Cali Health Diary
Feedback is welcome:
(Click any photo for a larger version.)
Cali the corgi was having some serious health issues. I then
started a diary of her own and not lumped in with my training diary
(which she threw a
wrench into anyway)
The basic gist is that she had masses in her spleen discovered
what started out as an ultrasound of her tricep, and had her spleen
removed. At the same time, she was losing protein and then red
blood cells, which then led to her cancer diagnosis of Histiocytic
Sarcoma a very rare cancer that destroys red blood cells. She has since passed away, but
I find myself still adding to this as it seems to help me with closure.
For those folks wondering, Cali's whole name is:
Kingscote Saratoga MX MXJ SAM AAD RM JM NGC PHC CGC
MX Master Agility Excellent
MXJ Master Jumper With Weaves
SAM Standard Agility Master (USDAA)
AAD Advanced Agility Dog
RM Relay Master
JM Jumper Master
NGC Novice Gamblers Certificate
PHC Pembroke Herding Certificate
CGC Canine Good Citizen (AKC)
Plus she had quite a few titles where she only needed one more qualifying score.
MAD Master Agility Dog (USDAA) - save for one gamble Q
SM Snooker Master (USDAA) - save for one more Snooker Super Q
TM Tournament Master (USDAA) - save for one Steeplechase Q
and we were exactly 1/2 way to a MACH (AKC Agility Championship):
10 Double Q's and 333 points.
We've reached the semifinals at the USDAA Grand Prix twice and had already qualified for this years "Performance" Grand Prix.
She's 9 years young.
(Reverse date order - year 2005).
Fri Aug 12
An amazing thing just appeared in the mail. Turns out that the
Yahoo group email list of Yoshi's littermates (who have had a virtual
front row seat to this entire saga) all got together and commissioned
Pam Treadwell (list member Amanda's mother) to paint the photograph
that appears at the top of this diary, onto slate (I think it is an
unused roof tile but not sure.) It's quite lovely, and I'm amazed
that they were affected enough to do something so incredibly thoughtful.
As one might expect, I spent the evening in tears of course. I
still miss her very much. It's tough when you have that bright of
a dog to start with. You get used to it. Yoshi is loving
and very fun, but he will never be as bright and conniving (and willful
and pain in the rear) as Cali (who ran my life for nine years.)
In a way it's a relief, but I do miss the micromanagement (both me of
her, and her of me).
I keep wondering if I would want a relative of Cali. I do so much
love that personality in the females and she has a couple of relatives
who show such traits. I'm not sure if I could decide on a
relative through her dad Danny (who's personality I love) or her mom
Blossom (a decided "don't mess with me" spitfire). Tina is a
relative of Cali's through Blossom and is a way fast agility dog and
Debbie Oliver has her intact right now. I know that Cali's
littlermate Alibi had puppies, but I don't know how well they turned
For a while I was imagining what it would be like if cloning were more
affordable, would I want a twin (clones are genetic twins and not a
carbon copy) of her. I would, but cloning a dog that has died of
a cancer of the blood is likely not the best idea <sigh>.
And of course none of this will bring Cali back.
And of course I really don't have the energy to deal with a puppy right
now since Yoshi the permapuppy is finally showing the occasional sign
But back to the plaque. I want to hang it in the living room but
I want a way that I can show it off but not so that I start crying
every time I'm in the living room. I have Cali's photos all over
that room but none of those refer to the fact that she's passed
away. Terri thinks that I would get used to it and she's likely
correct but I still don't know.
Tues July 12
It's been awhile, but I wanted to add an entry describing the Golden Gate Corgi agility trial.
First of all I got a lot of hugs and condolences which I really appreciated and still cherish.
I met Ricky Pip's mom who was the other corgi who was being
memorialized, and we've had several nice conversations since. She
now has Grace, Bill's former showdog who shows great potential for
being an excellent performance dog. Bill had offered me Grace
when Cali passed away, but it was too soon for me emotionally and my
hands are pretty full with Yoshi and it would be short changing both of
Flint won Cali's award which is perfect given that they were
classmates. He also got the overall one which was in Pip's honor
and Diane and her fluffy Erin won Reno's award on Sun.
My gift to Debbie was four 8x10 enlargements of Reno at the USDAA
Nationals in Scottsdale that Doghouse Arts had taken. I
deliberately gave them to her with an audience, which was a little much
for her emotionally, but I wanted there to be plenty of support around
and Gail whisked her away to have some private grieving time. She
of course loved the photos. As soon as I saw them I knew she had
to have them.
Yoshi was silly boy Yoshi which helped me to not be too morose. I
had him with me most of the time, but for a while I put him in his soft
crate being the main row of canopies and behind a tree. This of
course didn't stop him from barking at dogs that were walking behind
the area, and he rolled the crate a la hamster ball once (I righted
it). One funny moment was when I was off at a different ring
apparently one of (I think) Laura's Goldens was at the warm up jump,
left the jump, ran past all of the other canopies to Yoshi's
crate. I heard Yoshi barking came over and Lindsay told me that
the Golden had "rolled him" (in a friendly way). I actually
suspect that Yoshi helped,... a lot. The crate was completely
upended and there he was looking incredibly pleased with himself ("Look
mom, I made a skylight") and was looking up at the tree (presumably on
squirrel patrol). Good thing I hadn't put any water in the crate.
We also took the corgis out for a frap, and Yoshi had great fun with
Rebecca's youngest (Mia?), Lindsay's Tobee, and Ellen Perlson's
Boo. He definitely had the most energy of all of them and soon he
and Tobee were the last ones standing. He also got to demonstrate
his inner Border Collie nature by chasing the shadows of anything that
flew (birds, butterflies, scraps of paper). He was exhausted and
I was thrilled.
I need to ask Rebecca for a copy of Cali's certificate and I'll put it on the site.
Sun June 19
The corgi agility trial is in a week and that's when they'll present a
certificate in Cali's honor. It's going to be tough for me, but
I'm really glad they're doing it. I also have a gify that I'm
going to give Debbie when there's an audience.
This is reminding me that I need to update Yoshi's diary as he's showing some improvement.
Maybe I'll take a little of Cali's ashes to the trial to spread a couple of pinches.
Wed June 15
Just when you think things are improving, you realize that healing from
such calamities really does go in cycles just like they say.
Georgene and I have been talking about me running her Cardi Sammy in
some AKC trials and I will be doing so July 2-4 in Dixon, but she was
asking me about other trials and I was finding that I was really
getting stressed and very sad about it. Now Georgene is not
putting any pressure on me at all - it's all coming from within.
It took a few hours but I now know that it's making me miss Cali
terribly. I so much want her back. Fortunately Yoshi is
keeping a close eye on me, and he's also being gentle and not too much
of a terror right now. I've told Georgene that I'm just not ready
yet for more agility commitments.
Sat May 28
2 things are in the works for Cali and Reno memorials that the corgi
club is doing. One is a definite (High in Trial certificates for
the upcoming agility trial) the other is a proposal for a
substantial perpetual trophy in their honor.
For the first one, I need to come up with a description of Cali and her
agility career. I need to ask Rebecca for an example as I need to
know what length we're talking about.
Cali trained and competed in agility from the time she was 2 up until
her untimely death from cancer at age 9. She loved to work as
long as she was paid properly in treats and was famous for her happy
attitude, sweet temperament, reliability, and being a great
jumper. She excelled in the Excellent classes that had difficult
handling challenges and could be depended on to negotiate a course
properly where other dogs were charging off course. What was uncanny,
was her knack of knowing what to do even when given the wrong
instructions from her handler. She is very much loved and missed.
Fri May 27
I usually don't use long signatures in email, but in Cali's honor I made one:
What's nice is that it's included in the edit window while I'm
composing so I can take it out or change it for a particular email.
and Cali (2/27/96-4/24/05) MX MXJ SAM AAD RM JM NGC PHC CGC (1/2 MACH)
taken much too soon, I miss you my teacher and manager
and Yoshi TwIT (In Training)
Sat May 14
[a post to the Performance Corgi's list]
Some months ago when USDAA put their stats online, I realized we were
missing an Advanced leg and that's why her Master's titles hadn't shown
up yet. We got the leg on Jan 30th (Boy am I glad the timing of all
that worked out before her cancer showed up.), and today her titles
appeared in the mail and it turns out there's a new title that she had
earned that I didn't even realize.
She earned a Standard Agility Master which is X number (5 perhaps though
I'm not sure) of Q's in Master's Standard.
So even though we never got that blasted Master's Q (though we did do a
couple of gambles successfully, but ran out of time) for her MAD (Master
Agility Dog), I can at least write SAM after her name.
and Cali (2/27/96-4/24/05) MX MXJ SAM AAD RM JM NGC PHC CGC (1/2 MACH)
and Yoshi TwIT (in training - possibly for life)
Fri May 13
Got my Fridays mixed up and went to Oakland Dog Training Club for
Yoshi's lesson a week early. So I used the time to go to Point
Isabel and put some of Cali's ashes (I had brought them with me in case
I got a chance) under a couple of the picnic tables that I always had
to beg her to come out from under. Now she can eat whatever she
wants and spend as much time under there as she wishes.
I received in the mail from the Bayteam a book called Dog Heaven, that
several people had signed. Now I've signed these for other folks,
but seeing all the notes in it just made it incredibly special.
It means so much.
[from an email to the Performance Corgi's list]
Oh this is going to be hard. The Golden Gate Speciality is coming up
Fri/Sat May 20/21 and I was planning on entering Cali in the obedience
competition as I had decided that, since she was now capable of doing a
3 minute down without squirming, it was time to go back and get that CD
that she so much deserved (she's trained through Open). I remember
when we were in it 7 or 8 years ago, Tibby Chase (who was judging)
commented on what a great worker she was. That she was. She very much
Good luck to all those who will be attending. I will be there for a little while on Sat.
and Cali MX MXJ AAD RM JM PHC CGC (1/2 MACH) (bridge 4/25/05 - much too soon)
and Yoshi TwIT (Twit In Training)
Thur May 12
I'm not the only one that misses the wee dog agility class that we
had. Some of us are talking about it in email. What I loved
about that class is that no one needed to "prove" anything by outdoing
each other. The goal was to better ourselves and if one dog did
better than the others at a competition many congrats were
offered. The humor and the obvious enjoyment made such a nice
convivial atmosphere. I hope we are able to reconvene in the
I'm feeling more at peace these past couple of days though someone at
the dog park asked me "don't you have two?" So I had to tell them
that one just recently passed away which was hard, but I'm getting
better about it. It was easier than telling a couple of people at
BiFriendly on Monday, but that was hard because they'd met Cali before.
Tues May 10
Well they say these things go in cycles. Yesterday I was back to
pouting about wanting my dog back and bargaining with reality. (A
useless, but necessary thing that it seems we all have to go through -
given that I have trouble accepting reality sometimes I think I'm going
to have a lot more of it than would someone like Terri who is a lot
I'm realizing how much structure she gave my life. In a way I've
been set free and I don't necessarily want to be. As I mentioned
before I'm really at sea about this. i have to decide whether to
commit entirely to agility again with Yoshi or back more into what
people consider a more normal life. At first I was concerned that
Yoshi didn't want to do agility, but I'm now thinking that he'll be
fine once he more understands what is expected of him. (I'll put
more of those thoughts in his diary.)
My ISP just sent me email that they've given me another 100 meg of disk
space. Cool. Can you say lots and lots of pictures?
Now I just need to find time and wherewithall to do it.
I also want to make a Cafepress shirt or two with Cali's photo on it, and I want to do a drawing for the Flat Toy Society.
Debbie just posted a lovely rememberance of Reno to the Performance
Corgi's list. I want to respond to it but I don't have the words
yet. I miss him too and I miss our agility class as it was so
much fun. With people's schedules changing and with Cali and Reno
passing away, in the space of a month, it went from 8 very experienced
dogs to 2 not so experienced. What a huge adjustment.
Sun May 8
After the intensity of yesterday, I just wanted to coast. Went
with Terri up to her brother and sister-in-laws house and Terri's Mom
and Grandmom came down and we all had a nice lunch. They've all
been super-supportive during this whole ordeal and the hugs were much
appreciated. Plus they got some amusment out of where I chose to
put her ashes.
I feel like I've gotten some closure since yesterday though I do still
want to get over to Point Isabel and put some under the picnic benches
that I always had to beg her out from under. If we have time I
want to walk down to the water by the rocks and put some there too as
that's the first place where I realized how much she liked to wade (but
didn't really care for swimming.) I'm thinking about doing that
on Tues before Yoshi's class though if I wait till the weekend I'll
have more time and then I can get to Redwood Park as well.
Georgene contacted me about entering Sammy in the July 4th weekend
trial and would I still be interested in running him. Sure,
should be fun. Hope he likes to run for me.
Sat May 7
What a day. Just got back from spreading (most, but not all of)
her ashes. We went to Fort Funston on the coast just south of San
Francisco (AKA dog paradise), Highland Park in Piedmont, and Morgan
Territory Regional Park (where we had our tracking lessons) near Mt.
Diablo in the East Bay. I'm very glad that we did it. At
Fort Funston I put some ashes on the bluffs and along the path on the
way down to the water (she used to love to race down this) and of
course, some in the water itself as Cali was a wader. She'd
wander into all sorts of shallow water.
Yoshi and Terri came along as well. Yoshi got what we think is his
first view of the ocean (though he's seen SF Bay a lot). He was
totally unimpressed, probably because he was worrying about all the
dogs. Though one wave (well it was a wave, but not by the time it got
to him) did take him a little by surprise as he wasn't looking and he
seemed puzzled by the fact that it kept rising. He was generally ok
with the other dogs but did bark at some terriers (2 pit bulls and a
jack russell.) Enjoyed playing with a Boston Terriier (not really a
Then on the way to Morgan Territory (where many cows live), we stopped
at Highland Park which is a wonderful off leash area with a small creek
that Cali loved and was constantly sneaking sips of it despite my
imploring her not to. I dropped a little bit of ash in the water
saying: Fine, drink all you like now, (also some along the pathways).
Then Morgan Territory. The foxtails are almost ready to let go so
there was no one there tracking (they move to city parks during the
summer) so I had the place virtually to myself (well a few hikers and
bikers - Terri and Yoshi decided to sit this one out). The
weather instead of being drizzly was perfect: partially cloudy and
breezy. I was on my way out to one of the hills when I noticed
the pond that I had to beg Cali to come out of so we could continue out
to our track, so I placed some of the ash along the edges of it saying:
Wallow all you want to now. Then I headed up the hill dropping
ash along the way, and every time I saw something I know she'd want to
roll (think poop of various animals) on I dropped some ash on it, and
when I reached the top I let some go into the wind saying that she's
free now and that I miss her terribly, but I wish her well, and maybe
someday I'd see her again. Crying now, I worked my way back down
the steep hill. and then we all sat in the truck for a little while
watching the wind play in the grass on the hillsides.
I'm realizing that I'm going to have to rethink all of my unconscious
habits related to dogs. The training habits are fine but there
are places that I didn't commonly take Cali to because Ms Food Hound
was a royal pain at them (downtown streets, street faires, and the
like). Yoshi is not such the food hound so concievably there are
places that I could take him though he's so much higher strung that he
might not enjoy them anyway. But that's some thinking that I can
do later. Right now I'm just going to miss Cali. My
beautiful dog, you were taken much too soon.
I still want to put some ash at Redwood Park and Pt Isabel and some
agility places, but those aren't nearly so important to me as what we
Terri had a good idea of putting her height cards from the various
agility organizations into the box that had (still has but much less)
her ashes. I think I'm along going to put a tennis ball in it and
also a photo of her on it.
Of course, this is all making my cry again. Oh my sweet puppy. I do love you.
Fri May 6
Tomorrow is the day that we're going to spread her ashes. I'm
dreading it, but wanting the closure anyway. A friend had a
really good suggestion, keep a little of it. She's keeping some
and has instructions that those ashes are to be mixed in with her own
when her time comes and then spread together. I find that very
touching and moving. Another reason I want to keep some of it is
the slightly macabre desire to take her to every agility trial and
spread just a pinch somewhere on the trial site. That may be
taking things a little far, but, in a way, it's innocent enough really.
scanned some of Tien Tran's wonderful photos of her so that the corgi
club can put her photo on an award. I'll make a page of them
too. Whistfully went through some of the recent photos I took of
her for the Flat Toy Society web page I want to make. I haven't
event worked on the photos yet, but I went ahead and uploaded the raw
images so folks could see them. This link is temporary, but I
particularly like this one:
Someone noticed that I don't have any mention of the Rainbow Bridge in
here and was wondering my opinion on it. I said that: I'm
completely neutral on the Rainbow Bridge. It seems to really help
some folks and I don't mind if they send me stories/scenarios of Cali
at the bridge. And I must admit to being amused by the thought of
Cali and Reno (they died within two days of each other) continuing to
bicker about a [bloodless, but loud] fight they once got into at class
("You started it." "No you did." "Did not." "Did too." ...)
Thur May 5
It's Cinco de Mayo not that any of the dogs ever noticed.
Quiet day today. Even Yoshi is pretty subdued though he was playing with Terri this morning.
(This should go in his diary but ...) Elizabeth and I were talking that
he might do really well as an only dog. I expected him to be at a
complete loss, but he seems to be doing fine. While he's still
very much worried about other dogs and barks and lungs on occasion (and
only started doing this when Cali started to get ill) he seems to be
willing to stop and look at me instead. His obedience instructor
(also named Elizabeth) was saying how the "watch me" routine with some
dogs takes on a religious ferver/intensity as they believe that while
they are watching their owner, they can't be hurt. This is to the
point that they're willing to screen out other input (like the smell of
a cat or another dog sniffing them) just to look at their owner.
While he may never have the STARE that Cali had (that I oh so much
miss) he is learning that it pays to look at me.
Oh, who am I kidding? It's not Yoshi that needs the taskmaster,
it's me. I need the "Walk Me!" harrassment that I used to get and
have come to rely on. Yoshi's happy with whatever which is nice
in a way but if you're depressed and down and content to continue
hiding under the nearest rock, nothing beats a compulsive dog pestering
Maybe I should establish more habits (ball throwing, walks, etc) with
Yoshi and that routine will get him going on the task enforcement
Wed May 4
Had a good cry over Cali's ash box. For those who have never seen
an animals cremated remains, they put it in this nice little wooden box
with their name and a small hindging clasp on it. It often had a little bit of
glue on it and Cali's may have (though I said not to seal the box) but
it was easily undone with a very slight pry with a screwdriver. A
corgi is just over a cup of ashes. Terri when describing her
Dad's ashes was pantomiming something on the order of a mason jar
so it seems pretty proportional.
It's supposed to be somewhat rainy on Sat so I'm of two minds as to
whether to go or wait till a nice day. Given that I made Cali
learn how to put up with all sorts of weather it seems only right that
I do it even if it is drizzley however there's no time schedule and I
won't be distracted if the weather is nice. Guess I'll wait till
Sat to decide. ... Just looked at the accuweather forcast - it should
be just cloudy on Sat so I'm definitely going to do it.
I'm still so angry that ultimately there wasn't anything I could do to
save her. I'm going to be dealing with those feelings of
powerlessness for quite a while I can tell. going into this I was
so much "ok tell me about this and what do we need to do?" I'm a
really good patient for me and my animals. I follow instructions
generally quite well and learn the language so I can have good
conversations with doctors. While I don't have the best prognosis
myself (I have MS which though not fatal can be debilitating) i take
good care of myself and stay active. My dog's have great health
also. They're not overweight (much to their chagrin), and lead
generally heathy lives (ok I'm not walking Yoshi as much as I should
these days, but that will change) and this still happens. Cali
was a great dog to be with and to train with. She was my Ms.
Reliable. If someone needed a demo dog she was there. She
was going to be Terri's agility teacher. not to mention she was a
fantastic house manager, and no dog (well non-Border Collie) was
as good at LOOKING at you and seeing into your soul (as one person put
it). She deserved to live a long time.
Doghouse Arts (http://www.doghousearts.com) has some nice photos of
Cali from Scottsdale USDAA National, so I'm ordering those and some
others for someone else too (it's a surprise, so no details yet).
Tues May 3
I've been dreading this day. Cali's ashes are back at the
vets. So all the feelings come rushing back. Terri has
offered to go get them and I'm going to take her up on the offer so
that I can go to Pet Vet and exchange Yoshi's collar and pick up some
W/D for him as a supplement (seems like just 1 cup of wellness a day
leaves him hungry.)
We may do (some of) the ash spreading world tour on Sat. I can't
decide whether to bring Yoshi along or not. From a practical
stand point, we could be out longer then and she was quite happy to
ignore him if there was something important that needed sniffing, on
the other hand maybe it should just be "her time."
Mon May 2
May already. I'm thinking about the places that I want to spread Cali's ashes.
- Morgan Territory (for that cow pasture effect)
- Fort Funston - on the bluffs that she would race down and some in the ocean
- Point Isabel Dog Park - under the picnic tables that I was always trying to get her out from under
- Redwood Park - have to see if I can find some rank racoon poop or other thing that she rolled in
- Highland Park - just a touch in the water that she was forever
getting into (which was fine with me - it's the drinking of it and the
resulting diarrhea and occasional vet bills that I wasn't so fond of.)
- A little in the backyard
- I could ask Power Paws (maybe on the edges where I would argue with
her about running off to to look for cat poop), though I don't know how
thrilled they would be about that
Probably won't do our local dog park as she only sort of liked it - though initally she loved it.
Debbie asked me if I were going to make a memory book for her.
Given that she has most of a web site and 100's of pictures (probably a 1000) I think for
her that would be a touch redundant. Though I will keep all the
wonderful cards we've gotten. And there are a couple of web pages
that I'd still like to make that feature her. The Flat Toy Society in particular.
Sat Apr 30
Went to the Bayteam USDAA agility trial. I have never been hugged
so meaningfully by so many agility people. People were genuinely
caring and compassionate I was really touched. I lost count of the
heartfelt condolances I received. Jackie, Debbie and I had a lengthy
group hug and cry. And others would come by as well. The
death of 3 Bayteam dogs in just over a week has had a huge impact on a
lot of people. Suddenly people weren't so worried about Qing but
more just grateful that their dog was healthy. Lots of dogs got
extra hugs from their people.
Yoshi was generally ok with some obvious exceptions. Once again
he lunged at a Border Terrier (Sharon F.'s this time). It's
occurring to me that with their harsh coat and brownish/grey coloring
he many think they're rodents (funny looking squirrels?) instead of
dogs. I'll have to arrange for him to meet one under highly
Good news. Angel's tumor is benign! Though her spleen they
took out weighed 3 pounds, Yeesh - I looked up on google that the
average human spleen is 5 oz.
People have been sending us the most wonderful cards. I'm
particularly moved by the card from Park Centre her regular vets office
that has personal notes from all three of the vets there, and from BAVS
that has personal notes from 3 of the vets that saw her and several of
the technicians and other support staff.
Fri Apr 29
[from a letter I wrote to Vonda - some is a repeat but it's more succint]
We take such emotional risks putting everything we have into animals
with such a relatively short lifespan, but they give us so much back
that we think it worth it and for the most part it definitely is. It's
when something unexpected happens it can really throw us (at least it
did me.) I had planned on having Cali run with Terri in
performance/perferred and do some obedience and tracking (which we
trained in all winter) which would get us a versatility award (inspired
by Tucker) and basically have a leisurely retirement where we would
spoil her rotten.
What a difference a month makes. Though she was intensively spoiled
during that month. All the things that I never did with her, I did. She
was losing weight and I took every opportuntiy to stuff her face (a
corgi dream if there ever was one). If she wanted some of what I was
eating, I gave it to her (within reason). If she wanted to lick my plate
I put it on the ground for her. I shopped and cooked for her. I fed her
ice cream and also cheese tortellini, and I basically did anything I
thought would make her more comfortable. It was a very tough month, but
it was fun indulging her.
[end of quote]
I've gotten more than one person saying that when they're in the
situation that Cali was in that they want ice cream therapy too - maybe
I'm on to a new (likely not new) hospice treatment.
I sent off Cali's last insurance claim for her euthanasia. It
feels so final. It's going to feel even weirder when I get her
I'm still angry that I was willing to do most anything for her and I
still couldn't save her life. Just no justice I suppose.
These people that get a dog and then ignore it in the backyard (which
is a huge petpeeve of mine, since dogs are such pack animals) have
their dogs for 15+ years. I suppose this means that I should get
a rescue dog sometime, but I really prefer to raise them myself as I
like to have a huge impact on how they turn out. Yoshi is sort of
an exception to this since he came at 8 months, but 8 months is a whole
lot different than say 4-5 years.
I still see Cali's ghost everywhere I turn.
Just got wind that the local corgi folks are planning something for
Debbie and I at their agility trial in June. Awwww, that's
sweet. Wonder what they're up to. Just as long as they
don't give me a dog. (they wouldn't). Though I am open to running
other people's dogs. Having Reno and Cali pass away within two days of each other has shaken up the local corgi community.
And apparently the Hedgie destuffing page
(http://www.frap.org/hedgie_destuffing.html) is getting some more play
on Corgi-l. That was truely one of the more fun pages to make and
Cali was so wonderfully obliging (she was so damn expressive and would
pose endlessly for the camera). Now I need to make a page of
Yoshi, the apprentice's, destuffing efforts. He's developing a
different, more methodical, almost meditative style. A toy will
last him a month as opposed to Cali the shredder's 10 minutes. I
also have an idea for a logo for the Flat Toy Society - oh, I can see
another CafePress store in my future.
Thur Apr 28
Jim, our agility instructor, called and we had a really nice
talk. He and Nancy really understand as they battled Scud's
cancer for 4 1/2 years (Lymphoma is more treatable than what Cali had,
but it's still heartbreakingly hard.) I've also been hearing from
folks who have been making memorial donations to animal welfare
organizations like Corgi-Aid and the Morris Animal Foundation. I
also had a reply back from Peter Moore saying that the don't often see
corgi's with HS (lucky us). But the implication was that it
wasn't the first time. I've also asked him if there's a way to
contribute to the UC Davis Vet Center and have the money go to his
research - haven't heard back on that but when I do I'll post it here.
I also heard back from Lori Drouin and she lost her sheltie Chase very
suddenly to liver cancer that had spread to his atrium. He
trained and played that morning and then later went into respiratory
failure. She, like me, is just amazed at how you can have a
completely healthy looking dog who's having truly awful things going on
beneath. She's dealing with being very angry about not even
having the chance to fight it, and this is the dilemma that no one
really has an answer to. If things happen fast then you don't
have time to get used to the idea or to fight it, but the dog doesn't
suffer, however if things linger then all involved could likely suffer
especially if it's a losing battle.
Folks are calling last week: corgi week from hell. Agility
classmates Reno and Cali died within two days of each other.
Beverly's dog Angel had a splenectomy, Gail's dog Maddy was diagnosed
with a heart murmur, and Cathy's dog Buddy had back surgery.
Gail's vet was a little puzzled at what appeared to be her
relief. The vet didn't know the context, only this week would
someone say: my dog only has congestive heart failure - hooray.
(While quite serious, it is a treatable condition.)
Laurie Anderson, the performance artist, once said that a friend told
her that she could direct a film herself, but that she needed a LOUD
A.D. (assistant director). I feel that's what I'm missing now,
either that or a stage manager. I have final say, but I've grown
used to being questioned/challenged on that all the time (in a good
way). It's like we need a female corgi or female border collie
(heavens - eek) to keep us all in line, and to keep us from slacking
off too much. Not that we need another dog. Yoshi is going
to need a lot of work and attention and he may well benefit from being
an only dog (as long as he has play time with his friends.)
Wed Apr 27
I'm back at work, but having trouble concentrating.
I brought in one of Tien Trans' photos of her coming out of a tunnel
with this deliriously happy, tongue lolling expression on her face and
I can't stop looking at it.
Georgene has offered to let me run her Cardi Sammy some in AKC.
Given that Sammy can be willful at times that should be a sobering
lesson in humility.
At work when I walk up to my office I expect to see Cali staring back
from behind the babygate. When I roll back my chair I look back
to make sure I'm not about to run over her nose. When I drive I
put my arm in the back area just to pet her (she rode with a seatbelt
in the passenger area of the king cab). If I drop something on
the floor I expect to see her swooping out from nowhere to grab
it. (I got good at being really fast if I didn't want her to have
Tues Apr 26
The reality is sinking in.
I keep looking for her and visualizing her. I have such a Cali
sized part of my brain. The part that automatically checks on her
every so often just to see if she's ok and not getting into too much
mischeif. That part of your brain that alarms when it's too
quiet. Resetting that is going to take a while.
I'm brought up short when I see a trial that I'd like to enter.
When I realize that we're never going to get that one Gamble that we've
been working on for so long. Or that last Snooker Super Q that we
were going to start traveling to get, or that final Steeplechase Q that
we would have gotten had the qualification rules not been changed
But all this is nothing really compared to me just wanting my wonderful
dog and taskmaster back. She was such a delight to work
with. She loved to work (as long as she was paid), and was
willing to do most anything for a treat.
I looked at the date of her last Performance Grand Prix qualifying run
- Feb 19. It was at the Performance level (lower jump heights and
extra time) and she was still over time (though still qualified as with
those runs you're allowed some faults). I was suspecting that
something was wrong besides the day warming up some. Then I
noticed her limp and pulled her from the other trials that she was
entered in. Just over 2 months later and she's gone. I'm
VPI her insurance company has asked for all health records of all vets
she saw in the past month. This would be a daunting task, but
I've already had BAVS make copies for me and Park Center is in the
process as I like to have copies for myself. They are going to be
receiving ~0.5" stack of paper. Maybe they'll be sorry they
asked. They've already paid the surgery claim, so I don't think I
need the VSA records though their reports will be in the other records.
I need to send in her last claims. What's going to be hard is
walking back into Park Centre asking for the claim form for her
euthanasia to be signed (plus I'm going to sell back the Hills A/D and
donate the Carafate and the Gengraf. (Found takers for the Pred and
Misoprostol, and the Euk. food, and a possible buyer for the sealed
Seacure - I'm finishing the open bottle myself.)
It's fascinating to me how many practical details death involves -
mostly for a person, but even with some dogs. I'll have to let
AKC, AKC CAR know (who has her chip records) and likely the agility
Yoshi has class tonight (I'll put this in his diary too). He's
become a real shadow these past couple of days. I encourage it as
when he alarm barks I call him back to me which seems to help reassure
him that he doesn't have to guard quite so much. I go back to
work tomorrow and I hope he'll be ok.
Mon Apr 25
The day after.
Oh, I miss her. It;s weird when you have a dog that runs your
life how out of sorts you can be when they're gone. Yoshi's being
generally good except in the morning when he reverts to being about 6
months and chews on the bed sheets even with a toy right near by.
It's more a matter of continuing the: no don't chew that, chew this toy
I'm off work today because I had taken it off for Power Paws
camp. I offered Cali's tissue to Dr. Peter Moore's research on
Histiocytec Sarcoma, but they didn't need more tissue at this
time. Though it was nice to write them to thank them for being
willing to research such a depressing disease.
Then I occupied myself with something I at least had a shot at
fixing. Plumbing. (Clogged drain.) It's a bit better
now. Now off to hike and to try not to hurt too much. (Didn't actually get to the hike).
Cali had qualified for the USDAA Nationals (likely in Scottsdale AZ
again this year) and I was planning on going. Now it's vaguely
tempting to find someone who wants their dog to go, but doesn't feel up
to handling at that level. I don't know, that would be a real
commitment and I don't know if I'm up for that, plus I should probably
concentrate on Yoshi's training, but the Nationals will not be in this
area for at least two years after this year so I keep thinking about it.
I also should make a list of all of her meds and see if anyone could use them.
The ones I have the most of are Prednasone, and Carafate.
I keep looking for her. Crashed out on the dog bed in the living
room. Upside down in her snuggler or her crate. Sprawled
out on the cool floor. Dropping her kong on my foot in hopes that
I'll fill it. Harrassing me to go out and play fetch.
Bugging me for us to do "something" so she can get a treat. She
was very much like a Border Collie with an off switch - that she
controled (though I'm sure she'd take exception to that).
A couple of folks or more have made references to looking for a new
star in the sky. Last night I looked up and did see a bright
"star." I thought about it and realized I was probably looking at
Jupiter and went and check the Starry Nights software that I
have. Yep it's Jupiter - which may not be a new star, but it's a
similar color as Cali, so I'll likely always think of her whenever I
see it. (Fitting in a way, Jupiter has moons - little underlings
orbiting 'round. :)
Mark and Jan came by with offers of pizza which I gratefully accepted
so we had a nice evening chatting. Cathy usually comes over on
Mondays but she's taking care of Buddy and also dealing with her
partner Dave's mom being in the hospital so we rescheduled for Wed.
Sun Apr 24
This morning at 11:45am we said goodbye to Cali.
It was clear she wanted to go.
My sweet, sweet dog - I will miss you so much.
I've received so many wonderful letters of support and
condolances. When a dog passes away, it's hard to know the right
thing to say and yet so many manage just fine. Even a note saying
"I don't know what to say besides I'm sorry" (paraphrase) means so much
to me. I've sometimes thought when this happens to someone else
that: oh I don't know what to say and don't know how it would
help. Now I know all too personally - it does make a
difference. All the letters make a huge difference and they
really help my feelings a lot. In the next few days I hope to
respond to all of them though it's going to take a while.
I'm going to try to keep things the same for Yoshi so as not to stress
him any more. Terri asked if we should move Cali's crate to where
his smaller one is beside the bed and I think we'll wait on that.
He usually eats in his crate (because the maurading Cali ate much
faster) which I'll continue for a while. Today I didn't close the
door and he didn't want to start and we had to tell him it was ok, so
even these details make a difference. I should probably this
paragraph in his training diary which has been woefully neglected for
the past two weeks (both his training and mine have been on hiatus
though fortunately his obedience class has started again.)
I'll keep updating this for the next few days or longer as there are a
few things I need to take care of regarding Cali and she has such a
presence in my heart and the closure is really nice.
The main thing is I would like to memorialize her in the form of an
agility award or something, but I'm not sure what. An entire
trial like Greg and Lin Battalia do in honor of their Sheltie Pepper
who died of cancer ("The Pepper Memorial Classic Trial"
http://www.mdt-agilityability.com/2005%20PMC%20Scores.htm) is too much
for me, but I would like to do something. Something specific to
corgi's or cancer or consistency (her hallmark) or almost there
(another hallmark - there are quite a few titles that she almost had)
or halfway to a MACH (she had 10 double Q's and half of the points
On a practical note, I need to sell back the leftover Hills A/D in cans
that I bought for her, and donate her leftover meds back to the vet or
someone else - in particular the Prednasone.
But for now, I think I'm just going to mourn her. I've been in
bed the last 3 hours and now have just gotten up. I think over
the last few days I have lost a fair bit of sleep and it's going to
take a while to readjust.
[warning, some may wish to skip this paragraph]
face and feeling her body while the lethal drug was going
through her body was reassuring. It was so painless and
quick. The vet (Dr. Manchester since we went into the office and
chose not to wait for Dr. Applegate to get back from out of town) first
injected a sedative which completely relaxed her (her cathether was
still in place so she didn't even need to be poked again). This
took about 30 seconds. Then she injected the lethal drug which is
an overdose of an older anesthesia which stops their heart. I had
my hands on her the whole time so I knew when her heart stopped though
happened so fast that I didn't really believe it until the vet checked
with a stethascope and held my hand and said "She's gone." She
then left the room saying that we could take as much time as we needed
(Terri and Coe were also present.) We had a very, very tearful
good bye and Terri bless her heart took care of the financial details
so I didn't have to deal with it while leaving.
I'm having her cremated and have left instructions for the box not to
be sealed. It will take about 2 weeks for her ashes to come
back. I'm hoping that I will have the fortitude to spread her
ashes in places that she loves, rather than what I think are
pretty. By this I mean a cow pasture. Since it will be
ashes I can choose multiple places so I can split the difference.
Also fortunately, the place we had tracking lessons (Morgan Territory
Regional Park) also has a lot of free range cattle so that will
definitely be one of the places. I'm thinking Morgan Territory,
Fort Funston Regional Park, Redwood Regional Park, and maybe someplace
where we did agility.
Sat Apr 23
She woke up hungry at 6:30am, so I immediately feed her some of the Euk
which she ate readily. I also gave her her Pred with ice cream,
but I've stopped with the other meds (save maybe for the Carafate) as
she seems to be doing better without them. We are however giving
a maintenance dose of 3 small spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream ever two
hours of so. Just what the Dr. ordered.
Lunch will be some spinach and cheese tortellini served plain.
The tortellini was a huge hit, but the ice cream is the enduring
favorite. When we got pretty close to the end of the carton (the
one that I was sure we wouldn't get half way through in 2 days), I just
put the carton on the floor for her to mainline. What a corgi
dream. While I didn't let her completely finish it, I am going to
have to get some more tonight.
Coe came over and spent much of the afternoon with all of us which Cali
very much enjoyed though you can tell that she got tired through out
the afternoon. She is starting to breath a bit heavier, but the
pattern has been for her to not be great in the afternoon and then to
act ok the next morning. If that turns out not to be the case,
and if she doesn't look like she'll be comfortable hanging out till 4pm
when Dr. Applegate gets here, we can take her in to Park Centre Animal
Hospital (where Cali's vets work) which is open from 10-4
tomorrow. It's not what I want, but Cali likes it there (well
parts of it :) so while not perfect, it would be fine.
I'm tired and I'm going to try to get some sleep. I went to the
store and got more ice cream and tortellini. She still is willing
to eat the Euk. kibble so she had some of that at dinnertime, but the
bedtime snack was ice cream. About 2 hours ago I gave her the
rest of the old ice cream carton to lick. After she was done,
that was the most spotless container I've ever seen.
Over the past couple of days I've been taking photos of her and various
folks. I hope to eventually make them into a photo gallery of
I make a DVD for Coe of several of Cali's agility runs. She was thrilled.
We got out several 8x10 photos that Tien Tran and Chris have taken of
Cali, and Terri was nice enough to go get some frames, so now Cali is
all over the living room.
Friday Apr 22
Cali seemed better this morning so I think part of her symptoms
yesterday were from the transfusion. It may be that she's
developing antibodies to that donor's blood (even though it's universal
donor - negative type). I had them run a PCV just to check her
levels before doing the transfusion. It's now 18% so I had them
go ahead with it.
She has severe diarrhea now so I gave her 1/2 tablet of Immonium
AD. I think we gave her too much rich food yesterday. This
morning she was willing to eat the Euk kibble so that's mostly what she
had. I gave her the Pred, and the Peptid AC and the Immonium, but
didn't given her any of the other meds In case they were causing her
[From an email exchange in response to Thur entry.]
It really sucks, doesn't it. Even while Rem was on chemotherapy, for a brief
while when it looked like the tumor had shrunk, he took 1st (!) in a
NADAC jumpers class.
I had expected to see my dog gradually get older and slower and
eventually retire him but meanwhile take him swimming a lot more (I
discovered when he was about 7 that he really loved it) and maybe try
It just wouldn't hurt so much if the dog were already old and ailing.
It most certainly does suck. It's weird that I won't have a chance to
every see her be geriatric, which some would say is something of a
blessing, but this way we don't get the opportunity to get used to the
idea. I had just moved Cali down to 8" and she was very fast and really
Not that I don't want people to be excited about it, but it's going to
be hard to read about USDAA Nationals Scottsdale preparations as we had
just qualified to go to the Performance Grand Prix where she had a shot
at doing very, very well.
[end of email]
I was hoping for a fun easy retirement for her. Terri was going
to compete with her at the Performance/Perferred level, we were going
to be going back to obedience for her CD (She's actually trained
through the CDX ("Open") level, and we had spent last winter doing
tracking training and she was getting close to being ready to be tested
for a tracking title (a TD). If she had gotten the CD and TD she
would have also have gotten an AKC Versatility title. She's an
amazingly talented and smart dog. I've been very fortunate to
have her - she has taught me so much.
She's at BAVS getting her last transfusion and then Coe will fly in
to see her at 1pm tomorrow and then on Sunday her vet is going to come
by the house (on her day off no less) at 4pm and we will all say goodbye
to Cali. I'm going to make her some Frosty Paws and also have other
treats on hand.
In more sad news, I just received news that Reno the 12 year old wonder
corgi who won last year's CPE national, just passed away at BAVS.
This is hard on all of us as Reno is a classmate and just two weeks ago
was racing around in class running tighter faster courses than Flint
(according to Gail).
After looking up recipes for Frosty Paws I decided that she'd probably
be just as happy (or more) with ice cream and that since she's
not going to finish it, the humans in the household will be happy to
help eat it. Especially since the point of Frosty Paws is
something that isn't way high in fat and we don't care about that right
now. (Just Google for frosty paws and you'll find the recipe.)
Since I'm obviously a little stressed I wound up bringing home 3
different kinds of ice cream (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to
it), Ben and Jerry's Vanilla (the best bet), some Hagen Daaz
Strawberry and Banana Yogurt, and some Godiva White Chocolate with
Raspberry. And I also picked up some tortelini since I've used
that before as an agility treat.
I picked Cali up from BAVS and her PCV is up to 30. She's acting
very much herself and eating the Euk kibble. Gave her her Pred.
and a vitamin tab. Then I got out the Vanilla ice cream. Oh
what a happy corgi. I only gave her 3 spoonfuls since she'd just
had a whole bunch of kibble.
I may have mentioned this before, but one thing that makes this whole
process really difficult is that right after a transfusion she feels
pretty good. It's only after she starts losing red blood cells to
the histiocytes that she starts to get droopy. So I have this
reoccurring experience of having a happy somewhat bouncy dog that slows
down over the length of a day or so. I wouldn't give it up, but
it is weird, and it makes the decision to let her go all the harder.
I looked at the CBC reports and you can see that her bone marrow while
still working is not working nearly as hard at making new red blood
cells. In effect, she's losing and if I want her not to suffer I
need to let her go.
We are spending a quiet evening together and while she's not suffering
and doesn't know how sick she is, she likely thinks I'm really weird as
I've often been plunking down on the ground beside her just to pet her
and kiss her. After a while she gets sick of the nap interruption
and moves, but, in general, she's tolerating me and my excess attention
She's eating well and her diarrhea is now just soft stools which is far more manageable and much less messy.
I may try to wake up every so often and feed her as it seems that when she fasts her energy level goes way down.
This evening was such a gift, she's not yet working hard to breath and
seems to be resting well except for this weirdo who keeps insisting on
petting her and crying.
Thur Apr 21
I wound up picking Cali up at 2am last night. Her temperature
would go up during the transfusion so they had to slow the drip rate
way down until it came down.
I was going to take her to Morgan Territory but she mostly wanted to rest so that's what we did.
Reno one of the other corgi classmates is also very ill and Debbie
brought him to BAVS for a second opinion. He went in yesterday
and they still have him while they run tests. He's having trouble
breathing so he's on oxygen which helps him rest. Her other vet
thinks he has prostate cancer, but the BAVS folks are not convinced.
Debbie came over for the afternoon and we comismerated and spent time with Cali.
It's becoming a regulate Doggy Project Open Hand (the SF organization
that makes good nutritious meals for people with AIDS complications)
around here. Cali's no longer wanting the Hills A/D (though she
will sometimes eat the Euk kibble or the Innova EVO kibble). So
now the doggy gourmet is featuring Texas grown Bazmatti rice cooked in
chicken broth with Tilamook Cheddar and Domestic Muenster cheese melted
over it and then let cool. I make two bowls of it as it's pretty
good so I have some too (this gets the doggy's attention.)
Yoshi's feeling left out so I give him the dregs of it after Cali is
Cali is hyperventalating some this evening, so at 10:30pm we took her
down to BAVS for a PCV check. 21.5% which is close to transfusion
level, but ok to wait till her scheduled time in the morning tomorrow,
so we're back home now. I'll sleep better tonight not always
having to keep one eye on her.
I hate this, I really hate this. My dog is in excellent health and
she's dying, and there's nothing that the best medicine can do right
now to cure it. Her histiocytic cells are out of control and
eating all the heathly red blood cells, instead of damaged cells and
bacteria like they're supposed to.
Wed Apr 20
Cali's PCV fell to 17% so Thur's transfusion is happening today.
I could tell she was getting uncomfortable and breathing heavily and
her heart rate was way up so I took her in. So she's going to be
late to her own party but they really want to see her so as soon as
she's done well head on down to Menlo Park/Woodside.
I talked to Coe her co-owner. She's coming into see Cali on Sat
and I told her that at this rate, I didn't think she'd make it to that
day. She said she'd cover a transfusion on Friday so Cali gets
one more transfusion after today.
Elizabeth wrote me and told me that in her experience, relatively
young, strong dogs don't easily go into hypoxia from oxygen debt, but
instead get panicky and feel like they're suffocating. Having
been at high altitude myself I know the feeling, and it's hard enough
even if you're choosing to put yourself through it. Elizabeth
says that if my main goal is that Cali not know she's sick that I may
want to rethink letting her pass away naturally. I talked with
Coe about this and after mulling it over quite a bit I think we're
going to have Cali put down on Sunday. Cali's regular vet has
offered to come to the house to do so. This breaks my heart, but
it's likely the right thing to do.
In the meantime, I intend to have a good day with her on Thur.
I'll probably take her to the Morgan Territory (an open space regional
park) where we had our tracking lessons.
Tues Apr 19
First of all Cali is resting comfortably and chased a ball a couple of
times and chewed on a raw hide and dispatched a couple of stuffed kongs
(oh and ate 1 1/2 cat food size cans of Hills A/D (A/D is for both dogs
and cats, and some of the Euk. kibble.
You're right Elizabeth if it is a GI bleed it should be easy to detect
(even see) and there is no visible blood in her stools and no vomiting.
The test for blood in the stools that you can't see ("occult blood in
the stool") involves having her on a completely vegetarian diet for 48
hours and then bringing in her stool as a sample. After thinking about
it I've decided that, much as it would be nice to know, I don't want to
do that to her as I wouldn't even be able to give her her iron
supplement as that contains liver. It could have an impact on the
quality of what life she has left. I did have them do an ultrasound
yesterday and they found no evidence of abdominal bleeding.
The transfusion took her PCV up to 32% which is quite close to normal.
I'm hoping this gets her through till Thur morning as our Power Paws
class is getting together on Wed evening for a Farewell party. The Wed
8:15 class has been a dynasty of small dogs (particularly corgis) for
such a long time it's hard to see it change. Both Reno and Cali have
cancer and Flint and Scully (All American and honorary Corgi) are
leaving the class because their people's schedules have changed and need
to be in other classes.
I think we're all coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that it is
indeed the hystiocytic cells that are out of control and gobbling up her
red blood cells. I had a tearful conversation with Dr. Carley
yesterday, and she said that yes the cancer could be causing this much
blood cell loss. She was so good (gonna be a great specialist), took
time to just sit and talk. You could hear the frustration in her voice
that it's always the best dogs that get cancer and it's just not fair.
(I'm thinking that it's because we take such care of our dogs that
cancer is the only thing that we can't fix - not true by a longshot, but
something that just struck me.) She said that I've really tried
everything and that she wishes other people had as much commitment to
their dogs. My response was how could I not? That's just part of the
commitment I make when I decide to have a dog. She said that she wished
more folks felt that way.
I have decided that Thur will be her last transfusion as right now she's
not in pain and if I keep up the transfusions, there's a chance that the
cancer could start attacking some other part of her body and cause her
pain. This will have been enough time to give the medication a chance
to work if it were something else besides cancer. So after Thur we'll
go into hospice mode and concentrate on enjoying the rest of her life.
Out of respect and because it should keep her comfortable I'm going to
maintain her medication.
Today I'll take her to see her regular vets just for a visit (no exam,
no poking, no prodding). Then we'll probably go to one of her favorite
places (Fort Funston I think) and this evening I'm taking her up to
Santa Rosa to see Bill her breeder whom she adores. Bill was asking if
she's that gravely ill do you think the trip and the excitement of the
visit would be good for her? Yes! Yes, indeed.
Just trying to enjoy our time.
I took her to her regular vets at Park Centre Animal Hospital: Mary
Applegate and Cathy Wydner. Dr. Wydner was just about to go into
surgery and still stopped to talk. I had a really good talk with
both of them. They were both quite sad and very supportive of my
decisions, and they both said what Dr. Carley alluded to. This
only seems to happen to the good dogs. The grumpy, surley,
crotchety ones that try to bite them (think vet's perspective) are the
ones that live to 15 or 16. I took photos of each of them with
Cali. They were both amused at the thought of my walking into
BAVS with blood at the ready (though they thought it was a great idea.)
Then we headed off to Fort Funston. For those of you that don't
live here, Fort Funston is a coastal park just South of San Francisco
that is sort of off leash (it's a huge political football right now)
and it's gorgeous. Walked slowly around there for about an hour,
tried to go down the bluff to the water but she told me that she was
too tired so we headed back up. I was thinking of just carrying
her down and then back up, but it was clear that she wouldn't of
enjoyed it. It was tough to see her struggle given that she used
to race down (and up) the bluff but I'm glad we did it.
She's resting now. I'll let her rest till 5pm and then she'll eat
and then we'll head off to Bill's. She has some diarrhea for the
ton of treats that she's been eating but it's ok.
Had a really nice visit with Bill. She didn't pounce on him like
she used to but still very much enjoys him. Her ears went back
(in that oh I adore you and will do anything for you way) just as soon as
she heard him. Oh and his puppies are really cute. He has what
appears to be some good agility prospects, and one very sweet boy who
reminds me of Yoshi as he loves people and likes to cuddle.
It was a good day. Cali enjoyed herself and doesn't seem too
wiped out (still engaging and alert which is usually the first thing to
be affected when her red blood cells count dips). We'll see what
Came home and Terri stuffed food down her. kibble, canned food, and three helpings of rice with cheese melted over it.
I've noticed that keeping her well fed seems to help with her energy
levels. The day after her transfusion she eats a ton and does
fine, but after a night isn't doing so well. I wonder if we
should give her midnight (and beyond) snacks.
Mon Apr 18
Cali seemed low energy this morning and her gums were very pale so I
took her in to BAVS for (what is becoming a daily occurance) a PCV
check. 18% too low for comfort so time for a transfusion.
Fortunately I had brought the blood along. There was someone in
there very distraught about their pet, so I didn't try the corkage joke
as it just wasn't the right time and I was pretty somber myself.
For the first time Cali didn't seem too thrilled about going into the
back. While I want to give her new meds a chance, I'm now
starting to wonder how long I should keep this up. I think I just
have to go by her spirits, and is she still enjoying herself. So
Robin (who is a Sammoyed breeder) really encouraged me to have them do
an ultrasound even if they don't think it will help as this is just too
soon to need more blood. I called BAVS and just found out that
they had scheduled her for one anyway. (They must know that I would
say: Of course, please do so.)
So I'll know more this afternoon.
Cali's transfusion is still going but apparently they did the ultrasound. No evidence of bleeding in the abdomen.
Argh. So how to know what's going on? Could the histiocytic
cells be munching the red blood cells that quickly? Where might
this process be happening? Since they're showing up in the blood
tests, the red blood cells are getting from the bone marrow out into
the blood stream which implies that it's not happening in the
marrow. I'll have to hear what the results of the CBC are from
today. I have a message for Dr. Zenger to call back.
Sun Apr 17
Started her on a new medication called Gengraf which is another
immunosuppressant mostly intended to prevent rejection of transplanted
organs. She's starting to get some bloating in her tummy which Dr
Zenger says is from the Pred - apparently the muscles of the abdomen
weaken and the liver enlarges some, it's not likely from internal
bleeding. Her PCV is 24% today.
Finally got to Dixon and what a bittersweet time it was. Margie
at Moe Toys gave her an entire container of treats, and people were
just terrific giving her lots of attention and treats and me lots of
hugs and I heard many times my frustration at feeling powerless echoed
(and lots of "it's just not fair.") Cali seemed to enjoy herself
though was getting tired (even though she got carried a lot.)
Pat K. owner of the Animal Blood Bank was just fantastic (as agility
people often are). The trial was in Dixon and they have a
location also in Dixon, so after the trial was over we went over and I
bought some blood directly from her. I will get some
entertainment walking into BAVS and asking what their corkage fee is.
Cali's gums are pale, but still have some pink in them and she seems in good spirits.
Sat Apr 16
I took her in to get a PCV before we went to Dixon to say hello to
folks at a large agility trial there. Best laid plans
Her PCV is down to 19% so she will definitely need a transfusion before
Monday. I spoke to Dr. Zanger. I asked if today would be
better than tomorrow and after thinking about it she said that today
was better as they have better odds of coming through ok the sooner it
So Cali is at the Hotel BAVS again getting more blood though I'm hoping
to bring her home tonight. She's getting enough medication that I
finally put it in a web page so it was easier for me and anyone else to
get a handle on (I'm amazed at how much I was able to keep in my
head). I showed it to BAVS and they were thrilled, and
immediately noticed that I was giving the Carafate at the same time I
was feeding her and it's thought to be more effective (by some) if
given on an empty stomach so it doesn't bind to the food or coat the
other medications. That page is at http://www.frap.org/Misc/cali-meds.html.
Patricia M. (who's a buyer at a human pharmacy) was asking if doggies
can use Procrit or Epogen which are drugs intended to stimulate red
blood cell production. I have a call outstanding to Dr. Carley
about it, but I found this web page:
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_erythropoietin.html and it says
that humans have a different protein that dogs and cats:
While human recombinant erythopoietin works in dogs and
cats, it is not the same protein and antibodies eventually develop in
response to its exposure. At the present time, the amino acid sequence
of the canine and feline versions of erythropoietin are known but
commercial products are not available.
However it then goes on to describe trying it anyway. I think
that if Cali continues not to respond that it's likely worth trying.
Carafate info site: http://www.healthsquare.com/newrx/car1065.htm
[later - after talking with Dr. Carley and an email exchange with a friend]
>Do they understand what is causing the PCV to drop?
> 5% a day sounds pretty steep, particularly if she is producing reticulocytes. Are they still
> saying that all of this is consistent with the IBD?
> Most important, how is Cali taking all of this? Does she seem to mind the
> blood tests and trips to the vet? If she's philosophical, that would make
> it so much easier -- on both of you!
That is the $64,000 question. What is making the PCV drop
off? It could be a bleeding ulcer, it could be the cancer.
And it's causing a huge debate at BAVS. If it's the cancer, then
it's doing so while still pumping out reticulocytes. The hope is
to get this stabilized so she will feel better and act more like
herself for whatever time she's got left.
There is still a remote chance that it's not cancer, but it's pretty remote now.
Cali so far doesn't mind the vets as she gets lots of attention and
treats when she can have them. Still has a smile on her face, and
greets everyone. One of the vets who wasn't as familiar with the
particulars of her case brought up quality of life issues to which all
I could say was "look at her - she's still having a good time."
I'm supposed to call at 7pm as that's when they'll be done with her
transfusion and recheck of her PCV. Hopefully she'll get to come home
tonight and I'll take her to Dixon tomorrow to see folks.
I asked about Procrit, and while they do use it from time to time
(particularly on kitties with renal failure), it's whole purpose is to
help with bone marrow production and she's pumping out reticulocytes
right now so it may do more harm than good if it was to cause an
antibody reaction which might interfer with reticulocyte production.
As you might guess this is far harder on me than her. A great lesson
was yesterday when a friend tearfully hugged Cali and Cali took it
fine, but as soon as she could sat down with her back to my friend with
a look like "I think you're a little psycho, but you can still pet me,
as long as I don't have to look at you." (Have I mentioned here how
much she would suck as a therapy dog? She's good for perspective, but
not therapy. ;)
[picked her up after the transfusion]
She's of course quite perky after her blood recharge though not bouncing off the walls. Her PCV is now 27 or 28%.
Dr. Zanger is suggesting we do an occult blood in stool test. To
do this she needs to be on a vegatarian diet for 48 hours (e.g. rice
and cottage cheese). I need to check if egg is ok. I'm
tempted to start tonight but it would be nigh impossible to keep people
from feeding her treats tomorrow at Dixon so I think that will start
tomorrow night. I'm not thrilled about having her on a restricted
diet for 2 days, but I do think that this test is important.
Drug changes. Reduce Pred to 10 mg BID, make sure Carafate is
given on an empty stomach. Adding Gengraf - get from a human
pharmacy. Not sure what that does yet.
She gets to go back in for another PVC tomorrow morning, after that I really hope we'll get to Dixon.
Fri Apr 15
Went into BAVS to get her blood levels checked and to talk to Dr Heuter
an interal medicine specialist (Dr. Carley is an intern - though
interns are highly motivated vets studying to be specialists, so it's
well worth having one interested in your dog's case). He's very
good and explained that an ultrasound wouldn't tell anything (Dr Carley
said this too the next day, but with more detail.) Her PCV
(packed cell volume - indicative of the amount of red blood cells in
the bloodstream) is down to 24% from yesterday's 28% and the day
before's 33% (normal is above 36% or so).
She's scheduled for another blood test on Mon and they did a CBC
(complete blood count) and will have the results tonight. He said
to keep a careful eye on her as if she continues dropping at this rate
then she'll need a transfusion before Monday.
Dr. Heuter called me with the results. Her bone marrow is still
producing red blood cells which is a relief (if that stops then we know
the sarcoma is winning.) The line they look at in the CBC is
"Reticulocyte Production Index" A reticulocyte is a long word for
young red blood cell. The presence of them indicates that the
bone marrow is still making them. Her's is 2.6 and though they
are hoping to see it above 3, that's still good. What's confusing
is that for a normal dog the values are below 1, but for sick dogs they
want the value to be higher
I'm getting more fluent in medical terms, wish the circumstances were different though.
Cali's in decent spirits. A touch subdued, but ok.
Thur Apr 14
After all that downer news yesterday, I just wanted to emphasize that
she has no idea she's sick. All she knows is that her gut hurt and
didn't want to eat.
This morning she ate with gusto. I'm now feeding her Hills A/D (1/2
can), and Eukanuba Low Reside kibble plus just about anything else she
wants (e.g. some chicken from my Hot Pocket that I was eating.) As you
might guess, it's fun to indulge her. All those things I never would do
with her while she was growing up. "You want to lick my plate? Sure,
no problem, here ya go."
Also, so far every symptom she's had can be explained by IBD, (save for
the unhappy spleen.) Right now I've resolved to try to get life back to
what is normal for us. She probably won't go back to agility, but maybe
tracking and obedience - it's up to her - right now we'll see if she
wants to resume normal walks, and then fetch.
Her spleen recovery is 4 weeks and we're about 2 1/2 weeks into that.
One day at a time.
Wed Apr 13
[from an email update]
Well after the good news of her willingness to eat I was saddened to
hear later that day that her bone marrow test came back as likely
cancerous (Histiocytic Sarcoma - a cancer so rare that my regular vet,
who runs one of the more successful and well established practices in
Alameda, has not seen a case of it in 15 years of practice).
The plan is to continue her on the Prednasone for a week and get her as
healthy as possible and decide what to do from there.
(I should note that as I write the following epic, she's doing fine.)
Well that was the plan but last night I noticed that she seemed to be
breathing at a faster rate than I would expect for just lying down and
her pulse was a little high (100 - high side of normal for a dog).
I was looking at her knowing that something wasn't quite right when I
remembered that Ellen Finch (thanks Ellen) has written of her experience
with Remington's cancer and that she would check his gums. So I checked
Cali's and hers were nearly white. Yikes. I immediately call the
emergency room at Bay Area Vet Specialists and the vet there has me
press on her gums and release and note how long it takes to go back to
the color it was. "2 seconds" "It should be 1. She's very likely having
some internal bleeding and it could be quite serious, but we can't tell
you whether to bring her in now or go to your regular vet in the
morning." I wasn't sure so I asked about what other signs should I be
looking for. "Labored breathing" (got that) "and the tongue may be a
bluish color." I look in her mouth and see a bluish-whitish tongue.
Eeek. "How busy are you all right now?" "Busy, but we'll take her
right away because this is considered life threatening." "Ok, we'll be
there in 20 minutes." ("Oh boy puppy, let's go to the blood store!")
They met us at the door and whisked her right in and present me with
various forms to sign that say critical and stat and of course have $
signs on them.
5 minutes later they hand her back to me for a bit while they test the
blood that they drew to see what they need to do. Cali's very much:
"I'm healed!" "Nice try puppy." "No really, I think I'll go for a walk.
Got anything to eat?" "Sorry, you likely have to have a transfusion"
"Fine, I'll ask this nice person behind the counter" (As counters with
people behind them often have treats and are easy prey to corgi charms.)
The receptionist and the other person in the lobby were commenting on
how healthy she appeared and in what good shape she was in. I nicely
say (though in an exasperated voice) "Yeah except for having a life
threatening disease, she's doing great." (It drives agility people
crazy that you can take excellent care of your dog and bad things still
Sure enough her HCT is down to 15 (bottom of normal is ~35) and she
needs a transfusion and gets to stay at the hotel BAVS for the night,
and my visa card gets another nice dent put in it (I should just leave
it with them.) I give her a hug and she's basically saying this is nice
but got any food? (If nothing else she has no idea she's sick.)
I go home to get some sleep.
She came through the transfusion just fine and at breakfast and is
chipper and quite ready to go home. Now the issue is what is making her
lose so much blood. I spoke to Dr. Heuter and he told me that they hope
that it's her GI disease (IBD) that's causing it as we just started
treating it and it's the one thing that is treatable. Apparently those
sudden drops are possible though it's usually when they stop producing
new red blood cells and her last tests showed that she still was.
It's too early to tell yet what's really going on so we'll do another
CBC next week to see how things are progressing and they are adding in Carafate a
drug to protect and coat her GI tract.
Someone at work brought in a tub of home made toll house choc. chip
cookies. I'm up to 5 so far. I have to keep reminding myself: My dog
is happy, in good spirits, and not suffering at all. I am less so. The
imp comes home at noon.
[question from Elizabeth - Yoshi's breeder]
>Any chance there is leakage at the spleen removal site? Hope not, but it
would be better than a lot of options.
I called the surgeon with this very question this morning. Answer is:
not likely especially by this time. Though one way to be sure is to do
an abdominal ultrasound. The vet specialists are not recommending this
right now as they suspect/hoping it is the IBD and want to give the
Pred. and the Carafate time to work since we just started with that
Imp is with me now and acting quite normal. Wanting to eat
everything. I bought some Hills A/D at the hospital and she likes
it (well today at least.) Even barked enthusiastically when I
turned the car off (something she used to do but hasn't
recently.) She's acting quite spry. Terri says she's had an
"oil change." And I have sent a Thank You to agility competitor
Pat Kaufman who runs the doggy blood banks. Got imp some turkey
at the store and that's a big win too.
Let's hope this lasts for a little while.
Plan is now to have Park Center do a blood draw on Monday Apr 18.
She is breathing kind of hard - hope this isn't a repeat of yesterday.
Tues Apr 12
She ate breakfast without being begged! Kibble, Natural Balance,
cheese, part of a bagel. And she seems to want more.
One bummer for me is that she drinks a lot of water, which is fine
except that we had to go out 3 times last night so I'm pretty tired,
but at this point I don't care - though 3 weeks of this is going to get
Medwise we now have 15 mg of Pred 2x a day (1 1/2 tabs), and also an
antibiotic called Metronidazole125 mg (1/2 tab) 3x a day. The
plan is 3 weeks of the Pred at this dose then tapering off.
Mon Apr 11
Took her in to Bay Area Vet Specialists for the bone marrow draw which
was done by Dr. Carley. She came through it fine. I also
had here examine her mouth and throat for anything that might be
impeding her eating, but she couldn't find anything wrong. We'll
hear about the bone marrow test tomorrow or the next day. I'm
trying not to worry about it. They're also doing a complete blood
count (CBC) and a urinanalysis. Their in house blood test showed
her albunim at 2.6 (now just barely in the normal range,) but anemic
(low in iron). This is not surprising since she hasn't been that
thrilled to eat things containing iron.
AND she started Prednasone (an immunosuppressant that also stimulates
the appetite) this evening and within a few hours under Terri's careful
food preparation was eating! Rice with cheese melted over it (3
helpings!), natural balance, and the chicken liver that she didn't want
last night. As a test I got a little bit of the low residue
kibble back out and she ate it (reluctantly at first, but then was
Sun Apr 10
More fun with the picky dog.
Let's see breakfast this morning was Natural Balance (she won't eat
regular beef or chicken unless I hand feed it to her and sometimes not even then), bread, cheese, hard boiled egg, and cat food!
Midmoring snack was cheese and rice cake
Lunch was 1/3 of a bagel
(bagels and also cheese are her favorites.)
Dinner yesterday was Natural Balance, and rice with cheese melted over
it and my last attempt at trying to get her to eat the Eukanuba Low
Residue that her vets were hoping she'd eat. I even nuked it to warm it
up the result being an incredibly awful smelling kitchen, and a dog
basically saying "nice try." (That's when I in desperation tried giving
her the cat food which she seemed to like.)
I think if I take her to the Haute TRACS trial this weekend, I'm going to take her to Moe Toys and see
if we can find something she'll eat.
She's still underweight, but is no longer losing it.
Sat Apr 9
I thought she was doing worse until I realized that I'd forgotten to
give her her antibiotics. Once I did that she seemed to perk up
(didn't know it had that dramatic of an effect.)
She's still at 24.5 pounds but hasn't lost any. Will no longer
eat the low residue diet so we're just going with things I know she'll
eat: Natural Balance, rice with cheese melted on it, rice cakes,
bread, egg and most anything else I can get her to eat, It's so
weird having a corgi who's now a picky eater (sure didn't used to be) .
Thur Apr 7
[from an email update]
Thank you all for the information you've been able to gleen from the
site(s). It really helps a lot though the message is the same. [Histiocytic Sarcoma] is
a disease not to get, so the main hope is that she doesn't have it (or
if she did that they got all of it).
Last night (Wed) I had a lengthy arcane 10pm phone conversation with Dr.
Shannon Carley at Bay Area Vet Specialists (she was on a shift at their
emergency clinic and there was a break in the usual chaos.) She's the
internist that the oncologist brought in during our consult.
I learned a lot and I'll try to summarize (any errors are mine). My
main question is why is this so hard to diagnose? Apparently the
histiocytic cells job is clean up and they are located in many places.
A cancerous cell (any cancerous cell) has a large nucleus, is overly
large, and there are often young and reproducing fast. Because of the
nature of the histocyctic cell's job of gobbling up things, it can look
cancerous even when in normal operation.
The oncologist Dr. Siedlecki had a long talk with the pathologist and
the pathologist is leaning towards it not being cancerous.
So what's going to happen is that on Monday is that she's going to have
a bone marrow sample drawn which in dogs is painful when the needle is
withdrawn, but doesn't appear to be afterward (unlike in people) so
she's going to be put completely under for that (though they have taken
note of her family history of anesthesia sensitive - though Cali has
never had issues with it fortunately). If no histiocytic cells are
found then it's likely that she doesn't not have cancer. If they are
there then it's very likely is cancer and it will have "disseminated."
Several of you asked if Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) could have
caused the spenic masses. Apparently no. If the masses are benign,
then they are a separate inflammatory reaction.
Whether to start on Prednasone or other drug for the IBD.
They presented many possibilities to me and I'm free to select any of
them, but they preferred Pred as it was effective over a short term and
seemed to have fewer side effects though I'm going to write down all the
drug names you suggested and will ask about them. She's had Pred before
and even though it makes her a bit stupid, she's basically ok on it.
I'll ask about them later (there was so much information presented that
Pred. though a powerful drug, was one of the least of my worries ;)
As far as how Cali is doing, she seems perkier today, and will eat to
some extent though still incredibly picky. On this morning's menu was
natural balance (beef flavor), cheese, yogurt (kibble was ok but that
was yesterday). When we got to work she wanted what was in the bag I
was carrying (more of the same plus some beef I'd made for her but she
didn't want at the time, but since it came from a countertop it was
Today I'm going to be picking up some Eukanuba Low Residue, but I don't
think she'll want it for very long. This has been a surreal experience
having a corgi who doesn't want to eat, but she's been with me her whole
life so I know what she loves. Cheese and bread related things being
especially cool. Yesterday dinner I had several things in a bag for her
and one thing for me (a shepherd savory pie). You can just guess what
she wanted. So we split the Shepherd pie. ;)
When we were in for our consult they did an in house test of her albunum
(sp?) which is a protein that they pay attention to. They were
surprised that it had come up from its low value of 1.9 to 2.3 (low end
of normal is 2.5) even though she hadn't started treatment yet. I said
"That's because we've been stuffing her full of as much high protein
food that she will eat." She also hasn't continued to lose weight like
she was though she is still below her competition lean weight.
So keep Cali in your thoughts on Monday when she goes in for a bone
marrow test. (I haven't asked when we get the results back.)
and Cali the spleenless
and Yoshi the unexercised and overweight (that will change)
Wed Apr 6
[from an email update]
Well Cali definitely has IBD (they know this from the biopsy they took
when they removed her spleen). Whether or not she has the rare cancer
Histiocytic Sarcoma is still being debated.
As many of you know, the IBD is treatable.
The Histiocytic Sarcoma however (which is, as far as I know, not
commonly seen in corgi's - much more a disease of Flat Coated
Retrievers, Bernese Mtn Dogs and other large dogs.) is generally very
unresponsive to cancer treatment.
Since we're may not be blessed with the time to experiment with various
diets (the more usual approach though as Bonnie and also Mark & Jan can
tell you, only about 20% of the dogs with IBD have it caused by food
allergies) she's going to start a short course of Prednasone on Monday
(2 weeks after her surgery.) in the hope that it gets the IBD under
control, and while the oncologist and the pathologist get a better feel
for whether she really has cancer.
The dice roll is that for Chemo to be effective in dogs you have to
start it before the cancer has reappeared and unlike lymphoma or bone
cancer this type of cancer is often unresponsive to chemo. Right now
I'm leaning towards doing it anyway as I would be forever second
guessing myself otherwise. Also unlike in people, dogs generally don't
get sick from it.
Yes it's costly (2500-3000), but she has insurance and the insurance
company keeps foolishly allowing us to renew. BTW, if you're
considering getting VPI insurance get the "Superior" coverage as the
cheaper coverage covers very little. The oncologist has had a few folks
with that level of insurance get a rude shock when it hardly covered
anything of their dogs cancer treatment. We don't have the "double
cancer coverage" so I won't be able to speak about that from experience
if I decide to do this.
and Cali the spleenless
and Yoshi the sometimes clueless (Who we thought was doing ok with all
this, but then he jumped Cathy Barber's corgi Buddy when Cali and I were
out of the room, so all is not as ok as we thought.)
[forgot to say in the email update]
They did put her on an antibiotic called Metronidazole which should help with her diarrhea and should benefit her IBD some too.
Also did some research to see if I could find any cases of dogs
benefiting from Chemo. At most was 4 months, and the sobering
comment of one expert's website was that benefits from Chemo are at
best brief. So I'm a lot less inclined to put her through
Chemo. I'm just hoping that she doesn't have it.
Sun Apr 3
Bonnie suggested trying Innova EVO for Yoshi and I went and got some,
but I'm finding that Cali likes it so I'm giving her lots of
that. Today I gave her a cooked egg and some of the kibble (both
the EVO and the Calif Natural). She's so funny, she's like a
little kid as she doesn't like me to mix things together. She'll
eat more if I keep them separated or even better, hand feed it to her.
Just gave her a lunch of EVO by hand (about 1/3 cup)
Stools still soft.
Took Yoshi to go play with Cooper which gave Cali a chance to rest.
Just weighed her: 24.5 pounds which is what a lean competition weight
for her would be. I'd feel more comfortable if she weighed over
25 pounds (or even 26 just to have some padding). but she has gained
back some as she was getting very thin and dogs that lose protein and
are anemic have a terrible time keeping weight on.
This is all very ironic as corgis are so famously overweight. In
fact Yoshi is a touch over (0.5-1 pounds.) and really doesn't
understand why Cali's is being encouraged to eat, but he's not.
Also gave her some Torbugesic.
Sat Apr 2
Went to the store and got all sorts of comfort food: rice, cottage cheese, eggs, chicken
Cooked the chicken, and mixed it with the cottage cheese and some of
her kibble. She wouldn't eat the chicken. Would pick it up
and spit it out. Left some of the kibble too. If I picked
up the kibble and offered it to her she'd eat it.
I have left some of the chicken on the butcher block and went over to
it. Cali followed me. Ah ha. I ate a bite of the
chicken and offered her some. She ate it. Feed her what was
left of the chicken on the butcher block.
Thur Mar 31
[from an email update]
Well the lab results are not great.
"emerging histiocytic sarcoma"
and the beginings of GI disease which explains the anemia and low protein.
While it's good that the spleen is out, the disease is often found
elsewhere as well (like the bone marrow.)
Though this is still at the level of some speculation as while this is
what the pathologist saw from looking at the spleen and an intestine
biospy, the surgeon didn't see any disease spread beyond the spleen.
We'll know more after we consult with an Oncologist next week (Dr.
Siedlecki in San Leandro who is consulting with their internist to come
up with a plan) as it's not at all clear cut that it is cancer.
It's highly likely that she's done with agility, but that's not a great
concern right now.
Tues Mar 29
[from a post to Performance Corgis]
I haven't been pestering the list with this as it's been a whirlwind few
days, but the lesson to take from it is: know your dog, and if a normal
adult corgi doesn't eat that's a red flag.
Ellen the poor. ;)
Cali the lighter.
[from a series of email updates]...
Went to the vet orthopedist Jeff Toderoff in Concord today (who calls
himself a "dog mechanic" - how refreshing, no arrogance there - he's
terrific by the way.)
She's injured her right tricep. The extent to which he doesn't know yet
as her limping is very subtle, but it's been a month and it hasn't
healed yet. So on Monday she's going to get an ultrasound [of her tricep].
In the meantime, since class was canceled I took her to drop in
obedience class at Oakland Dog Training Club which was much fun. 8
years later she still squirms on the downs though less so. Maybe
someday we'll actually get her CD.
and Cali the gimp
Think good thoughts for Cali.
[missing an email where I describe that she didn't finish her meal so I
had them do a blood test that showed low protein
and my regular vet wanting an abdominal ultrasound, so I had them do
both ultrasounds at the same time.]
The abdominal ultrasound showed several masses in her spleen.
She's having it out today (she just so happens to be at a surgical place
today) and a zero just got added onto her bill.
No wonder she was low energy.
Cali came through surgery just fine though spleenless. In the words of
the surgeon, "not a happy spleen" as it had multiple masses.
It along with a biopsy or two has been sent to the lab and we'll hear
back about that in 2 or 3 days. There was no other major abdominal
involvement save for a couple of small ruptures in the lining (I'm
screwing up the wording here) that he fixed.
Her recovery will take about 4 weeks and it's likely she will be a
complete "I'm bored let's do something - NOW!" pain-in-the-rear fairly
soon. She can be loose (i.e. not in a crate) as long as someone is
around to watch her so I'm going to bring her to work.
Whether she will be able to return to agility will depend on what the
lab finds out.
As you might guess her tricep injury has been deemed the least of her
Dog comes in limping and they end up taking out the spleen qualifies as
one of the more weird sequence of events that they've seen.
She likely comes home tomorrow [Tues] though it's up to her.
[from a separate post]
This comes very much under the catagory of know your dog.
And we got lucky on the timing as she was already scheduled for a tricep
ultrasound so my vet was able to call them on Friday and add in
abdominal one. And the fact that the surgeon decided on his own to make
time for this surgery today.
Let's just hope it all goes smoothly. It's almost 1:30pm here and the
surgery will be in the late afternoon.
Fortunately I'm at peace with whatever happens. [well I thought I was] I spent the day with
her yesterday leaving only to go get her some tri-tip. And I had her
with me on Saturday at an agility trial that I was working at. Today
when I brought her into the surgery place she cheerfully started to case
the place for treats.
Mon Mar 28
Ask your vet about Protein Losing Enteropathy (aka PLE).
I thought about this, but when I checked it seems that the protein loss is
through the intestines, and blood protein levels actually are low, not high. It
is something I watch for with Saffy, as IBD can cause PLE, since IBD affects
your comment made me think I read Ellen's message wrong, but went the permeability of the gut lining.
back & re-read. Cali's blood protein IS low, liver was high, from
Ellen's original post:
"Cali's bloodwork revealed that she was low in protien red blood cell
count was low and her liver values were high but not really high like
they can get. The vet is interested in why she's losing protein and is
looking at the GI tract,....."
PLE is as you describe, protein loss thru intestinal wall, blood
protein low, and related to IBD. The vet told me you can get IBD w/o
PLE, but if you've got PLE, you've got IBD too.
[a post of mine]
Well Cali's at the vet getting her tricep and abdomen ultrasounded, I'll
know more later today.
I was so concerned about her listlessness yesterday that I went and got
her some tri-tip and cooked it for her. I had a very attentive doggie
and all the while I was telling her what a lucky dog she was (I don't
even eat beef, so this was a big favor).
I also gave her some chicken broth over her food and various other
goodies. Today I had most of my dog back. Still excessively mellow,
but much improved. Hmmmm.
[from an email exchange]
> Another far more worrisome thing is that she hasn't been licking her
bowl spotlessly clean as she usually does
Didn't you say Cali has been on Deramaxx? Perhaps it is upsetting her
tummy. I keep thinking of my friend losing her dog to bleeding ulcers
after only 5 days on Rimadyl.
She hasn't been on it for a week now and I don't think she was on it then.
She wouldn't eat her usual food this morning though she would eat kong
treats, 1/2 a hardened (i.e. deliberately let go stale) mini bagel (her
favorite), shredded cheese, and a couple of carrots. I have a call out
to the vet to find her something more palatable that will still keep her
urine ph in line (likely hills C/D), and we'll get her blood tests back
There's no blood in her stool.