Saturday, August 20, 2011

Updates and News on a hot Saturday morning

It's going to be a scorcher (for Vancouver Island, though nothing like the temperatures people are experiencing elsewhere in North America), and I really have to get some housework done before it gets too hot. The dogs have been walked, with a quick stop at the Saturday morning Crofton Farmer's Market for homemade dog biscuits, and a leisurely stroll along back lanes gathering blackberries. I hate housework, so may as well update the blog. I'll throw in a few photos from the past couple of days for added colour, though they aren't specific to what I'm writing about.

Butterfly bush in bloom by Crofton Marina

Pepper, my SPCA fosterdog, visited the vet last Monday. She was a good girl, even though she had to go in the back for xrays and blood tests and have me pick her up a couple of hours later. She has a urinary tract infection, the xrays showed clear lungs and nothing sinister about the lump on her chest, and the blood tests suggest we were probably right on our diagnosis of Cushings.

Cushions?  I haz cushions? Yup, and they is very comfy, thanx you.

However, further Cushings tests - to determine if it is adrenal or pituitary - are needed to prescribe a course of treatment, and both the testing (an eight hour process) and the treatment options are expensive and unpleasant. Whether the SPCA will choose to go that route for this 16 year old dog will depend on further discussions between the SPCA manager, myself and our very competent vet. For now, she is on antibiotics for the UTI and has another appointment booked for August 31st.

Oh no! Pills!  I hates takin' pills!
She is eating like a horse and I think she is finally putting on some weight - I have added digestive enzymes and probiotics to her top quality food, and she is feeding four times a day much to her delight and Sadie's dismay (poor hard done by Sadie who only gets fed twice a day!).

Ah dunno why ah can't get fed four times a day.  Favoritism, that's what it is, favoritism!

Sadie and Charley continue to plod along. We have now banned floofy beds (the kind full of foam chips, that 'floof' up when the covers are changed and slowly flatten over time) after an incident that left me feeling like a very bad mama. I got up the other morning and noted Charley was lying at the back of her crate, on her side, unmoving. No big deal - Charley often doesn't get up until the rest of the pack. Two hours later, when I was about to feed Pepper her second meal and Sadie and Charley their first, Charley still hadn't moved a muscle. I went over to talk to her, and suddenly realized she had soiled and soaked her bed and was unresponsive to my voice. No tail wags, to eye blinks, no twitch of the ears.

Noooo!  Don't go tellin' people I pooped the bed!  Aaarggghhhh!

Fearing the worst, I knelt down and reached into the crate. Still breathing. Thank goodness. I realized then that she was simply stuck, unable to get herself upright from the position between the wires and the floofy mattress. Who knows how long she had struggled during the night before soiling the bed, or whether she had perhaps even had a seizure or another stroke - I hadn't heard a sound even though I'm a light sleeper. She was clearly in despair, having resigned herself to immobility.

I'z sowwy I scared you, Mama!

I crawled into her crate and slipped my arms behind her to turn her and assist her out of the crate, and after a few unsteady moments she wobbled over to her food dish to eat her breakfast. I disposed of the soiled bedding, cleaned the crate, and put down a very flat pad instead. I have since also removed a floofy mattress from the large basket in the mudroom, and all others that are against walls or in locations where she might get trapped. The flat pads may not be as comfy on her old bones, but they are a lot safer for her. Having an aging dog means continual adjustments to accomodate their needs. The trick is staying one step ahead so incidents like the one Charley experienced don't happen.

Dogs, dogs, dogs!  Why doesn't she ever write about CATS???

In other news, North Cowichan has once again voted to support the gassing of stray cats rather than the use of the more humane lethal injection. It's been two years since we fought this battle; interestingly, this time it was Coastal Animal Services who made the request for extra funding for injections. Turns out, their private boarding business has been suffering since word got out that they use a CO2 box to kill cats. Our two weekly papers both have stories online here and here and I have written an op ed piece for the monthly Chemainus Courier which comes out in print next week.

Given that the new (draft) guidelines of the American Veterinary Medical Association specifically spell out that shelters and animal control should use lethal injection (including distressed, dangerous and/or fractious cats, with presedation - ie feral cats), and only conditionally accept CO2 "in unusual or rare circumstances, such as natural disasters and large-scale disease outbreaks” , it is unfathomable that for a mere $5000 a year, North Cowichan council would once again opt for the less humane method.

Coastal Animal Services purportedly stopped using the gas box three months ago and has been paying for lethal injections from their own pockets, a process they say they can't afford to continue. As their contract does not specify a responsibility for feral cats, they claim they will no longer accept them. One councillor's response? We'll find someone who will gas them for us. Good luck with that.

Of course, the real issue is the irresponsibility of those who let their unspayed/unneutered cats roam freely, or worse, dump them, abandon them, to survive by their wits and to reproduce several times a year.

The whole issue of euthanizing stray cats could be eradicated if people would be responsible, lifelong caregivers. Sadly, I doubt I'll see that in my lifetime.

One of Crofton's many backlane cats

1 comment:

sonia a. mascaro said...

I hope that Pepper will be healthy very soon. She looks adorable!
I hope also that beautiful Sadie and Charley continue to improve their health.
You all have a pleasant weekend.