Thursday, August 13, 2009


In all the craziness, I've yet to introduce our foster dog Einstein. He's 1 year old, about 12 pounds and is extremely shy. I don't know if someone has been mean to him or if he was just never socialized to humans but it takes awhile to get him to come to a person. The good thing is that as much as he is afraid of people, he craves affection which means with time and patience he should relax and start to enjoy people.

He loves dogs though, and he and Tilly are best of buds. I swear that Tilly recognizes all the short little Teddy Roosevelt ratties like herself and likes them best. She bosses poor Einstein around to no end, but he doesn't seem to mind. I wonder if Einstein has some corgi mixed in with the rat terrier because his proportions seem more in line with a corgi than a Teddy Roosevelt and he has a curly tail.

Yesterday Einstein was neutered and we just got him home this morning. I think that I'll take him to work with me this afternoon so I can keep an eye on him. He is not at all happy about the cone and looks up at me with the most forlorn eyes, as if he can't understand how the one person he trusted could be so cruel to him.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sad times for New Rattitude's WA team

Last post was written after reassurances from the E-vet that Kewpie was experiencing symptoms of poisoning and would make a full recovery. We returned the next evening, ready to take her home only to find out that the tremors had gotten worse and they were now thinking that this was a viral infection. Swabs were taken to test for distemper and sent off to a lab in California and then Kewpie was released for us to take home for supportive care.

Sadly she progressively worsened, and just a week later things had gotten to the point where we had to put her to sleep. The test for distemper came back positive.

So Callista likely brought the distemper with her from the Texas shelter and then spread it to Kewpie, who as a puppy dealing with coccidia, had a suppressed immune system. Happily, Poppy has seemed to avoid the disease. We are guessing that she didn't catch it from Callista, but are still worried that because of her closeness to Kewpie she might have somehow been infected. She's had two distemper boosters at this point so we are crossing our fingers that it will be enough.

On Friday we thought the sad times might finally be at an end, but learned that Bugsy, another puppy who had spent time with us while his foster parents were in Eastern Washington, was coughing, had a fever and goopy eyes, and had started tremoring. We were sick - when will it stop! After three bad days, he seems to be getting a little better and the tremors have subsided so we are cautiously optimistic that he may beat this yet. Although he's immunosuppresed from the demodex, he did have one vaccination back in late May and we are hopeful that will give him the little something extra to fight this that Kewpie didn't have.

The medical bills have piled up from all the emergency vet visits and between the dogs is now nearing $2,000 for their care. It has been a summer full of emergencies for New Rattitude and the online clinic is full of recovering rescued dogs.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words, and please keep little Bugsy and Poppy in your thoughts and prayers.

If you aren't currently up to date with your dogs distemper vaccinations or titers, make an appointment with your vet now. Trust me - you do not want to have to watch a dog die this way.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More Emergency room drama

Boy, I have had my fill of veterinary emergency room visits. Once again we have had a terrifying evening wondering if one of our fosters would make it - thankfully this visit has a happy ending.

During our hot weather here in Western Washington, one of our foster pups, Kewpie, stopped eating and drinking. We treated her for dehydration, tried to keep her hydrated, but by Friday morning we had a weak and trembling puppy who was fully hydrated but still not getting better. She was taken to the vet who kept her overnight on an IV. By this morning there were no changes so we brought her home and regrouped. It was determined that she likely had the same problem of neurotoxicity that Callista, who had to be put to sleep, had dealt with.

Terrified, we scoured the yard again, and spent lots of time researching neurotoxicity in dogs. Combined with our previous experience with Callista we finally found the culprit: water. Yep, in a hidden away corner of the back yard next to our composting area is a bucket full of dead leaves and mucky water. The leaves were added as the brown, carbon matter for our compost bin. Well, it ends up that rotting leaves can develop a mold that produces mycotoxins. Typically a dog wouldn't try to eat leaves, however these leaves had standing water over the top of them and it was hot. Being dogs, the fact that the water was dark brown and smelled like poo wasn't an issue. It all started to make sense: short dogs didn't get sick, Frodo who eats all manner of putrid things hates to drink anything but clear water in his water bowl - no puddles or even from streams when we hike.

For awhile today we thought we would have to stop fostering as we couldn't determine where the poison was coming from. It was horrible. Watching sweet Kewpie twitch with tremors and not being able to stand was horrible.

After calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control and a visit to the Emergency Vet Clinic the mystery is over and it has been determined that little Kewpie will make a full recovery. She will need to have charcoal treatment and an enema to flush her out and will also have to spend the night and receive Valium injections to manage her tremors. Her vet bills will not be pretty, but she will be alive and back playing with her sister soon. And best of all, no more dogs will have to deal with this nightmare at our house.

Thanks to everyone who has sent their prayers and good wishes. Kewpie will be fine and our family will be able to continue fostering rescue dogs.