Archive | September 2013

Adolescent Angst

We made it through the first heat cycle with Polly.  It was “hell on a stick” quite honestly.  Between Polly becoming quite a honey badger, she was causing Jake great angst.  He never has accidents in the house but could not help himself in marking the spots Polly had left her scent.  It was quite a time and I am so glad we have survived it.  The experience has made me all too aware that not spaying or neutering your pets is a huge responsibility! As a new breeder and a responsible dog owner we were diligent in our separation tactics.  I am already considering the next occurrence.  I believe we may have to find a puppy vacation for Jake for at least part of the cycle to save all our sanity.  Not breeding? I don’t think quite yet.  We are still discussing it, but I know we will see when it occurs and if we have healthy dogs that are ready to be bread.

A Serious Problem

Well, we are not having puppies yet…but we have Ehrlichia. What is Ehrlichiosis? It is a tick borne bacterial disease that can affect both animals and humans.  Our poor Polly had been lethargic and not eating well.  We took her in to the vet to see what was going on. After X-rays and blood work, including a tick panel, she was diagnosed with Ehrlichia.  Her spleen was enlarged and she tested positive for the disease. We love the vets at Lake Pet Hospital in Eldon and they were wonderful again this time. We were sent home with Doxycycline and Pepcid for two weeks and a follow-up appointment.  She will likely have to be on antibiotics for a month.  But at least we caught it early.  It has the propensity to be quite severe if not caught early.

The vet has been very open about the increase in tick disease this year.  Since March there has been a marked increase over other years in the number of infections reported. Missouri is a red state for tick disease, meaning that we are especially high risk due to cases reported.  The main tick responsible for transmitting the disease is the Lone Star tick, it is usually found in the plains states between Texas and Canada.

I am thankful we caught this infection early in Polly and wanted to share the information so others are aware and can understand the threat and symptoms. I will attach some links for further reading.

Why chew a bone when you can chew a shoe…

I just found this as an unpublished post from April and decided to go forward and publish it because it still has relevance.  …

Having two puppies has its challenges, and the chewing phase is definitely one of them. There was a time, a few months ago when I thought I had such good puppies that only chew their toys and bones. Then, as if overnight, it changed.  I am not sure if it is more Jake, since he is almost 8 months, or the fact that they love to find our things and fight over them. But I know they definitely feed off each other’s energy.

We bought more toys thinking that would solve the problem. But it was not an easy thing to overcome. If left alone for even a short time they would find something to chew, a hat, a shoe, a paper towel. They ate at least one shoe of three pairs and at least two of my husband’s hats.  At the point that Polly started to eat the deck we really realized what a wild ride two lab puppies could be. They chew each other, they chew us if we let them. They even chew their toys and bones.

And now, five months later…we are still dealing with the chewing.  The puppies are wonderful and for the most part do not get into things not for them, but much of that is because of our watchful eyes.  We have learned that we have to keep tabs on them. The adolescent phase is not time to be lax and believe that just because they look like full-grown adult dogs that they are really capable of resisting temptation.

A few moments of turning a blind eye or getting caught up in what we are doing can net clean up duty and the “poop watch”. The “poop watch” is the time after a chewing incident when we have to judge if they are going and if so, we have to be sure it is not “sick poo”, meaning diarrhea especially containing blood or foreign objects. Not fun, but necessary!

Not long ago we had the Coke can incident. This was a time I was on the computer and thought I had puppy proofed the deck. Well apparently not! One of the pups decided that it would be a good idea to shred, and I mean shred a coke can. There were many tiny shreds and pieces I could not find to piece the can back together, quite like a Humpty Dumpty story. There would be no putting this back together.  So the watch began. We seem to have come away unscathed.

Next was the flip-flop morning when we had not put them in the crate before bed and they (I believe Jake, and I will explain) chewed/shredded a white flip-flop. It too was as if it exploded all over the floor. I am fairly certain it was Jake because of his propensity to bring us items when we are not paying enough attention to him. He will walk by with a sandal or a flip-flop and if you look at him, he offers it as a gift and accepts your praise for “giving it” as his prize.

And last but certainly not least, we are now on watch for the tiny pieces of a screw driver.  The pups were left alone for a couple of hours and not crated, once again, and the only thing they chewed was a small screw driver with parts that can be inserted to change the end to varying types of jobs. Well, the screw driver was on the floor, end chewed, and no small parts to be found.  Since that time, Polly has had two X-Rays and we have not witnessed any distressful diarrhea, so I am starting to believe we are in the clear from this one and we will find those pieces later under a piece of furniture we have not moved yet.

Although this is a bit funny as a story, I share it as experience and a message to myself and others to remember that your puppies are safer, and so are you things, if you crate them when you are not able to watch them.  You are not being mean, you are being a responsible pet owner.  I am getting a bit tired of the “poop watch” and think going back to the crate for sanity and safety is the way to go.