Thursday, August 14, 2008

Scout lag

Poor Scout! I've really neglected updates about her spazzy little life this summer. And it has been rather adventure-filled! I've written about her lots on my personal blog, but I'll just jot the highlights (or low lights) here.

For starters, she relapsed right after we left for Alaska. Not two days after we'd gone, she started limping and her health deteriorated quickly. Sarah, my wonderful dog and house-sitter, called the vet as soon as she realized Scout was really sick, and Dr. Andrews had her bump Scout back up to 20 mg. of prednisone a day (she had been on 5 mg. every other day previously).

Scout snapped out of her slump quickly, but then the fireworks started. Sarah kept her on the doggie drugs we left day and night, but our neighbors are total pyromaniacs and Scout stayed in a frenzied state of frantic for days. The night of the 4th, with all firework hell breaking loose in our neighborhood, Scout was so beside herself that Sarah actually climbed in our jacuzzi tub (Scout's safe place in the master bathroom) and slept with her there! That's devotion!

By the time we returned, the fireworks were pretty much finished, Sarah had Scout down to 5 mg. of pred per day and the house and yard looked great!

After watching a few episodes of the Dog Whisperer at my aunt's house in July, I decided to tackle Scout's nuisance barking. First, I tried a citronella collar, but Scout is usually running amuck while she's barking, so the spray never actually went anywhere near her nostrils (although Greg got squirted a few times). We then tried a static collar, which shocks the dog after each bark--with increasing intensity. The manager at PetSmart assured me it was just like the static jolt you get when you walk across a rug in the dead of winter.

It's been pretty effective--as long as Scout's wearing the collar. She'll bark once, twice if she's really excited, and then usually just settled for running in circles. But she figures out real fast when the collar's not on, and barks her head off.

Oh well! She's been on lots of hikes and outings this summer--she's even jumped in the pool a few times with my son-in-law, Krispin. The only real difference I notice in Scout since she got sick is that she doesn't like other dogs very well now. I have to hold her close if we meet other dogs on the trail--she gets snarky if they get in her face. She kind of acts old and grumpy at times, even though she just turned 3 in July. I suppose her auto-immune condition takes a lot out of a body.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Scout

It has been a while since an update--but Scout has been good!

I've quit trying to wean her off the low dose of pred. The vet I'm going to said Scout's condition is kind of like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis--it's life long and she'll have occasional flare-ups. Scout just seems to feel better on the constant every-other-day dose and I can't see any ill side-effects (and thank the Lord prednisone is cheap!), so we'll continue on this course of action until it stops working.

In case you missed it on my blog, Scout has been herding sheep, rounding up chickens, hiking, and generally enjoying her puppy life. Fireworks season has begun, which is the bane of her existence, but we give her drugs and she hunkers down in our big tub. We will be in Alaska for the next 3 weeks, but a wonderful young lady will be Scout sitting.

I've posted a picture of Scout and her prayer-warrior friend, Tyson. They've been on several walks together since she's recovered.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pup on Prozac

When I took Scout to the vet last week, he observed her extreme anxiety and OCD behavior. He thought that a sedative, like xanax or prozac, might help calm her and help her avoid relapse. So we started her a few days ago, and so far she's spazzier than ever. But the vet said it takes 3 weeks for the blood levels to adjust to the drug . . .
So, my poor pup's on prozac! My prayer is that it relieves her separation anxiety and helps calm her during fireworks season. And that it doesn't douse her vibrant personality.
The picture is Scout mooching from Polly Carl on our ladies' hike to Triple Falls on Saturday.

Monday, April 28, 2008


So, Scout was totally off prednisone for a week and was doing great. We thought her battle with polyarthritis was behind us. But then two days ago, some of the symptoms returned--she went lame in her back left leg, got really stiff and lethargic, her nose started dripping like a faucet. It was quite upsetting. So, I put her back on a very low dose of pred (2 1.2 mg.) and gave her some pain medication. She limped most of the day yesterday, but seems a little better today.

Greg and I wonder if stress didn't set the condition off again (I've read that can happen). We've had good weather--and open doors--the past few days and Scout has been driven nuts by the sounds of spring--the neighbor boy bouncing his basketball in the street, school busses and UPS trucks driving by, even occasional fireworks. Those innocent noises make Scout crazy--she paces and circles frantically for hours on end.

Keep praying and I'll keep you posted. I'm praying she'll be recovered enough to do the Extreme hike in the Gorge this weekend.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Well, this is the fifth day that Scout has been off prednisone! She seems to be doing pretty well, no real symptoms of relapse rearing their ugly heads. I watch her like a hawk, of course, determined not to let that terrible disease take hold of her again. I can truly say that Scout's illness was one of the more stressful events of the past decade . . .

I have a feeling that she'll always be a bit on the fragile side. She's done with vaccinations and we'll try to keep her stressors to a minimum. To me, Scout seems a lot older than her actual 2 1/2 years.

I'm a little stressed about what to do with her when we go to AK for two weeks this summer. We'll be gone over the 4th of July, which is really a bad day for Scout. We live in a neighborhood that shoots off loud and illegal fireworks for weeks before and after the holiday, terrorizing my poor dog. I'm trying to decide if I should kennel her while we are gone or get someone to housesit and stay close to her during the 4th festivities.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mud puppy

Well, Scout participated in her first Extreme Women's event since she got sick today! Yippee skippee!
It was just me, Marissa and Scout, but we hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls in a steady drizzle. I looked like a drowned rat and Scout smelled like wet dog (go figure) by the time we got to the top of the falls. It was so awesome to have her out on the trail again. She seemed just like her spazzy old self!

She's still on prednisone, though. I'm giving her about 2 mg. every other day. It's been such a slow process, this weaning, but we are definitely making progress. Everything I've read on the Internet or heard from dog people emphasizes that fact--go slow with the weaning.

So I am.

One thing I'm a little uncertain about is what to do about her vaccinations. I've heard from several sources--including a vetrinary specialist--that Scout should not ever have another vaccinations because of her condition. But that means I can't every leave her in a kennel, probably shouldn't take her to dog parks, etc. My poor dog has become even more high maintenance than she was before she got sick! But I know we'll figure it out. But I'm already worrying about what to do with her over the 4th of July. She hates fireworks with a passion and we'll be in Alaska that entire week. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Almost her spazzy old self!

Scout is down to .5 mg. of prednisone every other day. It took me a few tries to successfully get her to that dosage. One night (after I skipped the daily dose), she woke me up gasping for breath. I gave her a dose of prednisone and she quickly calmed down and went back to sleep. She was fine by morning.

So I let her recover for a day or two and then tried it again. She showed no distress at all this time. She continues to grow stronger each day--whirling in circles and jumping up on the bed. I took her for a 1 1/2 mile walk yesterday and she didn't limp or seem tired afterward.

I really think she is on the mend!

I've had a hard time shaking the depressing assessment given by the last vet we took Scout to. She briefly checked Scout over, glanced at her thick wad of lab reports and medical records and said, "I don't think she has polyarthritis/meningitis. I suspect lymphoma."

We rejected her suggestion to start another round of costly tests, choosing instead to keep on with our course of treatment. Everytime Scout would have a bad day, or start limping again, I would fret. Did she have cancer? I didn't think I could handle watching my dog go through that kind of suffering again.

But this week, after Scout's struggle for breath, I decided to do some research on lymphoma. Just in case. I found out that dogs left either untreated or treated just with prednisone to alleviate pain, usually survive only 8 weeks after the onset of symptoms. It has been 9 weeks since Scout got sick.

Boy, did I breathe a sigh of relief!