Bodhi Update

Bodhi’s meds came today, a compounded eye drop that he will get am and pm each day. How easy is that? Even easier than most dogs since he is blind and he can’t see the dropper over his eye.

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But the best news…at least it seems so at this early moment…is that six hours after his first dose, Bodhi has stayed away from his water bowl for four hours…unheard of before. On his evening walk, he peed one small stream instead of the three really large ones he usually does. I am feeling really hopeful, and very curious to see if he makes it through the night without peeing in his sleep. (Thank God for belly bands is all I can say.) But paws crossed that we’ve found the answer for this sweet boy. It would be the best New Year’s present ever.

TGIF

It has been a long week for us petsitters. Soooo many people away between Christmas and New Year’s. Many back Friday night, and we are actually looking forward to a quieter weekend. We be exhausted.

So we’re gonna take a lesson from this cutie, and RELAX a little bit. We hope you can too.

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With the weekend over, I’m setting myself the challenge of a photo a day for the month of January. I did this last year for a month as well, and it taught me a lot. Taking a deep breath, and hoping lots of inspiration strikes.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2017 be a whole lot more peaceful than  2016.

Bodhi’s Mystery continued

For those of you waiting for news about Bodhi, here’s the scoop. The ultrasound showed some abnormality with one of his kidneys and my vet wanted a better reading of it from a radiologist. That came back today, and though there is a slight abnormality there, the radiologist is not terribly concerned about it. What he thinks may be going on is called Diabetes Insipidus, or Water Diabetes, a rare condition (we specialize in rare conditions in this household!) but can be managed. This particular diagnosis would explain his incontinence suddenly appearing as well, so paws crosssed. If not this, then it is off to an internal medicine specialist.

Meds will be ordered next week. It sounds like we just start giving them and monitor the specific gravity in his urine, and see what that tells us.

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So Bodhi, at least for now, got a good Christmas present. Kidney disease would have been a horrible diagnosis, and a terminal one, which would truly suck for a four year old wonderful dog. We are keeping our paws crossed that this explains what’s going on, and we can all move on to other things!

Bodhi’s Jingle Bells

When we got Bodhi some six months ago, and I took him to a dog obedience class with a very skilled teacher, she looked at me when she announced that we were going to teach the dogs the “watch me” command. Bodhi is blind…”watch me” is pretty much meaningless in his world! The trainer looked at me with a bemused look on her face. “I have no idea what to suggest to you,” she said. I didn’t know either.

Over the months I haven’t found a great way to let Bodhi know I want him to pay attention to me, to actually turn to me and give me his attention. Until now. And it has been quite by accident.

Meet the jingle bells.

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I  ordered this cute little jingle bell bracelet after talking with a trainer at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue when we were out in Sacramento on vacation. My sister volunteers there and told me they had trained several blind dogs, so I was more than excited to pick their brains. One of the strategies for teaching blind dogs to walk nicely was to put bells around your ankle so the dog knows where you are, and to treat the dog when they stay near the bells. Bodhi isn’t a horrible walker, but he could use a little improvement, so it seemed worth a shot.

Armed with my bracelet and a pocket full of dried liver treats, I “charged” the bells, just like you do a clicker. Ring the bells, and if Bodhi turns toward them, he gets a treat. He got the idea very quickly…he’s a smart dog. Next we tried walking with the bells, and at the moment what Bodhi thinks the bells mean is either ‘look at me” or “come back to me” a little more than “walk next to me,” but it is a work in progress. He does stay closer and he absolutely gives me his total attention and returns right to me when he hears the bells. He isn’t yet as good at just staying with the bell sound all the time…we’ll keep working.

In the meantime, he has discovered that the bells are a really fun game, and if that’s what they end up being, so be it. He has never gotten the hang of going to find a hidden treat. He uses his ears much more than his nose. But go somewhere in the house and ring those bells and he’ll be there as quickly as he can manage. So we’re working on a sit or down stay so I can go away from him, and ring the bells, so he can come find me. A great winter game when it is cold outside. It isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but if he’s having fun, and so am I, all’s good.

After a rousing round of “come find me and the bells” this afternoon Bodhi was relaxing in his favorite spot, on Marley’s lap. The two of them have lap time every day, and Bodhi absolutely adores it. (So does Marley, I think.) It is nap time for both.

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I can’t tell you how tempted I was to ring the bells and see if Bodhi would choose me or Marley and the comfort of the chair. In the end, I decided not to test the guy. Who knows whether I would actually like his answer! No point in asking him to choose, right?! I’ll stick to playing with him when he’s not cuddled up with Marley.

Ultrasound later today…stay tuned for the results.

Mystery Continued

I was really hoping the Bodhi’s culture would come back with some bacteria we could battle with antibiotics. It would answer at least two of the three questions potentially about Bodhi’s health. Alas, the bacteria he had a month or so ago was cleared up by the antibiotic he took. No UTI anymore.

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But that leaves us, still, with a mystery. He shouldn’t have a problem with incontinence, while having urine that isn’t much concentrated unless he is drinking a whole lot, which he’s not. Doesn’t make sense…at least not yet. Sigh.

At least the wonderful Louise Penny mysteries resolve themselves as quickly as I can read, which is usually a book in two or three days. No such luck with Bodhi.

So, next step is an ultrasound of his kidney and some related organs, like adrenal glands, etc. The lack of concentration in his urine and possible kidney involvement is concerning, moreso than the incontinence. That, at least, we can deal with. Bodhi is sporting a lovely belly band, leopard skin pattern, at night now, with a Poise pad inside, and that works at least for now. But the kidney stuff…that’s a lot scarier…especially when we don’t know what it is. Let’s hope the ultrasound on Thursday provides a few more clues. It is nice to know what all this isn’t. (Not Cushings…not diabetes…not infection.) But it would be a whole lot nicer to know what is it. I’d like that for Christmas more than anything else.

Mysteries

I’m rather fond of mysteries, or certain ones. I like to read cozies, and recently discovered Louise Penny, who satisfies my love of better literature and mysteries all at once. I’m binge reading her books at the moment, and about half way through the published ones.

I’m a little less enthused about medical mysteries when it comes to our critters, but we seem to specialize in them anyway. Bodhi is the current mystery, and like the best of them, there are many subplots and many suspects to keep us guessing.

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For a couple months now we’ve been trying to sort him out. He seems to feel fine, which is grand, but something or some things are lurking, and I’d prefer to find them before they do any serious harm. He has been leaking urine for a few months, quite unusual for a young male dog. That speaks about bladder/sphincter control. His urine has been perfect in the basic urinalysis, except that the specific gravity is low, and that brings up kidney questions. And when we actually get a sterile urine sample and culture it, there has been a nasty and persistent bacteria to deal with, one that is immune to some of the common drugs used to treat urinary tract infections.

So…more tests this week, and another urine culture to see if that bacteria is still present. Each time he’s been in an antibiotic he has stopped being incontinent, which doesn’t make medical sense unless the bacteria is actually the cause of all of this….its possible. (See what I mean about subplots?) If the bacteria is still present he will get a long course of antibiotics and another culture that is negative before getting off them. Maybe that’s the chief suspect in the incontinence…maybe not.

His kidney values have been spot on in blood tests, and we’ve ruled out medical conditions that would normally cause him to be unable to concentrate his urine. Another mystery. It seems unlikely to be related to the possible bacteria, but then again, mysteries are full of unexpected twists and turns.  An ultrasound may be in his future on that front, but not until we’ve gotten to the bottom of the UTI question.  I’m glad that he feels fine, but I will be glad to get to the bottom of all of this. I suspect he wouldn’t mind fewer visits to the vet himself. And with Bodhi’s mystery solved I can go back to my Louise Penny mysteries, and rely on Chief Inspector Gamache to sort things out. One mystery at a time is plenty for me.