Apparently Boyd Needs a Pet Dermatologist

I have 3 dogs.  That may surprise some of you because I really only ever talk about 1.  No, not because he’s the favorite, but because he’s the one who always seems to be causing drama. Boyd…. you can read about his history of ailments here, here, and here, but the short version is that he’s had chronic skin allergies and ear infections for as long as we’ve owned and loved him.

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He currently has yet another ear infection, and has been spending a lot of time scratching at his ears till they bleed and whining.  I took him to the vet on Monday, expecting his usual round of meds.  As it turns out, this ear infection is different.  It’s bacterial instead of the usual yeast.

Grossed out yet?  Good… let’s continue.

So, the lucky guy was prescribed 2 types of ear drops (which he hates) and an oral medication (which he also hates).

The vet we saw was also new to this animal hospital, so she took some time to talk to me about his chronic issues.  We’ve had this same discussion with several different vets, and our most recent solution was to put him on a low dose steroid to stave off any further infections.  While it didn’t stop the problem completely, he was definitely having issues far less frequently than he had been before the steroids, so we went with it.  But, as this vet pointed out, there are risks to long-term ‘roid use, and it was really more of a band-aid than a solution anyway.  If he continues to get ear infections, he’s at risk for his ears to swell up so much that he requires surgery.

On top of all of this is the thing that’s been bothering me for a while- his comfort level.  He has spent so much of his life in pain or discomfort, and all I’ve ever wanted was for him to be healthy long-term.

The vet suggested we see an animal dermatologist. (No offense to any pet dermatologists out there, but doesn’t that kind of sound funny?  Like, who grows up thinking one day I wanna be a pet dermatologist?)  She anticipates that the dermatologist (which will not be cheap) will want to do some allergy testing (which will also not be cheap).  This isn’t the first time allergy testing has been mentioned to us, but it is the first time we’ve seriously considered it.  Last time, the hassle and expense seemed so ludicrous when we hadn’t yet tried cheaper and easier steroid option.

As I sat there talking to the vet (who also pointed out that he’s overdue to get his nails clipped), I felt like a failure as a puppy parent.  It’s not that we hadn’t tried (I can’t even count how many times we’ve taken him to the vet, how many meds we’ve tried, and how many different types of food he’s been on), it’s that I felt like we hadn’t tried hard enough.  He kept having the ear infections, but instead of taking that extra step to determine the root cause once and for all, we kept dealing with them as they happened, throwing medicine at the problem, and going on with our lives.

Of course, it’s only gotten worse since we had L.  Of course L is our number 1 priority in life, but have we made her so much of a priority that we’d completely forgotten about our poor pups?  Even our miserable, ailing one?  We adopted 3 dogs out of love.  We would have gladly adopted more if we had time, money, and space to accommodate them all, but we definitely maxed out at 3.  While our intentions were pure, should we have recognized that maybe 3 was too many for us?  Or maybe 3 was okay, but only if we hadn’t planned to have a baby?  And even though all 3 are rescues, sometimes I wonder if one or more of them could have had better lives if they’d been adopted by someone else.  We do our best- they have a big yard and warm beds and companions to wrestle with- but sometimes I wonder if they could have gotten lucky in a house that would have offered them undivided attention.

Then I have to remind myself that maybe they’re right where they belong.  What if Boyd ended up in a house where the people didn’t have the time or patience to do anything about his chronic ear infections?  What if Sadie ended up in a  house that had no patience for her diva ways and returned her to the shelter?

Okay, we’ve obviously given them better lives than that, but I’m still struggling with how much Boyd has suffered, and where we go from here.  First, we have to find the funds to see this dermatologist, and then we have to hope that all the time and money will pay off with an answer- something concrete we can finally resolve.

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Family Outing- ER Time!

  Meet Boyd, our goofy, illness-prone, lovable pup.

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Meet JD, my goofy, injury-prone, lovable husband.

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There’s a very good chance these 2 were separated at birth.

As you know, Boyd had a hematoma in his ear a few weeks ago.  Last Wednesday night, JD discovered he had the same thing in one of his ears, an injury that resulted from a MMA session at the gym.  So, he went to the ER to have it drained, and came home with some lovely gauze sewn into his ear.

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Back off, ladies, he’s mine.

He removed the gauze Friday night (after getting approval from the doctor), then woke up Saturday morning to discover his ear had filled with fluid again.

So, rather than spending the absolutely gorgeous Saturday afternoon outside, we went on a little family outing to the ER.  At first, we went to the  “local” branch of the hospital, which is what the on-call specialist at the “big” hospital told us to do.  That was a disaster from the start.  Everyone, from the nurse to the doctor, seemed confused as to why we were there.  After quite a while (an hour or so), they finally told us that they couldn’t do the procedure there, and we’d have to go to the main hospital.  So, we waited for discharge papers, and waited… and waited some more.  Finally, JD went out to ask what was taking so long, and they informed us that they had ordered a transport for us.

Um, what?

First of all, they ordered the transport without mentioning it to us at all, that is until we asked.  Secondly, we had driven to the ER, so why would we need someone to transport us to the main hospital?  Thirdly, riding in an unnecessary hospital transport would mean outrageous charges on our bill.  No thanks.

So, they finally got us our discharge papers and we got the hell out of there.  As irritated as we were, I’m glad no one there tried to drain JD’s ear, because they clearly had no clue what they were doing.

So, off to the big hospital we went.  JD was not thrilled, because this hospital is not only in his district, but in his beat, so he was not pleased to be going there off duty.  From the second we walked in, I could tell he was on-edge, eyeing everyone in the waiting area.  He didn’t like being there out of uniform, with his family, especially after seeing a couple people he’d previously arrested.  Luckily, the advantage to being out of uniform is that he’s less conspicuous, so no one ever gave us a second glance.

After some confusion at check-in (they were supposed to have a bed waiting for us since he’d already been admitted at the branch hospital), they showed us to a room where we waited… and waited… and waited some more.  At this point, practically my entire Saturday had been wasted sitting around in hospitals, and I was getting hungry (you don’t want to be around me when I’m hungry).  Basically, I wanted to punch everybody in the face.

In total, I think we spent 6 hours in hospitals on Saturday.  After finally getting his ear drained and checking out, we made our way home and ordered some Olive Garden to go.  JD tried to salvage the evening by finding a “classic Italian” station on Pandora and installing a “candle” app on his phone so it could feel like “a real restaurant.”  I love that man.  No matter how irritated I am, he can always manage to make me laugh.

I should also mention that Loralai was a champ.  She barely made a peep in all the hours we were out and about, which is greatly appreciated since her behavior could have easily taken my day from I want to punch everybody in the face to I’m having a nervous breakdown.  Hey Loralai, keep being awesome.

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While I cleaned up dinner, JD gave Loralai a bath (to wash off 6 hours worth of hospital) then put her to bed, we watched a show, and went to bed.

Everything was normal until about 3am, when I woke up because JD was in agonizing pain.  They had given him Vicodin, but he said it wasn’t working.  In all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him in pain like this- not after breaking his kneecap in half, or after knee surgery, or after splitting his face open on the cement.  I went downstairs and got an ice pack for him, which seemed to numb the pain enough that he eventually fell asleep.

He slept until 3 on Sunday, and although his ear was still hurting, he was certainly better than the night before.

So, not the best weekend in our household.  In fact, it felt like we wasted a warm, sunny weekend where he was actually off work.

Ah, the life of an adrenaline junkie and his family.

Boyd Update

The poor pup.  His procedure on Tuesday went as expected; all the fluid was drained and now we’re just waiting for the ear to fully heal.

Having to wear the cone is making him majorly depressed.  The poor guy has no peripheral vision and can’t navigate around the house without bumping into things and getting stuck.  He usually gives up and finds a spot to lie down and pout.  We have to take the cone off every so often to make sure he gets some water, and I’ll usually take it off when he goes outside so he’s not quite so disoriented.  He also has very little appetite, probably a result of his meds.

Sadie, our diva pup, seems to be getting progressively more jealous from all the attention Boyd is getting.  I can practically hear her thinking First they brought home that stupid baby and now THIS. Harrier, the “fixer” of the family seems upset that he can’t get to Boyd’s ears to lick the wound.  He’ll look over and Boyd and his cone, then look over at me with an expression that seems to say I just want to help!

But he is getting better, slowly but surely.

And in other craziness, JD’s best friend starts the police academy on Monday, and he’ll be moving in with us for the first two weeks.  The moral support that JD can provide, having “been there,” will be invaluable in getting him through the first few weeks.  It’s strange feeling like I have to start the nightmare of the academy alongside someone all over again. More on our newest roommate next week…

TGIF!

Our Pup and His Ailments

Oh, Boyd….

If it’s not one thing, it’s another with this pup. Boyd’s had more than his share of ailments and vet appointments. We’ve been through a slew of ear infections, skin allergies, a staph infection, and stomach sensitivities (which resulted in prescription food, for a time).

His ear infections have been a constant in our lives and are usually worst in the spring and fall (which leads me to believe it’s some kind of environmental allergen that’s causing them). He’s been scratching at his ears a lot lately (and whining miserably, poor guy), and we’ve been trying to keep up with his ear drops, which help clean out his ears and soothe the itchiness. Last night when I gave him his drops, I noticed one ear was really swollen.

JD and I were immediately concerned, and JD took him to the vet this morning. We confirmed that he has a hematoma (broken blood vessel) in his ear, most likely caused by all the scratching and head shaking he’s been doing. The excess blood caused the area to swell.

So, back to the vet we go tomorrow (we are, by far, their best customers), so Boyd can go under anesthesia, get his ear drained, and get some meds to help prevent infection. For now (and until his ear heals), he has to wear one of those fun cones around his head.

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Understandably, he is not impressed.

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I just hope he knows how much we love him, and how hard we’re trying to make him feel better.   If not, at least he’s always quick to forgive and forget.

Meet the Family

Meet my hubby, JD

JD and I were introduced 5  years ago.  I often say that JD and I had to be introduced, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have ended up together.  Not just because of geography (he was serving in the Marine Corps and stationed over 2 hours away at the time), but because he wasn’t the type of guy I typically dated.

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A long-distance relationship with a tattooed, motorcycling-riding Marine, who was 3 years my junior was everything I thought I didn’t want, but I quickly learned that once you get past the tough, sarcastic exterior, there is an honest, fun, loyal, loving man who is now an awesome husband and father.

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He has certainly kept things interesting over the past 5 years.  As an adrenaline junkie with serious ADD, he is continuously testing out new, dangerous activities.  From hobbies that include BMX bikes, MMA, and motorcycles, to his career choice as a police officer, JD is constantly living life on the edge and keeping me on my toes.  Ultimately, I think we balance each other out.   I keep him grounded and he encourages me to step outside my boundaries by turning me on to things like camping.

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Meet our daughter, Loralai

Last year, we were elated to learn we were expecting our first child.  Loralai Violet made her debut in February after only 3 hours of labor and a dramatic rush to the hospital, complete with a police escort (the benefits of being a police wife)!   She is now 6 months, and is the happiest, most easygoing baby.  She’s made our transition to parenthood easy and brings us so much joy to our lives.

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Meet our pups

Rounding out our family of 6 are our 3 rescue dogs, Harrier, Boyd, and Sadie.  With the 3 of them around, our house tends to resemble a zoo.  Two dogs is a lot; three is definitely too many, but when Sadie appeared in our life, we couldn’t resist.

JD adopted Harrier as a puppy, well before I came into the picture.  Harrier is intuitive and protective and I know Loralai and I are 100% safe when JD is working nights.  He’s great with kids and is the best behaved of our 3 (although that’s not saying a lot).

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We adopted Boyd after JD and I bought our house.  Boyd is the largest of our 3 but also the biggest baby.  He’s a gentle giant, a huge cuddle bug, and super patient with kids.  He is also slobbery, socially awkward, and dopey.  He lets out a loud, desperate wail when he sees or hears other dogs, making it extremely difficult to take him anywhere, which is frustrating when we’re taking him back and forth to the vet for his various health issues, including skin allergies, ear infections, and stomach sensitivities.  We love him, though 🙂

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JD found Sadie injured and hiding in a bush one day when he stopped to take a break from a motorcycle ride.  Animal control took her to the county shelter, where she was put on a 3 day hold.  No one claimed her, and our hearts broke.  Initially, we were planning to foster her while she healed from hip surgery and a broken foot, but somewhere in there she won our hearts and we ended up adopting her.  She’s our diva dog and gets what she wants, when she wants it.

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So, that’s my family.  Between the 5 of them, they keep me quite busy.  I’m sure there will be many anecdotes to come.