National Pet Wellness Month at Our House

Today, I’m actually joining two of my favorite blog hops since my post has a great deal to do with the health and fitness of my sweet Callie.  First, the FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

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And, since this is a Follow-Up post, I’m also joining the Follow Up Friday blog hop co-hosted this week by Jodi at HeartLikeADog and Linda from 2 Brown Dawgs.

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Okay, so now that I have the preliminaries out of the way, where do I start?  Duhhhhhhh, you start with your post last week Doofus!  As some of you may already know, I had a scare with Callie, the oldest of my three “fur-kids”, last week.  Ironically, it happened on Pet Obesity Awareness Day (Wednesday, the 9th).  No, Callie’s not obese; in fact, according to our vet, she’s at a perfect weight for a dog her age and size.  Last week, however, while Callie spent the entire afternoon at the vet’s office/hospital, I had to write to ease my frantic, distraught mind so I wrote this post:  Pet Obesity Awareness Day (you can “hop” on over if you want…it should open in a separate window).

Poor Callie was put through the proverbial wringer last week, but it was not a wasted effort. We learned that despite her arthritis and “environmental allergies”, Callie is actually a very healthy senior Golden Retriever girl. The vet wants me to keep her at this lower weight. With her sedentary lifestyle, she doesn’t need more weight on her. So, we have to shoot for around 1200 calories a day. She should be happy about this…it means more treats! When she and Shadow were up around 90 lbs. a few years ago, I cut way back on their treats. Now, thanks to the higher-quality food I switched them to, I can give them a few more, as long as I watch the calorie count.

The x-rays and ultrasounds showed absolutely no abnormalities other than the arthritis in her hips that we’ve known about for 8 of her 9+ years and in her spine (which we didn’t). The vet had received the radiology report — and called me immediately — on Thursday morning. So I spent most of my time between Thursday and Monday looking for information on canine arthritis. SlimDoggy Steve sent me a link he had previously posted to an article from the Whole Dog Journal. The article was interesting, and informative; but when it comes to holistic medicine, I am admittedly skeptical. Be that as it may, I asked the vet about my non-drug therapy options for Callie, including the underwater treadmills….

Suffice it to say that the closest place to us that he would even consider recommending is in Asheville, NC, a minimum two-hour drive in each direction (for me at least). So, forget that. Just plain, old swimming would be more beneficial, has less potential for injury, and is much less expensive. And the best exercise of all for her right now — other than the swimming — is walking on soft terrain (like our very boring back yard), not the cement trails at the park.  And, of course, there’s always the nice massage of her whole body which she enjoys immensely…it’ll get the circulation going and it relaxes her.

I meant to ask the vet about some of SlimDoggy’s exercise ideas, but stupid me forgot the printed copy of the two blog posts dedicated to senior dogs. I can just email it to him.

Okay, so all of that aside, what about the head-jerking sneezes and nosebleeds? Doc had suspected ehrlichia from the beginning. All the bloodwork and tissue samples came back negative. All that the report indicated was some mile-long name for chronic respiratory allergies, which in plain English equates to allergies to something “in the air”. Just what, however, was not specified. What it boiled down to was if she starts sneezing again, we’ll put her on an antihistamine. So far, since recovering from the trauma of the tissue-sampling procedure, she hasn’t sneezed much at all; and when she has it’s been just a little sneeze.  (Gezhundheit!)

Have I brought you to tears of boredom yet? Well, before I do, let me just say this: Over these last 8 days, I have spent a great deal of time looking for fun ways to help Callie stay fit that won’t aggravate her arthritis. I will continue my search; but I think SlimDoggy will be my main source of information and support. If WordPress would allow it, I would add the widget to my blog’s sidebar. (That’s reason enough to get to work on my new, self-hosted blog.) Steve has been very gracious and patient with me and all my questions, so the least I can do is promote his many efforts to help us help our dogs!

National Pet Wellness Month at our house is an ongoing thing, not just a one-month-a-year deal, as it should be.  How about at your house?

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24 thoughts on “National Pet Wellness Month at Our House

  1. Jodi says:

    Awesome follow-up Sue, thanks so much for joining the blog hop!! I’m glad to hear that there was nothing serious with Callie’s weight loss. I use a holistic vet whenever possible and have had great success with treating my dogs. Sampson currently is on skin drops to help with the itchies and it seems to be working well.

    I’m not sure what would be recommended for arthritis though….what a tough one. Poor little gal.

    Have a great weekend!!

    • The Golden Life says:

      Thanks, Jodi! I know — or should I say remember? — that you use a holistic vet for S & D. If that’s what works for you, that’s great! I make no judgments either way.

      Callie will be fine…as long as I keep up the walks around the yard, the body massages, and the Rimadyl (which I hate, but it helps so we do our wellness exams to be sure it’s not harming her physiologically). If it were ME instead of Callie, I’d just do the exercising, forget about the NSAIDs, and “deal with” the discomfort. But it hurts me when I see HER uncomfortable.

      You have a great weekend, too, my friend!!

  2. FleaByte says:

    If you’re giving her more treats, you might as well kill three birds with one stone and give her Jones Windees. They’re great for the teeth, yummy, and a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin for the arthritis.

    • The Golden Life says:

      Windees? That’s an odd name…where did you guys come up with it? That aside, I already give her (& Shadow, who also has arthritis in her hips, just not as severe) 2 Cosequin DS chewables a day, plus Zuke’s Hip Action treats every now & then.

  3. Sue at Talking Dogs says:

    Wow! You’ve had a stressful time lately! Glad there’s nothing life threatening wrong with Callie. Not suggesting it for you, but hydrotherapy isn’t available near me either. So we used our (human) treadmill for both our senior dogs. Set very low, they strolled their way to fitness 🙂

    • The Golden Life says:

      I bought my human treadmill a few years ago, with Callie & Shadow in mind, but for the most part it just sits there looking goofy in the corner of the room. (It’s one of those fold-up jobs, which is really great cuz it fits in the room without being too much in the way.) I really need to get off my lazy butt and get them both back on it. The vet said 2 mph, 15 minutes at a time, 2 or 3 times a day, is sufficient, but no incline. Only problem is that they don’t really like the thing…Shadow tries to hide when she sees me unfold it, and Callie resists the gentle tug of the leash. I think they really just prefer the grass to the movement under their feet.

  4. SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says:

    Great to get the update on Callie and so glad the vet has given her such a good health report. We are more than happy to help in any way we can with our friends & readers. Luckily, we’ve had lots of experience over the years with active dogs and their assorted health/orthopedic issues. Keep up the good work and give Callie a hug from us!

  5. Gizmo says:

    Wow what a week you’ve had Sue…I guess the bottom line of it all is that Callie is really doing well for her age and you’ve been doing well by her…I agree that Steve & Slim Doggy are a great resource and always so willing to answer questions and help out…I would be very relieved that erlichiosis was ruled out…that would be awful…those mysterious environmental allergies can be frustrating but not life threatening…Now take a deep breath, sit back with the pups and a cool drink and enjoy the weekend

  6. Donna and the Dogs says:

    Ahhhh…..what a relief! And no, you didn’t bore me to tears. First off, I’m a bit skeptical about holistic meds too, and since my dogs have so many health issues as they age, and I’m on a tight budget, I prefer to spend my money on “proven” treatments. Luckily, my vet is on the same page…

    I can also totally relate to this post. So many times in the past two years I have been worried sick about Leah and thought that the end loomed near – and each time a few medical tests proved otherwise. Sure, she’s nearly fourteen, and for an 85 lb dog that’s pretty old, but she’s also pretty damn healthy – other than that pesky arthritis.

    And with that said, my vet who is so cynical has me giving her a product called Phycox, which he gives to his own dog, and I swear it helped for a long long time before we had to resort to NSAIDs too. I also now have Toby on it for his own arthritis.

    I get it the cheapest on Amazon. My vet’s a good guy, but he also wanted TWICE as much. No thanks! I give him plenty. LOL!

    http://www.amazon.com/PhyCox-Soft-Chews-120-ct/dp/B0014FTA74/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382135020&sr=8-1&keywords=phycox

    Hope to keep hearing continued good news, as I’m sure you are too!

    • The Golden Life says:

      I get Callie’s Rimadyl from Drs. Foster & Smith for just a little bit less than what our vet would charge, but they remind me when I need to reorder.😏

      Our vet is even more skeptical than I am re the holistic stuff, and the so-called grain-free food.

    • The Golden Life says:

      I have found that the majority of grain-free foods — if not all of them — are in fact not grain-free; they still contain brown rice, barley, or some other grain. But at least it’s usually more easily-digested grains. AND, Shadow doesn’t suffer as much flatulence. I went to purchase fresh fennel yesterday; but the smallest one was far larger than I could have used in a month. So much for that idea. 😜

  7. goldenwoofs says:

    Any vet issues is stressful. Mom dislike taking me to the vet. Just had my Senior Wellness Exam … mom wants to blog about it but she is having a hard time. Of course there’s not so good news that I have to retake 2 exams. But the good news is that I am a healthy 12 senior dog, just my regular allergies but no arthritis. No allergy medication thanks to PAWZ boots and good ear cleaning solution. Thanks to swimming and other stuffs mom does, I don’t have arthritis.
    It seems that you have a great vet. You just have to be patient and you don’t have to do (depend on) what other do, do what works and best for Callie. Sending Lots of Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

    • The Golden Life says:

      Hi Sugar! Good to hear from you! First of all, I’m sorry you have to re-do 2 of your tests! But so happy to hear that you are a healthy girl dog with only allergies as an issue!

      I’m sorry your Mom finds it so stressful to take you to the vet! I love our vet — he’s great with his patients and their parents — and I don’t know how I got along without him before I found him!

      You are very lucky to not have arthritis! It’s debilitating at times! I have it, too, so I can empathize with Callie. Shadow has it, too, but not to the extent that Callie does. You are lucky that you have access to swimming and beautiful parks. I wish Greenville was much more dog-friendly!

    • The Golden Life says:

      Thanks, Lisa! The ONLY way I keep up with visiting my favorite blogs is to subscribe to them via email, and read the individual posts each morning while I drink my coffee. Even then I don’t always have the time to send a comment.

      Your new puppy is adorable! I hope he’s helping y’all to heal your hearts. Sending hugs to y’all as well….

  8. Dawn says:

    I just heard from another blogger about some great joint medicine, but darn it, I can’t remember which blogger that was. As soon as I remember, or find it, I will let you know. I’m glad Callie is doing okay.

    • The Golden Life says:

      Hi Dawn! Thanks! Actually, Callie has been Cosequin DS since she was 8 months old and it has helped a great deal. BUT, that’s not to say I’m not open to trying something new. When you remember, I’ll be curious to check it out.

    • The Golden Life says:

      OMG, I hope you’re right about the no more sneezing! It scared me half to death when I saw her nose bleeding! And then the weight loss on top of that. The only thing that kept me sane was the fact that she had never lost her appetite.

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