The Itchy Spaniel
No, Naz is not expressing his opinion. He sleeps with the tip of his tongue sticking out; it is the CUTEST thing in the world! Chris was trying to get a picture of that, and he, as usual, woke up as it was snapped. But the picture turned out precious anyway!
This post is a little late. My apologies.
First, Naz is now posted at the Mosby Foundation's calendar contest (although the link says 2010, it's really for 2013).
He's got stiff competition, as you can see. I'll let you know how it comes out.
Last week the poor little guy was breaking out in itchy spots. He had this problem when he was eight and nine: it's a staph infection, and he got them repeatedly back then. I always blamed the apartment we were in: it was ancient, the landlord used all variety of chemicals, it started shortly after we moved in and ended when we moved out, and the vets (he saw three for the condition) all said it was because something had lowered his resistance. After all, staph germs are everywhere, and yet comparatively very few dogs get staph infections.
I'm guessing (I must confirm this with his oncologist) that either the cancer or its treatment is lowering his resistance again. At least I know how to fight staph: get an antibiotic when he has an outbreak, and wash him in his prescription shampoo more often to keep down the frequency of outbreaks. We've been at once a month (the interval I prefer to wash the little guy anyway) since we moved into the house, but we're going to step it up to once every two weeks now that he's having this problem again. I've done as often as twice a week (which we did when he was at his worst at the old place); I can do it again if necessary. Naz hates it, but he does like the treats he gets at regular intervals during the bath (the soap must stand on him for fifteen minutes!), and he hates it much less in the tub at the new house. At the apartment, he cried continuously (unless actively slurping down treats), but there was a magical improvement when we moved. I can only suppose there was something about the old tub that he didn't like. Anyway, yesterday there was but one growly whimper during the whole process, and that was when I soaped up his head with the puppy shampoo, which I do after I've rinsed the prescription shampoo off his body. (I interpreted the sound to mean, "Blast it all, I thought I was done already!" ^_^)
Naz did have, however, a more distressing problem last week: starting last Friday (6/22), he began worrying at his right front paw, the first digit and along the inside of the paw. Neither my sister nor I could see anything wrong really. It was pinker, warmer, and a little puffier than the other front paw, but that could come just from his constant licking and chewing. We tried everything to keep him from doing it: we tried putting a sock over the paw (and various means of attempting to secure it) and finally ended with muzzling him (and securing the muzzle with an elastic bandage to keep him from getting it off, as it's *just* big enough for him to do that and he was close to figuring that out). The muzzle was one I got back when he was eating everything we found out on walks, so it's designed for long-term wear. He can pant and drink while wearing it.
We called the vet hospital (his GP was of course closed for the weekend), and the vet on duty thought it might be allergies and suggested we give him the appropriate dosage of Benadryl. We did (he takes anything with liverwurst!), but it didn't seem to help. Finally, when Chris took the muzzle off Sunday afternoon so that he could eat, we discovered that he was leaving the foot alone. He was acting like it had never been a problem. So we left him unmuzzled and just watched him like hawks.
Naturally I called his GP on Monday, to see how long we should keep him on the Benadryl, especially since we didn't know whether it had been helpful or not. The vet tech with whom I spoke thought that perhaps it might have been a bee sting because there are apparently a lot of them about this year. I wish I could think it was a honeybee (what with the honeybees' going through what they are going through and all), but I suspect that it was a carpenter bee or a wasp (both of which I know two of my neighbors are having trouble with). At any rate, Naz never looked back on that one. We kept him on the Benadryl a couple more days, and now he's back to just the Cephalexin (for his staph infection) and the Piroxicam.
His oncologist is very pleased with his general condition, by the way. I took Naz in on 6/20, and his kidney values are (to quote the doctor) "perfect." So far, the Piroxicam is causing no kidney damage and no gastric upset. You wouldn't know the little guy has cancer. He did have a wetting accident last night, but he's drinking more with the hot weather we're having, and he didn't quite make it out the door. (He did try!)
So as of this moment (sound of K knocking on her wooden head!), Naz is a contented spaniel, and one really can't ask much more than that!