Friday, January 30, 2009

Gimme a Break...But Not That Kind!! (Arthur)

Arthur is due to turn 11 years old this coming March. He is pictured to the left at the 2008 LGRA/NOTRA National Race Meet after participating in the Legends program. On Tuesday, Arthur managed to break his left rear leg just below the knee. We have no idea how he managed this feat - whether he ran into something, or slipped on the slick ground (he and half-brother Burni do not go out slowly), or if he managed to hit a hole or uneven spot in the yard just right. But, regardless of how he managed it, he certainly busted himself up.

We were already getting iced in and since Arthur seemed otherwise normal, not shocky, and eating and drinking, we decided to wait until our vet opened in the morning. It ended up being delayed thanks to the ice storm - the clinic didn't open until noon. Arthur laid on the couch and shared bites of cinnamon toast. The University wasn't opening until 1 pm (they later opted to close for the entire day) and Victor had called in and worked from home later in the evening - so we attempted to wait patiently until the time to head for the clinic.

Dr. Lindsley wanted to knock Arthur out to take the x-rays so we left him there (he was not that pleased about it). The report we received later was disheartening - it was bad enough that she asked if I even wanted him woke up from the anesthesia - as she knows how bad it's been for us lately. But, that was not an option. He was too bright and his normal, happy, mama's boy even while hurting. He had broken both the tibia and fibula just below the knee joint. She said this can absolutely only be handled by a specialist and that it was going to involve a lot of pins and plating, and, of course $$. to the next clinic.

The specialist was not as taken aback as our regular vet, but as he said, he works with it every day. He said on a scale of 10, this was a 8.5-9 but that it was certainly fixable. From the x-ray and type of break (very clean & sharp edges) it did not seem to indicate brittle or unhealthy bone at this time. He also did not think that Arthur had blown out the knee or involved ligaments since it was so close to the joint. We went through a health and surgical history - I didn't realize that pretty
much the only things he has seen the vet for since his "toe incident" ages upon ages ago, was for rabies shots and prostate exams, with the exception of a recent trip for a stubborn ear infection. The vet was encouraged by his activity level for his age, and the fact that he was still "up" and acting normally despite the injury (not depressed). He said there was always a possibility that this was cancer related, but it doesn't seem obvious at the moment - and he was optimistic about fixing the leg.
So I just flat told him what I had between my CareCredit and Visa balance and he thought it was doable. Since I haven't heard of bone cancer in Arthur's immediate pedigree, I opted to have them do surgery to repair his leg. I had contemplated amputation, thinking this would be over $5-6K to even attempt repair, but since the estimate was quite a bit under that...I decided to attempt the fix. If for some reason the bone appears unhealthy when they go in, we would discuss amputation.

I picked up Arthur this evening from the clinic. They showed me his post-op x-rays - what a jumble! The fibula (I think that's right - the smaller bone) is actually still broken as it is encased in a mass of muscle. Since, according to the vet, the muscle was all healthy and in good tone, they are leaving it to heal on its own since it is not a weight-bearing bone.

There sure was lots of metal in that x-ray too! If I'd been thinking I would have snapped a shot with my phone. Haven't seen any of the metal yet as it's wrapped up, but I will be changing the wrap tomorrow evening. He was happy to see me, but seemed almost frantic and panting heavily...I was upset because it's the first time that he has really looked....old.

He went for walkies when we got home - he had peed a bit when I was trying to get him out of the van so I figured he needed to empty out before coming in. It was apparently too much because about halfway to the door after taking care of business, he pretty much collapsed into a sit then laid down. Before I got too frantic, he got back up and we made it to the living room. He drank a bunch of water, and then I got worried about that since he was starting to seem tight in the flank, but when I put pressure there, he burped and it faded. I popped a Gas-X into him to make myself
feel better because by this time I was about to stroke out!

He is now ensconced in our bedroom in an expen - we figured that even with the cats present, it would be quieter for him than in a living room full of rowdy girls. At one point when we had left him alone in the living room (the house divas were all in the yard) he climbed on the couch, which is NOT allowed per vet's instructions. He hasn't seemed too excited or perturbed by the cats, even when CC stuck her paw through the bars and tried to touch his face (she's a bit too social). I can tell that he's tired of just lying on his right side, and he gets uncomfortable when he wants to move, and you can see him shifting...and then he'll just sigh and lie back down. He has an antibiotic and some pain meds. I can see the bruising around his hock just underneath the wrap. I am just dumbfounded on how he did this to himself!

His appearance is not enhanced by his military haircut up to his hip and over the left flank. He also has lovely razor rash along his sheath (it looks like a wine birthmark!) and his now overly visible dangly bits also got burned. Lovely. I am stressed and scared and oh so hopeful that he heals well. They did take a sample to send for testing to see if there were any signs of cancer. Fingers crossed.

Our vet is coming Monday for our yearly "rabies roundup". I guess Arthur is getting out of a prostate exam for now! She will check Kal out to see how he's progressing. Hopefully we will just keep on giving him time with no special procedures...maybe he will go through another round of steroids, and that's likely the best we can afford now.

What a gamut of emotions this has been - stressed, frightened, wondering if it will turn to devastation, then a touch of relief. I really feel like I need to find a dark corner, collapse in a heap and just cry for a while.

For now, I will just deal with the new discovery that when he is exhausted...Arthur snores.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kalipso - Hard Knocks

Kal, in his prime on the field

A couple Sundays ago, while running and rough-housing in the backyard, Kalipso (BIF DC Rising Star Kalipso, FCh SC) apparently got run into the fence. I say "apparently" since it was not witnessed - but there were 2 scrapes in the middle of his face that
could have been caused from him hitting the woven wire horse fencing, and he was found lying about 10 feet from the mid-yard fence.

He could not stand up, and no response to pinching on his rear feet and his front legs were stiff. The only thing moving was his head and neck, as he looked around in wonderment.

At the ER they were able to get a deep pain response in all 4 feet and his front legs had lessened their stiffness. The vet also checked reflexes and he displayed a response in all 4 legs - and they were able to get him sitting up, and he tried to stand albeit standing lasted about half a second.

They started Kal on big doses of steroids and planned to keep him overnight. By that afternoon, he would stand without assistance but still needed some assistance getting about, and his feet would knuckle over on occasion.

Monday morning was a consult with a neurologist. He thought that there was no trauma to the vertebrae and that Kal had suffered a spinal shock due to some sort of trauma. The prognosis is optimistic, but he's not out of the woods.

Within a couple days Kal was walking without needing sling support either front or rear - although he was very wobbly. When done with his business in the yard he would head straight for the door and sometimes it could be hard to keep up with him! Thankfully he has maintained his sunny attitude the entire time - I've always loved his personality and temperament.

visiting after working the runway

Ages ago Gekko, a Chinese Crested, blew two disks while in her crate (invertebral disk disease). We came home from lure coursing, and when we took her out to potty, her rear end just fell over. That one required surgery to put her back together - she's still going strong too.

Kal seems to be continuing to progress in baby steps - although he still looks like a drunken Borzoi when stepping out to do his business in the yard (on lead, of course). He will lift his leg to pee and it seems as though he is able to keep it raised for longer periods each time. He also has begun doing the "tough man" routine after a pee or poop, scratching his feet on the ground while looking at the young boys in the middle yard. He has gone through all the steroids prescribed and will get a check-up next week so the vet can see his progress.

Fingers crossed that he manages to fully recover.

The "OZZlings" - 10 weeks

10 week stacked pictures are posted on the litter's page at

There are also some candids taken this past Saturday of the little heathens running about and chasing a lure toy. I do mean heathens! I gave them a nice new stuffy Saturday morning, and within 15 minutes (if not less) it was completely destroyed. Fluffy bits everywhere! Annihilation!

Candid pictures start at in the online photo album.

I've also received several new pictures from owners that I am working on editing and uploading, and J/T's win picture for his first points/major is also now online at

The updates will be listed with direct links at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Most Excellent Quote

Perhaps you have heard of the recent EPA debacle, likely spurred from some sort of anti-animal-usage fanatic...a tax on the methane generated by livestock - blaming it for global warming, with some scientists claiming it's worse than the carbon dioxide generated from autos and factories. The "cow tax"...aka "fart tax."

Some estimates place a cost of $175 per animal for a "methane permit." The domino effect of this would be obscene prices for beef products - which likely will generate a roar of approval from the likes of PeTA and HSUS. Talk about a lot of hot air!

A Saginaw rancher, Pete Bonds, gave the following statement which sums it up in a most perfect manner:

"If you've ever been in a room full of vegetarians, a lot of methane is being produced," he said. "I'm wondering if they're going to start putting a permitting process on them."

Good on ya Pete!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nice Start for the Year

We had a nice start to the year this weekend - guess the black-eyed peas consumed during our New Year's dinner helped!

We took four dogs to the CERF clinic at the Nolan River KC shows this past Saturday - two Borzoi (Solo and Bugg) and two Silkens (Gabe and his sister Siren) and after a two hour wait (UGH) they all passed with flying colors.

As to the showing...Faina and Nox didn't embarrass us (hoorah!), and traded placements in the Bred-by class between the two days (they were the only two bitches entered in that particular class), and J/T (Sassi's son) was reserve to the major the first day and on Sunday won Winners Dog for his first points, and then got the crossover major (WD on the first day finished his championship, so the dog major broke on Sunday as he had moved up to Specials) by going Best of Winners. So we are quite pleased with our weekend (even though Solo had taken the weekend off)!!