Friday, March 25, 2011

Copper's Chip In Posts

February 24, 2011 @12:10am
Dad's Little Buddy, Copper

Copper... a tenacious terrier mix! He is believed to be a cross between a Jack Russell terrier, a beagle and possibly have a little Red Heeler thrown in there just to mix it all up. Copper came to us as a wanderer.US Hwy 82 is a long road that stretches from Texarkana all the way into west Texas. Where this pup came from is anyone's guess. I say pup, but he was full grown when he joined the gang. It is believed he was born in 1997, as his age was estimated at about 2 years old when he came to live with us in September 1999.

He was always ready to go for rides, and still is. There is a truck stop east of town. It is often wondered if he belonged to a truck driver. He was stray for a while before coming to live with us. We ran an ad, but no one claimed him. He also liked to climb and escape the fenced in yard; hence, the reason the 6 foot chain link fence has another foot of wire at the top making it look like a prison.

When he arrived, he attached himself to my dad. He loved my dad and would go for rides with him. He became Dad's dog... sleeping right beside him, following him around. The first dog that seemed to claim Dad and be just Dad's since Dad was a kid. Dad loved him so much.

A lot has changed since then. Dad passed away. Copper still misses him.When Dad's brother, who resembled Dad, use to come for visits, he'd jump on the couch, lays down beside him and place his head on his lap. He doesn't get up until it's time to go. It's too bad we can't explain things to them; so, they can understand. Copper doesn't get around as well either. Long gone are the days of jumping that six foot fence. A crippling front knee joint has stopped most of his running days, as well. He had gained a lot of weight due to a hypothyroid problem which is being treated with meds, his eyes are a little cloudy, his muzzle is turning white, and he can no longer get on the couch on his own. He still gets excited to see everyone come home, and he still loves to go for a ride.

btw, he was 52 pounds before starting meds for hypothyroidism. He is down to 40 pounds.

When we come home, he greets us with a shrilling trill noise at the door. For those of you who have seen the old Star Trek series "The Trouble with Tribbles", you know what trilling sound I mean. He sounds like that.
It is sooo cute!
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February 24, 2011 @ 12:36am
The Reason for this Chip In

Recently, about February 12 & 13, Copper began having a lot of problems with his hind legs.

He has fatty deposits, which is common with overweight dogs & overweight dogs who have lost a lot of weight, in his left hind leg. We thought the fatty deposits were hindering his ability to stand and walk.

We were wrong.

Instead, after taking him to the vet for an exam to confirm our suspicion, the vet told us both legs have problems, but the right hind leg is his biggest problem. He has bad crepidation in both knees of his hind legs. They are so bad that x-rays appear to show bits of bone that have fractured off and are basically floating within his knee joint.

Our vet said, if his knees did not receive some form of help, a decision would eventually have to be made to possibly euthanize him.

I do not believe in euthanization; so, I am trying to do everything I can for him. Currently, that means, I am having to follow him around while he attempts to walk. When his legs can't make it, they collapse under him; I, then, pick him back up. He tries to walk a little further, and we do it all over again. When he has to go outside to go potty, I have to take him and stay with him in case his knees give out while he is doing his business.

Our vet said she did not think Copper was a good candidate for surgery, which is one way to handle the situation. She suggested to search the Internet for braces for his hind legs which are made for dogs with ACL injuries. I found very few offering these braces, 2 to be exact.

When I contacted these companies I found the braces were not even close to anything I could afford.

The braces, called stifle braces, cost $595 - $750 PER LEG.

A cast would have to be made of Copper's legs for them to make the braces, as they are custom made for each dog.

Before Dad passed away from complications of Agent Orange, which he was exposed to in Viet Nam, I promised him I would take care of his little buddy.
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March 3, 2011 @ 2:02am
Donation Methods

I want to take a minute to let everyone know Chip-In says it allows PayPal and checks/direct deposit for donations. I do not know if this is still true, as when I tried to set this up, it would not give me the option for anything other than PayPal.

If you would like to donate, but have a problem using PayPal, please leave a comment on my blog

I should be able to contact you by clicking your name.

My apologies for the inconvenience. I hope, if you are financially able, you can donate even a small amount to Copper; so, he might be able to live the rest of his life in the least amount of pain and human assistance as possible.

If you have stumbled upon this page or were led to it from the many links that have been posted around the web, please feel free to re-post it wherever you think it might be of interest.

Many thanks from me, Copper and I am sure, Dad!
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March 11, 2011 @ 6:56pm
Having a Bad Day

Today, Copper has been having a somewhat bad day.

He has been in some pain when I pick him up to carry him to go outside to potty since last night.

He also has been not really wanting his breakfast. It is possible he has an upset/nauseous stomach.

He is on Carprofen (generic Rimadyl) 25 mg 2x/day. Carprofen can have a negative effect on the stomach making him nauseous. He is on a 1/2 tablet of Zantac 75 1x/day, for nauseousness for his other meds.

I called the vet's office today to see if he can have the Zantac more often. They called me back to let me know he can have the other 1/2 tablet late at night to help curb his nauseousness in the morning.

To help control the nauseousness, we may need to cut back on the amount of Carprofen he is getting, which may leave him in more pain.

Copper still wants to be mobile, as he is constantly trying to get around the house and the yard when outside. He will struggle to walk and drag his bottom & legs just to follow me around.

Hard to watch, but he is still fighting to have an active life.

The last post on Copper's Chip In page is the same as the post I made here titled "Mourning a Member of the Critter Gang".

Mourning a Member of the Critter Gang

Today, The Critter Gang is in mourning.

Chico & Copper ~ Best Buds
Copper's last photo March 17, 2011
The Critter house seems a bit quieter today...

Well, it's a sad day in the Critter house with the passing a great little friend who has been part of the Critter Gang for 11 1/2 years.

Dad's dog, Copper, has been having some health issues for the past year, some of which are stated above.

He began with hypothyroidism last year, which he was taking levothyroxin for. Then, his liver showed slight problems, which he was taking S-Adenosyl (sp) & milk thistle for.

About a month ago, he was diagnosed with crepidation in both knees of his hind legs. He needed braces for them, as they do not do doggie knee replacements. The crepidation was so bad he had bone chips in the area of his knees. Since the chipin wasn't going all that well (had 1 donation which I have to contact that person abt), we had finally figured out how to pay for the braces for his legs when he suddenly fell ill on Tuesday morning.

I spoon fed him Tuesday; then, I hand fed him on Wednesday.

I called the vet on Wednesday & they had me drop him off this morning, Thursday. Because they were busy & had no appts, they examined him in between appts & surgeries. He almost immediately went into an oxygen cage. His normal oxygen level should have been abt 94/95+; his was 81. His exam did not go well; so, she followed it up with xrays, ekg & blood work. All bad. One of the things they look at with the blood work didn't even register on the chart because it was too high. An indication of organ failure.

When she, the vet, called me to tell me the bad news, she told me his liver probably already failed and his kidneys were in the process of failure. Both his lungs & heart were having problems & his blood pressure was difficult to get because his feet pads were already cooling down. She asked me to let him stay until 3pm today just to give him a little more time in the oxygen cage since he was resting peacefully. I said ok. Within about 1/2 an hour of our conversation, one of the vet techs called and told me I needed to come get him now so he could go at home. His oxygen level had dropped too much and he could go anytime. I left then.

By the time I got there, his bowels had already let go. They let me stay with him in one of the exam rooms for a few minutes in case he passed then. His bladder released while I held him, but he was still breathing. The vet helped me get him in the truck; so, I could get him home. I was hoping Mom & Chico, Mom's dog, as well as the other dogs, would get to see him before he passed. The vet is abt 6 rural miles from me. I made it up to the intersection of the road her clinic is on & the road I live on where there is a red light. I had to wait at the light, figures. He seized there at the light. I petted him and talked to him, but I don't think he made it home. I rushed him in the house for them to see him, but he was pretty much gone by then.

So, it is a very sad day in the Critter house, as the Critter Gang mourns the loss of their oldest brother.

Copper was 13 1/2 years old, at least. He was estimated to be abt 2 years old when he became a member of The Critter Gang.

While at the vet's office, I kept telling him to "go see Daddy", "Daddy's waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge". He didn't really show recognition when I said his name, but whenever I said 'Daddy', he would turn to look at me. You have to wonder.

Rest in peace, Copper. I know you and Dad are spending tonite together. We will miss you!

I will, like I did with Devil, re-post the posts that were made to ChipIn here. I ended the ChipIn for Copper's leg braces for obvious reasons.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dog Chews: Rawhide, Pig's Ears & Hooves

I recently posted in a forum about the dangers of rawhides, pig's ears and hooves. I decided I should post the info here on The Critter Gang's blog.

A lot of people seem to still be unaware these items can be extremely dangerous to our beloved dog friends. I couldn't believe someone was suggesting these items to be given to a dog to control chewing. It amazes me these dangerous chews are still on the market when they are hazardous enough to cause the death of our beloved dog friends.

Folks please educate yourselves on the dangers of these terrible 'treats'. I have known about the dangers for many, many years, as a vet warned us against them a long time ago.

BEWARE: They cause severe and costly health problems and can lead to death!

Rawhides, as well as any of these types of 'treats' like those mentioned above, have been well known to cause a variety of ailments from choking to blockage. They can, over time actually cause a blockage in your dog's intestines, with expensive surgery usually being the only option. Chewed off pieces can be easily swallowed and become lodged in your pet's throat causing him/her to choke. In addition, they can get bacterial infections, etc.

Here are some links you can refer to for more info on these so-called treats...

So, please always remember 2 things...

1. NEVER give your best bud rawhides, pig's ears, hooves or anything like that in nature.
2. Always monitor your best bud when (s)he is given something (s)he can chew pieces off and swallow.

Leg Braces 4 Copper

It's taken me a while to post this because I really didn't know how I wanted to handle it.

Copper is Dad's dog, his little buddy. He, in a sense, was Dad's first dog since his childhood, as most of the dog's we've had were family dogs. When Dad passed away, we promised to take care of his little buddy.

So, here we are. Copper is approaching his very senior years. When Dad got him, he was estimated to be abt 2 yrs old, that was 11 years ago.

Now, Copper is suffering from debilitating knee problems. To make matters worse, he has, for most of his life, also suffered from a twisted joint in one if his front legs, which has progressed with time. He struggles to walk, and I have to pick him up and place him outside. Most of the time, I have to stay with him, as his legs, the right more than the left, buckles under him causing him to collapse on his rear.

I can only imagine the pain he is in. He is on Novox, which is Carprofen, also known as the generic of Rimadyl(R), twice per day. Because of his daily intake of this drug, he will need to have blood work done every 6 mos to test for organ malfunction/failure. For everyone's FYI, here is the FDA's sheet in PDF format on Carprofen: FDA Sheet - Novox (Carprofen).

In addition, he has already been experiencing some liver problems, which he is taking Milk Thistle & S-Adenosyl (SAMe). You can read about how S-Adenosyl (SAMe) helps liver function at Dr. Foster and Smith's website. He also has a hypothyroid. He is on Levothyroxin to help get his thyroid working properly. It must be working because he dropped from 52 pounds to 40 pounds. He could stand to lose at least another 5-10 pounds.

Copper's vet does not believe him to be a good candidate for surgery, which is one way of handling the situation, because of his other medical issues. She state because of the debilitating nature of his knees, in the future, a decision will probably have to be made about his quality of life. Of course, those that know me know I am not an easy person to convince euthanasia is in the best interest of anyone other than the humans who do not wish to watch a loved one grow old, weak and need constant care.

As an alternative to euthanasia, his vet did mention leg braces that may help him walk. She told me to do a search on the Internet for them. I did. They are expensive and well beyond my means. Because of this, I have started a Chip-In page for Copper. I am hoping we will stumble or convince some warm-hearted dog lovers
to help Copper live the remainder of his time, be it months, a year or more in the best way he can and in as little pain as possible.

You can read more about Copper on his Chip-In page, as well as donate as much or as little as you can, for any amount, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated!