Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Dylan Update!

Monday, Chris took Dylan up to GDA to be examined by their vet.  It included some blood tests and X-rays.  Nothing definitive was discovered but the vet saw a liver enzyme that was a bit off, so she asked us to bring her up Wednesday morning.  "Be sure not to feed her in the morning" we were told.  They wanted to do a 12 hour fasting exam then feed her to see what transpired after she ate.   So we prepared to go up this morning.  I fed Bailey and turned my back for about 3 seconds and I see Bailey walking away, which never happens, and there's Dylan chowing down on Bailey's food.  Oh CRAP!

Good news, Bad news...The good, Dylan is eating again.  The bad, she picked a crummy time to start.  We called GDA and told them what happened and were told not to worry as they can do the test at a later date.  We just need to be sure she fasts for 12 hours before taking up to be examined.  So no drive up north today, but we will go up next Wednesday to complete the exam.

However, Dylan seems much better, is more playful and exhibiting normal eating habits, as noted above.  Working with her, she again exhibits normal behavior and is even walking better on leash and not pulling so much.

Still working on her sitting position, however.

Is that a smile I see?

Thanks for the kind thoughts and words regarding our girl as we will continue to update her progress on becoming a guide dog.

There has been no update on her PennHip X-rays to see if she may be looked at as a breeder.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dylan feeling punky

The last few days have been somewhat tough for our little girl.  After coming home from having her X-rays a week ago, she hasn't been doing very well.  She got diarrhea on Tuesday, we switched her food to chicken and rice and then Saturday night, she vomited all night long.  We called GDA but they don't have a vet on property on Sunday's so we were told to take her to a local vet.  They examined her and could not see anything definitive.  The vet said that maybe she was having a reaction to the anesthesia when they did her X-ray.  To keep her hydrated, they put in a 800cc fluid bolus under her skin.  This absorbs into the body in a few hours.  They also gave her a B12 injection and some medicine to settle her stomach.  Then gave us some antibiotics to feed her for the next few days.

I'll say this about Dylan, inside the vet's exam room, she didn't shake, quiver or whimper.  She didn't look very happy though.   What a trooper she is!

Getting an 800cc fluid subcutaneous IV
Receiving her B12 shot.

Bloated with fluid under her skin around the neck and shoulders.

Not a happy camper.

After we brought her home, she was as lethargic as I have ever seen Dylan.  Just laid around all day, would not eat and looking very sad.  

So today being Monday, Chris will be taking Dylan up to Sylmar to be examined again by the GDA Vet.  Thankfully, Nancy our area leader, will be going up with Chris as coming back without a carpool buddy is a nightmare as I was committed to taking a friend to the airport this afternoon.

More to come as we find out what's going on with our little girl.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dylan and the X-RAYS

As you may remember, Dylan went up to Sylmar for X-Rays this last weekend.  I went to Monterey to hear Jazz.  I digress.  Well, it seems it was more than just your ordinary x-rays.  I'll explain as best I can given my limited medical background, which is none.

Large breed dogs such as labs, are x-rayed mostly for hip dysplasia at a young age.  If she were to go in for formal training, this would have to be done before her training began.  This type of x-ray is referred to by Guide Dogs of America as OFA, which stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.  It lets them know if dogs have hip dysplasia.  This is your standard protocol for all breeds.

For GDA, their dogs that are being considered for breeding have a different type of X-rays.  These are called PennHIP X-rays.  The dogs have to go under anesthesia as the hips have to be manipulated for multiple exposures.  These are sent to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to be examined.  These X-rays are what is known as "predictive" x-rays.  Studies have shown them to be very conclusive in predicting a dog getting hip dysplasia.   GDA does PennHIP X-rays when they are considering dogs for breeding.

I Googled PennHIP:

PennHIP (an acronym for "University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program") is a diagnostic technique for evaluating the hips of dogs for laxity. The acronym is also used for the network of veterinarians that use the PennHIP method of evaluation, and for the database of breed-specific hip dysplasia trends maintained at the University of Pennsylvania. PennHIP's main objective is "to reduce the frequency and severity of hip dysplasia in all breeds of dogs", to quote the official website. The PennHIP method of diagnosis consists of three radiographs taken from different angles, which are then analyzed in order to make an assessment.

Now having said all this, does it mean Dylan will be a breeder and not a guide dog?  Will it exclude her from becoming a guide dog?  Will she have to do more X-rays if she is selected to go into formal training?  We don't know!  But when word comes back to us, you'll be the first to know.

Results take anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks.  We may never know her results.  She may be called in to be spade, which would obviously preclude any breeding.  She may be career changed because they are predicting hip dysplasia.  She may be just fine and go into formal training as scheduled, which would be sometime after the first of the year.

Anyway, I wanted to update you all as I had a few inquiries as to what was going on with Dylan and her X-rays.  Thanks for asking about Dylan.  She is doing just fine.

Dylan and the X-Rays...sounds like a 70's rock group.

She is back and rockin' new socks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Back and Forth

The day after Labor Day, Chris and I took a trip to New Orleans.  We were there until Friday.  Dylan was left at the GDA campus for an entire week.  We picked her up last Sunday.  Tuesday, we got a call from GDA that they wanted to talk to us about Dylan.  Oh crap!  Now what?  Chris, who was playing golf when she received the voicemail told me, "my golf game went to crap, thinking Dylan was going to be dropped from the program."  She must had done something bad or she barks too much.

I returned the call and was told that Dylan needed to be X-rayed.  That this would happen on Saturday, but she needed to be brought up on Friday.  I guess my questions was, she was there for a week, why not do this when she was there?  We were informed that the dogs need to be doped up and the technician is only there are certain days.  So three dogs are going up to be X-rayed and Dylan is one of them.  The reasons are varied.  Dylan has not been spade, which means she could be considered a breeder.  Two, they are always on the look out for hip dysplasia.  This problem is the biggest reason dogs are career changed out of the program.

But, after a week away, we were missing our little girl and it was great to be able to cradle her.  She continues to have a rash inside her paws which requires swabs of medicine to be applied and socks put on her to keep her from licking them.

One relaxed puppy

Paw socks!  
The socks stay on for about 5 minutes before she gets them off her.  But it lets the medicine stay on a big longer.

Her skills are getting better as she gets a bit older.  Barking still seems to be an issue but we're working on it.

So we'll take her up Friday and see what the X-rays reveal and hope for the best.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


We had our last training night for the summer at Brian and Nancy's house.  We had nine dogs, six black and three yellow Labs.  We made it a fun night with Chris rolling big dice to determine what commands our dogs would have to do.  Sit/Stays for 5 minutes, down/stays for 3 minutes.  Then Brian drew out a tic-tac-toe game and it was on.  The blacks against the yellows, with one exception, we converted a black into a yellow to even out the game.

The rules were to either sit or down your dog in a square.  Then leave your dog by themselves, telling them to stay as others brought their dogs to complete the game.  If your dog got up, you had to remove them and that square became open again.  At one point we had 7 dogs in the squares and once one got up, they all decided to leave.  So we had to start over.  The blacks won the sit game.  The second game they were all in a down and no one won that game but we had nine dogs all in a down/stay in a tic-tac-toe game.  Pretty cool.

A Sit/Stay

The game started with Sit/Stays:

Starting the game

Dylan in the middle square

You can see the dogs looking at their handlers as they implore them to stay

The Blacks win as Brian gives them the release signal

Then it was on to the Down/Stays:

Seven of the nine, the black Lab up top is really a yellow.

All nine dogs in Down/Stays...Amazing!

Ended the evening with cookies and lemonade for the puppy raisers and doggy bone treats for the pups.  It was a great night and we'll miss seeing our friends each Wednesday night.  But we will still be meeting monthly and at GDA as well.