Haven't been active in recent months in the forum and I've missed the forum. I'm sure so much has happened with everyone's lives. I didn't notice until recently that I haven't been receiving updates from the forum in my email so I'd have to check that out later and catch up on everyone's posts.
Anyway, hope our Chatter family is doing well - two-legged and four-legged ones alike. As for us, we have had some deaths (like four) in my and my husband's family recently and are now getting out of the fog, so to speak, getting used to the new normal. The most that affected us was the loss of my MIL since we lived together. Monkey has been our angel through this, giving us something to focus on, to break the ice and the awkwardness. He cheers us up with is normalness. It would have been harder without him here. We are very grateful for his presence in our lives.
There was something interesting that happened during my MIL's passing that I wanted to share and maybe you guys could share your thoughts on this as well. As per our customs, before we bury our dead, we hold a wake for a few days which allows other relatives and friends to pay their respects. Well, my MIL's wake was held in our house (it can also be sometimes held in a funeral chapel) as per her wishes. I've read stories about dogs being aware of their human's passing and wondered if there were really some truth to it. Monkey wasnt particularly close to her when she was alive so I have no idea how he would react.
I usually stay up from 1am till morning, Monkey was always leashed to either my husband or I because there were people all over the place and he's not good with strangers. One of those nights, I let him off leash and observed him as he walked up to the coffin and sniffed around. He didn't mind the flower arrangements and went sniffing around the coffin. It's diffrent from his usual curiousity because normally, something unfamiliar, he's sort of cautious, slinking closer until he deternines it's harmless... then he'll most likely pee on it (to show dominance? ha ha) He didn't do any of that. I let him sniff all he wanted, going around the underside of the coffin. Standing on his hind legs, he could only sniff the bottom half though. After that , even if I let him off leash again, he never showed the same interest as he did that one time. he never approached it again. It could just be reading too much into this but I'd like to think that he's said his goodbyes and that he's aware of her not being with us anymore.
Anyway, I apologize if this creeps you out. Honestly, I'm not too good with these things. It's just that, I guess it's different if it's family.
Hello there! I've been meaning to post about a trip we had recently with family. There were kids and adults and dogs and food. It was my nephew's first birthday and my aunt had rented a private place with a pool. Of course I had to take Monkey for a dip. He still doesn't like the water, but like a good soldier, he will swim to me no problem. I didn't let him stay long as he was clearly uncomfortable and although the water was warm due to the sun, the hair being plastered on his skin made him shiver after a while so we had to dry him off and try to keep him off the floor because there were puddles galore.
Cousins. We rinse their footsies before taking them in the water because there became dirty with the floor constantly wet.
Just keep swimming... Shay (female, black & white) did better than Shelley. Outright, Shelley was shivering even before he touched the water.
Monkey didn't even get his head wet.
I, therefore, conclude, they are not water dogs.
...which means, the dreaded grooming. With weather like this, we have to get it done. Sorry for the vertical photos
So early last Tuesday, we set out for the groomers. To remind you what he looks like before, here it is.
I'm not sure how grooming should be done. Here at our favorite groomers, Monkey got a rough clipping to remove most of the length before he goes for shampoo. I've instructed the groomer not to clean his ears and not to trim his tail.
The next part was his least favorite part, the drying. The dyer was LOUD and he was moving around so much. I feel sorry for him. I could see the assistant holding his ear down at least when he was pointing the nozzle close to his face. No pictures but he had a noose around his neck. One time, they didn't put it on him and the groomer's assistant reached for a brush and Monkey was able to jump and run to me.
Next up, more clipping and scissoring.
A huge Golden Retriever was brought up to grooming table getting ready to go next. He is the owner's dog, so the groomers know him very well. I requested a summer cut body for Monkey and a longer cut for his face. While Mr. Groomer was doing that, his assistant was brushing this big guy and I asked if he was friendly and if I could approach him. He's a lovely dude (dog, not the assistant). I got to brush him, too. Then a bit later, he was already pawing me to get more chest scritches. I lufff him already! I've always wanted a Golden, but man, are they huge. So that would mean, bigger feedings and bigger *excuse me* poops and probably buckets of pee. Maybe someday.
This part of the grooming was the longest. It took 45 minutes of him doing just that. I can't imagine doing this myself and get a good result.
Without further ado, here is the before and after. Meet my bobble head!
Sorry for the mismatched sizes.
I'm still getting used to his face, four days after. I felt he was a strange dog that followed me home. I'm not sad to see his top knot go. It was difficult to maintain and he keeps scratching at it that sometimes, his skin gets pink (even though it's loose enough). He feels better after his cut. He looks really scrawny though. For a moment, I felt I was starving him or not feeding him enough. My husband reminded me that he weighs 6kg (13.2 pounds), so he's not "thin". I also have to remind myself that his ribs aren't poking through.
There's my bobble head dog. Thank you for reading and have a laugh on us. It's okay, we stare at him and laugh and he gives us that look. So, go ahead.
Hi, Monkey here. You know what grinds my gears? When you're having the most wonderful dream like almost have the evil cat's tail in your mouth and then something grabs your tail and the cat has once again escaped your clutches. You try to break free but you can't. You look back at your tail and a huge butt has pinned it down. You wake up and realize it's not a dream and your lovely tail has indeed gotten caught under someone's butt *cough* mom *cough* again and you can't move away so lie there giving her the stink eye. She realizes what she's done to your tail and acknowledges your stink eye by taking a photo.
I wanted to sleep some more but she wouldn't stop kissing me.
Finally, I stood up and moved over to dad's pillow. He's dead to the world. He makes a nice pillow. I'm going to lie here and hope my dream continues. By the way, that's the bathroom door behind me. Ugh, still taking photos.
Hello! This is a first for me, so please bear with me. Welcome, please take a seat.
As the blog name suggests, this blog would be about Monkey and maybe a bit of other stuff. I'm not sure I would be able to post regularly as we are a boring family.
Let me start off with a bit of a history!
Monkey was born in August 2013. Here he is at a month old.
He still sleeps that way. LOL. He was the biggest of the bunch. The black & white pup was sickly and didn't survive.
Here he is at 3 months old with his sibs on a vet visit. He's on the right, still the fluffiest.
The photos above were taken from the family friend who gave him to us. Her sister, in the middle, is their favorite. They mostly kept their litters and give away puppies to very selected people. Monkey was the only one they gave out. He came to us at almost four months with full vaccinations (overly-vaccinated, in fact) and a book about the breed, which was helpful for starters.
2nd day at home, still looking sad and lost.
Napping after bath with his "twin".
Finally, I'll end with one of my favorite photos of him.
Well, here's what's up. I must warn you though, this is really long.
When Monkey was brought in to the vet for being unwell, he had a tick-borne bacterial infection and high liver enzymes. For the last month during follow ups and blood work, his liver enzyme was off the charts a month ago, then went significantly lower but still way off from normal, then after ending the treatment was off the charts again. At his blood test after a month of doxycyline, the results were almost normal already so the vet wasn't concerned about that. The attention now was shifted to his liver. We had been referred to get an ultrasound for his liver at a bigger facility and in the meantime, to feed him hepatic diet (Royal Canin) and give liver supplements.
It was three weeks before we got around to doing the ultrasound that due to $$ issues but during that time, we changed Monkey's diet to boiled chicken and rice instead of his usual dog food. The thought behind that was we read that hepatic diets are low in copper content. Acana's was 20mg/kg versus RC's 5mg/kg. When we got the results, we went back to our vet and discussed the results and the ultrasound printouts. He said Monkey's liver should be showing as really black blob but he has faint white "shadows" which could indicate some damage. There were scary words mentioned like biopsy, fibrosis, specialist referral, another ultrasound. But Monkey passed all checks - he wasn't yellow, didn't have diarrhea (at this time), wasn't vomiting (not yet), not bloated in his abdoment, still a steady 6kg since last year, so no weight loss at all. Basically, no other symptoms except the high ALT levels.
He tested his blood again and this time, his ALT from "over 1000" three weeks ago was now 767 (normally 16-110 only). It was still very high but we felt positive since we were able to get it lower even without special foods and liver supplements during this time. If we got him those, we were positive we would be able to decrease it further. So for the meantime, the plan is to go strictly hepatic food and liver supplements.
We ordered the Royal Canin from the vet and set out to search for the liver supplement in the pharmacy. Turns out, this liver supplement he wanted us to give Monkey was waaaaay out of our means. It would cost us (converted) USD109 just for a month's worth. We shopped around and found a milk thistle (silmarin) supplement that was more within our budget (around $6) and got that instead. While we wait for the kibble, Monkey is back to boiled meat and ground beef with rice.
Then two days after, he started having diarrhea from 3am Tuesday and vomiting which continued for two days. He was poo was going dark chocolate color already, going sometimes between 30 minutes to 3 hours and his vomit was having a reddish tinge. We had to take shifts during the night so we could take him out when he has to go. We brought him in again after realizing it wasn't going to resolve itself. Thankfully, that's sorted out now and he had two normal poos in the last two days. He bounced back so fast, I think he may have gained his weight back and more. He lost 300 grams from his diarrhea.
I called the vet Monday to ask whether to continue his antibiotics as he already seems better and has had his first normal poo (No) and if he still needs to see Monkey on Thursday (Yes) and if we should restart him on the liver supplements (Yes). I knew he wouldn't allow us stopping the antibiotics but I just had to ask just in case because Monkey hates it and I feel sorry for having to force him take so many stuff, especially pills that I have to push to the back of his throat.
That's where we are now. Sorry to bore you with a whole wall of text. Here's a photo of a dirty rag in need of a good washing.
He will be getting a bath later now that he's okay.
We went for Monkey's follow-up blood test today and his results were good. Very good. His liver results (ALT) has gone down a lot, like 500 points. We still have around 155 points to lose to be within the normal levels so we're very pleased about this. We will need to continue with the hepatic food and silmarin supplements. His vet also allowed us to resume his heartworm preventative which he'd gone off since March. Yay! We're having a lot of mosquitoes now since it's raining almost every afternoon.
I don't know if I should be happy that the vet's office staff know Monkey by sight and by name because that also means we go there a lot. LOL.
Anyway, we're happy with the news although we do not know what caused the elevated levels. Before he got the tick infection, he has never had a blood test prior so we had no idea if the liver issue started way before this or it was caused by the infection (but the vet said it wasn't common). If we would be going by his poops and pee, they were consistently normal since he is on kibble. He's only had 2 diarrhea in his life. He's never a lot of health issues, just ear mites when he was younger. We're really at a loss. The only possibilities left are that it was caused by toxins or by his dog food.
My husband and I are mulling over mixing his hepatic food with his regular dog food and see if that will affect the results. If it does, then we'll see what our options are. But for now, we can relax a bit. See you next month!
Before Monkey had to be on Royal Canin hepatic formula, we had just opened a new bag of his dog food, a 6.8kg bag of Acana, which usually would last him more than three months. Since we were able to lower his liver numbers by a big chunk, we thought that it would be a good idea to mix his regular food in to see if come next checkup, it will affect the numbers. Before pouring out a portion, I asked my husband to shine a light in and check for molds. He said it would be fine but I insisted he check it first before the kibbles gets mixed up inside.
What did he find but two spots of hairy mold on the top.
It must be because it was summer here and it was super hot and the moisture got trapped in there. This didn't happen to us before.
I searched immediately if that was still safe to eat because I didn't want to throw the bag away - it was a big expense for us. I know it wasn't really safe but I was hoping to be proven wrong. Internet failed me. It was unsafe.
Jokingly, I asked my husband how much Monkey's antibiotics cost. He answered me, "His blood test cost 2/3 the price of the bag."
Putting it in that perspective, it became easier for me to throw the food out. I still find it such a waste. Had I known it wouldn't last that long (we opened it in April) I should have just given it to my cousin. I remembered how sick Monkey was a month back when he had diarrhea and vomiting. It was not worth the risk of getting him sick.