Archive for September, 2009

I’m a back blogger

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

I’ll freely admit to it. I back date my blogs because I am usually so far behind that I am perpetually playing catch up. I am sure that it is perfectly fine to just leave the post date as to whenever you actually wrote & uploaded your photos, but I just can’t do it. If I had photos from an event, but a post from a different day, I would just confuse myself. So I have spent the weekend back blogging about 10 posts. The sad thing is that I am not even finished, so if you see posts randomly show up, that’s me-not you!

Jana’s Guide to Collasping Trachea

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

This is my guide to helping you through the many facets of canine collapsing trachea. I am not a vet and this information is not intended to diagnosis CT or to be a substitute for veterinary care. And I know that these precious little creatures are our babies, but for simplicity sake, I am going to refer to our four legged friends as dogs. I have put this information together based on my own personal experience or from the information I have received from others who have had CT dogs.
Collapsing Trachea: You may not have even known that a dog’s trachea could collapse or what that a collapsing trachea meant, until…someone told you your dog has CT.
Symptoms: Either your dog has a hacking cough or your dog has had syncopal episodes. Some dogs develop a cough over time. It starts out as an occasional cough and develops into a more frequent cough. CT is also characterized by the ‘goose’ honking sound. For my own personal observation, my dog would culminate the cough with a sound much like a cat hacking up a hair ball. Or the opposite end of the spectrum is that your dog has been perfectly fine, but has a syncopal episode where they pass out from lack of oxygen. Either way, it is scary and frightening to watch your dog go through this.
Diagnosis: Just because one vet says your dog has CT, you need a second opinion, regardless of how much you love your vet. Many a dog has been misdiagnosed.
• Observation: How many times have we taken our sick dog to the vet for them to miraculously recover? A dog’s adrenaline increases when they visit the vet and increases their airway and voila-no more coughing. I suggest getting a video of your dog coughing. Most cameras and cell phones have a video mode. Documenting your dog’s cough will also help you in the future access assess the progression of the condition.
• X-rays: Radiographs are the second line of diagnosis, but I say this with caution. An x-ray is capturing a precise moment. Either your dog inhaling or exhaling or something in between. Depending on the timing of the x-ray, your vet may or may not get a clear diagnosis. Some dogs have been misdiagnosed from x-rays. But I am going to contradict myself, and say that an x-ray is a starting point. Once your vet has some film they should consult with a specialist. They should be able to email the film and medical history for a consultation.
• Specialist: CONSULT A SPECIALIST! *** If your dog is critical, get to a specialist. This may be in the form of a veterinary college that has experience with CT or a private practice vet that has worked with CT dogs. A specialist will scope your dog. This is different than putting a tube down their trachea. They will inflate your dog’s lungs and insert a scope with a light and a camera to observe where the collapse is located and the severity of the collapse. They will also give you a grade of collapse.

Grade I 0-25%
Grade II 25-50%
Grade III 50-75%
Grade IV 75% & >

Options: Once you know what grade collapse your dog is and in what location-upper or lower or bronchial collapse you will have a better idea of what you are dealing with and make informed indecisions from there.
• Natural Remedies: this usually comes in the form of supplements and dietary modifications. Most supplements don’t have medical documentation to back up their claims so I would say to proceed with caution. There isn’t going to be an herbal cure to CT, but it may provide some relief for your dog. Or help to strengthen their body for good overall health.
• Pharmaceuticals: There are many bronchial stimulators or pain medications that can be used to manage your dog’s cough. Consult your vet for a medication regimen. But if you aren’t getting the results that you desire, work with your vet to modify the dose or medications. You are your dog’s advocate. But no matter the medication, there is no magic pill that is going to reverse CT.
• Surgery: There are options for rings and stents. There are several things to consider for surgery. Does your dog have any other medical conditions? The severity of the collapse (Grade)? The location of the collapse? These things will all be factors that you’ll need to discuss with the specialist to determine if you want to move forward with surgery. Most specialist specialists won’t consider surgery until your dog is Grade III or IV. Even with surgery (rings or stent), there is not a guarantee to the outcome. Some dogs have done great, some have not. This is a personal decision. Also, it is good to know that your dog will always cough, regardless of the surgical option pursued.

What you can do: There are many things that you can do to help with your dog’s coughing episodes.
• Weight: get the extra weight off your dog!! I know that we all love a cuddly belly, but the extra weight means extra strain on your dog’s body. CT is already straining their trachea, heart, and lungs. Don’t make it worse. Fat accumulation causes increased stress on the trachea, and weight loss is the number one thing you can to SERIOUSLY improve CT symptoms. Be realistic, most people don’t want to believe that their dog needs to lose 1 or 2lbs. If you do start your dog on a diet, consult your vet and take it slow and steady.
• Harness: I never put a collar on my dogs except for fashion purposes. I highly advise that when you walk your dog to use a harness. Even if your dog does not pull when walking, I think that a harness being down lower on their neck is a better option. I also insist that when they are at the vet’s office not to use the slip leashes around their neck.
• Environment: if your dog gets overly excited and starts coughing when visitors show up at the door, then it is up to you to limit when visitors come over. There may be some lifestyle changes that you need to make or to at least make your family and friends aware to call you before they come over because ringing the door bell causes your dog to go crazy and get overly excited. You’ll be able to identify what upsets your dog and causes them distress. There are medications your vet can prescribe to help with this.
• Allergens: I would suggest getting a good air purifier. If pollen and dust aggravates your dog then an air purifier should help reduce the allergens. Most small purifiers are for average sized rooms and will be fine to keep in the room that your dog spends the most time in day/night.
• Humidity: The HVAC industry states that the proper humidity for inside a home is between 55-65% relative humidity. You can get a humidistat at Radio Shack or on-line. Some will have secondary sensors that you can put in other rooms in the house. I found that in the winter, when the heat was running, the humidity would drop below 50% and my dog would cough more. Sometimes when the humidity was high, my dog would have a wet cough. Depending on your climate, you may need to supplement with a humidifier for dry areas of a de-humidifier for wet climates.
• Salt Lamps: Do a Google search. The small/medium sizes should be good for an average sized room. Salt lamps are said to give off negative ions to neutralize positive ions in the air. They are also said to have a relaxing energy to them. They are good for dogs that get anxious during a storm. They neutralize the energy produced by storms. I don’t really know how they work, but I have one for the room where my dogs stay during the day and one in my living room.

Finally, I would say that you need to monitor your stress level, which can be hard to do. As we get tense, our dogs pick up on it and can further trigger coughing episodes. Find a support group-whether it be your family, friends, or an on-line group. CT can be a long and stressful journey and you will need people around you to support you in the tough times. And to celebrate in the good times too.

***My vet, Dr. Katie Linderman, at Standifer Pet Hospital worked very closely with University of Tennessee Veterinary College to diagnose and treat Baby Girl before and after she received the Infiniti Titanium stent. I can’t say enough great things about the staff, students, and vets at the UT Small Animal Clinic. If you can’t travel to UT, then I would suggest your vet contact UT for a specialist in your area for a referral.

***Extra special thanks for Dr. Patricia Sura for reviewing this information.

Updated 10/16/09

Atlanta Toy Specialty

Thursday, September 17th, 2009


Originally uploaded by Papa’s Pugs

This is was my first specialty event to attend. It was the Greater Atlanta Toy Dog Association Specialty. It was on a Thursday so I had to take a vacation day, but it was totally worth it. There were several other clubs, but it wasn’t like a regular show where all breed are at the venue. It had a different feel to the day, quieter, but significant. Whenever I get to an event, I get so excited to see the pugs that it is almost sensory overload for me. I got to see some of my favorite pugs and to meet some new pugs. The photo is Shane who is a very handsome black pug!

Bling Bling

Thursday, September 17th, 2009


Originally uploaded by Papa’s Pugs

So part of the fun about going to an AKC dog show is all the shopping. This was a pretty big weekend in Atlanta and there were some great vendors. The Hunting Horn specializes in dogs, bones, paws and all things sparkly! I have an affinity for pave’ so this piece immediately caught my eye. Their jewelry is handmade and each piece is exquisite.

Hound and Thistle

Thursday, September 17th, 2009


Originally uploaded by Papa’s Pugs

I actually got the cards with the pugs on them, but I love this color combination. For some reason I am drawn to things that are pretty and have pugs on them. Hound and Thistle makes adorable stationary that is very nice and high quality. You can contact them for custom orders too!

4 Paws Pottery

Thursday, September 17th, 2009


Originally uploaded by Papa’s Pugs

4 Paws Pottery had a booth at the Georgia Classic AKC Dog Show this weekend. I got 2 hand made bowls with pugs stamped in the bottom of the them. These are very well made and even dishwasher safe!

Too yellow or just sunburst?

Sunday, September 13th, 2009


Originally uploaded by Papa’s Pugs

My photos from today turned out too yellow and I have tried to edit them with little luck. I think that at some point I have crossed the too much editing line and ended up where I started.

The most redeeming thing about being at the dog show today was seeing CH Sunburst’s Patent Pending ‘Edison’ when the Chow Chows showed. There is no picture that can do this stunning boy justice. I semi-refrained from drooling all over him ringside and I did refrain from loading him into my vehicle and driving off into the sunset. His owner/handler was gracious as I snapped photos left and right and told him how much I LOVED his Chow. I have always loved Chow Chows and one look at Edison and you just know that he’s got that something special. For more on Sunburst Kennels and Edison

Look at this face!

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


Originally uploaded by Papa’s Pugs

I am going to start out on a positive note: Look at this pug’s face! Is he not stunning? I’ll answer that, YES! This was one of the few good pictures that I got today, but when you look this good, it is easy.

Now back to reality. Today was the Chattanooga Kennel Club show at Camp Jordan Arena. I had no idea that fluorescent can lights could just about ruin my day. I got to the venue really early-partly because the pugs showed at 8:00am and partly because I was so excited. The pugs were in a tiny ring in the back corner of the facility. It was so dark that I could hardly get my camera to take pictures. I tried several different settings, which I am sure that someone with more experience would have known what to do, I was grasping at straws. In the end, I just shot on Action/Sport mode and had to do some color corrections. This was also my first day to shoot in RAW and it filled up my 8GB memory card so I had to delete a bunch of photos in between dogs showing and then I would get flustered and miss an entry. When I left the venue, I was kind of down on myself and was thinking that I have bought into a really expensive hobby to end up with a handful of good pictures. After thinking about it, I would be going to the shows anyway so if I get one good photo that is better than none. Today I feel like this photo of Mianda’s Fringe Benefits was the best shot of the day. It will just take time to master this box with a hole in it.

AVA Photoshop Class

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

lola from ava class

Originally uploaded by Papa’s Pugs

I signed up for a Photoshop class at The Association of Visual Arts. I have played around with Photoshop before, but I had no idea what I was doing nor could I have done the same thing twice. This was using the magic wand from my very first class!