Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23, 2018 -- Kailey

We take a moment to step away from our normal chinchilla / small animal / rescue related blog posts, and today, we will have a chat about Kailey, the oldest of my shelties.

This is Kailey:

Kailey was born April 23, 2008.  I bought her from an Uncle Bills Pet Store on 38th Street in Indianapolis, when I was living there, attending law school.  I had just recently moved there and didn't know anyone, so I bought a dog.  Kailey was on sale, as she was "getting too old and too big."  She was 12 weeks old.

Kailey had pneumonia when I got her, and had to undergo months of treatment, including a 3-day stay at the emergency vet, to get through this.  As a puppy, she fell down a flight of stairs, which caused her to limp periodically through bad weather.  Since I got her, she has been my constant companion.  Kailey was with me when I moved back to Munster, after not finding a law-related job, and moving back in with my parents.  She was with me when I bought a house in Hammond, and moved in.

When she was 6 years old, she started to show signs of slowing down, and it was suggested that she might stay more active if she had another dog to play with.  This before all of the recent push for dogs to be on all sorts of joint supplements... not nearly as commonly done 10 years ago!  We welcomed Taffy to our household.  Unfortunately, Taffy was only with us for a year and a half before she tragically passed, and Misty came along. 

Kailey & Misty

Misty sure kept Kailey on her toes... a little too much at times!  You may have heard me refer to Misty as the problem-child, and I do say that she's a fruit loop in a world of cheerios... but she's a good dog, overall, and she does help Kailey stay active.  Kailey LOVES to throw Misty to the ground and wrestle with her, and we all still joke that Kailey's faking her pain... because she doesn't show it, when she's playing.  Kailey also was around when Sky fell into my lap, this past August.  She's been a trooper through it all.  She was even around and a good sport when Sky had her puppies!

During all of this, I spent hours upon hours training Kailey.  She knows a whole bunch of tricks, and has her AKC Trick Dog Titles -- Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Performer.  There's supposed to be a new title coming out this summer called AKC Performer Elite... I will have to see what the requirements are, to see if she can do this or not.  She also has the Do More With Your Dog Trick Titles as well, Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced.  Maybe in the summer we will work on expert...she's only a few tricks away from that title!  She's won a variety of local trick competitions, though her health no longer allows her to participate the way she used to.

Aside from the tricks, she is an awesome, well-behaved dog.  I used to walk her, off-lead, all the time.  Nowadays, that's probably not a good idea (not due to her.... but rather, the stray dogs and cats that are around, and Hammond's leash laws), but she is very good off-leash and she is very obedient.  She actually won the "Most Obedient" Contest at Woofstock: A Bark in the Park in September 2017.

Kailey now enjoys her costume contests, which don't require the same effort on her part, as the tricks.  We won Best Pet & Owner Costumes at the 2017 Pet-A-Palooza in Burbank, IL, last fall...

About a year or two ago now, she started limping full time.  It was the same leg (her front right) that had bothered her, on and off, since she fell down the stairs as a puppy.  We'd had x-rays done then (as a puppy) but they never turned up anything... but we had them done again, and it was found that she had arthritis in her wrist.  She was put on Rimadyl, along with some supplements, and seemed to improve a bit.... until she started limping on both her rear feet as well.  She got to the point where she was really having a hard time walking, and initially, we were going to start her on acupuncture.  However, the cost was looking pretty prohibitive ($75-100 per session, several times a week... possibly reducing sessions eventually to be less frequently... but on-going like forever).  She went into the vet again, to x-ray the back legs, and they found arthritis in both her back ankles as well.  She was started her on a nerve blocker as well, gabapentin.  That didn't help as much as the vet would have liked, but they didn't seem thrilled to try anything else, either.

Over time, Kailey developed allergies and occasionally needs medicated baths, to combat these.  Due to her random onset of allergies and the fact that she started gaining weight, I asked if the vet could run a thyroid test on her.  They said it wasn't her thyroid, and testing wasn't necessary. 

While not solely as a result of this... we did eventually switch to a different vet.  The new vet tested her thyroid, and while it was normal, at least then we knew that that was not the problem.  Her allergies had gotten so bad that the new vet gave her a steroid shot as well as oral antibiotics, and prescribed a new painkiller for her, and sent her home.  We continued the medicated baths once a week (and still occasionally).  A few days later, Kailey became incontinent. 

I called the vet, they recommended finishing her course of treatment and then, if she still had a problem, coming back in.  I purchased her doggy diapers and we continued treatment.  After her treatment was done, she was still leaking full force.  I hadn't had a chance to make an appointment at that point, to bring her back into the vet. 

Over the next few days following her pills ending (antibiotics, so not related), Kailey seemed more stiff and more sensitive in her back-area, than usual.  It occurred to me that maybe she'd injured her back, playing or something.  My other dogs go to agility classes, and the trainers there use canine chiropractors for their dogs.  I asked them who they used, and they referred me to Dr. Lyndsay Klemens at McAfee Animal Hospital in Valparaiso.  I'd actually met her before, at a canine games dog clinic I'd attended with Misty.  So, I set up an appointment.  About two weeks after finishing her meds, but still being incontinent, Dr. Lyndsay saw Kailey, did a chiropractic adjustment on her, and prescribed medication for her incontinence.

The next morning, I got up, gave Kailey her new incontinence pill, took off her diaper, and let her outside to pee.  She would still pee outside, while she was incontinent, but she didn't seem to realize that she was leaking 24/7, regardless.  I didn't really pay attention to if the diaper was wet or dry when I took it off, I just had a bucket that the dirty ones went in, and let her out.  Kailey came back in, I put a fresh diaper on, and went downstairs to work on chin stuff.  Came upstairs, she had her diaper off.  Up until this point, we'd gone about 3-4 weeks of Kailey wearing her diaper, and never once trying to remove it.  I put a clean diaper on, went back downstairs... she removed it again.  I figured, ok, if she took it off, I'll see how bad the leaking is.  She'd completely stopped leaking, and hasn't leaked to this day.  She apparently somehow understood that that's what the diaper was for, and took it off when she no longer needed it.  That was about 9-10 weeks ago now.

Kailey's been back to see Dr. Lyndsay again, and has had another canine chiro adjustment.  She'll go in every few months for these appointments, which are reasonably priced (the initial was... $75ish, recheck was $60ish).  She's never taken another of her incontinence pills, as they haven't been needed.  Apparently the answer for her was canine chiropractic treatment. 

The funny thing about this all, is that I know that in the past, I have heard people comment about the variety of things they have done for their dogs, and I have commented, oh I don't know that I'd do that for mine.  I remember specifically, someone I knew used to chop up chicken and put it in with their dog's kibble, because the dog wouldn't eat enough, otherwise.  I remember saying, I'd just let the dog eat the kibble and be done with it.

Yeah.  About that.  Kailey is getting canine chiro visits.  She is on all sorts of health supplements, which will soon be upped again, due to Dr. Lyndsay's recommendations, and... she will not eat most of them, without having them mixed with wet food.  But before you think, "oh my dog gets wet food too, no big deal"...hold up a sec.  If you mix it up and put the bowl down, she will eat around the pills and supplements.  Misty and Sky, on the other hand, would have scarfed it down so fast, they wouldn't even know what they ate, but not Kailey.  She's the type where if you put a tiny-tiny-spec-sized pill in a huge block of cheese, she'd eat the cheese and spit out the pill.  So, to top off my pooch getting special treatment....twice a day, Kailey gets spoon-fed her wet-food-mixed-with-supplements.  And I used think that adding chicken to dry kibble was something I wouldn't do.  Amazing how perspective can change.

Kailey is my heart dog, and she is worth it.  She turns 10 years old today.  I always tell her she's going to live forever.  Here's to "forever" more years with her by my side.

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