The Childfree Life

When having it all, means not having kids
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 Post subject: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:44 am 
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We're at our wit's end with the dog. The last week in particular has been pure hell, as bad as when we first got her (the last month, really).

A couple of weeks ago, she developed an E. coli infection, showed up in her urine. I may have mentioned that. Sadly, the antibiotic the vet prescribed is the size of the end of my little finger and apparently tastes like the bitterest part of Satan's butthole, and for a dog who's never been crazy about any kind of pill, that spelled doom.

The first couple of doses, we tried her usual cheese. Nope. Then we tried peanut butter. Nope. Cream cheese. Nope. Then we tried good old-fashioned holding her down and cramming it down her throat. Nope, and we each got an actual no-shit punctured skin dog bite for that, which she's never done.

So at 7PM a few nights ago, I was out hitting all the late-night pet stores looking for a pill gun. Took me three and a 45-minute drive before I found one.

Pill gun...nope. After all the dosing attempts, she wasn't letting us near her. Even took her to the vet the next day and as soon as I said, "She bit us," they said, "We're not dosing her."

I finally hit on one last attempt...ice cream. She's had ice cream probably twice in her life.

I gave her a little, she inhaled it. I gave her some more, sucked it right now. Snuck her pill in a third bite...down it went. All right!

Next day, same thing. Yes! And the next.

Fourth day...nothing doing. No plain ice cream, no ice cream with pills, no food, no nothing. She finally ate a half-meal at about 4PM. No pills for any of her conditions all day.

That was yesterday. I had to run out around 6PM, and when I got back, the wife was sobbing her eyes out. Apparently, she'd gone back to the bedroom where the dog was hanging out and sat down a small plate of chopped up ham, and the dog zoomed out and bit her on the ankle. Another puncture bite.

MrsCO was pissed, and frustrated, and angry: "I DON'T CARE IF SHE FUCKING DIES!!! I'VE FUCKING HAD IT WITH THAT FUCKING DOG!!! I WASN'T DOING ANYTHING!!! I WASN'TEVEN TALKING TO HER AND SHE FUCKING BIT ME!!! I'M DONE!!! I'M FUCKING DONE!!! I HOPE SHE FUCKING DIES!!! I'VE FUCKING HAD IT!!! TAKE HER IN ON MONDAY AND HAVE HER PUT TO SLEEP!!! I'M DONE WITH HER!!!"

Samuel L. Jackson called and said, "Hey, easy on the language."

The last time I heard her use that many f-bombs was when we first got the dog and she was sick and wouldn't stop pacing 24/7 and we couldn't sleep at all. Also, she adores that dog, absolutely would take a bullet for her, so to hear that was really disturbing.

Anyway, I was hoping it was just an upset stomach from the meds, and this morning, she ate her two vitamin chews, good sign, and I cautiously tried some plain ice cream...nope.

Later, she started begging for food, so I mashed up some ham and snuck her heart pills in there and she took those. Then some more ham as a treat, then the antibiotic with some ham, and that seemed to work.

Gave her her pain pills with the ham...nope...and then she spit her antibiotic back out! From several minutes earlier.

Great.

Tried cream cheese again. Nope. I had to make some whipped cream, tried some of that with nothing. Nope.

Then I tried plain mascarpone (which is pretty much the same thing as cream cheese), and she ate that. Snuck in her antibiotic, and she ate it.

I really think it comes down to variety with her. She has one thing for a few days, then she gets used to it and she wants something else. Next up, I'm going to try liverwurst.

On top of all of that, it was $300 to do the culture to find the infection, and after these pills are done, it's another $300 for another culture, and then repeat the whole process if she doesn't test clean.

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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:04 am 
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Can you split the tablet into smaller pieces or crush them to disguise in a more liquid paste of yummy food? Something she has to nearly drink and slobber up, rather than a solid food she can spit out easier?

and is there a chance the vets can change to a different make / brand of antibiotic that might agree more with Kate? Sometimes just having a different look or size of the tablet can be enough to break the association in her mind. Even the same brand in a smaller dosage = smaller tablet and giving her maybe 2 or 3 to get the same strength of dosage might work.

I am sorry she is starting to bite, but it just shows how freaked out and stressed she is herself.


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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:16 pm 
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I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this, CarryOn. You have my sympathies. I spent two years giving medicine to my old kitty to treat his cancer and kidney issues, and even though he was usually pretty good about taking pills, it was rough sometimes. Some days he just didn’t want to take them, and shoving pills into a geriatric cat who weighs maybe 7 lbs soaking wet has to be much easier than wrestling with a large (or even medium-sized) dog.

Is it possible - given her age - that she’s suffering from doggie dementia? Has she gotten lost in rooms, become distressed for no apparent reason? I’m only asking this because of the biting. I think a non-aggressive dog suddenly biting out of nowhere might be a sign that she’s suffering some cognitive decline.

Can the vet give you the same medicine in liquid form, and you could try using a needle-less syringe to squirt it into her mouth? I used to do this with the appetite stimulant I gave to my old cat. It tasted absolutely terrible (according to the vet anyway, I never tried it), and he would not take the pills. The compounding pharmacy made up a liquid solution, and it still tasted awful, but I could at least get it into the cat. Just use a syringe to squirt it into the corner of her mouth - she might drool some of it back out, but she should get most of it.

Again, sorry to hear that you’re dealing with this. Hope you find a solution that works for everyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:59 pm 
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Thanks all. I'm going to talk to the vet on Monday and see what other options are. She did mention before that they could try a different antibiotic, but "none of them taste that good."

I did get her pills down her tonight. I prepped her with about five training treats, then a glob of mascarpone, then a couple more training treats, then mascarpone with the pills in.

What I *think* is going on is that she gets a few days with one kind of treat, and every day, it tastes a little bitter because of the pills, and by the third day, she smells that treat and starts to associate it with the pill stink. That's why I think she was ok with cheddar for a few days, then ice cream, and now mascarpone. I put some plain ice cream in front of her a couple of hours ago and she just sniffed it and walked off. I'm expecting that to happen with the mascarpone by Monday morning, so I'm picking up some liverwurst tomorrow.

When she was on antibiotics before, I tried grinding them up, but it seemed like that just distributed the bad taste all through the treat and she wouldn't go near those. It's worth another attempt, though.

We used to give her a liquid digestive calmer, that was a similar fight, though without the biting. I swear, I watched videos of "difficult" dogs online, and all they do is mildly dodge the person's hand, and then they'll just gently steady the dogs head and pop it in. That's not Kate.

I could have the most delicious bacon-wrapped hunk of steak, dipped in cheese and gravy and if she suspects pillage, she clamps that mouth down tight and there's no getting it apart and she won't eat it, no matter what.

Both we and the vet think she does have some mild dementia going on, but nothing too serious. I think her aggressiveness is because she feels like shit and is in some pain. She's got a nasty infection, arthritis, bad heart and she hasn't had regular pain pills in a couple of days and she's had about half her heart meds.

Right now, my priority is antibiotic, then heart meds, then pain pills. If I can at least get the first one down her, that's a win.

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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:14 pm 
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I'm not being mean here, but ... "I think her aggressiveness is because she feels like shit and is in some pain. She's got a nasty infection, arthritis, bad heart and she hasn't had regular pain pills in a couple of days and she's had about half her heart meds."

You know at some point, you really have to ask who you're doing this for. You, or her. It's costing a fortune, she's going steadily downhill, and everyone's quality of life is being affected. I know when I had the conversation with the vet about Sam and his declining health, she said "Sometimes, it's better to let them go a couple of weeks too early, than a couple of hours too late". I thought about that a lot when I was making the decision to put him to sleep, and when I had holidays booked and it had gotten to the point where I couldn't in good conscience, ask anyone to look after him for me - that was the right time. It sounds like you're almost there with Kate.

Good luck with the pills - I've never been able to fight with animals to give them meds either, all of mine were terrible. I know that when Caelan was on tramadol for the last few days of his life, I was almost in tears fighting to get that down him, and he was usually the most even-tempered dog on the planet.

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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:57 pm 
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^^^ That's the thing, though, and why I don't think (nor does the vet think) that she's at that point yet.

The main pill at issue is this giant-ass antibiotic which is for a temporary condition. The heart pills and the pain pills, she's been on those for a couple of years and she's generally ok with those. I'm obsessing over the antibiotic because it's a limited dose, and I don't want to pay another $300 only to find out she needs another round because she missed a third of them, so I want her to take every last one.

Other than that, she's fine. No one (including the vet) can believe how old she is. Most days, when she's not sleeping, she's still out in the yard, rolling around, barking her head off, and acting like she's half her age. As part of the testing for her peeing issue, she had a full blood panel done, and the vet said she wished every dog had numbers as good as Kate, so we don't think we're quite there with her yet.

It's still a fight with her pills, but she's getting most of them down and she's feeling better. She's eating more again and spending a good portion trotting around outside like a show pony, so I think the meds she's getting are having a positive effect. The crappy thing is, she's still got nearly two weeks left.

If she were having continual low quality of life, we wouldn't like it, but we'd do what's right by her. We've already had the talk with the vet and set up arrangements for that time. As long as she appears to be doing relatively well for her age, we'll stick with her, even if it is extremely trying at times.

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"There is no bad weather, only bad clothes." - Unknown


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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:24 am 
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I'm sorry you're having such troubles. We have a cat who used to be very difficult to pill (for some reason he got easier with age), and we used to use a local compounding pharmacy that would make the meds into a liquid and add "triple fish" flavor (which STANK omg it smelled so bad) and then squirt it into his food. The triple fish flavor seemed to cover the bitterness of the meds, and he would eat it pretty reliably. I'm sure there are dog-friendly flavors as well.

I also have a friend with a cat who is completely impossible with meds, and the compounding pharmacy somehow makes them into a topical formula that they rub on his ear. So there really might be other options if it gets desperate.

I think your theory about needing to change things up every few days is right, and hopefully you've hit on a formula that will get the rest of the antibiotics down. Fingers crossed!


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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:02 pm 
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She's doing a lot better, back to her old sassy self, I'm even getting the trammies down her, for the most part.

Also, the antibiotic seems to be helping with her chattering - she's almost completely knocked that off.

Her appetite is back in a big way, including trotting into the kitchen and then staring at the giant box of milk-bones on top of the fridge and barking.

It looks like she's found her preferred pill hiding substance - the mascarpone, pill inside, rolled into a ball, and a training treat on top. They look like doggie hor d'oeuvres.

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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:33 pm 
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I was going to suggest liquid meds. When Linus had to be on antibiotics, the vet sent a script with me to take to the pharmacy. It was specifically Meijer as they fill some pet meds. I was given liquid antibiotic which they told me could be flavored to dog specific flavor (beef, chicken). Fortunately for me, Linus has no issue taking pills or liquid meds. I put them in pill pockets and he gulps it down. It's something to consider if you have to go through this again. You could consider crushing the pills and mixing them something really flavorful much like they crush meds for elderly people with swallowing issues or cognitive decline.

I sympathize with your wife. It got so difficult with Violet towards the end with her care. I did have a few breakdowns that amounted to me asking why she can't just go. Then I'd immediately regret what I said, and just sob. I was stressed and very emotional. Caregiving to an elderly animal is very difficult much like caring for human who is elderly and very sick. At one point, I was ready to have the end-of-life conversation with my vet, and I'd get brushed off with, "Oh, it's not time for that. She's fine..." I was so frustrated because it seemed like I was going back and forth to the vet for one thing or another constantly. I knew the answer staring me in face, but I needed to hear it from someone else. Eventually I found a hospice care vet who came to my home and did a quality of life assessment. He confirmed what I already knew in my heart, so we finally euthanized her a few days later at our home. I gave her back her dignity. It was very very hard.

You might want to consider working with a hospice or comfort care vet at this point. They are going to working with your dog's quality of life and not so much, "let's keep her healthy" as your normal vet does. You still see your regular vet for certain things. There could be signs of pain, and it's something the hospice vet can work with specifically in keeping her comfortable. It's very similar in the human world. You need to start thinking about these things. Sometimes the sign we're looking for is not going to appear until it's really too late. You don't want your dog to be put through needless suffering. I'm glad she's back to her old self, but it's something to think about. I come from a background of hospice on the human side, but it mirrors in the pet world as far as EOL discussions go.


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 Post subject: Re: Frustrated With Dog
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:44 pm 
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I would second liquid meds. We had a horse that *hated* to be wormed. There was no convincing or tricking him easily into taking it. Forcing a 1,200 lb animal to allow you to squirt paste wormer into his mouth was definitely not an option. My mom had to mix the paste into his food, and dump a ton of Karo syrup on it so he'd eat it. Eventually he figured that trick out, and my mom had to slice up apples and mix them into the feed with the wormer and the syrup. He was a giant PITA about the wormer, until they came out with liquid wormer. I don't know if it was the texture or the taste this horse hated so much in the paste wormer, but the liquid was a God-send. No more having to mix up a special batch of feed, hoping he'd eat it. The liquid wormer got mixed in with his feed, and he ate it like he'd never been fed before.


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