Saturday, August 18, 2007

Silly Puppy

Look at my silly puppy! He's searching for a stick that sunk after I threw it for him to fetch.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Health Concerns

Lately we've been dealing with a couple of health issues, which thankfully don't seem too serious, but they bear mentioning.
First of all, soon after Savvy's fall in the boat (see previous posts) he began holding his tail in a strange position, arched up and then tucked back under at the end. This concerned me, but I rationalized it by assuming he was still a bit scared. Then about a 4 days later, a spot in the middle of the tail began swelling up noticeably. Turns out that while he didn't actually break it, Savage's tail had just received a nasty bruise, and my vet said that the swelling would gradually subside, which it has been doing.
At the same vet appointment she addressed my main concern, which was limping affecting Savvy's right back leg. This had been going on for a few weeks, with one episode where he wouldn't put any weight on the leg at all. It was possible for me to gently feel along his leg, hip, and joints, with no pain or discomfort for him. However, as his vet palpated the long bone in his lower leg (shin area) his pain was obvious to both of us. Savvy was diagnosed with panosteitis and given a cycle of anti-inflammatory pills called Deramaxx.
Panosteitis is an inflammation of the long bones in growing pups, and doesn't normally occur in dogs as old as Savvy. The good news is that it will eventually go away on it's own. Because he is no longer limping and doesn't seem to be in any pain at all, I decided not to give him the pain pills. I generally don't like to put any medication into my doggie's body that is not absolutely necessary. I've been limiting his exercise a bit, and keeping his diet the same. Savage is now acting completely normal and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Randy, Savvy, and I recently took a trip down to southern Minnesota to pick up our new boat. Having finally got it on the water last weekend, we introduced Savage to it. He was a little wary of it, since the only boats he's been on so far have been 14' or 16', while the new one is 26' long. He explored the cabin, and seemed frustrated that moving around down below is a little difficult for a great dane. Most of his time was spent standing on the raised motor box, gazing out at the lake. At one point he put his feet up on the side of the boat to look over the gunnels and his front paws slipped off. Randy had to grab him by the collar and pull him back to the center of the boat, and poor boy fell onto the edge of the motor box. A little scary for puppy, but no harm appears to be done.
Our new boat is designed to be a cabin cruiser, but of course we will turn it into a fishing boat for Lake Superior. Because we spend most of our big lake fishing near Isle Royale, Michigan, I don't anticipate taking Savvy on the boat very often. The laws governing Isle Royale prohibit bringing dogs within 3 miles of the island, due to the risk of parvovirus infecting the native wolf population. So my doggie's boating time may be limited to cruising around outside the harbor. In any case, he has loved being on the water since he was a puppy, so he'll have fun even if he can't join me on every fishing trip.
The month of July has been very hot for those of us used to northeastern Minnesota weather, and that means Sava and I haven't been as active lately. He gets his walks every other day, but most of his exercise is limited to playing with the other dogs near the lakeshore. My boy still doesn't really love to swim, but I've been making him do it just to cool off. If I paddle around the bay in a canoe he can't help but dive in to follow me, so he's in the lake almost every day. Now when I start to launch the canoe he wades right in and starts swimming, which makes me think he's getting more accepting of it. He no longer stands on the shore and cries.
I'm still searching for a satisfactory vet to do Savage's neuter. I continue to be paranoid and worried about possible complications of the surgery, and I confess that I may be procrastinating making an appointment. Meanwhile, Savvy continues to exhibit some annoying "male" behaviors, and I know I have to commit to getting him fixed as soon as possible. He's getting too much of an attitude for me to control with simple voice commands. But he's still just a big baby...