Thursday, February 24, 2011

On Frozen Pond, and other news

As I was driving around today, I saw a dog running near a frozen pond, the human about fifty yards away. On the usually-mild south west corner of Canada, frozen ponds are rare. Unfortunately, images of people skating on frozen ponds in central and eastern Canada seem to lull west coasters into a false sense of security. I feel my stomach knot up and my jaw clench whenever I see a dog running loose near frozen water around here.

A couple of weeks ago, a dog just north of here went missing. Tonka's body was found several days later - he had fallen through the ice of a pond and died. Yesterday, a friend's dog went through the ice while on the Wednesday Walk - fortunately the story had a much happier ending, with a chilled but thankfully alive dog making it out (though not, I'm sure, without knocking at least ten years off her owner's life!).

Tonight is supposed to be even colder than last night - minus 16 with the windchill factor. Ponds are frozen - but they are NOT safe! For a pond to be safe, we would need well below freezing temperatures for a very extended period of time, producing several inches of consistently thick ice on still water. One weak spot and the dog falls through - and frantic attempts to clamber out of the frigidly cold water only result in more ice breaking off. Human attempts to rescue the dog can result in almost immediate hypothermia -- and the loss of both human and dog.

Please - if you live in the (now freezing) south western part of Canada (or northwestern part of the States) don't let your dogs run loose anywhere near frozen water.

Off my soapbox, and on to an update on Sadie. Sadie visited the vet about her strange eye problem today. Doc had dried liver treats, her absolutely-most-favouritest treat in the whole wide world, so she was putty in his hands.

The diagnosis??? It's "A Puzzle". That's his exact words. A Puzzle.

He rules out Horner's syndrome - there's no drooping of the upper lid, which he says is most characteristic of Horner's (though I have heard and read that this is not always the case). He also ruled out the most obvious infections: no dental problems, no nasal infection (in fact he did a swab to be absolutely sure), no ear infection. He froze the eye to check behind the third eyelid (that little part that comes up from the bottom, like a pearly-white cover) - no infection or inflammation there. No redness. No foreign body.

However, there is definitely something wrong with it. He says it is tracking okay, but the rate of dilation and amount of dilation differs from the left eye, and the visible shape is different too - it looks different, more sunken, than the left eye. And there's some squinting.

He said there are a few possibilities. First is the possibility of an infection behind the eye - for that he has given me antibiotic eyedrops to use on her for a week. Second is the possibility of a neurological problem that is affecting the muscles behind the eye, and third is the possibility of a tumor or other scary growth behind the eye. For those last two options, he would need to refer her to a canine opthamologist, which means a trip to the mainland and mega big bucks.

His recommendation is that we try the antibiotic and monitor it for now. It doesn't seem as bad this week as it did last weekend, and she sometimes goes hours at a time when it looks virtually normal. We'll keep our toes and fingers crossed (and paws, too) that Sadie soon recovers fully from The Puzzle.


georgia little pea said...

not a nice puzzle. i hope sadie gets better. antibiotic cream seems to do the job for old Mr Thumper.

Here's wishing you a weekend that's not too frozen. and no dogs in the frigid water. xox

Jen said...

Oh goodness Jean, that's COLD for the island, isnt it?? I won't tell you our windchill this morning is -49C, which I rarely even see here... it's plain BITTER COLD, but I do feel for you because I know! I grew up in Chilliwack and remember the winters well!!
Yes, please, keep the dogs away from ice- it's just not safe, unless you live out this way. :)

Here's hoping you figure out Sadie's eye thing and you can solve it with some antiboitics, with no problem at all!!

Stay warm!
Jen and the Black Dog Crew

Dom said...

A friend of mine has a farm with a pond. She also had a really, really old dog. The dog was blind, deaf, and mostly senile, but she kept a good weight, wagged her tail when you scratched her, and still enjoyed things like napping in the sun. the decision to euthanize came when winter fell. My friend was afraid the old dog would run onto the pond in her confusion and fall through the ice. It was a torturous death that she just couldn't risk. Frozen ponds, especially hidden in a frozen landscape of all white, scare the hell out of me.

Karen said...

I hope Sadie's eye improves with the abx...and that you don't have to deal with the benefit/cost issue about specialist care for an elderly dog. Would be lovely if money were no object, but for most of us, it is.

It's bitterly cold in the Cariboo, and brace yourself...I actually blogged today.

Anonymous said...

Iz DID NOT goes thru ice! Pond not frozen, over ma head though. Iz panicked and went rong way. silly me slipped and into da wader head first. Allz i waz trying to do was get drink. Ma did haul me out by the collar. Went wading into the river to clean off my pawz, or so Iz tell mom.

Jean said...

Sorry, Cheekster, I misunderstood. Still, there are lots of frozen ponds around here which are dangerous for dogs, so the warning is still timely.

I'm glad you weren't hurt. I hope you got lots and lots of treats after your ordeal.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Yes, a timely warning, Jean. Thanks for that!

And, catching up with comments today, so will send my best to Zuke (terribly sad news, but hoping for the best possible outcome).

Also, sending healing thoughts to Sadie, and hoping that she too has the best possible outcome to her puzzling eye issue.

Loved the Hubbard update. Thanks for keeping us posted. It seems so long ago that you were knee-deep in puppy-dom, but I still think about them (and Lucy) and wish them the very best.

Anonymous said...

I hate puzzles (except for jigsaws) - so am hoping and praying for a good outcome for Sadie's eye.

Hopefully her meds will heal whatever is happening!


Hunde Haus said...

Great timely reminder about the NOT frozen solid waters here in SW BC.

I have told my crew here about Sadie and we now have 3 dogs with crossed paws and 1 lowly human crossing fingers. And thinking positive thoughts.

ps~ the dogs asked me to ask you to let me know when they can uncross, because it is near impossible to walk down the steps to go out.

Jean said...

Hunde Haus, I think Henry, Ticket and Watcher can safely uncross their paws now! Sadie's eye has not sunk back in over 36 hours, so either the antibiotic is having the desired effect, or whatever caused the problem has corrected itself.