Category Archives: Vet Visit

Chloë Slims Down for Boot Camp

Exam room: The weighting is the hardest part.

With Heather officially retired and  boot camp looming, I approached my annual physical with some trepidation. After all, my most recent weigh-in last December hadn’t gone so well: an all-time high of 19.5 pounds. That explains why on our February staycation,my best friend Lynn was much stricter with portion control. But the diligence paid off: At last week’s weigh-in I has dropped a whole pound to 18.5, which Heather says is my “ideal” weight, and she should know. The vet’s assistant weighed me twice just to make sure I wasn’t cheating.

Don’t touch me there!

My regular physician, Dr. Aimee Kimmel, was back from maternity leave, and even though I had no new concerns to report, Dr. Aimee made sure to poke her instruments (or fingers) through every orifice in my body. While she, as usual, praised my dental work (“Beautiful!” she exclaimed), she did chip a big hunk of tartar from my upper right molars, which are understandably hard for Mike to get with a toothbrush. “Please keep brushing her teeth daily,” the doc told Mike. “It is really helping.”

Bonding with Dr. Aimee post-exam.

On the down side, literally, was that the rash on my underside has returned (or never really left), meaning another course of little antibiotic pills that Mike sneaks into my dinner when he thinks I’m not looking. I also get weekly shampoos from my personal trainer, Heather, in which the lather has to stay on my sensitive skin for 10 minutes. Trust me, it’s a long 1o minutes for everyone.

If the treatment for this skin rash doesn’t do the job, Dr. Kimmel said, “We should discuss possible allergic causes and allergy medication.” That didn’t sound good. My brothers Frank and Stanley have been down that road, and I would rather not go anywhere that might involve giving up such favorites as chicken broth on my food or, worse yet, Frozen Peanut Butter Boneys.

That’s why I put up with this shampoo for now. The things you do for love.

 

Chloë Gains at Home

Shortcut

Shortcut

Mike and Heather went somewhere again, this time sneaking out one morning while I was busy eating my breakfast. What seemed like many, many days later they came back a lot browner. I’m not sure where they went, although I detected the taste of sea salt when I was biting Mike’s nose after he came through the front door. You’d think they would have sent me a postcard or brought me a souvenir, but no. What am I supposed to do with a piece of coral or coffee beans?

Aiming high.

Aiming high.

No big deal. Lynn showed up a couple of hours after they left and stayed with me until they came back.  I had fun with Lynn, who knows the way to my heart is through my stomach and likes to snuggle besides. Lynn did a good job of making me get in and out of the new towering bed in the proper manner, using the steps instead of jumping. Lucky for me, Lynn used treats to bribe me over to the corner where the steps are. I’m not turning down any treats, but I’m not dumb. After a couple of ill-thought-out attempts, I could see for myself that the steps, and not the bone-jarring leap, was the only safe and sane way to go.

Chloë's "oeuvre"

Chloë’s “oeuvre”

Charlie and Jill took me for some long walks, but I still had a lot of pent-up energy every evening when Lynn got home from work, so I made her throw Wiffie around the living room or help me play with my toys. In one game, Lynn called out the name of a toy, and I  would search for it in my toy pile. The Cow was one of my favorites with Lynn, who remembered it was a gift from my good friend Charlie. Every time Lynn called out, “Charlie’s Cow,” I raced to the front door, assuming Lynn was telling me Charlie was coming in. She did that on three separate occasions over a 2-hour period, apparently never figuring out that Charlie wasn’t really there.  Oh, well, I just played along.

We had a little excitement on one of the days Charlie did appear. When he arrived, I managed to squeeze out the front door, zip down the street and turn into the Bartons’ driveway and fenced back yard. This was just like it happened once last summer, so this time Charlie knew exactly where I was headed, and two people on the street verified my whereabouts. When Charlie first called me, of course, I just looked at him with indifference and held my ground. Then he yelled “Treat Party!!!”  and I was compelled to come a-running. With ol’ Charlie, treat parties are few and far between! I couldn’t afford to have him change his mind. Or worse, lie about throwing me a treat party. Luckily, Charlie gave me treats this one time.

Knows what's coming.

Knows what’s coming.

There was, alas, a sad bi-product of all the treating that I enjoyed when Mike and Heather (a.k.a. Ms. Grim) were away. When I had my follow-up visit with Dr. Sherrie Crow at the Elliott Bay Animal Hospital, there was some bad news. While it was great to learn my skin rash and ear infection have cleared up and that the doctor thinks hair may again grow in the currently bald spot on top of my head, we also found out that  the trim, muscular body that weighed in at 18.6 pounds in the vet’s lobby on Nov. 17 had gained a full pound only three weeks later. A full pound! That’s about 5 percent of my body weight, a noted Seattle statistician observed. And as Dr. Crow wrote in her ominous official visit report: “Chloë is at the top of her ideal weight range.”

Uh-oh. I’m afraid I know what’s coming next, and that’s not good. Mike will be on the warpath. And during the normally festive holiday season, no less. Sigh. It will be hard to cut back on my eating, but my past transgressions will still have been worth it. Just like love, diet’s just a four-letter word.

Chloë Marks Her Spot

The Spot Revealed

The spot revealed.

It was about time to address the elephant in the room. Mike first noticed the tiny bump on my head way back in the spring, shortly after my annual physical exam. Since my personal physician (Dr. Aimee Kimmel) has just examined and drained two less visible lumps on my side, Mike decided to just keep an eye on this new one, about the size of a pimple. I Mike didn’t feel around for it, he wouldn’t even have known it was there.

Months passed. The tiny lump on my head got bigger, but not much. Then Mike read a book (try not to laugh) called Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. It’s a novel about a dachshund named Lily. The “octopus” is a tumor that grows on her head. It’s a metaphor, but  Mike took it literally. He checked my lump every day. When he got back from his trip to see his mom, he decided it was big enough to take me to the vet, especially after the lump broke one day during grooming and some gook came out. Nurse Heather made it stop, but off to the vet I went.

In the tub.

In the tub.

Mike looked nervous, so I had to sit on his lap in the waiting room to calm him down. Dr. Kimmel was on maternity leave (what nerve!), so Dr. Crow examined me and set Mike’s mind at rest. It was only another  subcutaneous cyst, like the other ones. The doctor drained it, but warned that it might come back. That means, of course, that my otherwise perfect countenance may forever be marred by a small bald spot on my head. My choices appear to be either a comb-over (too vain) or to just tell anyone who asks (and few would be so forward as to bring it up) that it’s just a visual balance to my naturally bald ears. Perhaps the hair will grow back and cover the spot, but that will probably  be too much to ask for. As long as the lump doesn’t devour me or the spot get much bigger, I can live with it. I’m still cute enough, believe me. I’ve been practicing, just in case.

Unfortunately, Dr. Crow didn’t stop her examination at my head. By the time I got out of there, I got some gook pressed into my ear to stop a yeast infection and a shampoo for my belly to get rid of a rash and dry, flaky skin. Who knew I was such a physical wreck when I went in there? On the other hand, it’s always good to know you don’t have brain cancer. And my weight at 18.6 pounds is still within my normal range, so I won’t have to suffer through another diet. I hate those.

Mr. Monkey

Mr. Monkey awaits his roommate’s arrival.

All the consternation was worth it, however, since I got extra treats from Mike for being good at the vet and lots of cheese from Heather for being a good girl at home in the bathtub to get shampooed. She also laundered all of the sheets and blankets in my crate to remove any pesky germs or foreign bodies that might remain and bring back the rash, which Dr. Crow thought might be related to the yeast infection. Mr. Monkey was happy to have his living space renovated at no cost, and Mike was so happy to have one less thing to worry about. A win-win for all, even if I did have to endure a visit with a new vet. With any luck, Dr. Aimee will return to her post before I do.

 

Chloë Gets a Clean Bill of Health

Chloë in doctor's waiting area under the Cat Corner.

Chloë in doctor’s waiting area.

I approached my annual physical with some trepidation. I had been trying to ignore the two little lumps on my left side, but Mike and Heather kept poking at them to make sure they were not getting any bigger. They weren’t, but still. You never know.

So Mike tore himself away from March Madness for a few minutes one afternoon and steered me in for my physical a week early, just so he could tell my personal physician, Dr. Aimee Kimmel, all about them. Then she felt the lumps, and measured them, and told her assistant to diagram their locations and note their diameters in my electronic file. But Dr. Kimmel didn’t appear too worried, saying they were probably only cysts filled with liquid and were relatively common in dogs. She told Mike she would aspirate (drain) them to make sure,  so she took me into the back lab, stuck a needle in them and squeezed out some yucky stuff. Mike was lucky they didn’t make him watch (or take pictures). I’m sure the bottoms of his feet would have felt funny.

With her personal physician

With her personal physician

So my annual physical went well overall. As usual, I drew praise for my exemplary dental hygiene and for maintaining my svelte physique. I weighed in at 19 pounds, up from 18.8 on my last visit, but Dr. Kimmel told Mike my weight was “ideal,” and as I see it, she should know. Thankfully, my full complement of Frozen Peanut Butter Boneys will continue unabated.

Vet Visit Day continued superbly even after my medical procedure. Before leaving the vet’s office, I got all kinds of treats and compliments from my doctor and staff, and even ran into two dogs in the lobby that I got reasonably friendly with. Later, when we started our walk in the park, a lovely 9-year-old dachshund named Rita crossed my path, and we socialized pleasantly and received more treats from Mike. And before the walk was over, I came upon my favorite walking-stick strollers, Brooke and Jan, who were resting on a bench. I dutifully went into a down-stay on the ground at Brooke’s feet as he gleefully doled treats from his plastic bag into my waiting mouth. I could have sat there for hours.

What a wonderful day. All that anxiety unwarranted.

Chloë Expresses Herself

Mike was trying to be funny with that headline, of course. Certainly I can express myself eloquently, as my loyal readers already know. However, I can’t really express myself, in the sense of emptying, my overflowing anal glands. If I could, and believe me, I’ve tried, Mike and Heather could save all the money they pay the vet’s assistant to do it (once or twice a year at least (so far, anyway). It’s a smelly job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

What are you doing in there. Chloë?"

Behind the crated curtain: What are you doing in there. Chloë?”

What am I talking about? For the uninitiated, we talkin’ ’bout canine anal glands here. Can I make myself any clearer? Should I draw you a picture? Read this, and the photo alone should be all you need to know. Dachshunds seem predisposed to this condition, too, or so I’m told. My brothers Frank and Stanley and I have discussed this topic extensively.

But as far as Mike was concerned, I had not exhibited any of the usual telltale signs of packed anal glands (butt dragging and excessive butt licking). Heather, on the other hand, told Mike that my breath smelled bad, a sign I was licking my itchy butt. (Now, I have to admit doing this every once in a while, but always in the privacy of my own cloaked crate). Heather wasn’t surprised that Mike didn’t notice it, because her sense of smell is much more advanced and sensitive than his. (As in other areas, Mike is a bit deficient). So he dutifully scheduled a vet appointment for me, throwing in a pedicure on the same visit so I could get a double dose of physical agony and emotional torture in one 15-minute period.

After two weeks of scaled-back rations, I was looking forward to another weigh-in in the hospital lobby, but unfortunately I tipped the scale at 18.9 pounds, a gain of another tenth since the last weigh-in. Not the greatest news, but the rest of my visit wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared it would be. I managed to exit the premises with extra treats and my dignity intact. Passing Heather’s sniff test that night was the icing on my cake.

Mike goes on disabled list.

Mike’s knees.

There is an addendum to my vet appointment, however. Hustling me out the door that day, Mike dropped something, and I parlayed his momentary lapse of attention into a sprint down the street to stalk the Bartons’ cat, which I had recently sniffed in the vicinity. Mike tried vainly to step on my leash to stop me, but in his haste took two stumbling steps and sprawled forward, skidding down the front walk on his hands and knees ad coming to rest with face on the sidewalk, where he could see me take a hard right toward the Bartons’ fenced back yard. When he came hurriedly to the gate to lure me back with Charlee Bears so we could get to the vet on time, he was bleeding profusely from both knees. After corralling me, he had to bandage himself up quickly and get to the animal hospital, but when we got back from there he made me take pictures so everybody could see how hurt and mangled he was. No sympathy from me; as the Romans said, “tufus est” (that’s tough). It was his own damn fault, wasn’t it?

Chilling before the rain.

Chilling before the rain.

Mike may have been pissed at me, though, because the next morning after breakfast he and Heather  drove off somewhere in her car and left me home alone. It didn’t turn out to be much of a punishment, however, when my best friend Lynn came over a few hours later to stay over, and my other best pal Charlie took me for walks on Saturday and Sunday, although Sunday’s walk was cut short by heavy rain. Even that worked out well for me, because I got a nice bath out of it, washing away any nasty stuff I may have been carrying around since my vet visit the day before. Now I’m as fresh as a June day in Seattle is long.

Anyway, mostly when I hear the phrase “express yourself,” I think not of canine anal glands but this fine tune, which has demonstrated great staying power from its debut in 1970. Enjoy, and feel free to express yourself in the comments below.

 

Chloë Feels the Heat

Find the dog in the high grass.

Find the dog in the high grass.

June was incredibly hot.  Seattle’s average daily high temperature for June is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This June’s average high was 79 degrees, and many afternoons broke 80 degrees. It rained only four times, each of them brief. All my favorite trails were hard and dusty, which is tough on a low-riding, black dog like me. Since I absorb so much heat, my tongue  is always hanging out the side of my mouth, getting loaded with grit and making me cough. Sometimes I get so hot and dry that I have to drink  water with no Charlee Bears floating in it, if you can believe it. I’m that thirsty.  

Nor is that the worst symptom of hot, dry weather, which normally doesn’t arrive around here until August. My bald ear flaps are nowhere near long enough to cover my aural canals, leaving those two openings exposed to the elements, moist magnets for dust particles raised from the forest floor.  This is why Heather must clean my ears with ointment and cotton swabs so often. I don’t like this procedure by any means, but when it’s over Heather always gives me some quality cheese as a treat, not to mention having two clean, non-itchy ears, at least for a while.

Block watch in cool grass

Block watch in cool grass

Despite the heat, I walked every day in June, sometimes more than once. A couple of times we walked in the morning, when it wasn’t as hot. On our afternoon walks I would flop often to rest, especially where I could find a spot of shady lawn; we have no lawn at home. Luckily, I have been able to appropriate via eminent dog domain a small, grassy area near the corner of my street, across from the park entrance. Not only does it provide a soft, cool, grassy area (because it gets some underground irrigation and afternoon shade), but it also offers an unobstructed view of the automobile and pedestrian entrances to the park, so whenever I hear a sound I am able to glance over my shoulder while remaining in a prone position to monitor all ingress and egress activity until I decide it’s time to go home for dinner. I jump on Mike and bite his nose to let him know.

Mike did impart some bad news the other day. Regular readers will no doubt recall that Mike over the past year had dieted my weight all the way down to 16.7 pounds, well below the 18.0 pounds that my  vet advised. When Mike took me to over to the animal hospital the other day, about three months later, I weighed in at 18.6 pounds, so he realized the “reverse diet” had gone too far. A reduction of rations went into effect immediately, with the goal of getting me back to the 18-pound mark and maintaining it. My honeymoon is over, so to speak.

It’s going to be tough on me in upcoming weeks, but maybe hope is on the way: Mike and Heather mentioned that best friend Lynn will be coming over for an extended stay with me in the near future. Maybe Mike will forget to tell her about the new mandate on portion control.

Chloë’s Weight Chart

Date Age Weight Notes
4/1/10 8 weeks 5.8 pounds Elliott Bay AH pup scale
4/23/10 11 weeks 7.75 EBAH
5/7/10 13 weeks 8.75 EBAH
5/21/10 15 weeks 10.3 EBAH
6/11/10 18 weeks 11.6 EBAH
7/1/10 21 weeks 12.3 EBAH
3/29/11 1 year, two months 17.1 EBAH 1 year exam
9/23/11 19.5 months 18.8 EBAH exam for nose spot
3/30/12 2 years, two months 17.5 EBAH 2 year exam
9/11/12 2 years, eight months 19.0 EBAH for ear infection
9/25/12 2 years, nine months 18.6 EBAH for ear followup
4/2/13 3 years, two months 18.1 EBAH 3-year exam, lobby
3/31/14 4 years, two months 18.6 EBAH 4-year exam, lobby
7/10/14 4 years, five months 18.06 EBAH,examroom, eyes
9/3/14 4 years, seven months 19.1 EBAH lobby, ear infection
9/12/14 4 years, seven months 18.9 EBAH lobby,ear followup
4/2/15 5 years, two months 16.7 EBAH lobby, 5-year exam
6/27/15 5 years, five months 18.6 EBAH lobby
 

Chloë Slims Down

Chloë in doctor's waiting area under the Cat Corner.

Chloë in doctor’s waiting area, guarding the Cat Corner.

I knew my annual physical was coming up as soon as Mike started cutting back my twice-daily rations. Not by a lot, just a few nuggets of kibble every time. He remembered that my personal physician told him to keep an eye on my weight when I somehow had gained a half a pound (!) the previous year, to an all-time high of almost 19 pounds. Mike wasn’t going to let that happen again.

Well, it turned out Mike went a little overboard. When I slid onto the electronic scale in the doctor’s lobby last week, the lights stopped flashing at 16,6 pounds. Mike was shocked. “Maybe her paw isn’t all the way on the scale,” the tech advised. So Mike led me off the scale, turned me around and did it again, with all paws accounted for. The digital display read 16.7. It was official: Since my last physical a year ago, I had lost 2.2 pounds.

With Dr. Kimmel, Chloë's personal physician

With Dr. Kimmel, Chloë’s personal physician

It must have been from all that exercise I get from walking and ball-playing fetch with Heather, Mike and Charlie. Dr. Kimmel’s thorough examination showed all my organs working fine and all my vitals stable, so my weight loss wasn’t the result of an undiagnosed disease. My heart, lungs and eyes were all in top shape, and my teeth were, as they always have been, “simply beautiful.” In her written report, the doctor rated my overall health an A- (the minus only because of a slight, lingering infection deep inside my left ear). Under “general appearance,” she wrote, “Cutie Pie,” and drew two cute little hearts! Moreover, her summary comments contained what was for me the most important part of the whole report: “Chloë looks great but has gotten (emphasis added) a bit too slim (when do I ever say that about a dachshund!) Let’s bump up her food by about 20 percent, goal 18 pounds.”

Got that Mike? More food! I have received new license to become the wirehair Oliver Twist. “Please, sir, I want some more,” I will whine at every opportunity. And I better get it, Mike. Doctor’s orders!