Saturday, June 30, 2012

goodnight moon

Saturday, June 30

I'm very happy to report that the decongestant is a success.  We've had a couple of restful nights.  I was pleased that even though we spent yesterday traveling to a family gathering with lots of new people and small children the stress of that event didn't seem to set Milo back with his health.

One thing I'm noticing is that in the small increments in which Milo is gaining and stamina, more and more of his true personality is coming out.  Leo is picking up on this subtle transition and is getting a little more jealous and now that Milo has discovered the thrill of a chew stick is getting a bit competitive for "the good one".  Because you know if there are 5 of them there is only ONE good one!  There was even a small growl between them - before my more meaningful growl won the match.  This all is good stuff, for it means that Milo is starting to show his true self and feeling well enough to do so!

Leo will be thrilled when Milo can play and romp and wrestle with him.  Not yet, but hopefully sometime during the next few weeks!

Oh!  And we forgot to do develop a strategy for fireworks potty time tonight.  Leo and Sabrina are fine with them - Leo wants to go "get" them.  Milo just wants to stick close to me.  We'll be making a 2 am trip out when it is quiet for that one last tinkle.

Looking forward to another restful night.  This time with all the windows shut and the air on to block the noise from the neighbors who apparently went to Wisconsin for their illegal fireworks.

clean up crew

Milo did his part at a family gathering for clean up.  He loves the 1 year old for leftovers!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life of a foster "sibling"

Our house guest Milo is Leo's first experience with sharing his world with a foster sibling.  To say that Leo's world has been rocked is an understatement.  He's confused by having to share his house, car, crate and owner.

Both Leo and Sabrina have been very forgiving of Milo as if they sense he needs extra care and help.  Leo sporadically forgets that Milo is not strong and can't wrestle but he settles right down when I tell him that he needs to be careful of Milo.  Each day Leo is testing to see if today might be the day when Milo wants a good game of chase or fetch with a squeaky toy.

Sabrina, the epitome of the word bitch on a normal day, seems to understand that all but the most grievous errors of etiquette such as fully stepping on her are to be excused where Milo is concerned.  This is a great effort for her, but she does seem to get that he is needy.  

Both Leo and Sabrina were former foster dogs with me so they should be empathetic to Milo's situation although neither one had anything near his health issues, they each were strays.  I'm glad that they are somewhat empathetic to Milo.  I'm trying to take some time with each one of them to give them special time.  Leo went to obedience tonight and had a great time.  Both dogs have worked livestock a lot over the last couple of weeks - perhaps the greatest reward from their perspective.  

Plan B

Well, we tried antihistamine last night.  No go.  Lots of coughing several times during the night.  Darn.

So... our vet has put Milo back onto the the decongestant he was on previously.  This is a decongestant, cough suppressant and anti-inflammatory.   As Milo is crated at night in our room this coughing is definitely not exertion induced.

How difficult to try to treat something when we aren't sure of the cause!  There are so many possibilities at the moment.  Is due from the neck abscess?  If so, is there tracheal damage?  Is it from the monocytosis?  Are his sinuses draining into his throat?  At least we've sort of ruled out allergies since the antihistamine was ineffective.  Tough job for a vet to try to figure this out when you can't ask the patient questions!

Why the long face? 

And if you consider the size of nose for drippage - those are some SERIOUS sinuses if they are draining down the back of his throat!

Hoping for a peaceful and quiet night tonight.  I need sleep.  And so does Milo.  Poor kid.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pictures from the inside

Report from vet visit on Tuesday, June 26.  Summarized by foster person to Dr. Ryan Speltz and MWCR: 

This is my understanding of Milo's vet visit yesterday for x-rays of his chest in response to the continued coughing and exertion induced wheezing he's experienced.   

The x-rays showed that the lungs were clear of tumors and parasites although the bronchi were enlarged, you feel that this may be due to Milo's emaciated body condition.  

The issue appears to be at the tracheal area where his neck abscess originated.  Although originally reported to be the size of a soft ball, the area has reduced to the size of about a half dollar but contains hard scar tissue which seems to run very deep and may possibly be impeding the airway slightly upon exertion.  What is unknown is whether the issue might be improved with the use of antihistamine or with a decongestant.  What we do know is that stress exacerbates this condition with a series of wheezing/coughing - as evidenced from 4 am through 5 am this morning(!) following his day at the vet clinic.  

You had mentioned that a radiologist might glean more from the rads as the area in question is blocked from view by the scar tissue and a more trained eye may be able to provide more information.  I am unsure whether you were going to pursue this course of action or if the rescue needs to approve that action.  

You reported that his skin is looking good and ears are much improved.  Eyes seem to be a bit goopy, but it was decided to see where that goes as he has been on eye meds for several weeks.  

I've reported to you that Milo's drinking water becomes discolored after he drinks.  The other dogs will not drink from a bowl once he has, which tells me that there is some nasty stuff going on in his mouth.  Having been through this with Persy, my sense is that once Milo has completed the treatment of antibiotics in a week or so, his teeth issue will present and most likely compromise his health gains by abscessing.  Several dead teeth with that much infection in his neck, ears and eyes indicate to me that there will be a problem with those teeth.  I think it would be prudent to deal with that issue before it becomes an emergency.  

Milo has gained nearly 2 lbs which is very good.  

I know you reported that his personality seems happy and affectionate which is what I have found as well.  He's a very sweet guy for having been so very neglected for so long. 

I'm going to give Milo Benedryl at bedtime to see if he (and the rest of us!) can get a good night's rest. 

Please feel free to correct and expand on my report!

Notes on summary from Dr. Speltz:

I really would like to see if 2 - 25mg Benadryl help him with the cough.  We also know the cough is not related at this point also to infection while he is on meds of antibiotics too and its not responsive in the area of the cough with them.  This leaves me to believe his lab work monocytosis and cough is due also to the neck abcess that is healing but slowly and maybe the teeth but that might be a stretch.  The nonvital upper canines we will recommend removal at later time point if the board allows and his health continues to impove.

Overall the good news is the chest is clear, he is gaining weight, I LOVE his new attitude and personality showing and look forward to see how the cough does as well as what the body continue to strengthen and return to normal state over the next two months.

what a difference a day makes

WARNING: Graphic images!

Below are photos from June 7 - the day Milo arrived at Skyline Veterinary Hospital  and these are the photos which they took of Milo during his prescribed shave down and assessment.  They are graphic, but they demonstrate the urgency of his need for care when he arrived there.

These two are close up of the infected ear and neck abscess areas.  Notice that there are live ticks still clinging to him and crawling around on him.  
Minus 3 lbs of matted and tick infested fur.  The red sores are from where the nests of ticks had been located.  
 The staff did a fantastic job of shaving Milo and getting him cleaned up.  It was not a job for the faint of heart!  I've seen shave jobs where the dog was totally razor-burned, but Milo was done very well.  Great job in helping this dog!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

the phlegm fairy

Friday, June 22

Milo coughed a lot in the early AM it seems to be productive with a bit of yellow sputum.   Still breathing heavy - same not worse - when he gets excited or from exertion.  

Milo is still on cephalexin (1 pill 2x per day) and the omegarin (1 pill 1x per day).   His appetite is very good and doesn't seem to have a fever.   I'm a little concerned myself about the labored breathing and coughing.  The neck lump seems to be dissipating.  Still resting and sleeping a lot.  A bit of exertion really wears him out.  Also his bare skin is such a magnet for deer flies and mosquitoes!  I don't keep him outside very long at all.  Short jaunts for a quick stroll and potty and then back into the house and this is about all he can manage at this point.  

As I have crates in my van he will be able to nap at the herding trial this weekend.  I weighed the options of bringing him versus having him stay with someone and decided that familiar with us is probably the least stressful option.  

A snag with the trial.  The farm where it was supposed to be held has been quarantined due to sore mouth virus in the livestock.  So... it will be at the farm where we normally train with our sheep.  Luckily it was discovered before the trial!   Check with vet for Milo's safety. 

The biggest issue is stress, so going to try to keep it as low key for him as possible.  

My vet wants to take x-rays next week of Milo's chest to see if something is going on in there to make him cough. 

Fingers crossed. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

trials and tribulations

Milo has not done any running around until last evening, much to Leo's dismay.  He's really just trotted after me and then napped.   The coughing is better than it was last week, but there is still a bit going on.  I guess we'll know more since we are now done with the decongestant as of today. 

Our vet gave the okay for Milo to come with us to a herding trial this weekend and I'm hoping the stress/excitement of that won't set him back.  I was thinking about having him stay with someone, but I fear that any change will be stressful for him so at least he'll be with us.  He'll be crated in the car most of the time.  I've got netting to put over the crate to help prevent the bugs from feasting on that bare flesh.  Have to really watch when he's outside that he isn't a mosquito and deer fly snack.  

I suspect that at the trial he will make lots of new friends as he seems to love everyone.  


Carefree collie

Wednesday, June 20

Milo was able to forget himself briefly.

He crashed big time later on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spirits in the Material World

Persy's sweet face.
Tuesday, June 19

Fostering Milo has been such a surprising mix of circumstance and, possibly, kismet.

I've had several shaved collies in my life, but I can't help but make the comparison to an incredibly special collie boy who also came into rescue as a stray and faced some of the same health challenges as Milo.  

Milo and Persy are very similar in other ways - especially their sweet dispositions and personalities. 

This is Persy - short for Perseverance - who was in my life for five years.  You can read about Persy here and see what a handsome boy he became and the health challenges he faced.

Persy in 2002

All of the circumstances which steered my life to intersect with Milo's when he needed help makes me wonder if a sweet collie angel named Persy was watching over us.

Worth a thousand words

Tuesday, June 19

Stopping to smell the flowers

Tipped ears!    We finished ear meds yesterday.   They must finally feel a lot better.   Yay!

What a face!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

the end

Not the end of the story.

The end as in the end which is effected by a worming product.  Let's just say that it is effective and prolific.

As we were weaning off of ID food (a prescription food very high in fiber which is administered to dogs recovering from diarrhea issues) and onto regular quality kibble I'm glad that, in a preemptive move, I halted the switch over process at half kibble/half ID.  I think we would have gone into full blown "colon blow" (remember the SNL skit with Dan Akroyd back when the show was funny?) had we not kept the ID in play.

Probably enough said on this issue.

Wormer.  It WORKS.

The End.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


No matter how many dogs I've fostered, I'm always amazed at how quickly they assimilate to routine and consistency.   In fact, they thrive on it.

Milo has been starving - literally - for a long time.  Long enough to damage his liver as his body started to metabolize organs and the dog who was throwing himself onto the table 6 days ago now sits nicely for treats and can be dissuaded from eating the cat food with a simple "Naahhh!"  He knows that there are two meals a day and that there will be a treat ball or just treats for going into his crate.  There is a lot of praise - to balance out the "uh oh!" or "nahhh" words - and pats and hugs. 

A heck a of lot of progress for such a short period of time. 

One more dose of Panacur left.  Hoping the gassy output will be done as well.  Whew!  At least there is no diarrhea.

Good rest last night.  Much less coughing.  Poor guy is tired out.  His little body is dealing with a lot right now. 

another sleepless night

Saturday, June 16

Milo coughed all night.  Not good for any of us.  The vet thinks it was due to the stress of the bath. 

We started the Panacur for the worms tonight.  We have been slowly mixed real kibble with the prescription ID and had gotten to about 1/2 and 1/2.  Since diarrhea can be a problem with worming I thought that the ID would help prevent it.  Also bought some yogurt to help settle his tummy and build up some good bacteria in his gut. 

Pass the soap

Milo went to get his medicated bath for his skin today.  We went to visit a groomer pal to use the do it yourself tubs for this endeavor.  I was pleased how calm he was in the very busy parking lot where Fedex was delivering and we had to get around a semi to get into the store.  Milo took it all in stride.  He put his paws on the counter to see all of the groomers and made lots of friends.

My instruction from the vet was to not allow him to get cold, but we needed to leave the medicated shampoo on for 10 minutes.  Groomer Chris solved the problem with warm towels from the dryer.

This bath was prescribed by the vet because of all of the open scabby areas on his body.  I had a medicated antimicrobial shampoo for this endeavor.

Milo got his "boots" trimmed up too! 

Uh oh

Friday, June 15

On our trip to the vet I had brought in a poo sample thinking that his cough might be from lungworm.  They tested it only to find that in addition to all of his other issues he has hookworm! 

Good thing we brought home some Panacur.  Poor kid.

Cover your mouth

Thursday, June 14

Foster dog Milo: coughing episodes all night. Worried about his immune system. Vet at 10:15 am.

Diagnosis for Milo is monocytosis. No fever so that is very good. Keeping him on his antiobiotic and adding a decongestant. Good news is that he gained 2 lbs since Monday. Was happy to see his friends at Skyline Veterinary Hospital!

compare and contrast

Milo aspires to look like Leo; healthy with a thick coat!
I can't help comparing my healthy collies to poor little Milo.  Even though both Leo and Sabrina started out their rescue careers as strays, it is amazing to think that Milo will ever look as healthy and hearty.

Milo's neck and ear

Milo's neck would from the soft ball sized abscess is healing.  He has a lot of scar tissue in there so a golf ball sized lump is apparent.  Hoping that it heals down.  His ear does not seem to be torn as earlier reported, however his ears were very infected causing him to hold one at a funny angle. 

Follow the leader

Wednesday, June 13

Who would have thought that Leo could ever be a mentor?   Milo is learning so much from the other dogs.  It's so amazing.

The stairs were mastered today.  Yeehaw! 

Milo seems to find a kindred spirit in Leo

Canine fashion

Wednesday, June 13

One of the disadvantages of being a shaved collie is that you become a mosquito magnet.  Lot's bare skin for munching. are easily chilled. 

One has to be creative with modifying the tee so it doesn't become a pee shirt! 

Milo sports modified tee-shirt.. 

Fast food; food fast

Tuesday, June 12 - evening

Milo checks out Leo's stuff.  Milo is 50 lbs.
Milo has demonstrated that he is starved for food and starved for affection.  He is a total velcro collie.   If I move, he is right there with me.  Foster dogs always are tethered to me for at least the first few days while we sort out their reaction to cats, dogs, marking, house manners.  He is constantly searching and nudging my hands to be touching him. 

Milo's house manners are terrible.  He dives at any food and places front paws on counters seeking food.  Can't really blame him as he is terribly emaciated and not sure if he will have another meal ... ever.  He must think his name is "Nahaaahh!!" with all of the times he's heard it.

If he is not right with me on a tether he will be crated.  After he gets acclimated a bit he'll have more indoor freedom. 

Also doing Potty 101.  Outside frenquently and lots of praise for pottying.  So far no accidents in the house but because he is always with me, I'm not allowing him to go off and get into trouble. 

Not sure how I'm ever going to be able to cook anything with such a desperate animal tethered to me. 

It's a small world... after all.

Tuesday, June 12

At work, a conversation about a stage turned into the realization that a co-worker had been involved in bringing Milo to the Twin Cities.  This selfless person has been involved in many acts of kindness that adds hundreds of miles to her vehicle on a regular basis.  She is truly a hero for animals volunteering her time, her vehicle and often her home for many different rescues.  How wild to know that she was the one to drop Milo off at the vet on the very same day on which I had my cat appointment! 

I invited her to my office to find out more about Milo's story and to show her photos of him with his new bald look. 

Later that day she sent me a link from the rescue who had originally taken him in which gave a bit more background on his situation and photos of him pre-shave: Red Lake Rosie Milan

Crazy small world!

Picking up Milo

Monday, June 11

The call came on Monday morning that Milan would be going home with me.  I left work early and drove to my veterinarian's office to pick up the naked collie. 

Took copious notes from staff regarding the schedule for his numerous medications as well as his feeding, walking and poo-ing schedules.  Since it was reported that he did some territorial marking in the vet kennel, I was a bit apprehensive about his placement in my collie Leo's car kennel - but since that is what I had available we went with it! 

My concerns were for nothing as Milo (now officially changed from Milan because Milo is more accessible as a name; is it Mill-AHN like the city?, My-Lan?) was a very quiet passenger.  Probably was so relieved to be out of a kennel situation too.

Milo after he is sprung from the vet.  FREEDOM!
Leo and Sabrina were surprised to have a visitor in the yard.  Milo was very relieved to be out exploring.  So relieved, or perhaps intent on really making his mark, he pooped 3 times. 

We had about 2 hours of free time before I had to get ready to go to a herding class.  So, setting up a crate and dinner and meds were had and Milo was left to rest while Leo and Sabrina were off to see the ducks. 

We returned several hours later to find Milo sleeping soundly in the crate.  When we finally went to bed for the night, Milo whined and barked a bit in the crate but seemed reassured with the presence of the dogs and several cats.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Saturday, June 8

Having offered to help Milan the collie as a foster home I received this e-mail from Dr. Ryan Speltz regarding Milan's lab work and overview at that point:

The collie came to a vet 6-3-12 for neutering and given to rescue 6-4-12. Milan presented about six yrs old with few nonvital teeth. open neck abcess due to probably chain and severe thin and tick infested matting. We vaccinated him started, oral antibiotics, frontline, shaved, deticked and dealt with his diarrhea. He had no diarrhea as of today and he is eating well. He knows commands and loves to rub on u. He is on omegarin supplement, cephalexin and ID food at present and doing great....he needs recheck liver and htw test in 90 days. his labs indicated liver damage and anemia probably due to ticks...all should correct as he grows in health.

A trip to the vet with...cats

Ramon the cat with some collie pals
Thursday, June 7

I had scheduled my trip to the vet for Thursday, June 7 for kitty shots 2 weeks in advance .  Taking cats to the vet is not my favorite thing to do and they heartily agree!  

On the day, true to form, Ramon delivered a "sample" in his crate about 1/2 way there.  So we walked into the clinic with an aroma and a VERY fresh poo sample.   He gets a little nervous.   

Years ago, I had coerced Dr. Ryan Speltz, my veterinarian, to work with Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue as our Board vet.  Although I've moved on from my involvement with rescue, I'm pleased that Dr. Ryan is still providing them with great medical advice and some of their dogs with wonderful care. 

Before we even got into a room for de-pooing maneuvers, my vet Dr. Ryan Speltz at Skyline Veterinary Hospital, was shoving a file and photos into my face.

A collie had arrived to the clinic from northern MN in great need of medical attention on the day I happened to be their with my cats.  He came to Skyline with great mats of fur in which there were nests of woodticks feeding from him.  The staff who worked on him told me that his tail was so matted that it was stuck to one of his hind legs before they freed it by shaving him to the skin to rid him from all of the creepy crawley parasites living off of his little body.

Since Milan - as Red Lake Rosie's Rescue had named him - was at the clinic I was taken back to the kennel to meet him.  He ran right up to me and put his head in my lap as I squatted to pet him  He was NAKED except for a fringe of fur on his head and furry "boots". 

All the Skyline staff knew about him at that point is that he had been a mess with coat and ticks, but also had had an abcess on his neck the size of a softball.  A vet from the north had neutered him and drained the abscess - but that was about all. 

Milan arrived at Skyline with no foster home, but needing immediate vet care so was boarded at the clinic while his labs were sent out and he could be assessed for other potential health issues.   Of course I was very moved by Milan's plight and offered tohelp. 

The cats did get their shots and Ramon did get de-pooed for the trip home.  With no ammunition in his digestive tract it was a much more uneventful trip.