This N That On A Thursday Barks And Bytes

I’ve been seeing these beautiful custom paintings by Lauren Hammack from Off The Wall Paintings floating around social media. Little did I know my pals at Chewy.com #chewy, @chewy had a surprise delivered to my door yesterday.

Oh boy what do we have here?

MK racing in to see if it is for her.

Is it for me?

Nope MK it’s for the brown dogs, your not brown!

It’s the SS gang in their Christmas hats.

A close up with a lovely note.

The note thanked me for being so awesome and being a part of the Chewy.com blogging family. Really Chewy.com is the awesome ones. I will hang this canvas portrait in pride and smile every time I look at it. Off the wall paintings did a beautiful job painting the brown dogs and capturing their essence. I remember the photo shoot I did last Dec where the gang wore their bandannas and hats, it was a fun shoot and the pictures were great, I now have a beautiful painting to remember that day by.

Here are some random photos from a couple of our walks last week.

Weed laying Glory. She thinks she is back in the wheat field in Canada.

Glory and her wood.

Stopped playing with his ball for a picture in the marsh grass.

Snowy nose.

What’s going on over there?

Stop back tomorrow for Fitdog Friday and see the pictures from our woods walk.

BB3

We are joining Linda at 2browndawgs and Jodi at Heart Like A Dog for this great blog hop.

 

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

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

How does one collect a urine sample?

The best time to collect a urine sample for diagnostic tests is the first urine sample of the morning. This will give you the best Specific Gravity results (more on that later). Once collected it should be stored in the refrigerator until you can bring it into the clinic, if left out bacteria can multiple and crystals can form and you don’t know if this is part of the results or artifacts. . It shouldn’t be older than 12 hours. If you can’t collect a sample at home you can let the clinic know and set up a time to come in and have a lovely technician collect the sample. If you are feeling adventurous you  can collect the sample at home it is best to use as sterile of container as you can. Using a clean rubbermaid flat container, a clean butter container, a soup ladle or a coat hanger with a plastic bag. If collecting at the clinic and the dog doesn’t want to pee in the cup then the doctor can get the sample via urinary catherization or cystocentesis both of those methods are considered sterile samples as a regular collection is a free catch sample. The technician and doctor will take the collection device into consideration when looking at and reading the urine results.

The urine collection system that my mom designed.

As you can see Nellie is very happy to show off my urine collection system….NOT!

Success, it worked.

Once the female dog squats you slide the bag under her whoo ha and collect the urine. A male dog, you slide it under if it squats or stick it around the side if it lifts it’s leg, being careful not to get it out of there in time before it steps in it when he brings his foot down. If winter time like it is now in WI you want to be careful not to get snow in the sample as it my alter the results.

Components of the Urinalysis – What is the Doctor looking at when reading urinalysis results?

1. Color and Clarity of urine sample –  odor or no odor

2. Specific Gravity

3. Dipstick

4. Microscopic Exam

5. Culture

Components

First you will note the color and clarity of the sample, then the odor. The color will tell you how the kidneys are concentrating the urine. It’s kinda a quick glance to tell you if there is a problem before the whole urinalysis is done. You then want to smell it and note if it has a odor or not, again that will tell you if there is a problem before you are done.

Refractometer – checking urine specific gravity.

Second you need to put a drop of urine on the refractometer to see what the urine specific gravity is. The specific gravity will tell you how the kidneys are concentrating the urine. Dark urine means they urine is well concentrated, light urine means the kidneys are not concentrating the urine meaning there might be a problem with the kidneys.

Urine dipstick

Third we will do a urine dipstick. The dipstick will tell us the PH of the urine, if blood is present, if protein is present, if glucose or ketones are present and if bilirubin is present. All these test could mean there is a problem with the urine, kidneys or if a animal is diabetic.

Centrifuge

Fourth we will spin down the urine in a centrifuge, the centrifuge uses great force to separate the  solid components of the urine from the liquid. After the urine sample is spun down it is set up for microscopic exam on the sediment.

It’s time to read the sediment under the microscope.

Staining of the sediment.

You can look at the sediment stained or unstained. Staining the urine sediment will make some structures more visible.

Culture on the urine.

A culture should be set up on each urine sample to check for bacteria in the bladder. It is best to do a culture on a sterile urine sample but that isn’t always the collection method so you do it on a free catch sample taking note if something grows on the plate it may be a contaminant and not a bacteria that is really causing a problem. If bacteria grows then we send it to a outside lab to run a id (tell us what bacteria it is) and sensitivity (a drug sensitivity to test which drugs will kill the bacteria). A culture may take up to 3 days to grow and another couple of days to get the sensitivity results.

Now what did Nellie’s urine tell us?

The main reason we did a urinalysis is because of her slightly high BUN from her bloodwork that I talked about on Tuesday, that you can view here. The doctor wanted a specific gravity to see if she was concentrating urine or not. If she wasn’t concentrating urine it would be another sign that the kidneys aren’t working like they should be. Since I had the urine I did a complete urinalysis. Nellie’s concentration was >1.050 which meant she was concentrating urine just fine that the kidneys were working good.

Microscopic exam showing many white blood cells (all the round cells to the right of the picture.

There was bacteria seen, epithelial cells and all the round cells to the right are all white blood cells. So at first glance you would look at this and see TNTC (too numerous to count) white blood cells and think that she has a major infection going on and needs to be put on antibiotics.

Urine results

When the doctor looked at the results and got a history from me which was that she was showing no signs of a urinary tract infection (increase drinking, increase urinating, frequent urination, blood in urine, accidents in house) she thought we need to find out if the WBC’s were really coming from the bladder (which would say bladder infection) or from the vagina (which would say vaginitis). So this lead us to the cystocentesis we performed that you saw on Wednesdays post, if you didn’t see it view it here.

Jackpot

A interesting way of getting a cysto sample. You put the dog on it’s back pour rubbing alcohol on the belly and where it pools you stick the needle in the deepest part of the pooled area and you will hit the bladder and get your sample, if there is enough urine in the bladder at that time. This is considered a sterile sample (you might hit the intestines and get fecal matter so that will not be a sterile sample if you see “floaties” and the urine is brown) so if there are WBC’s in it then we know she has a bladder infection.

Microscope exam.

You can’t see all those sheets of wbc’s in this sample so it means the wbc’s were coming from the vagina which means she has a vaginitis, which you can read about here. You need to combine the history with all the components of the urinalysis to come to a diagnosis.

Stop back tomorrow for:

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

BB3

 

We are joining Linda at 2browndawgs and Jodi at Heart Like A Dog for this great blog hop.

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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

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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

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

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Nothing But Norman #79

Happy Saturday All!

Project16 - Copy - Copy - Copy

This was from one of our hunts at Pheasant Creek Hunt Club. My friend Lynn was shooting and I was taking pictures. She is a guide at the hunt club with her pointers. I got to let Norman and Nellie get a few birds that day. I just love the first photo I’m going to show it in color too so you can see the beauty of the rooster pheasant in color.

Guess you really can’t see the color since I resized the photo. Norman used to point the birds before he flushed them. He was just a clown sometimes he would pounce on them like a mouse.

Once again Norman has come back to me. My best friend got me this set of glasses for Christmas. I thanked her for including Norman and she said “he will always be part of the family”. Thank you Amy, I love them!

We are joining Ruckus The Eskie and Earl’s World for Sepia Saturday.

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We are also joining The Pet Parade.

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How To Stay Fit In Cold Temps~Fitdog Friday

How To Stay Fit In Cold Temps you ask the SS gang? They stay fit by playing with their outside toys when there is snow on the ground and it’s cold outside. When it is cold they don’t think about how cold it is because they are running around playing, chasing, retrieving but most of all playing keep away from the one who doesn’t have the toy. In cold conditions you need to do short periods of play and have them come in to warm up. If it was up to the SS gang they would stay out for as long as they can. You do need to be careful of slippery area’s when playing in the cold and snow.

Here are the pictures of the SS gang’s fun in the snow.

Nellie just loves the puller toy, she will play by herself with it. She will run around with it, she will flip it up and shake it, she will play footsie with it all burning calories as she plays.

Gambler wanted to play with the jolly ball and would race around to keep it away from the girls. Glory did manage to get the other jolly ball so she could have some fun too.

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The fun and games continue every Friday with FitDog Friday, the weekly Blog Hop brought to you by To Dog With LoveSlimDoggy and Emma from Mygbgvlife to promote a healthy active lifestyle for pets (and their people, too!). Join in every Friday by linking up your FitDog story or visiting the blogs in the Hop.
January has been declared “Get Fit with Your Pet” month.  Resolve to keep you and your pet healthy and fit for 2015.

 

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