Thursday, June 28, 2018

Post Tie-Back Surgery - Riley

We are four weeks out from Riley's tie-back surgery for laryngeal paralysis and it is her 12th birthday today.  Overall, things are going well.  She definitely pants quieter and is a little more heat tolerant.
We did have a situation last week where Riley was gagging so hard one evening that she eventually vomited and was desperate to eat grass.  And sometimes she seems to have nonstop hiccups.  She vomited again a couple of nights later. But she has been find again the last several days.
We are back to hiking in the mornings at 6:30 AM. Riley is doing pretty well.  I don't think her breathing is slowing her down at all, but the heat and mugginess does.
I am fighting the polyneuropathy as much as I can.  Her rear end is getting weaker and weaker though.  I still have her do the stairs at least three times a day and other strengthening exercises. We used to have a pretty elaborate peanut, balance disc, and flatwork routines for kibble, but since I don't feed her kibble or tiny treats anymore it limits what I can do with her.  I was mostly luring her through the exercises with kibble, but now I do it with her chunks of food and ask her to do more.  And I back off if she starts panting too much.  So we aren't doing nearly as much as we used to.

Happy 12th Birthday, Riley!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Tie-Back Surgery Completed - Riley

Riley came through surgery fine. My vet does tie-back surgeries first thing before morning appointments so Riley's was started around 7:45 AM.  This allows him to observe her all day in case there are complications.
   Brought her home around 6:45 PM.  She pottied, ate a few Fresh Pet meatballs, and went to bed.
Riley made it through the night with just a cough periodically and a couple of potty breaks. She was definitely feeling perkier in the morning.
Since her larynx is permanently tied open now, I have to be very careful with what I feed her. Soft chunks or meatballs is recommended.
To replace kibble, I am feeding her FreshPet Select. It comes in a roll and can be cut into chunks and squeezed into meatballs.
To replace chicken backs, chicken necks, and veggie mixes, I am feeding Instinct Raw.
It too is easy to pull apart and squeeze into meatballs.
Lastly, to try get some extra veggies into Riley, I cooked up some power greens egg frittatas. When I used to eat eggs, I would make these little muffin frittatas.
I put a dozen eggs into my Ninja blender and several handfuls of leafy greens and blended it all together. Poured the mixture into a muffin tin (each half full).  Cooked at 375 degrees for 17 minutes and out came these little veggie filled egg patties that are easy to pull apart into small chunks.
Drinking actually seems to give Riley more trouble than eating.  I make her take breaks so she does not start gagging.
Hopefully the next few weeks fly by quickly and Riley returns to mostly normal life.  I can tell already that her hoarse, raspy breathing is gone.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tie-Back Surgery - Riley

I changed my mind..... Riley is having tie-back surgery for laryngeal paralysis on Thursday.  I just can't watch her suffocate.
She still wants to be so active, but she cannot run anymore. We are still hiking at 6:30 AM and she often leads the way and trots ahead, but it is starting to get too warm.  Riley even chased deer a short ways a couple of weeks ago.
My plan had been to move our activities indoors (peanut and balance disc work) once the morning temperatures exceed 70 degrees. But I came to the realization recently that Riley was not going to be able to do that either even though she still very much wanted to. She is still in very good shape and has plenty of energy. She just needs more air.
My priority is never prolonged life, but always quality, quality, quality. Today we took one last pre-surgical hike.  It was fitting that it was 70°,  my line in the sand.  I am confident that I have squeezed  out all of the activities and quality of life I possibly can without surgery.
If surgery is unsuccessful, we have left nothing on the table and we have nothing to lose.  But if successful, we have everything to gain and Riley gets her life back.

 Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

MACH Maddie

Maddie earned her Master Agility Championship on Saturday!  It was warm and a super long day.  I like to crate out of my van so I have to arrive early to get a good parking spot. Yet our first run was not until 1 PM or so.  And the second run was around 4 PM. She was a little slow starting out, but nice and steady. She has been so consistent lately.  Here is QQ #20.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cave Bed

So I bought one of those cave beds this winter.  Maddie is my only greyhound that will tuck herself in by pulling blankets over her body or burrowing under them.
So I thought she would be able to figure out the cave bed.  We had to help her for a few days, but then Maddie figured it out and now she sleeps in it all night.
Sometimes Maddie brings friends into the cave bed.
This is Maddie as a pup (below).  Obviously, she was already trying to invent the cave bed.  She was onto something.
Seven likes it too!  Although she has not figured out  how to get into it, but I have seen her try.  She often lays on the she fleece area.... I think she is hoping the bed will miraculously swallow her up.
But once she does get in it, Seven is quite at home.  I will buy her one if she ever is able to get in it without assistance.
Riley has tried it a couple of times, but generally gets too warm, but on this day she stayed in it for a couple of hours. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Riley - Last Days of Winter

Spring is here and 70 degree days (and higher) are fast approaching.  I am trying to get Riley outside as much as possible while we are still blessed with cooler temperatures.
The laryngeal paralysis has progressed enough that she has trouble breathing when it is too warm especially if we are in the sun.  
It sucks because she still grabs her toy like she is a 2 years old and takes off.... and then the coughing and loud breathing starts.  She takes breaks and runs a lot less than she used to because of the gagging interruptions.  The good thing is that Riley still has good cardio fitness so she catches her breath quickly.
Sometimes the gagging causes inflammation under her tongue.  She gets these reddish bubbles.
I researched and thought a lot about the tie-back surgery for laryngeal paralysis.  Its funny because people are either dead set against or they think it is the greatest surgery in the world.  I found few opinions in the middle.
Those in favor of the surgery said to do it as soon as possible while she was in good shape.  That made sense, but I was not willing to put her on the bench recovering from surgery during the cooler months.
Ultimately, I decided against it.  I have two good friends that are vets that do agility with sighthounds and they both told me they would not to the surgery on their own dogs.  Riley LOVES food and most of our activity revolves around treats.  The surgery makes them more susceptible to aspirating food and water.  Riley already chokes on treats.  I did not want to make it even more likely to happen.
And then there is the polyneuropathy.  It is quite evident that the polyneuropathy is progressing.  Riley's muscle tone is diminishing.  Her muscles are so soft and she is getting more shaky.  I've stopped doing any agility with her.
If Riley did not have polyneuropathy, I may have been tempted to do the surgery in the coming months.  But since she does, I am just going to let nature take its course.  She is just going to get weaker and weaker and if she eventually can't hike, run, and play then there will be no reason for her to just lay around breathing easier. 
So we are enjoying the days.... hiking almost everyday and playing with a toy in the yard a few times a week.
Once summer sets in, we will stick to indoor games.  We will work the stairs, cavalettis, peanut, and balance discs.  I will try to keep her as fit and strong as possible.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Maddie - QQ #19

Maddie earned her 19th double qualifier the last day of March.  It was a local trial so we just did one day and it was a successful day!  Two first places too!

Here is the video:

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Maddie - QQ #18

A couple of weekends ago, I competed Maddie at a local agility trial.  She did great!  Earned QQ #18 with a first and second place.  Just two more to go!