Dog health recently

Family goodbyes at Easter
The dogs saying goodbye to my sister and her husband last weekend.

The good news: Eden is all clear for giardia!

The bad news: Pyrrha now has giardia.

Ugh. I kind of wondered if this would happen. We’ve been so vigilant about cleaning up the yard, but my best guess is that Eden transferred it from all of the kissing. She licks herself, and then she loves to lick Pyrrha’s mouth. We also got their food bowls mixed up, so there could have been a remnant there, too. Anyway, now Pyrrha is undergoing treatment, and our house is in a police state. The poor girls don’t know what’s going on, or why we yell at them for licking themselves and then trying to kiss each other. Just hope it will all be over soon!

The additional good news is that, aside from the giardia, Pyrrha had a good annual check-up at the vet. She’s at a trim 64 lbs., and the vet complimented the health of her coat and teeth. Pyrrha was a huge baby about the exam itself, but our vet is a pro with shy dogs, which is wonderful. And as soon as the vet and vet tech pulled out some treats, Pyrrha acted like she’d never been afraid of anything, throwing tricks right and left. Such a diva.

Eden is finishing up her first heat, finally. It lasted about 10 or 11 days. I thought she had a UTI, because she had started peeing small amounts in her crate, which she had never done before. We did a urine analysis, though, and it came back normal, so the vet thinks it’s probably just related to her heat, but we’re keeping an eye on that as well.

Moral of the story: Don’t have dogs?? I don’t know. We couldn’t have prevented any of this (as the vet thinks Eden came to us harboring giardia), and I am assuaged by the fact that none of these health issues are the direct result of them being German shepherds, but I still feel like blaming their breed. GSDs are genetically cursed, right?? You gotta blame someone! Hah. Our wallet is suffering.

Unrelated: Thanks everyone for all of the comments and great conversation on yesterday’s post about the pro-purebred and pro-rescue camps. I always enjoy hearing from all of you and your experiences!

Ready for a spring weekend

The pretty little psychopath. #germanshepherd

Dog life updates:

  • Eden health update: The results of her blood work came back, and she does NOT have EPI! Hallelujah! But she DOES have a pretty serious case of giardia. So, clouds, but silver lining, because it’s not a debilitating lifelong condition. But giardia can be pretty tricky and resistant. She may have been harboring this since we adopted her, and the signs only recently became apparent to us. She’s on a treatment plan now, so here’s to hoping that her GI issues clear up and that she starts packing on the pounds! Eden will be 9 months old this weekend, and she should weigh about 55-60 lbs. She currently weighs 45 lbs. So, a lot to accomplish.
  • On the brighter side, my in-laws and their pup Georgia are coming to visit for the weekend! Pyrrha and Georgia are great pals, but this will be Eden’s first time meeting her puppy “aunt.” If Edie doesn’t terrify Georgia, I think they will all be fast friends.
  • We’ve been continuing with our new walking strategy to reduce reactivity. Guion now walks Pyrrha, and I take the lead with Eden. It’s been going very well, and I think Pyrrha is making improvement. I’m more relaxed on walks, and Pyrrha is also forming a stronger bond with Guion (listening to him, taking treats from him, following his lead, etc.).
  • Regarding the garden: The dogs have been respecting the wire barriers around the forsythia and blackberries, and we are going to plant two apple trees in the yard this weekend. I am also feeling increasingly eager to build a hedge/visual barrier along that side of the fence. The numerous boy children are increasingly distracting to the dogs. AND I came out the other day to find one of the neighbor boys pointing a slingshot at Pyrrha while she was barking. OMG. I yelled at him, “EXCUSE ME??” And he dropped it and ran. So, yes. I am getting increasingly nervous, both about our dogs’ safety and Pyrrha’s ability to handle the stimulation/stress. So building a hedge is a top priority.

Happy Friday to you all! What’s been going on in your households lately?

Eden’s first vet visit (with us)

Waiting for the vet
Skinny puppy waiting for the vet.

So, I feel like a bad dog guardian again. (What’s new these days?)

Yesterday morning, we took her for her first check-up with us. (She had recently had a full vet visit/annual/all the vaccinations when we adopted her in January, so that’s why we waited until now.)

And it turns out that Eden is 15 lbs. underweight. Whoa. I’ve always known she was skinny, but I chalked it up to her being a gangly, gawky adolescent and how much energy she expends every day. I figured she would catch up soon enough. We feed her 4 cups of kibble a day (a cup more than Pyrrha; 375 kcal/cup), so I wasn’t that concerned. But, apparently, I ought to be, because she needs to bulk up. A LOT. She currently weights 44.4 lbs., and at 8 months, she should probably weigh 57–60 lbs. She just isn’t building muscle or seemingly maintaining any of the protein that she should be from her food.

She’s been having off-and-on loose stool issues (gross, but what’s dog blogging if not gross?). The vacillating nature of this problem didn’t cause me greater concern; some days it would be pretty normal; some days, soup. We got the results of her fecal sample this morning, and she’s clear for all worms and parasites, which is good. The fact that she’s been on Heartgard since we’ve had her also makes whipworms* rather unlikely. (*Whipworms were the leading guess at the vet’s office.) So, now I’m wondering if she has giardia, which would explain the vacillating poop-firmness situation and her inability to gain weight.

The vet put her on a week’s worth of the antibiotic Flagyl, along with the probiotic FortiFlora to help even things out. (Flagyl is also a common treatment for giardia.) I’m hoping this helps! Poor little skinny girl. I feel bad for not being more concerned about it earlier, but I’m glad she went in when she did.

Otherwise, though, she seems totally happy, normal, and energetic. The vet asked me, “Is she lethargic?” And I chortled. “Ha! God, no. I wish she were lethargic.” Joking, of course…

Sigh. I feel negligent. Hoping that this pair of meds will turn things around for her quickly! I’m ready to see a fatter puppy!

Have you dealt with these GI/underweight issues with your dogs before? What has helped?