Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 3: Bloodwork

Today’s Tasty Tuesday post is tied in with the results of Nellie’s bloodwork.

Tuesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 3: Bloodwork, why routine bloodwork is a good idea.

You say your going to poke me now?

The American Heartworm Society  recommends annual testing for heartworm disease. To test for heartworm disease you need to have a blood sample drawn as heartworm is detected in the blood from the antigen it produces. You can also see microfilaria in the blood if positive for heartworm disease. Even know I give my gang year round heartworm medication I still check them. You just never know when the medication is going to fail, when they will spit out a pill and not be protected or vomit up a pill. It’s better to catch early then later when more damage is done.

A fecal examination is also recommended once if not twice a year to check for intestinal parasites. My gang gets dewormed each month for intestinal parasites along with the heartworm medication they take. I still check a fecal sample for parasites that aren’t covered by the heartworm medication.

Since we were drawing blood for the heartworm test we drew more blood to have Nellie’s annual chemistry panel (checking internal organ function) and complete blood count (checking for infection) done. Bloodwork should be performed on young animals once a year and on seniors a couple times a year as the values can change quite quickly. Along with the chem panel/cbc I had her thyroid checked. All this was done as a package deal through the laboratory we use. Besides doing bloodwork at least once if not twice a year did I want to make sure I ran bloodwork on Nellie? Remember back on Sunday when I talked about her “funny” belly and I said her belly could have that look from cushing’s disease. If not you can read it here. As dogs get older they can come down with different diseases. One of those diseases is cushing’s disease where the adrenal gland isn’t producing any steroid this conditions medical terminology is called Hypoadrenalcorticism. The signs are lack of muscle in the abdomen making the dog look like it has a pot belly. This is the only sign I thought Nellie had. Other signs include, increase drinking/urination, excessive weight gain, fat deposits on the back end, hair loss. One way you can see if there is a chance the dog has cushing’s disease is by running bloodwork and checking the Alk Phos level. In cushing dogs the level is really high so that is one reason I wanted to do bloodwork.

Here are Nellie’s results:

The fecal exam (which isn’t shown) was negative for intestinal parasites. The heartworm test was negative. Her thyroid test was normal, her CBC (complete blood count) was normal.

CBC- Normal

Her Alk Phos that I was worried about was completely normal so really the chances of her having cushing’s disease right now is pretty much zero. The only abnormality is her kidney function. Her BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen/Urea N) was 33 which is just over the high normal of 8-30.


Urea N – Slightly elevated

What does this mean? It means she has lost some kidney function. She could of lost it due to age relation, another disease going on, high protein diet that is excreting high levels of nitrogen. As long as it stays where it is and doesn’t creep up she will be ok. We do need to watch the protein levels in her diet and make sure she is getting highly digestible proteins so there are fewer nitrogen by-products that have been found in dogs with kidney failure to make the kidneys work harder. In dogs with kidney failure the excess nitrogen can become high in the bloodstream which can cause problems with other tissues. This last fall/winter Nellie took to taking off and eating deer carcass’s so her high protein diet could be coming from that. The doctor suggested we run bloodwork again in the summer when Nellie isn’t taking off and see if the values change. When the kidney value is elevated it is a good idea to run a urinalysis one to make sure the kidneys are concentrating urine and to make sure there isn’t a hidden bladder infection that may of lead to a kidney infection that might elevate the levels. Doing this urinalysis is what uncovered Nellie’s vaginitis which I wrote about yesterday, you can read it here. Thursday I will write about the components of a urinalysis.

Stop back tomorrow to read: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 4: Cystocentesis


Tuesdays, Just Got Tastier!Tuesdays, Just Got Tastier!
We are joining the Tuesday Blog Hop Hosted By Kol’s Notes and Sugar The Golden Retriever

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Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis

Today’s Monday Mischief post is the second in the six part series on Nellie’s Health Series. This post should of come after the urinalysis post since this is how I found out Nellie has vaginitis but I thought this made for a mischief post so bear with me on the order.

Monday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis (when your male dog sticks his face where it doesn’t belong may mean there is a problem).

What you mean this is a problem? I don’t think it’s a problem at all!

Yes, yes you recognized the culprit, it’s the Gman to the rescue to tell you there might be a problem with Nellie. Gambler is constantly sticking his face where it doesn’t belong.

A frequent scene at out house.

After we got the results of the bloodwork the doctor wanted a urinalysis done on Nellie’s urine (more on that this Thursday). I got a urine sample, ran the urinalysis and the results were “are the white cells coming from the bladder or from the vaginal tract”, we needed to rule out a “bladder infection” vs a “vaginitis”.

I’m telling ya “Dr. G” says there is a problem Houston!

In order to find out where the white cells were originating from (bladder vs vagina) we needed to collect a sterile urine sample that came right from the bladder (more on that Wednesday). The sterile urine sample had no white blood cells in it so it ruled out a bladder infection in which I didn’t think she had a bladder infection because she wasn’t showing any signs of an infection which are: frequent urination, blood in urine, accidents in the house.

The supplies needed to check for a vaginitis.

To find out if the white blood cells were coming from the vaginal tract we needed to a vaginal cytology. In order to do this you take a sterile long q-tip wet it with water and then insert it into the vagina and roll to pick up the cells. You then put that sample on a microscope slide, stain it then read it.

View from the microscope.

The big round purple cells are epithelial cells which are normal in the vagina, all skin contains epithelial cells. All the other small purple structures are bacteria which ranged from cocci to rods. Some bacteria is normal as it isn’t a sterile environment but this slide contains too numerous of bacteria which means there is a problem. There were a few white cells but not like what was seen in the urine sample. The urine sample I ran was the first morning catch (which is the one the doctor wants to interpret the results correctly) so the white blood cells had time to collect in the vaginal tract and then be flushed out with the first urine sample. My boss wanted another urine sample from later in the day and there were a few white blood cells in that one so if not flushed out there is more white blood cells. Now why are these white cells present? It can be a normal vaginitis or it could mean there is a mass in the vaginal canal that is causing it. Nellie’s diagnosis is a vaginitis but after research on other cases like hers we decided not to treat the vaginitis because again she isn’t showing any symptoms of a problem so we are going to leave it alone until a problem arises. Why, well because if we start treating with antibiotics to get rid of the white cells and bacteria it may disrupt the balance and then she will show signs in the future and have to be continually treated. I am going to start her on a probiotic to see if we can’t get the bacteria balance back to normal.

Can Gambler stay out of my backend now?

ahhhhh NO!

I will check Nellie in a few weeks and if we get the same results we will look further as to why the white cells are present but for now we will leave her alone, well at least I will leave her alone. Gambler has other ideas.

Stop back tomorrow for:
Tuesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 3: Bloodwork, why routine bloodwork is a good idea.

monday mischief

This is a Blog Hop. Thanks to Alfie’s BlogSnoopy’s Dog Blog , Luna, a Dog’s Life , and My Brown Newfies for setting up this hop. Please go to any of the sponsoring blogs to find out who else has been mischievous.

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Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 1: Radiographs

This Black And White Sunday starts off the first out of a  six part series on Senior Wellness. Since it is Black And White Sunday I start my series with Radiographs. Nellie is a senior at 10 years old. Her annual physical exam and vaccinations were coming due this month. A couple other issues cropped up that I wanted to discuss with the doctor so I compiled my list and brought Nellie with me to work last Monday. To talk about everything she had done and why Senior Wellness is important I broke it down into six parts.

Sunday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 1: Radiographs

Monday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis

Tuesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 3: Bloodwork

Wednesday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 4: Cystocentesis

Thursday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 5: Urinalysis

Friday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 6: Pulled Tendon

Where we going mom?

Since I am a Veterinary Technician I am hyper vigilant on noticing things with my animals. I am constantly looking at them, feeling them over and sometimes making myself think there is a problem. For sometime when Nellie lays next to me her belly looks funny. Funny you ask, yup funny my technical term for it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I thought I was seeing. She has been sneaking off and eating deer carcass’s so she has been coming back all bloated and looking like a engorged wood tick. I thought A: she might just be getting fat, B: she is older does she have cushing’s disease, C:  do I see a lump in her belly. All of the above needs addressing hence the car ride with me to work.

Nellie started out with a full physical exam this is important for every animal at least once a year and for seniors it’s a good idea to have a physical exam twice a year as things can change just like that. It’s better to “catch” things earlier than later.

What is a full physical exam? It is a head to tail exam of each part of the animals body.

1. Checking for changes in the eyes.

2. Checking for changes/infections in the ears.

3. Checking teeth for broken teeth/tarter/gingivitis/tumors.

4. Checking lymph nodes below lower jaw, pre scapular, poplitial, ingunial.

5. Checking heart and lungs for murmurs and respiratory problems.

6. Checking abdominal cavity for masses.

7. Checking rectum for masses, temperature, parasites.

8. Checking whole body for any masses and abnormalities.

Nellie’s physical exam went great, she is looking and doing well for a senior pet. Her liver felt slightly larger (which can be normal in older animals) and what about the funny thing I was seeing with her belly?

When I lay on my left side you can see a alien in my belly.

While relaxing over the lunch hour the alien appeared so I had the doctor look and feel it. It was right about where her hair is thin (white) on the picture right in front of her back legs. The doctor thought it was her spleen. The dogs spleen is very long and the “tail” of it can “poke out”. But why is it “poking out”? It could be normal or it could be enlarged because of a mass on it. So to find out you start with abdominal radiographs to see how things look inside.

Right lateral is the most preferred position.

A ventral/dorsal (on the back) is second preferred.

After the two radiographs are taken they are developed so the doctor can read them.

Right lateral

Ventral dorsal view.

There was something suspicious on the right lateral view so we did another radiograph and did a left lateral this time to see if they could see the same thing.

left lateral

The suspicious area wasn’t on the left lateral so not to much of a concern. The radiographs can’t rule out a mass there was nothing obvious so the next step would be a abdominal ultrasound which will be done at a later date.

Nellie’s liver wasn’t a concern either after looking at the radiographs.

She was such a good patient for her radiographs, she didn’t move a muscle. Nellie did receive her annual vaccinations this day as there were no concerns not to give them.

Stop back tomorrow for: Monday: Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 2: Vaginitis


We are joining Dachshund Nola & Sugar The Golden Retriever for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop.

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Glory’s First Breeding Via TCI

This breeding with Glory has been over a year in the making. Last summer I did my research on available stud dogs, picked one and was waiting for Glory to come into heat (which was suppose to be after she had her OFA test’s done). The best laid plans didn’t work last year, she came into heat before she was two which meant we couldn’t do her OFA test’s in essence we had to wait on breeding her the following year. We could of bred her in the spring after we did the testing but we train and run hunt tests all summer long a litter wouldn’t let us be able to do that so we do our limited breeding’s in the fall/winter.

So I get to meet my boyfriend today?

Where’s my boyfriend?

Are you bringing in my boyfriend?

So you know that we chose “Silas” to be the stud dog. Silas lives in Oklahoma. Normally the bitch would go to the stud dogs house and they would breed naturally any where’s from one to three times during the bitches standing heat period (a bitches heat cycle can range from 2-3 weeks in length with average time of standing heat being at 10-13 days). Since Silas lives 13 hours from us and we had too many things going on in November I planned on doing a artificial insemination for this breeding. There are a couple of methods that can be done for a AI. If the stud dog is alive (which Silas is) and his semen quality is good (he has produced several litters in the past) you would use a fresh chilled sample and have it implanted one of three ways.

Three types of Artificial Insemination

1. Vaginally – semen deposited into the vaginal tract

2. Transcervical – semen deposited into the cervix using a endoscope via the vagina

3. Surgical  – surgical procedure where semen is deposited into the uterus, used most often with frozen semen and in older bitches that the doctor would like to visualize the uterus

I have done a vaginal and surgical AI with Nellie in the past which both produced a litter of puppy’s. I debated and debated which way to go with Glory. This is Glory’s first litter, she is young and healthy so there should be no reason on her end not to become pregnant doing a AI. But which AI will it be?

We’re in the conception room.

Hello lovely technician Brenda.

After some long deliberation I decided the best route for Glory would be the transcervical route. I figured we would only get one chance at a insemination and wanted the best percentage of her taking which is over 80% so we went for it. When doing AI breeding’s you need to run progesterone tests on the bitch so you can pin point when they are going to ovulate so you can do the breeding on the correct day for the best chance of conception. Glory had four progesterone tests run. Once I noticed she started her heat cycle I had one run which the results were low <.02 the reproduction doctor told me I could wait 4 days and run another one so the next one was done 7 days into her heat cycle, the results were .6, still low so the next one three days later. The next test was done 10 days into her heat and the results were 2.6 which happened to be on a Monday. Dogs ovulate when the progesterone reaches 5, the eggs need 48-72 hrs to mature before they can be impregnated with the semen. Dr said next test Wednesday. I knew we would be getting close by watching Glory and watching the discharge coming out her vagina (the color was changing from dark red to pink). I told the stud dog owner we were getting close and to be on standby. The results on Wednesday were 8.6, she ovulated so 911 the stud dog owner and have him collected and the semen overnight-ed for the AI on Thursday.

I use Veterinary Village for all my reproduction work. Dr. Greer has done my repro work on Nellie and gave me two nice litters so she will be the one doing the insemination on Glory.

Dr. Greer holding Glory as the table is being elevated to the correct height.

Dog daddy John holding her front, Brenda the tech holding the rear.

What is TCI?

TCI is Transcervical Insemination. How this is done is explained by the American Kennel Club website:

The transcervical insemination (TCI) is performed with the bitch in a standing position. No sedation nor anesthesia is required. A fiber optic cystourethoscope is used vaginally to visualize the opening to the cervix. A flexible catheter is maneuvered through the cervix into the uterus. It is important that the breeder realize that the veterinarian is not visualizing the inside of the uterus and this technique does not allow for evaluation of the uterus.

The TCI procedure is visualized on a television monitor and does allow for examination of the vaginal tract, however. The semen is gently pushed through the catheter from a syringe. The veterinarian can visualize that the semen flows easily into the uterus and does not flow back into the vaginal tract.

The transcervical insemination does not replace the surgical insemination as it does not allow for uterine evaluation, but is a significant improvement over the vaginal method of artificial insemination. The TCI is recommended for any type semen, especially frozen and fresh-cooled and can significantly increase conception when poor quality semen and lowered sperm numbers are used. The TCI technique should be used in bitches less than 5 years of age where there is not a reason to suspect uterine changes or uterine disease.

Getting everything prepared.

Let’s get this show on the road.

We were in and out in 30 minutes. Glory was a little uncomfortable when the first catheter was placed and kept in there while getting ready for the endoscope to be inserted. Once the endoscope was inserted then she calmed down and stood there for the procedure. Here are two video’s of the procedure. The first one is over a minute long and the second one is over 5 minutes long.

December 18 will be Glory’s ultrasound to see if she is pregnant. I could hardly wait for her to come into heat now I can hardly wait to find out the results. Thanks to Dr. Greer and her two technicians Brenda and Marissa who helped out with this breeding. Paws crossed!


Osteosarcoma~Norman’s Story

Today I am joining in on the Caring For Critters Round Robin started by our host Jodi at Heart Like A Dog. Each day “a blogging team member” will write a post about a specific illness, injury, disease, condition that they have experienced with their pet and share their story with us. Each member will pass the “round robin baton” on to the next blogger in line to share their story, I will pass the baton on at the end of this post. All posts are lined up on the community page over at Heart Like A Dog, you can go to that page and read all the stories here.

First off I have to admit in one month it will be one year since Norman’s passing from osteosarcoma and writing this post brought a tear to my eye. I still miss that boy and think of him each day. When Jodi first tossed out the idea of a round robin blog hop so to speak I was on board with her and told her I would like to contribute, then the more I thought of it I didn’t really think I had anything to contribute as my gang is healthy and I wasn’t going through anything I thought would be worthwhile to talk about so I told Jodi I was bailing. She got back to me and told me if I wanted to bail I could but she thought it would be nice for me to share my thoughts as to why I chose to go the route I did with Norman’s care when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. I then decided I would join in again on the round robin and share my story.

You can read my original Osteosarcoma post here that I wrote after Norman was diagnosed.

My story of why I chose not to treat Norman’s osteosarcoma beings with a little bit about myself. For those of you who don’t follow my blog I have been a certified Veterinary Technician since June of 1990. I currently work in a small animal practice where we have diagnosed several dogs with osteosarcoma. Some dogs have had treatments. Some with amputation and chemotherapy, some with radiation, and some with just pain control like I did with Norman. This wasn’t the first time dealing with a patient who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma but this time the patient was my own. After consulting with my boss and a specialist John and I decided we would not treat Norman, we would try and control his pain with Rimadyl, gabapectin and tramadol until the pain could no longer be managed then we would make a decision to say goodbye at that time.

A little bit about osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is cancer of the bone. It usually affects the  bones of the front and rear legs,  it is rarely cured with chemotherapy alone, but amputation or radiation combined with chemotherapy can increase the medial survival.  Ostersarcoma is a very painful disease if you don’t amputate or do radiation to the lesion you need to use some pretty good pain control to help manage the pain. Usually by the time you diagnose a dog with osteosarcoma it has already spread to the lung, you may not see the mets on the lungs but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there, so if you are going to amputate you should follow up with chemotherapy, average survival time is >1 year . If  you Amputate and don’t do chemotherapy metastatic disease can occur within 1-3 months. If you chose not to amputate you could do palliative radiation therapy to take away  the pain from the lesion. You won’t be trying to cure the disease you will be just making the dog comfortable. You will be making them comfortable for approximately 3-4 months, median survival time for palliative radiation or amputation without chemotherapy is 5 months. It typically is administered as a outpatient session of 2-4 visits where the patient is heavily sedated to prevent movement during the procedure. It will not lower the risk for pathologic fracture. A pathologic fracture is where the cancer has weakened the bone and it can break at any time. It is something no dog should have to go through.

A little bit about Norman. Norman was 12.5 years at the time of diagnosis in June. He had lead a very healthy lifestyle with no health problems except a ruptured cruciate. He was our foundation stud and why we started Sand Spring Chesapeakes. He sired two litters and gave me a daughter and a son whom we still have. He was our first competition dog in UKC and AKC hunt tests. He was our first dog that won any titles for us. He received his AKC Junior, senior and master hunter titles, he also received his UKC finished title. This was a big deal to us as we have never done this stuff before or had a dog to  this caliber. He was also the best hunting dog, companion, best friend and family member anyone could ask for. When Norman was sedated for his bone biopsy my boss also diagnosed him with a tumor on his spleen. She took aspirates from his spleen that we sent to the pathologist to tell us if the tumor was cancerous or not but the results were inclusive. So now he had two things against him, well really three if you count his age. One should not put a time on a dog’s life and  not treat because “he is old”. Knowing what I know and seeing what this disease has done to other dog’s and seeing what the owners have gone through I put a time on my dog’s life which I feel was in the best interest of Norman. After your Veterinarian goes over the pro’s and con’s you need to think long and hard on what is the best thing to do for your pet and your lifestyle.

After weighing all the pro’s and Con’s we decided not to amputate. The lesion was on his front right shoulder so he would have to have his whole arm removed in order to get the cancer. The majority of the dog’s weight is on the front half of the dog. So we needed to think of his lifestyle. Our home is not set up for the recovery of a three legged dog. Norman also had a tumor on the spleen so if we were going to amputate we should also do another surgery to remove the spleen. These types of surgery are very hard on any dog and now we have to think about his age and how he will recover from two major surgeries. We have to figure in his age on doing chemotherapy also, with chemotherapy the average length of time a dog makes it afterwards can be a  year. At his age is it fair to put him through all that when we may or may not get a year?

The main reason we made the decision not to treat Norman was because after the wonderful life he gave us for the past 12.5 years we just could not put him through all that could of been done and let what time he had on earth be spent in hospitals with major surgeries, major recoveries and continued care for however long he had left. He came into this world with dignity he was going to leave this earth in dignity and not have to go through all kinds of stuff just so we could prolong his life because we weren’t ready to say goodbye. We wanted to do what was right for Norman and not make him suffer for us. We made a promise to Norman that we would not let him suffer, when it got to the point where he was in more pain (limping more, tumor grew more) we would say goodbye. He was always a happy dog, I don’t think he ever had a sad day so we were going to make sure he left us the same way.

Since we knew we had limited time with Norman we lived like he was dying. We made our rounds and took Norman to all his favorite spots, visited our friends and had them say goodbye to him. I took lots of pictures and we made lots of memories. I had everything planned out right up to the end. He held on and gave us 5 months to cherish each moment.

The day I made the decision I came home from work and the tumor grew and he was limping more and stumbling more. It was time. A friend told me what her Veterinarian told her when she was trying to know when the time was right. The Veterinarian told her that in a terminal disease like this there isn’t a time that is too early but there can be a time that is too late. Some people hold on too long and that is ok for them but it isn’t ok for me. I never regretted our decision or if the time was right. It was right. I was at peace with the time we had with Norman.

Every medical decision is a individual one, it should be thought out carefully with the help of the Veterinary professionals and family members. To me there is no right or wrong answers as to what or how far someone should go for their pet. Each individual needs to make decisions that are right for them and ones that they will be able to live with.

Thank you for listening to Norman’s story. Tomorrow our host will be talking about Elevated Liver Levels, I pass the baton back to Jodi at Heart Like A Dog.

Mischief In Poop Hunt


It’s Scoop That Poop time again.

This months theme is “Poop Hunt”. Brought to you by our great host’s Sugar The Golden Retriever, Oz The Terrier and My Pawsitively Pets.

Poop hunt we're on it.

Poop hunt we’re on it.

The poop hunt begins.

The poop hunt begins.

I wonder who the Mischief drop a load in front of the steps was??????

Gman's on it, scoop that poop before it is tracked into the house.

Gman’s on it, scoop that poop before it is tracked into the house.

One should always Scoop That Poop, especially when someone drops a load right next to the steps to the deck. We don’t want any 2 or 4 leggers stepping in the poop and tracking it into the house.

April is Heartworm Awareness Month 

 The American Heartworm Society (AHS) has developed a series of heartworm life cycle illustrations for Heartworm Awareness Month. These professionally designed illustrations are available in two versions—one for pet owners (shown below) and one for veterinarians and clinic staff. These illustrations can be downloaded for FREE, and are suitable for use in client handouts, on your clinic website or Facebook page, in staff training materials, or to print and post in the exam room.

The AHS recommends year round administration of a chemoprophylatic drugs (heartworm preventative) to prevent heartworm disease, control other pathogenic and/or zoonotic parasites, and enhance compliance.

One big reason to Scoop That Poop.

Poop contains zoonotic parasites which means the parasites can be transmitted to humans. Yuck huh? You can get human parasites from touching animal poop.

In case where people are lazy and don’t Scoop That Poop it is a GREAT idea to have your pet on a Heartworm Preventative and to give that preventative once a month all year long.

Did you know that most Heartworm Preventatives will control intestinal parasites like Roundworms, Hookworms and Whipworms? That is one reason why it is recommended that you give  the preventative all year long so that your pet is dewormed monthly. Another reason why you should give the preventative year round is that you never know when you are going to have warm weather and you don’t have to worry about if you gave the last pill at the right time in the fall/winter. Most Heartworm Preventatives prevent heartworm disease by working backwards, meaning the pill you give on the 1st of the month will kill anything that is in the bloodstream from the month prior not for the current month you give the pill. So if you stop giving the preventative in November because you think it is too cold out you won’t be killing the heartworm that may have been transmitted in October. This happened to my out of state friend, her dog came down with heartworm disease. She gave the last pill in October and thought she would be ok as they had some cold weather. She now is going to give the medication year round and not take the chance again. We had our first case of Heartworm Disease also at the clinic last week. It was a dog that was rescued from down south and adopted out up here. It did have a negative heartworm test in December of 2013 that was negative but it must of been infected and the microfilaria were not old enough to release the antigen needed for a positive test.

Heartworm Disease is a deadly disease, intestinal parasites are transmissible to humans so lets give that Heartworm Preventative once a month all year long and don’t forget to SCOOP THAT POOP!

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monday mischief

This is a Blog Hop. Thanks to 
Alfie’s BlogSnoopy’s Dog Blog , Luna, a Dog’s Life , and My Brown Newfies for setting up this hop. Please go to any of the sponsoring blogs to find out who else has been mischievous.

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Mast Cells And Brooke

It’s time again for Give Cancer The Paw blog hop.


Thanks to our hostess’s Pooch Smooches and Peggy’s Pet Place for this great blog hop!

Brooke’s story……

Way back in July of 98 John and I picked up our first Chesapeake puppy that we were owning together. Brooke was born 5/8/98. We wanted a male but couldn’t find a breeder that had a litter with a male so we went with getting a female and named her Brooke. She didn’t come from someone I would necessary call a breeder, this was his first litter and us being young really didn’t know what we were looking for. Even know I was a Veterinary Technician and I checked that OFA’s were done on the hips but other than that I really didn’t check things out, didn’t know how to read pedigree’s, they didn’t have the health clearance’s then that we have now so that was limited. Brooke came with a birthmark, her momma had bit the tip of her ear off so we would always know which puppy was Brooke.

Lovely puppy Brooke.

Lovely puppy Brooke.

Brooke did a great job hunting her first year.

Brooke did a great job hunting her first year.

After her first year things went downhill. We never did any formal training with her and let her Chesapeake natural retrieving skill do the job. She hunted her first year then she put the breaks on and wouldn’t pick up another bird after that. She became aggressive as she got older, she was going to be our first breeding Chesapeake but with the aggression issues and then failing OFA hips we had her spayed. She was a great companion and guard dog for us but too many people couldn’t take care of her.

Brooke and Norman.

Brooke and Norman.

When Brooke was 6 years old and still having aggression issues my Grandpa died so that left my Grandma living alone out in the country by herself. We lived 3 miles from her but it wasn’t right next door and she was afraid to be by herself. She had a couple occasions when creepy people came knocking at her door so after that she asked me if she could “borrow” Brooke for a few days. I took Brooke over and had a talk with Grandma what she could and couldn’t do with Brooke if she wanted to keep her fingers. I was a little leary leaving Brooke there but that soon ended as Grandma and Brooke hit it off. For the next 4 years Brooke kept the strangers away, slept on Grandma’s bed and made her feel safe. It was a match made in heaven and I was so pleased at how this relationship went so well. I do have to mention that Grandma was a farm girl and never had dogs in the house nor did any vet care except Rabies vaccinations. So when Brooke was diagnosed at age 8.5 yrs with having Mast Cell tumors I really didn’t think Grandma was going to do anything but I was surprised and she wanted to treat her and keep her around for as long as possible as she made her feel safe.



What started out as one small lump on Brooke’s side developed into many lumps. A lump appeared on Brooke’s side, no big deal right? They get lumps and bumps and some are adenoma’s, some are fatty lumps, some are much worse. I gave the lump a couple weeks to see what was going to happen with it, if it was going to grow, if it was going to shrink, if it was going to change in anyway to give me a idea what it was. It grew and then it became ulcerated so I knew I had to get it checked out. I took her to work with me and we did a FNA (fine needle aspirate) on it. Looking at the cells under the microscope I could tell right away it was a Mast Cell tumor. Brooke then had surgery to remove the lump, while she was under we noticed some red plaque like structures on her abdomen, we took a biopsy of one to see what that was (turned out to be more mast cells). We sent the lumps to the pathologist to confirm what we already knew and to have them stage it.

Staging the Mast Cell Tumor

In order for a rational therapeutic plan to be devised, the extent of tumor spread (or stage of the tumor) must be determined. The World Health Organization has determined a clinical staging system based on the body areas affected by the tumor. Between the stage and the grade, a plan can be devised. The tumor is staged 0 through IV as described below:

  • Stage 0: one tumor but incompletely excised from the skin.
  • Stage I: one tumor confined to the skin with no regional lymph node involvement.
  • Stage II: one tumor confined to the skin but with regional lymph node involvement present.
  • Stage III: many tumors or large deeply infiltrating tumors, with or without lymph node involvement.
  • Stage IV: any tumor with distant spread evident. This stage is further divided into substage A (no clinical signs of illness) and substage B (with clinical signs of illness). In order to determine the tumor stage some probing of other lymphoid organs must be performed.

When you do surgery on Mast Cells you need to have a wide margin around the tumor to get it all. Any cells left behind will regrow and need to have surgery done on them again to get it all. Stage I & II are usually curative with complete excision. Stage III  and IV not so much.



After we removed the Mast Cells, she did have more occur. The more that occurred the worse they got. It was time to make a decision on what we were going to do. Grandma wanted to do everything she could for her so we started chemotherapy. Brooke had 6 months of chemo. She did excellent with chemo. Brooke was good for awhile then the tumors came back with a vengeance, they were bigger and she had multiple ones that would become necrotic and break open there were so many and so large surgery wasn’t a option anymore. We did chemo again and after chemo the tumors would shrink up until they would fester again and break open. My doctor said that Brooke was the worse case of Mast Cell tumors that she has ever seen. Grandma wasn’t ready to put Brooke down yet so we continued chemo to shrink the tumors. Brooke never knew anything was wrong.  We managed to keep Brooke going for 1.5 yrs when the tumors spread to her internal organs and she passed away in her sleep one night. She was 10 yrs old when she passed.

Mast Cells are nasty tumors, they start out small and people aren’t concerned with them because they look so innocent but they aren’t. Mast Cells need to be removed immediately and they need to be sent into the pathologist to find out just what you are dealing with. If more come up they need to be removed also. If you have a tumor that comes and goes it could be a Mast Cell. They release histamine and swell up and then the histamine goes away so the tumor shrinks so if you have a lump that comes and goes have it checked out. If you have a small red lump you should have it check out, you should have all lumps checked out to be on the safe side.




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Dental Health and

When contacted me and asked me if I would write a review on one of their products I jumped at the chance as I saw they sell Greenies and with National Pet Dental Health Month coming up in February I couldn’t resist the opportunity being I am a Veterinary Technician work in a clinic and promote National Pet Dental Health Month.

What can brown do for you? They can bring us Greenies from

What can brown do for you? They can bring us Greenies from

What oh what might we have gotten from

What oh what might we have gotten from

Give Gman a minute and he will let you know.

Give Gman a minute and he will let you know.

We got Greenies!

We got Greenies!

Did you know that Greenies are GREENIES® is VOHC accepted and is the #1 Vet-Recommended Dental Chewand The #1 Vet-Recommended Dental Chew*

You can see someone was very happy to get Greenies. (hole in bag)

You can see someone was very happy to get Greenies. (hole in bag)


Complete oral care is important for your dog’s total body health and can add years to their lifespan.** GREENIES® Canine Dental Chews are proven to clean dogs’ teeth by fighting both plaque and tartar buildup, freshening breath, and maintaining healthier teeth and gums. Designed for daily treating, our dental chews are low in fat and nutritionally complete for adult dogs.

Sizes: TEENIE® Treats, Petite, Regular, Large, Jumbo
Other Varieties: Weight Management Dental Chews and GREENIES SENIOR® Dental Chews
Are these all for me?

Are these all for me?

The gang was super excited to get to try the Greenies I got. I think they could smell them through the bag and I got the bag out and they just went nuts.
Am I suppose to hold it like this?

Am I suppose to hold it like this?

Silly Nellie, you are suppose to hold it like this so the end that looks like a brush is near your teeth.

Silly Nellie, you are suppose to hold it like this so the end that looks like a brush is near your teeth.

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

More nom nom nom

More nom nom nom

Delish and good for me.

Delish and good for me.

Key Benefits:


A Total Oral-Health Solution

One dental chew a day helps clean your dog’s teeth by using their natural chewing action to wipe away plaque and tartar buildup from the surface of teeth.


Safe & Easy to Digest

Highly soluble ingredients help our dental chews break down quickly for easy digestion, making them more digestible than premium dry dog food.


Irresistible Taste

Independent testing confirms GREENIES® Dental Chews for dogs are highly palatable and great-tasting.


For Dogs of All Sizes

Our dental chews come in five unique sizes to offer the most appropriate texture and hardness for dogs with a variety of bite-force capabilities.

Anything else in this box?

Anything else in this box?

Sand Spring Chesapeakes gives Greenies and 12 paws up

Sand Spring Chesapeakes gives Greenies and 12 paws up


Because: has more than 300 brands to choose from and is ready to fetch it and ship it, direct to your doorstep, anytime of the day. Have a question regarding the best food for your pet? Call us 24/7 and our helpful customer service team at is ready to listen. lives and breathes pets. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,’s dedicated staff is committed to providing quality pet products to our customers in a fast and easy way. That’s why we have warehouses located throughout the country – so the products are delivered quickly and efficiently. Bottom line, delivers pet happiness – and there’s nothing really better than that.

Their products are 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed (if your not happy call them and they pay for shipping the item back), they have expert pet care and product advice, over 200 of the best pet brands and 24/7 customer care. Another great benefit of is they have autoship for your pet food needs and orders under $49.00 are a flat rate shipping cost of $4.95.

Right now their Greenies are on sale so don’t miss out on National Pet Dental Health Monthy by stocking up on some Greenies from and keep your pets teeth healthy.

200 SW 1st Avenue

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

I was compensated one bag of regular Greenies for a honest review from
We’re joining the Tasty Tuesday blog hop today.  This is a blog hop that celebrates good food, sponsored by Sugar the Golden Retriever and Kols Notes.  

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Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)

What is CERF and what does it have to do with dogs?

CERF is:

  • Maintains a registry of dogs that ACVO Diplomates examine and have found to be unaffected by major heritable eye disease.
  • Maintains a research database which consists of information that is generated by all examinations done by ACVO Diplomates.
 Click on CERF and it will say this:

CERF is the Canine Eye Registration Foundation.

CERF was founded by a group of concerned purebred owners and breeders with the goal of eliminating heritable eye diseases in purebred dogs through registration, research, and education.

The benefits of CERF include:
  • CERF Registration lists which provide a report of all animals of a specific breed registered during the last year.
  • Current research reports on hereditary eye disease for specific breeds in a specific year.
  • CERF  is available to answer any questions you may have regarding your registration process.  Contact the CERF office at 217-693-4800

BREEDER OPTION DIAGNOSTIC CODES click on breeder option to find out what the ophthalmologist is looking for when doing a CERF exam.

CERF exams are only good for one year because the eye can change so quickly. If your a breeder you need to have this exam done once a year to prevent the continuation of heritable eye diseases. Some conditions so up early in life others show up later. After your CERF exam the results should be submitted to a data base to the public can easily look up your information and get your pets results. If something is found on exam the ophthalmologist will give it a breeder option diagnostic code and then it is up to the breeder(s) if they should go ahead with the breeding. There is no law stating you can’t breed when your pet has a code but to be a responsible breeder you need to breed to animals where you don’t have a chance of producing heritable diseases. This is a guideline to help you close the correct match.

I am getting things in order to breed Glory. Since this is Glory’s first time being bred she has not had a CERF exam done yet. You need to have this eye exam done by a ophthalmologist so you need to go to a clinic that offers this service. You can’t just go to your local veterinarian and have this done unless a ophthalmologist works there.


I went to Exceptional Care For Animals which is also the location for Madison Veterinary Specialists. I’ve used this service before and am happy with the care my dogs get when I take them in. One of the doctors that owns this facility used to come to Harmony Pet Care and do mobile orthopedic services on our patients. It was nice to see Dr. Silbernagel and that his same technician Tami worked for him. Dr. Silbernagel cam out and said hi to me and Glory and we reminisced about the time Nellie jumped off the loft of my house when it was in the building stage and broke her hip and Dr. Silbernagel performed the surgery to fix it. He got to meet Nellie’s daughter and was delighted to see such a friendly and sweet chesapeake.


This is Amanda making sure Glory’s eyes will dilate before she adds drops to her eyes to keep them dilated. The eyes need to be dilated so the doctor can look into the whole eye and check out the back of the eye and make sure everything is clear.


Adding the drops to her eyes.


The eyes needed 15 minutes to dilate so I filled out the paperwork for the exam. I needed to know Glory’s AKC registration number and microchip number for the form.


This is a long 15 minutes without any pets from new people.


Saw this really cute painting while there, too bad it was a lab…..still cute thou.


Dr. Katie Diehl and Technician Tami doing the exam. This is done in the dark but for the photo we turned on the light.

Glory got a clean bill of health on her eyes. Everything was normal so she passed her CERF exam and is good to go for breeding where the eyes are concerned.


The Dr. said since my eyes were dilated they may be sensitive to light. Mom got me these really cool shades to where. Whatcha think? Pretty cool huh?

Hoorah for Veterinary Technicians


Today I am joining Blog the Change for animals as a Veterinary Technician. This week is also National Veterinary Technician Week which makes Blog the Change for animals even more special because I am a technician and I help animals out on a daily basis and I hope that I make a difference to them and to their owners.

I graduated back in 1990 from MATC in Madison, WI with a 2 year associated degree in Veterinary Technology. I have had a few jobs with my last one for the past 11 years at Harmony Pet Care. I have been here since they opened the doors on day one. It has been such a joy to work at Harmony and put my skills to use on all the animals that need help.


So if your at the vet this week say Thank You to all the Technicians that work their for all they do for your pets.


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