Friday, October 28, 2011

Heavy Stuff.

Revy is a dream come true. Her breeder is wonderful, her pedigree is wonderful, she is wonderful. If every Pembroke Welsh Corgi in the world was just like her, I'd probably own a dozen of them.

A few months ago, I noticed she was getting thin.

Now, I've always kept my corgis on the lean side. Obesity is a huge problem in the breed, so I've always tried very hard to not let it happen. But this wasn't just leanness - this was skinny. I increased her food, thinking she just needed a few more calories. Nope. I switched her to a better food, thinking she needed something with a bit more 'oomph.' Nope. Shoot. By this time, I could feel all her ribs, and her hip bones were starting to show. For a dog with such a full and luxurious coat, this was cause for alarm.

Once the oily poop started, I freaked out and made a vet appointment. Naturally, I also voiced my concerns on one of the more trustworthy internet dog forums I frequent. A friend of mine (a nutritionist) mentioned that it could be SIBO/EPI... that's Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth / Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. EPI basically means that the pancreas isn't producing the necessary enzymes for digestion, so the dog is literally starving to death due to malabsorption. I made note of this, and asked the vet about running specific blood tests to see if that could be the culprit.

The vet tentatively agreed with the possibility of it at least being EPI. He ran a CBC/Chem panel, and also sent a cTLI test out to Texas A&M. The CBC/Chem came back yesterday - normal, except for elevated ALT. Normal range is 9 to 99, and Revy's ALT is 213. Yikes. Yet another tick-mark on the long list of symptoms indicative of EPI. Since it's most likely EPI, the vet had us start treatment before the results of the cTLI came back. How's that for reassuring?

  • Yellow-grey, oily loose stools
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Ravenous appetite
  • Large, frequent stools
  • Sour-smelling stools
  • Coprophagia (eating poop)
  • Pica (eating non-food items)
  • Elevated ALT with an otherwise normal blood panel

Yep, that's her list of symptoms that fit in with EPI. Fan-friggin-tastic. There is no cure for EPI, but it can be managed with a specific diet and medications.

First, we had to find a kibble that fit the specific guidelines for a standard EPI diet. Grain-free, with 12% or less fat and 4% or less fiber. Talk about a needle in a haystack! For now she's eating Natural Balance Alpha Dog Lamb, Chicken Meal and Rabbit formula, but we'll be switching to California Natural Grain Free Chicken formula soon. (Any of the three original California Natural Grain Free formulas will work, but the chicken formula is the least expensive.) Instead of feeding it in kibble form, we grind it:

Side note: This also means I get to eat a lot of rainbow sherbet... for the plastic tubs, of course. Hooray!

Next, we add the prescription enzymes to the ground-up kibble. This stuff isn't cheap - roughly $100 for a 40 day supply. I guess you can put a price on love, and KV Vet says it's $94.95 for 8 ounces.

Next, we add warm water to activate the enzymes, stir up the glop and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Give the glop another stir, and Revy gets to eat her delicious pre-digested meal.

Once we get her stabilized, we may add coconut oil and/or probiotics to her regimen.

Oddly enough, I remember caring for an EPI dog back when I was fourteen years old and worked in the kennels of a local animal hospital. I didn't know it was EPI at the time, but to this day I remember the smell of the Pancrezyme powder. I remember liking the smell - how ironic that I get to smell it every day for the next decade or more.

Here are a couple great links on EPI. Before you ask any questions, at least read through the first link, as it's quite thorough and explains the hows and whys behind the disease.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Dogs


We've got a long road ahead of us, but I think we're going to be fine.

Paco Strikes Again

I love Paco Collars.

Not only is the quality and craftsmanship fantastic, but their customer service and integrity - and plain old kindness - impresses me time and time again.

So many people complain about the cost. I'm by no means rich, but I manage. It does help that I've been a good friend and promoter (at least, I think so) of their products for years. Where there is a will, there is a way - if you need a Paco Collar, you'll figure out how to make it happen. And if I may be so bold to say, Paco Collars will probably help you in any way they can.

Anyway, here's our latest addition to our Paco collection - a deluxe Rocko in silver and black, no tapering. As always, its quality is breathtaking.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hodgepodge 2.0

I have a lot to talk about. Most of it is pretty heavy stuff, and I need to figure out a way to say it. In the meantime, I have a few random thoughts.

I train the dogs with mozzarella cheese sticks. Now, whenever I eat a cheese stick as a snack, the dogs shoot unamused, accusing glares in my direction. 'That's our cheese, lady...'

Sometimes "the best dog food" isn't "the right dog food." I don't care if XYZ brand is fantastic - if it doesn't fit my specific requirements, I'm not interested in it.

Since when has the price of three Hy-Vee chicken breasts gone up to more than $7.00? This is getting ridiculous, folks.

When I have a headache, I want something that will soothe away my pain. Red is not a soothing color. What possessed Excedrin to make their Tension Headache pills bright friggin' red?

Stay tuned for the heavy stuff. It's coming... I just can't say when.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Twenty-Six Uses.

Last weekend, my friend Aryn convinced me to buy a jacket for our roadtrip in February. It's fuzzy and warm, made by Columbia... and has these weird fabric loop things on the sleeves.

We can't figure out what purpose they serve. The Columbia website offers no answers. To be funny, I've come up with twenty-six possible uses for the mystery loops.

1. anchor-points for mittens
2. if I was to be arrested, they could paddlock my sleeves together
3. a place to attach the leashes of two very small dogs
4. a place to store rolled-up piles of kleenex
5. a place to store candy bars (yum!)
6. anchor-point for my ID badge from work
7. straps to help me hang on the ceiling like a ninja
8. a way I can pretend to wear spectacles. Or be a raccoon.
9. finger-loops, in case we need to create a human chain for safety
10. if I put my thumbs in them when putting on a larger coat, my sleeves won't bunch up!
11. hang bells from them, and then people would always know my location
12. "somehow use them to hold the sleeves out of the way" - that was one of Aryn's ideas.
13. "Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger!" - Mike's idea.
14. something to chew on when bored
15. an effective tool when playing Red Rover
16. "to hook to something else on the coat" - another Aryn idea. I don't quite get her train of thought.
17. a way to anchor the jacket into a larger Columbia shell coat
18. to aid in magic tricks - specifically, ones involving levitation of objects
19. attach grocery bags to them so I can carry more groceries
20. attachment points to a pole in case you need to use the coat as a flag.
21. a way to hold multiple axes in a zombie apocalypse - did you SEE the cool axes the kid found in the season premiere of The Walking Dead last week? Yeah!
22. a way to hang the coat from your glasses so it looks like you have a fuzzy beard. Convenient for heists.
23. if you hook a water balloon to them and swing the coat around, the balloon will travel a greater distance.
24. attach poo-bags to the loops so you don't have to hold onto them during a walk.
25. to be mysterious, so people wonder about them. Like what I'm doing now.
26. a way to talk about a Columbia product so much that they'll send me free stuff. Probably unlikely.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A blog about a blog...

After last week's success, I got a bit more serious about my 'silly photography business.' Namely, I plastered the internet with photos and created a photography-specific blog. I also kept yelling, "Let's do this thing!" a la Ratatouille, though I'm unsure if that actually helped my situation, or if it was just fun and made the dogs give me funny looks.

Behold, the Sizzledog Photography blog.

We'll just have to wait and see where this takes me. Our next shoot is an Agility trial, which could be great or could be a disaster. We shall see.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It has been brought to my attention that I need to share some of my weirder dreams with the world. I've always been a vivid dreamer, but recently my dreams have increased in weirdness tenfold.

Last week I had a dream about my realtors.
They had requested my assistance in training their bunny rabbit. I went over to their house, and discovered that their bunny rabbit was actually a chinchilla. It was well-trained, but apparently they were having trouble petting it. I suggested they poke their fingers through the cage and pet it with a single finger. This pleased my realtors, and they insisted that I stay for supper. They served me potato cheese soup and a large glass of tequila. It was quite late, so they insisted that I spend the night in their guest room. The next morning I woke up and realized I had a photo shoot in a few hours. At the door, one of my realtors (Brian) stopped me and gave me a $150 bill and a single quarter for helping me with their "bunny rabbit." I tried to give the money back but he said I deserved it. I got in my old Dodge Neon - a car that died on me in 2008 - and drove it to a Hy-Vee parking lot where I'd parked my current vehicle - a Chevy HHR. It was raining, and there was slushy snow covering the parking lot and cars. I called my client to tell them I might be late, since it was raining. We might even have to reschedule. I hung up, and spent the rest of the dream trying to figure out how to get both cars home.

Last night, I had a dream about vampires.
The vampires had kidnapped me, along with David Carradine, the girls from Zombieland and Dr. Oz. One of the vampires let it slip that we were in China, which made the other vampires mad because apparently our location was supposed to be a secret. Dr. Oz decided that the vampires were emotionally damaged, so we had a group counseling session on a large, white, circular leather sofa. The vampire that had let it slip that we were in China broke down in tears. While everyone else was comforting the sobbing vampire, I left the sofa and walked around the vampires' apartment. Since we'd arrived, the vampires hadn't let us brush our teeth. I managed to find their bathroom, and found a toothbrush and a tube of Rembrandt toothpaste. Then I woke up.

I'll keep you all updated.

PS - this is not a bunny rabbit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Photo Blitz

I know, I know, I'm a sucky blogger. I haven't lost interest, but it's been awfully busy around here.

This past weekend I actually profited from my photography hobby - imagine that! Three dogs at Ledges State Park, and a family session at Brown's Woods in the Des Moines area. Here are some of my favorites.

Stepping a bit outside my comfort zone, I agreed to try a family shoot. Against all (imaginary) odds, it went well! From now on, I'll be much more comfortable expanding my horizons.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Plea for Ideas

The weekly photo challenge group has dissolved. I'm disappointed, because having a weekly challenge pushed me to take photos I otherwise wouldn't have gotten. There are twelve more weeks in 2011, so I need twelve more weekly challenges. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you'd better accept it, darn it!) is to leave a comment on this blog post, telling me what challenges you'd like to see.

Give me ideas or the corgi gets it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My (Temporary) Pet Werewolf

Before anyone starts wondering, Katie the pit bull went to a new foster home over the weekend. Her spirit is sound and her mind is sharp, but her body is quite old so navigating the hardwood floors and stairs in our home proved difficult for her. The decision was made to move her elsewhere so she wouldn't fall down as much.

In exchange, we got Autumn. She's listed on the IDR+ website as Bella, but when she first came to our rescue she was called Autumn. She responds better to Autumn, so that's what we've decided to call her. She was adopted from IDR+ at 5ish months of age, but found her way back to us due to her previous adopters not having enough time for her. She's 14 months old, shy but sweet, and about as unique as you could ever ask for - after all, she's a coated Doberman!

She's... fuzzy. Her odd coat is not entirely soft, but not like a brillo pad either. The longest fur is on her ears, elbows and back. She does have thinner hair in some places since she is still a fawn, but her longer fringes make her look unique and adorable. Several people have commented that she looks like a werewolf, and I have to agree. Her unique looks are supernaturally awesome!

Usually I don't mingle fosters for a week or two, but I had a hunch that our other dogs would help bring Autumn out of her shell. I was right. She's great with other dogs, and it's obvious that Jayne is the canine equivalent of the kid that always volunteers to show new students around the school on their first day. He's such a great dog - he spent most of the evening following her around, and making her feel like she could be his buddy. Security Blanket Jayne, I guess.