Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Photo Contest!

I'm shamelessly asking everyone I know to vote for Savvy's photo on The vacuum cleaner manufacturer is sponsoring a contest to find a new pet model to represent their Pet Hair Eraser vacuum, and I've entered a picture of Savage. The weekly winner receives a free vacuum, and the grand prize winner gets their pet's photo on the actual vacuum, and a $10000 donation to the pet cause of their choice. Think about what that money would mean to local rescues and shelters! Starting February 19th you can go to Bissell's voting page and cast a vote for your favorite pet photo (hopefully my puppy!). Also, you can upload your own doggie's picture for a chance to win! I saw a commercial for this contest on television and figured we'd give it a shot. Wish us luck!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Shaky Dane

In the last few previous posts I've mentioned Savage having incidences of side-to-side head-shaking which generally last 1 to 2 minutes. From doing a lot of searches on the internet I'm inclined to attribute these episodes to a condition known as idiopathic head tremors. This condition seems to be seen more often in dobermans, boxers, and bulldogs, from what I've read. Enter "idiopathic head tremors" on a search engine and you will find some information, though not a lot. I've also found user-posted videos on YouTube of dogs going through these tremors. Each looks almost exactly like Savage's, one of which I've posted below for anyone interested. Baby Dog has been having these an average of once a day since about a week ago.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Positive Changes

The day after we got back from Savage's vet visit I started him on 1/2 a buffered aspirin twice a day - for both his breakfast and dinner I crushed the aspirin and sprinkled it over his food. I used buffered (coated) aspirin because it is generally gentler on the stomach, and only gave his such a low dose because he has never been on any drugs before, and I hoped a small amount would effect him greatly. In only 3 days the change has been amazing! Even after the first dose his limping decreased noticeably, and he rapidly became more active. Now he is down to 1/2 aspirin once a day and the results continue to be effective. I'm only allowing him a little exercise, though with temperatures as low as 30 degrees below lately he's not inclined to spend much time outdoors, anyway. The limping has virtually disappeared.
I declined to use the Deramaxx he was prescribed because even though aspirin has similar "possible" side effects, there seems to be many more documented cases of stomach ulceration, kidney failure, and even death resulting from the use of Deramaxx than with aspirin. While my decision to give my dog aspirin is ultimately mine alone, I encourage all dog owners to research the medications your dog is prescribed. In Savvy's case, the aspirin is working well, so far with no negative side effects that I can see. Which makes us both happy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Savage has been limping very noticeably in the past week, to the point where he refuses to put any weight at all on his right front leg. At first I thought he had slipped on ice or fallen (though I had not seen him do so, and we've been relaxing at home for a few days because I've been sick with a cold). I waited for the limp to correct itself, but 4 days ago he began exhibiting a weird head-shaking behavior at least once a day. Though horrific for me to watch, the head shaking was not like a seizure, with Savvy completely aware, not drooling, eyes not dilated, etc. These episodes each lasted about a minute each and I "snapped him out of it" by offering him a treat - in two cases the treat was a Dorito (could this be the cure? LOL.) Then 2 days ago I took him for a short walk and about a minute into it, he started limping even worse, gave a few high-pitched whines, sat down in the snow, and wouldn't follow me further. That was enough to make me call his vet and make an appointment.
Yesterday we met with a vet at our regular clinic (not his normal doctor) and after moving his leg around, three x-rays, and lots of head-scratching and consulting with other vets, Savage was diagnosed with hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD). The new vet attributed the head-shaking to him just dealing with the pain, but I have researched this enough to believe that it may be something called "idiopathic head tremors", which is a condition most commonly affecting dobermans and english bulldogs. It seems that neurological diagnostic tests come out normal with idiopathic head tremors, and the affected dogs are otherwise healthy.
The HOD diagnosis scared me because I know some danes that struggled with this as very young puppies and went through incredible pain. Only when we were driving home did I remember Savvy's episode of panosteitis back in August. Because both diseases seem so similar to the lay-person (me) I'm almost inclined to think that this limping may just be a continuation of Savvy's pano, albeit more severe. In both cases, the diseases should resolve themselves in time, and the best I can do is let my boy rest and treat him with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. I was given Deramaxx at the clinic, but given the terrible possible side-effects I have not given Savage any yet. Both my vet tech cousin and my dane's breeder reccommended buffered aspirin (another NSAID) in very low doses and I think I will start him out on that with breakfast tomorrow. The side effects with aspirin appear to be almost the same as Deramaxx, but we will try aspirin first.
It's very difficult to be proactive with my dog's health without having the knowledge of different diseases, medications, etc. I'm hoping that these current health problems will eventually go away, and I will keep researching them and sharing my findings on the blog.
In the meantime, Savage is being his normal wonderful self, except for the lethargy and limping. He's very happy to be home after dealing with the nervousness of the vet's office. He did behave very well considering the strangers poking and prodding at him. The x-rays were difficult because he's so big and doesn't really fit comfortably on the table, and hates being held down against his will. I was very proud of him for being so willing to go through those things. In retaliation for those dreadful two hours he drooled all over absolutely every thing and everyone he possibly could.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

This is only the second time Savage has been out ice-fishing with us, but this time I remembered to bring a camera.
My big puppy doesn't exactly LOVE riding on the snowmobile with my boyfriend, but he tolerates it in order to get to our favorite fishing spot. There he spends time wandering around the lake, eating minnows, and singeing his tail on the heater in the fish house. Every time one of us catches a fish it immediately gets presented to the great dane, who treats them like slippery, squirmy toys. As soon as I can figure it out on Mac I'll post a video of him harassing a rainbow trout. Good times.