, have other meds for Mic’s ailments.  Her top choice was Dr Dennis Thomas ( ) – a doc others had recommended as well.  I won’t go into detail about his practice because you can just go to his website or Facebook page (Heart to Heart – Holistic Health Care for Pets) and get much better info than I could possibly summarize.  Long story short, 4 acupuncture treatments and no more foot drop!  Now Mic and Moli go monthly for a treatment and are on Chinese herbs as well as a raw, home made diet.  So from first hint of aging to acupuncture maintenance was about 9 months.  Which is 3 month longer than we even thought he was going to live.

When Mic started deteriorating before our very eyes, we thought we would not have him for six months.  But we have been given a great gift of renewed health and vigor for him.  He is still a little old man, but he is doing well. He does have some doggy dementia and that has brought out some challenges that I will go into some other time but we are just grateful for all the time we have had with him and hopeful that we still have some quality time ahead of us.  Thanks, Dennis.

Regarding the diet – I was reluctant for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which was Mic’s propensity to bloody diarrhea with diet changes or indiscretions. BUT it has been great and really is not that much more effort to prepare.  Moli is on it too.  We tried to convince Megwyn that it was a great improvement but she is having NONE of it.  Maybe when she is out of adolescence and doesn’t want to eat doggy junk food any more. Ha!

Now off to feed the mutts and hit the sack.    Hugs and slobbery kisses from the Rat Pack and the Brat pack.  (Keep watching for explanation….)

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