Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday for Makana, Boo Bunny, Comforting Words

It's Easter Sunday - Happy Resurrection Day!

Boo Bunny and Makana visiting with each other.
 Makana looks fine this morning, awake, oriented, no distress noted. We'll see what the day holds for us and if she'll eat.  I'll post Makana's daily diary later today or tomorrow morning, I'm keeping a running log to report back to the vet.

A friend sent me Psalm 91 to comfort me as we all know how precious our doggy companions are to us, so I'm posting this here for those of us who are going through some challenges, may the Lord lift you and encourage you in whatever you're going through.

Psalm 91 (NLT)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.

3 For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.

4 He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.

6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.

8 Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,

10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.

11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.

12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.

13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.

15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.

16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”


Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Day After - Makana's Health Status

It's Saturday morning and I missed a call from the Vet's office - checking on Makana.

I tried to give her meds - an hour before eating she's supposed to take Denamarin - which is a holistic/supplement to aid in liver function - or as it says on the label - for liver dysfunction. Anyway, I normally give Makana all her pill/meds that she doesn't chew, in peanut butter - she wouldn't take it and refused all foods. I called the vet's office to ask what to do.

Called back - East Orlando Animal Hospital
Call from Nate for Dr. Glenn

My Notes:

Makana had no problem with vomiting or diarrhea yesterday/last night. This morning she

doesn't want to eat, hand fed her small portion, less than a tablespoon of small pieces of

boiled chicken, didn't want rice, but ate tiny amounts of cooked Okinawan sweet potato. Any suggestions?

She is drinking water and urinating okay. Con"t dark orange urine output. No stool, most

likely because she didn't eat much. Will try to walk her later.

The Vet Tech I spoke to with the update, relayed the info to the vet and said, the doctor was surprised Makana ate anything and it's okay that she doesn't have an appetite right now, just let the meds work. I can call later in the day or tomorrow if need. (Fortunately this clinic is regularly open 7 days a week.)

It's storming now. 7 pm, no walk for Makana. The last time she went outside was a very short walk down the street on Friday before going to vet about 11 am.

Makana still reluctant to eat. Basically has eaten a teaspoon of chopped chicken, only if I hand feed her tiny pieces at a time.

She will put food in her mouth and then spit it out. I had to force her little mouth open to put the pills/meds to the back of her throat, as she wouldn't take it with peanut butter.

She will drink water if I offer it to her, with little laps of it.

She had one urine accident upstairs on the cloth under her bed, I gave her a bath and the

orange colored urine has stained her white hair, more on one side of her hip than the

other. Her urine's never been like that before - liver failure has dark orange output.

She's resting okay and wants to be with me or my husband but not overly clingy and not hiding in a corner like she had been a couple days ago. She also doesn't have the heavy panting that she had prior to going to the vet. She seems pretty calm, sadly wants to eat but not going on in, praying for a better day tomorrow. Will offer her sweet potato later in the evening and water at night is always nearby.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Makana's Not Feeling Well - A Day at the Vet - Liver Disease or Failure?

What's wrong with Makana?

Last night Makana had another barfy episode. Since last week's barfing day, she seemed to recover okay, with some constipation like symptoms which cleared up with boiled chicken and rice diet and rice noodles when she didn't want regular rice. Makana was raised in Hawaii and loves to eat long noodles whenever her mommy was having some, so it's a treat for her to get noodles.

Anyway, after few days on chicken and rice it seemed her stomach settled down, she was placed back on her dry kibble, the (half/half) of her new Natural Balance Vegetarian formula and Fromm's food - see her food post on Should Makana go Vegan. At first we thought it was the change in food but today we decided it was time to go to the vet as she was also having a couple of urinary accidents, so a UTI was suspect.

Both Makana and Mommy Never Like Vet Visits

Went to the vet with the expectation that they would do a urinalysis but the vet said he found a lump that was on her lower belly area but Makana wasn't going for a 2nd or 3rd try and he said it sort of moved. I felt that same sort of hardness, several times of the years and the other vets didn't think it was an issue - basically cause she's chubby and wasn't showing any problems. Makana's last full blood work up was last July, not even a year and all was clear. She had been having UTI issues repeatedly that the vet said most likely was from being overweight since all of her blood work was in normal levels.

Office Visit, Labs, Tests, IV, oh boy!

So today, the vet said everything looked good except her liver. About $600 later - we don't know why Makana is showing signs of liver disease but it seems to be a top contender for non-accidental deaths amongst canines. Bad news? Well the vet said the good thing is that the liver is the one part that can regenerate itself. The vet suggested a number of tests and we decided to go with the blood draws, pancrea test, IV hydration, shot to reduce nausea, meds include Cerenia to prevent nausea (more barfing), Denamarin to help liver function and antibiotics. The one thing we decided not to do at this time was the xrays to check the lump, for multiple reasons. One because it's been there for a couple years and hasn't been an issue, also if it was something I didn't want her to have any surgery due to her age and we're having PTSD since we lost our golden a year ago while on the table for a mass they were removing, she never made it through the surgery.

Decisions Before You Go to the Vet

I had to think as Makana got older, what to do - if a health situation occurs. I've put some of my dogs through multiple surgeries and tests and financially at this stage in my life and hers, I have to think more practical, based on her age and is it truly treatable, can we make her comfortable or what are we really doing? I decided a few years back, no surgery - even before Makana's sister died suddenly, we never knew why but she was also 14 at the time and in a way it was best for all of us and she didn't suffer endlessly.

Anyway, we would have considered the xrays only if the blood work and other tests did not show any results. Since the liver labs came back high, (one result should have been in the 100-150 range and Makana's lab was 1,000) the vet said he would normally do more two more tests, right now I can't remember what it was to test for but it would include an ultrasound ($800) and another blood test ($200). At this point, the vet said that he would have needed to schedule the ultrasound and since Makana wasn't showing lethargy or actively having any other issues and ate last night, not barfing now and was still drinking water and peeing - he was felt fine about sending her home to be treated at home but to be on the look out for jaundice and not drinking water.

Makana's Treatment Plan for today:

Today's conclusion: Possible that Makana ate something in the yard, on a walk or in the house that was toxic to her liver. - Reason the vet gave was because her liver function was fine last year, no other symptoms prior.

Treatment at home and be sure she is hydrated. As long as she continues to eat, drink, poop and pee - she will go back next Wednesday for a follow up visit - test urine and labs.

Monitor for jaundice. The vet showed me how to look at her gums and whites of her eyes for yellowing. Right now they look normal.

Hopeful: The liver is the one body part that can regenerate as long as it's not end-stage liver failure, which although her lab results were high enough for the vet to keep her in the clinic overnight, he thought she would do better at home and they do not have any overnight staff.

Medicines and Supplement:

  • Cerenia - to prevent nausea - 1- 16 mg tablet per day for 4 days.
  • In the office - she got a shot to prevent barfing and the Cerenia will begin tomorrow.
  • Denamarin - I looked it up and it's a supplement for liver heath - or dysfunction - doesn't need a prescription and I found I can get it on Amazon which is probably cheaper. She is 12 lbs so she will take 1 tablet daily, one-hour before or two-hours after a meal. Even though it's supposed to be before or after a meal, in order to give it to her, I wrap it in a little peanut butter and she took it down. It's a small pill so not a problem.
  • Amoxicillin - liquid antibiotic for possible UTI - 2.5 ml, twice a day - keep refrigerated.
  • Diet - boiled chicken and rice, can add chopped green beans, broccoli or carrots for fiber. I boiled the boneless, skinless, no antibiotic/free range chicken breast and shredded it to small pieces, added cooked rice and small chopped green beans, bland - due to her barfy episodes. Today, Makana preferred to just eat the chicken. I'm okay with that for now since she didn't eat today and it's been a stressful day for her. The vet said with her weight she can have 3/4 a cup twice a day or a total of 1.5 cups daily. He said less is better than more, right now and she if she will eat it.

Follow up visit with the vet Wed and we'll see how she does.

Tune in - Makana's napping now, breathing okay, not heavy as she did when she wasn't feeling well, no more barfing or peeing accidents since this morning before the vet and she seems content. About an hour or two after the IV hydration, she seemed much more alert and in good spirits - whereas just prior to going to the vet she could barely get herself to walk down the street. God is good. Thanks for praying for her. - Makana's Mom.

Note: I wrote this to try to remember the enourmous amount of information I got from the vet today, they really should write all this stuff down. It's the same as when you go to your own doctor, need to bring a notebook and pen next time - cray cray.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Should Makana Dog go Vegan?

This is Makana's Food Diary - after she got sick a few days ago

Have you seen the movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? Well I don't want that for myself as well as my Makana, so I'll be keeping a log of her and her food journey to better health.

Fat Dog?

Makana not feeling so well
Makana has had what seems a life long issue with her weight, hmm sounds familiar. It's not that she's been overfed, although at times it was the fact with pet sitters or confused pet parents who thought one of the other didn't feed the poor pup. But that's besides the fact, we now have that straight, and of course Makana could refuse her food when she had just ate and another human put more food in her bowl, of course she obliged and ate that up.

Makana loves carrot stick treats!

But that's besides the point. This is a log of what occurred when I (Makana's mom) decided to take some action and put her on a vegetarian but vegan formula dry kibble dog food called, Natural Balance Vegetarian, after a bout of sicky all over the new carpet, not pretty but hey that's what happens when you have a dog and carpet. (Even though she could have barfed on the tile a few steps away or on the floor covering just a few more steps in the other direction, but then momma's digressing. In addition, Makana's had issues with allergies, snoring, and for over a year and multiple vet visits, antibiotics - UTIs and arthritis in the knees - we need a change!

Makana's Goes Vegan - For Health Reasons First

Natural Balance has various flavors that include meat products but one Vegetarian but Vegan Formula. I guess they didn't say Vegan dog food straight out cause many people don't know the difference between Vegetarian and Vegan.
Day One: Makana ate the new food eagerly when she was first offered a few pieces of it. This came about after having a barfing spree about 2 days ago.

The Natural Balance Vegetarian kibble is smaller than a dime, great for small dogs but I read that large breed owners feed it to their dogs with no problems.
I had her on her 1st bag of another brand of 'high end' food called Fromm's Lamb and Lentil. I had her try a sample bag before buying a whole bag and she did fine (about 2 servings). When she first started on the bag, no problems, about a week into it, dunno if she ate something bad in addition to the food but barfed up mostly dark liquid and 2 halves of a peanut - from somewhere not sure, but she eats peanut butter with her holistic arthritis pill so that shouldn't have been an issue if she ate peanuts.

Anyway, she didn't want to eat after being sick for most of the day, by late evening I gave her cooked sweet potato, which she ate a few small pieces of and then I made her rice noodles cooked in veg broth (vs Chicken Soup and Noodles which I used to give her when she got an upset stomach) and sliced ginger in the broth. She ate the noodles. She seemed dehydrated with dark urine and if I remember correctly the day before didn't have regular stool until late in the evening. At times stool was loose and thinner than normal. Her routine is usually med brown color and at least twice daily in the morning and later in the afternoon or after dinner.

We'll see how Makana does on this diet, she ate one bowl last night and since it was vegan I offered her another 1/3 cup, bag says up to 10 lbs can be 1 cup daily, since she's 12 lbs and needs to lose weight - I'll give her the 1/3 scoop and a bit more, twice daily which is the amount she's been on with other foods she's eaten over the past year. (3/18/16) She did eventually eat the second serving.

Next morning 3/19/16 - Makana's feeling good this morning and ready for breakfast. However when I offered her the new food, she looked at the food, which I also put a small half scoop of doggie probiotic powder (I'll post more on what she takes later) that she's been taking with her other dry food and walked away.  I read that if I added a small amount of nutritional yeast that I got at Whole Foods yesterday, to the dry mix, it might entice her. Well she went back as I was added the nutritional yeast and sure enough that was enough to get her to eat it up and lick the bowl - but then again, Makana does love food and usually eats pretty much anything you offer her.

We'll see how this goes, since she had gotten sick a couple days ago, I'm hesitant to give her a gradual food change with the Fromm's food - which still has a mix of her other food which was the Prescription Diet Metabolic Formula dry dog food that was prescribed for her to lose weight. Since she has been on that food for probably a year, with no real changes - she might lose a little and then gain it back (like humans), I want to give her food that is good for her health as well as possibly help with her weight.

Human Plant-based diet and Canine Plant-based diet

Since I'm doing the Starch Solution - plant based foods and juicing, it's possible that a Vegan dog food that is dry for our convenience and balanced for her nutritional needs, I hope that it works for her system as it's easy to get the Natural Balance Vegan dry food, about the same price if not a couple dollars less than the Fromm and Prescription Diet foods - this is good all around. If this doesn't work for some reason, she doesn't want to eat it later or gets sick again - barfing etc, then I'll look into making her food per recipes online for vegan dogs and purchasing additional supplements that a canine needs. I'm sure she'd like that but at this point it's easy and probably more cost efficient to purchase the dry kibble. Time will tell how she does on this bag of 4.5 lbs. -

I'm including photos of the back of the Natural Balance Vegetarian - Vegan formula package in case you're curious what's on it. Seems Natural Balance is also easy to get at most pet stores vs needing to go to a specialty health store or pet shop like some other specialty dog foods.  If you want to try a bag please click on the link on the right column of Makana's blog, it's several dollars cheaper then what I paid in the store locally - buy on Amazon with free Prime shipping. -- Makana's Mom

Friday, March 18, 2016

Been awhile - where did you go?

After going on Makana's longest road trip - probably over 5,000 miles including side trips from Orlando, Florida to Vail, Colorado - her mom took a break and didn't post the rest of her pics - so while she's catching up on life - she'll be posting on Makana's present journey of getting healthier as  she ages. Makana that is, not her mom but then that may be one in the same.

Makana turned 14 years old in October 2015, she was 14 when she did the long trip and still loves to go on car rides, even if it's just short trips. With the Florida heat coming upon us, even though it's still March - the temperatures during the day can be in the mid 80s - so Makana can't be left in the car for even the shortest of times as car temperatures, even with the windows down, can be 20 degrees or hotter than it is outside. So here's a tip, if you want to take your dog riding, take him or her in a bag into the stores or businesses you go to. Otherwise, leave your baby at home, you and they will be glad you did and take them for a walk when it's cooler in the mornings or evenings before you go out so they don't feel trapped in the house. - word from the wise - Makana's Mom.