Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dental Surgery

Well, the day that Argos had to go to the vet for dental work and the removal of the lump on his forehead came.  I had taken the day off from work so that I could be on-hand for drop-off and pick-up, and because quite honestly I didn't think I'd be able to focus at work.  (I know that our vet is very good, I know that anesthesia is very safe these days, but there IS still something of a risk, and I always am on pins and needles until they call us to let us know that he's recovering.)

ANYWAY.  I dropped him off that morning.  He didn't even realize that I'd left, LOL, because there was a pretty vet-tech cooing at him.  Argos has always had a thing for the ladies.  I saw him following her into the backroom, with his tail wagging.  Poor guy.

Last time this happened, they called us somewhere between 12:30 and 1:00 to tell us that he was waking up, and that we could come get him sometime between 3-5.  This is what I was expecting again.

But...  1:00 came and went, then 2:00.  I held out until 2:30, then I called to see what was going on.  Apparently they'd had non-stop surgeries all morning, and Argos was still under anesthesia, and still being worked on.  I was told that they'd call me soon.  3:00 came and went, and both Jeff and I were getting antsy; I was literally pacing the floor, unable to focus on anything.   FINALLY, at 3:40, the phone rang, and the vet told us that they'd pulled three teeth (better than I had hoped for) and that his head lump had popped right out.  They'd let us know the results of the biopsy, but in the meantime we could come pick him up between 5 and 5:30.

Argos was still pretty doped up when we came to get him.  He was panting and drooling and dripping blood from his mouth.  His back legs didn't work 100% of the time, and would give out on him at random intervals.  Jeff carefully walked him out to the car and picked him up to put him in, while I stayed inside and talked to the vet and got his antibiotics and painkillers that we'd be giving him for the next several days.

It was a long night, but he did wake up the next morning feeling much more himself.  I breathed a big sigh of relief when he came out of his sleeping crate, looked up at my face, and wagged his tail.  

He's been doing great ever since.  His head wound is healing nicely, and he's got quite an appetite, now that it doesn't hurt to eat anymore.

The fly in the ointment is that we got the biopsy results back on Saturday.  It was not just a fatty tumor or an infected cyst.  It was a cancerous skin tumor; a myxosarcoma.  The biopsy results suggest that the vet got the entire tumor.  There is a chance that it will come back, so we need to keep an eye on him.  More than likely, though, it will not come back in his lifetime, as the prognosis was that it would come back in approximately 5 years.  (He's 10 now.  I've known a couple of greyhounds that made it to age 15, but most do not.)  As much as I would love to have him around when he's 15, I would prefer that the tumor never come back.  

We  just have to watch him.  Actually, we need to watch him for signs of skin tumors anywhere on his body.

So... perhaps not the BEST news, but the vet was fairly optimistic that this wasn't going to be an ongoing problem.  I do hope that she's correct.  \

Meanwhile, Maera is just happy to have her brother back.  OMG, she was so depressed the day that he was gone.  I've never seen happy, bouncy, perky Maera morose and sad before, but she was all day, or at least, she was until we brought him back home.  She perked up immediately, though was very concerned about him and kept walking over to sniff him while he slept off the effects of the anesthesia.  So cute!

They try to act like they are constantly annoyed with each other, but when it comes down to it, they are pack.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Very Doggy Vacation

Two blog posts in one week!  The planets must be in perfect alignment or something.  (I really AM going to try to be a more frequent poster.)

I need to catch everyone up on our "missing months."  Yesterday, I told you about our two foster boys, and how we adopted one of them, Batman.  He's an adorably cuddly cat, who just enjoys being with his humans, snuggling on a lap, or up against a leg.  He also reacts very calmly to the other cats, which is a bonus when dealing with Miss Bit...  as LONG time readers might remember, she tortured Romeo (RIP, buddy) relentlessly because he would react to her by running away.  Batman doesn't confront her, he just looks at her, blinking.  Bit eventually got bored with trying to get a rise out of him, so doesn't bother him.

Summer faded into fall, and with fall came our vacation - we didn't plan to go very far, we just wanted to be able to get away for a few days.  Our requirements:  it had to allow dogs, and it had to have a hot tub.  Everything else was negotiable.  We found the Getaway Cabins, in Hocking Hills, Ohio.  The picture below is our cabin - the one that they call "The Guest Nest."  You can't see it, but it has a deck on the back, with a nice large hot tub.  It was a fantastic cabin.

It was a very relaxing time.  We took several easy hikes with the dogs, lounged in the hot tub, played board games, and watched movies.  Very low-key.  Very needed.  Well, sort of low-key.  I'll have to tell you about the stray cat in another post...  let's just say that I can't even head into the "back woods" without finding a cat that needs help.

Jeff and Argos, I believe on the descent to Cedar Falls.

Sunlight through the trees.  Serenity. 

Jeff and Maera cross a scary bridge.  (I'm not kidding.  It freaked me out.)

Stream bed.

Jeff, Argos and Maera, near Cedar Falls.
I took a lot of pictures, which is why you don't see any of me, haha.  That and I'm a camera-phobe.  I also learned a very valuable lesson:  when taking lots of pictures, do not leave the camera's battery charger at home.  I got quite a few pictures while we were hiking around Cedar Falls, but none the following day on the much more dramatic hike to Old Man's Cave or Stonehouse.  I was very disappointed.

We encountered several people on the trail that had never seen greyhounds before, so Argos and Maera had a lot of very excited people to meet!  They handled themselves with their usual grace and made us proud.  (Especially when compared to some other numbskull dog that was extremely dog-aggressive and barked at us the entire time we were trying to actually view the waterfalls we had hiked so far to see.)

I think that they enjoyed themselves as much as we did, though they were very nervous and unsettled in the cabin.  We constantly had dogs pacing about, and once Maera brushed past me and burst out the front door and started to run away!  Fortunately she immediately responded when I whistled for her to come back.  Oh, it took awhile for my heart rate to return to normal over THAT one.

Unfortunately, during the vacation, we had a bit of something hanging over our heads:  I'd taken Argos for his annual check-up a few days prior, and they weren't entirely happy about his blood work.  It seemed that his thyroid was a bit low, even for a greyhound (who are notoriously low.)  They thought it might have something to do with his weight loss.

However, upon our return and additional bloodwork, they determined that his blood was fine, and that he was very healthy for his age.  The weight loss was probably just due to Argos being Argos:  he's never been much of an eater, and when bored, upset, anxious, or frightened of thunderstorms, he refuses to eat.  We've tried to up his meals to three times a day now to give him some extra calories without increasing meal size, and I think he's starting to fill out.

This Thursday, he goes back in.  He needs dental work again, and is probably going to lose some teeth.  He also needs to have a lump excised from the top of his head and biopsied.  I try not to worry about it too much - the vet is fairly certain that it's a cebacious cyst, but it's hard to know for sure because it's covered in fur, and it's painful enough to the touch that he will fight you if you try to mess with it.  Hope with me that it's just a cyst.  I'm certain that I cannot handle any more pet medical drama for a good long while.

Fingers crossed for the boy!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A New Face...

So, a lot has happened since I went on my unintended hiatus over the summer.  To catch you up on the biggest highlights, I must backtrack a little bit, to right after Charlotte passed away, because there was something that I did not post about...

We took in two new fosters.  The shelter had a lot of sick cats at the beginning of summer.  The sick room was full, but the cats kept getting sick (upper respiratory infections - it's a problem for shelters all over the world, and very hard to prevent.)  The very best way to get a cat healthy again is to get them out of the stressful shelter environment, and into a home, with a course of antibiotics and a soft warm place to sleep in comfort.  This is where foster homes come in.  It's really an ideal foster situation - you get a cat to love and coddle, and you keep them for about two weeks until they finish their medication and their symptoms clear up.  Then you take them back - none of this long term stuff that comes up with behavioral fosters.

It was really only a couple of weeks after Charlotte passed that the active foster homes got an email from the foster coordinator telling us about the sick cats, and asking us to step up to take a kitty home if we could.  I came home from work and asked Jeff it it bothered him that I might go pick up a sick cat.  Even if it delayed us refinishing the upstairs floors, like we'd planned.  Being Jeff, he agreed that I should go, so I did.

I picked out this handsome guy, unoriginally named "Kitty."  His cage was eye-level with mine, and boy howdy, this one can use his eyes to lure you in.  (And he's a real sweet-heart too.)

A vet tech helped me put him into my carrier, and left the room for a few minutes to go get his meds for me to take with us.  As I waited, I felt a paw swipe out of a cage at ankle level, and grab onto my pant legs.  My hair felt like it stood on end... that is exactly how Charlotte introduced herself to me.  I looked down, and there was a little black paw.  I crouched down, and stared into this face.

He had a snotty nose at the time, and one eye was crusted shut.  But.  There was the whole pants-grabbing thing.  And I've always had a weakness for black cats anyway...  so when the vet tech brought Kitty's meds in, I looked over at her and said, "So...  I don't have two carriers.  But if someone could come up with another carrier, I could take one more with me..."

A cardboard carrier was produced, and the poor overworked tech went back out to get additional meds for... his name... was Batman.

I packed both boys into my car and took them home.  When I carried them into the house, Jeff looked at the two carriers and started laughing.  It is NOT the first time I've done this.  He now calls it "Melanie Math," which only pertains to cats, and always means that I just can't count when it comes to kitties.  I always bring home more fosters than I set out to get.

It was an... interesting foster time.  Kitty, a Bengal, had very high energy levels, and we learned just what it meant to have an exotic cat in our house.  That boy was afraid of nothing.  Dogs?  Let's run at them and head-butt them from across the room.  The dogs were absolutely terrified of him, LOL.  Bookshelves?  Let's climb them to the ceiling!  Flatscreen television screen?  Let's try to climb it!  At first, we had him and Batman quarantined together, but Kitty had a really tough time getting over his cold, and had to change his antibiotics.  We separated them, but not before Batman, who had gotten better, got whatever nasty strain that Kitty had.

Finally, we got Kitty's symptoms cleared up, and just in time, because I was contacted by a potential adopter!  I took him back to the shelter two days before she was to meet him, because now Bit was sick, and there was no way that I could manage a three-way quarantine in this house.  I felt terrible that one of my own cats got sick... usually a quarantine, in the form of a closed door, has prevented the sickness from spreading, but either one of us didn't wash our hands thoroughly enough, or she got it during one of the ten million times that Kitty ran into the hall when I opened the sick room door.  (Bit got better in a couple of days.)

We nursed Batman's symptoms for another week, and he was reasonably healthy again.  It was time to take him back to the shelter.

To make a long story short, Jeff approached me one night.  Actually, we were in the car together, and I was talking about how I was sad that we'd have to take Batman back to the shelter that weekend.  "You know," he said.  "I sort of already knew that we were going to keep him when you told me about how he grabbed your pant leg, since that's how Charlotte did it too."

To make the story even shorter, Batman only went back to the shelter to get his vaccinations updated, then returned to our house.  Where he remains.  He gets along well with the other cats.  He isn't afraid of the dogs.  And he's the snuggliest comic book character ever.

Kitty did get adopted two days after returning to the shelter, but not before he caused havoc by climbing up into the shelter ceiling and going exploring up there all night long.  He was only discovered when the ceiling caved in, dumping him at the feet of a very surprised worker, who was just starting the morning cleaning of the cat cages...

I heard back from his adopter a couple of times, and it sounds like he's in a perfect home, where he is appreciated for his mischevous nature.  (And he got a better name.)

Batman's favorite bed also happens to be Maera's favorite bed.  They're still working things out...