Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Little Things

We had beautiful weather this weekend and Sunday afternoon was a major highlight for me.

Bethanne was with us.  She is a sweet sweet girl, but not dainty.  A tom boy through and through.  She found the only wet spot in the field and made herself at home.

I got all the dogs running by calling Kassa and then the dogs gave chase.  Unfortunately Kassa got confused in this picture.  He ran to my friend instead of me.  But mission accomplished regardless.. all the dogs got some good running in.

 The water dishes were popular places today as the hounds were really enjoying themselves

Bethanne and Specs have a bit of a thing.  Neither chases balls but they love to chase dogs and people.  They  also love to chase each other.
Kassa and I then went off to gas up the truck and get ready for the coming week.  It is so nice to get the dogs and there peps together weekly.   The little things in life often bring the most joy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

General Update

I have not been good at keeping up with Kassa's blog this month and unfortunately have not been very good with at keeping my camera with me at all times.  I'm going to post a few gratuitous pics of Kassa playing in the snow just so that everyone knows that he hasn't been locked in the basement these past 3 weeks.

Ok.. so now that everyone can see that he is happy and healthy let me update you on his doings.  Last weekend was the Winter Gathering.  I don't know how many greys were there but suffice it to say they did 80 nail trimmings, so it had to be a lot more than 80.   Unfortunately the family got there late.. so Kassa didn't have an opportunity to run with all the dogs.  We did have the opportunity to participate in the "race".  They run 2 dogs at a time down a straight track with all the fans on either side of the track.   There is no lure so you just stand at the far end and encourage your doggy to race to you.  Well evidently Kassa is a glory hound and has a great appreciation of fan fair.  I called him.. he came.. .... but people who witnessed it described it like a sports figure coming into an arena.  His head was held high and he was effectively High-fiving everyone all up the strip.  My visions of him racing up the strip and winning gold were shattered but I think he had fun.  Another dog who Kassa plays with weekly did win the event traveling to her owners at a top speed of 35mph.  Not bad considering there was no lure.  Congrats to Beth Anne!   Despite all the dogs and all the fanfare I managed to get absolutely NO pictures.  Not a one.
Sunday was the day of Kassa this weekend.  He road around with us as we ran our errands and  got to watch me wash the car while he was sitting inside.  Then we went over to our friends house where he got to play with Chelsie who is entirely preoccupied with licking Kassa's face.  After that it was on to a grey play date.  A new hound to our little group named Bella celebrated her 7th birthday that day and she had a lot of fun chasing all the dogs around.   We moved dog park to a near by ball park as the hounds were getting a bit to worked up with some of the other breeds in the park.  I think it was better because they really got to cut loose.   Again .. no camera.. no pictures...   Oh well.. next time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pee in the Pickle Jar

Monday I noticed trouble in paradise.  Kassa was straining to go, spending a long time thinking about it and getting very little reward for his efforts.  He did a few spurts on the patio and then one more for good measure after returning into the house. This is pretty uncharacteristic so I became concerned.

I have noticed that from time to time Kassa has had this issue but this was the worse I had seen it.  My Vet had previously posted to our email list how racing Greyhounds often have this issue and it is related to inflammation or a muscle spasm (I believe).  So being the hypochondriac that I am (both vicariously and personally) I jumped onto the internet to find out what the possibilities are.  I found this resource.

My Vet indicated a urine analysis would have to be done because the symptoms can be an indication of multiple problems many of which are pretty serious.  So I made an appointment for 5:10 that day and rushed home after work to collect a sample and take him in.  I re-washed up a pickle jar (as I am sure pickle juice traces would make for an interesting analysis) and proceeded out side with the boy.    When I was a kid I remember being told to pee in a jar at the doctors once and I put up an inappropriate amount of resistance most likely coupled with stage fright which let to a frustrated mother.  I was expecting to be following Kassa all around the neighborhood jar in hand.  Kassa however had no such inhibitions.   Up the leg went, I swooped in for the catch, he happily obliged and we were on our way in minutes.

I love my vet.  She is a greyhound expert and she is always super accommodating for answering questions I may have and going way above and beyond the call of duty.  When I go to the vet I always have the secret anxiety that they will look at Kassa and deem me an unfit pet owner due to obvious incompetence.  He will be whisked away and I will loose him forever.  I was going to be prepared.  I looked over the symptoms and thought I could identify which he had. I thought I would be ready.  As usual wrong wrong wrong.  I knew this was not the first time I had witnessed the symptoms but couldn't give very good information about frequency.  I couldn't establish a correlation with any change in diet.  Heck I didn't even know how long I had him on his new food.  I counted bags of food purchased in my head and came out with 6 months but I could be off by many.  I totally forgot that I had started feeding him pig ears and new bully sticks over rawhide during the holiday.  What a mess.  I am sure my vet was growing frustrated at the lack of feedback but she smiled, put me at ease and inspected my boy to her satisfaction.  He was in good spirits and very cooperative.  She sent off the sample which, she previously extracted from the pickle jar, to the lab and told me that she would  check in and email me the next day about the results.  It is worth pointing out that she was scheduled to be out of the office for the next 3 days so she was doing this on her own time.  Greyt vet right?  

The results were good.  They showed no indication crystals, infections or stones or tumors. The current theory is that he does indeed suffer from the muscle spasm issue common to greys and that it can be brought on by vigorous running and play. (Much like he was doing on Sunday with the other dogs).  Evidently when it comes on it can be quite painful so I got a prescription for  Prazosin which can help him through those rough times.  I was encouraged to let him run and play but to try to see if there is a correlation between his flow issues and vigorous exercise.

This all got me thinking about the difficult job vets must have diagnosing issues in pets.  Beyond the science of things like urine analysis and x-rays,  they can't ask the dog whats up.  Its up to us as pet owners to note changes in environment, behavior and the frequency and timeline there of.   How much easier this might have been if I had kept a simple log of any time I changed something major in Kassa's environment.   Just a date of when I introduce a new food, a date when he plays extra hard and a date when I observe something unusual in him.  Being able to bring a notebook like that to the vet may help a lot in their diagnostics as my memory of all events pretty much locks up tight the minute I step into their office.

The good news is that Kassa is of good health, good weight, good teeth and nobody whisked him away :).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Work and Fun

Today we celebrated the new year by gathering some folks in our grey play group and working on the field.  We  put up some welded wire fencing on the outside of all the horse fencing to make sure that the neighbors dachshund doesn't wander in and that the greys don't get too adventurous and decide to challenge the rails.
We started working at 11:00 AM and finished up by 2:00 pm. After some chili, coffee and what ever other beverage we preferred it was time to let the dogs, who were waiting in the wings out for some fun.

A good time was had by all and one of many to come.  Happy New Year!