Saturday, June 2, 2018

How about some Rottweiler ice cream?

I am glad I no longer have to worry about what to do with Bessie. This problem had created a huge blockage that just about held up everything. So give me a chance to do some catching up.

A friend sent me a recipe for Rottweiler Ice Cream. I know just about every dog owner gives their best friends ice cream but dairy products are not supposed to be good for them. Rottweiler Ice Cream isn't made from milk, it only uses plain yogurt, bananas and peanut butter. And Bess and Ruff love it.
I made the first batch two weeks ago and filled up three ice cube trays and put it in the freezer. This is what the reaction was.
 
 
 
 


Final decision on Bessie. ACL surgery no longer an option.

I took Bess and Ruff into Noah's Ark Animal Clinic on Thursday for their annual check up. They laid down next to each other in the waiting room and Ruff took a nap while Bess stayed next to him and kept an eye on all the people and dogs almost as if she was on guard. She was just so calm and alert and watched everyone come and go and she made me so proud. I loved seeing everyone smile at them when they noticed us.

When our turn was called the tech put them both on the scale, Bess has lost 3 LBS and is now 112 LB. Ruff still holding at 130 LB. They got their updated shots and heartworm test and that was all good. (Heartworm test came back negative the next day.)


Dr. McGlassen called me later that evening to say they found some hook worms in Ruff's stool and he will switch brands from the Heartgard heart pills to Spectrum and get a de-wormer medicine tomorrow. Bessie is in fine shape and while she is no longer limping she is favoring her left hind leg because of the low dose of pain meds I am giving her doesn't completely hide the pain so she will not overexert herself and worsen the damage. I got a chance to talk about over my options with Dr. McGlasson about Bessie's partially torn CCL. Due to my concerns over being unable to provide proper post op rehab I have decided to keep Bess on the low dose of pain management I am using now with Gabapentin and Rimadyl instead of risking a surgical approach. 

My experience 14 years ago after Sassy had both knees repaired and the many years of pain management afterward convinced me that a conservative approach with Bess would be best. During the course of my research I found there were many potential problems with the two most popular CCL repairs. Some of the stories were just terrible to read. Any sudden movement of the leg can easily break the attached metal plate and screws holding it in place. And the leg must not be allowed to move until the bone grows back together and becomes stronger and that takes 8 to 10 weeks. What complicates the matter is that Bessie seems to have an acute sense of hearing and always jumps up and runs to the front door when there is any sound outside.

I already spent $500 on x-rays and two visits to an Orthopedic specialist for Bess and have no qualms with spending $4000 more for the surgery. BUT even if a CCL surgery was 100% successful, baring no infection or hardware implant rejection, the only way she would make it through post op rehab would be to totally sedate her 24 hours a day for 4-8 weeks to keep her absolutely still. I have no way to keep her from moving around or standing up and messing up the surgery so this was my best option.


The good news is that Bessie is doing very well and has almost no physical limitations. Since the CCL was only slightly torn there is a chance it will get better over time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A small praise to a nice company with a very big heart, Chewy.com

I would like to thank everyone at Chewy.com for the wonderful surprise you sent me. Today I received two beautiful hand painted portraits of my Rottweilers Ruffin and Bessie. It may not show in the photo but these portraits are painted on canvas and stretched over a wood frame. 
Gotta give a shout out to Chewy.com because they really know how to make a great impression with their customers. I have only purchased one item from Chewy, my XXL sized dog crate, and I made sure to tell them how please I was with it. So to my surprise I found a small package outside my door this morning and it had two small 6x6 inch hand-painted portraits of two Rottweilers that look very much like Ruff and Bess. The portraits are painted on canvas and attached to a wood frame just as larger oil paintings are.


 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Everything isn't as bleak as it seems. Sometimes we do have some fun.

I would like to share a recent event that took place here. I am calling Promises Broken and Promise Kept. It was a little thing that involved an ice cream cone.

Broken promises.
Well, the ice cream truck came down the street today. This was the first time I was ready for it. Before it turned around at the end of our dead end street I went in and grabbed the camera. I had promised Ruff and Bess I would buy them an ice cream cone. So we waited, and waited and finally the truck comes up to our house and I flagged him down. And the man inside said he didn't carry ice cream, he only carried flavored ice drinks. So after dinner tonight we will go for a ride over to Dairy Queen and buy some.
I need to mention this wasn't the first time this colorful truck has come down our street. Last year Bess was very interested in seeing it and hearing the loud music it was playing and when it past by us I promised her that one day we would be ready for it and I would buy her an ice cream cone. Little did I realize they didn't carry ice cream.
Promise kept.
Well, almost. They didn't have frozen ice cream cones to take home so I bought a bag of dixie cups. And one more correction, its not DQ its UDF, United Dairy Farmers. Anyway, Bess and Ruff enjoyed the ice cream just as much.

More catching up - blame it on the worry

Nobody likes to hear excuses. So I will just begin by offering an apology. This blog has been my sincerest form of love for my Rottweilers. They have made me so filled with pride that I want to tell the world about the joy they have given me every day. But it has been the sorrow associated with their medical problems that has formed a road block in my mind. My mind has been so occupied by the pending crisis with Bessie's torn ACL that I have been unable to write as much as before. I must also admit that I am spending more time on Facebook looking for answers from people who have had this experience and enjoying the comfort of their companionship. Ruffin also has quite a following among Rottie owners as you could imagine.

The more I planned to have the needed surgery on Bess, the more I have learned of the pitfalls. And every pitfall has made me pause and think about how it must be handled. I have been reading a lot of horror stories about how difficult it is to properly care for a large dog following post-op ACL repair and that is my greatest concern.

The problem has many parts. For one, there are several different types of ACL repair but not every canine Orthopedic specialist does all of them. For obvious reasons some surgeons have picked one specialized treatment and stuck with it for many years. This greatly limits the choices of where to have the surgery and by whom. Each type of ACL repair requires expensive specialized tools, hardware and training. The last surgeon I talked to told me she had been doing a certain type of TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) for 20 years and didn't want to invest in the high costs of doing the newer procedures.
From what I have been reading there are two basic types of surgery, cutting the bone or drilling holes. The one that involves cutting the top of the leg bone below the knee and either rotating the bone to a new angle then holding it in place with metal plates for about 10 weeks until the bone heals, the other involves cutting and inserting a wedge to spread the cut in the same bone and using metal plates and screws to hold it together for 10 weeks until the bone heals. Both procedures greatly weaken the bone until it has healed and make it prone to failure if the cut is disturbed by violent leg movement. And that is where the horror stories have come up. There have many reports that some of the metal hardware and screws become dislodged or the implants are rejected or become infected and in both cases the surgery must be repeated. In most cases this does not happen and the metal plates are left inside for the life of the dog. But when that problem occurs before the bone has healed the leg becomes useless and must be kept in an immovable cast. The lesser involved procedure uses bands of synthetic material to take the place  of the torn ligament. This is called Lateral Suture Stabilization (LSS) but what I've read is it is for small dogs only.

My main concern with Bess is she is a highly active and excitable girl. She is also very big and very strong and hard to control. Finding a way to keep her immobilized every minute of the day except for potty breaks and doing so for almost 3 months is my greatest concern. I have read where people who were much younger than me put a mattress on the floor and literally slept next to their dogs every night. I would not be able to do this. I have difficulty getting up off the floor now. My most detailed plan involved keeping Bess sedated all day long and even that gave me concerns. How much sedation can she take without creating a problem. And little things like disabling the door bell and putting a sign on the door to keep people from knocking because these things cause Bess to explode into action that I have not been able to stop.

I have written about my Rottie girl Sassy who had both ACLs repaired 12 years ago. She was only 80 lbs or so and had the simpler procedure, the Lateral Suture Stabilization (LSS) which did not involve cutting the bone but three years later she developed so much pain she spent the last 4 years of her life on a very expensive daily pain management routine. And I do not know if the LSS should never had been done because she was too big and that caused it to fail.

Right now Bess has not shown any sign of pain or discomfort. She gets a small dose of pain pills twice a day. In order to limit her movement I read that lowering the dosage of the pain medicine would make her aware of some of the pain and force her to go easy on her activity. So she is getting half the dose that the Vet prescribed and seems quite comfortable. This has not interfered with her moving around and I have begun to think maybe she has gotten used to it. I also think the surgery would not be successful because I cannot guarantee that I could keep her off her leg for such a long time and do not want to create more pain for her than she already has. So that is the conundrum that I face every day.
Everything else has been made ready. I bought Bess an oversized crate that I intended to have her stay in for the long period of recuperation. She has slowly gotten used to it. Ruffin even found his way into the new crate and decided to take a nap one day.
While I am writing about the available options there is one more that should be mentioned. Its called Conservative Management and it basically means doing no surgery at all and lowering the daily activity and possibly that over time the torn ligament will heal by itself. I wish this were true because in a way that is what I am doing right now.
This is just going to have to take longer than I expected.

 


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Some funny stories

Do you have any four legged social butterflies living in your house?

All of my Rottweilers loved people so much they made friends with anyone who just said hello to them. One day I had Bess out front without a leash. It was a warm, sunny day. Two cars came down my street from opposite directions and stopped in front of my house. The drivers knew each other and had their windows rolled down and as soon as Bess heard one of them say "Hi" to the other she thought they were talking to her and she ran right over to the car to say hello. Out in the middle of the street. With me hobbling after her swinging my cane trying to get her back in the house.

I have written before about my first male Rottweiler, Nikko Bear, who we called The Babe Magnet. One day my wife and I had all the dogs in the back yard and the woman who lived behind us came home from shopping. We watched her make several trips carrying her bags of groceries into her house. So did Nikko. Before we could stop him he walked up the hill behind our house and followed the women into her kitchen. By the time we got there we heard her talking to her surprise visitor. "Well hello, what are you doing here, I'm sorry I don't have any treats". And so we made a new acquaintance who we never met before.

 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Moving in two directions at the same time

Yesterday I received the final piece of equipment that I expected to need for Bessie's rehab recovery from the knee surgery. I got a terrific XXL sized crate. Unfortunately it took longer than expected to get here and the shipment got lost and had to be replaced. From everything that I have read up on she will need to spend several weeks confined to a crate and only go out to eat and pee. I really like to massive size of this thing and tomorrow I will be replacing Bessie's old small crate with this one and until the surgery it will be her daytime hangout.
I also got Bess an inflatable soft E-collar to take the place of the rigid plastic cones the Vets always use. I tried it on Bess when it came and she took it quite well.
Now for some bad news.
A few days ago I came across some very disturbing information regarding the popular types of CCL repair surgery. The information was so bad I decided to halt my immediate plans for Bess.
Just to clarify this a bit, the acronyms CCL and ACL are interchangeable. CCL means cranial cruciate ligament and applies to dogs. ACL means anterior cruciate ligament and applies to humans.
I came across a very disturbing comment about a bad reaction to a CCL repair. It involved a result that I had never in my wildest dreams would have imagined. A woman posted on Facebook that her dog had rejected the implanted hardware (the metal plate and screws) from 2 TPLO surgeries and required 2 more surgeries to remove them. I quoted the comment and asked how common this was and in the following days over a dozen people replied with similar experiences about rejections and infections due to unsterilized screws and plates. Those personal reports involved implanted hardware rejection before and after the cut leg bone had begun to heal. With something like that happening before the bone healed and needing the hardware removed would be a catastrophic failure. Because of this I must consult with as many Veterinarians as I can before I will allow Bessie to have this done. 


There is more to this story. 12 years ago when Sassy had both of her CCLs repaired the Orthopedic surgeon told me that dogs will sometimes get used to the torn ligaments over time. This was very similar to what my Vet said about Bessie's hip dysplasia, "that she has lived with this all her life and gotten used to it". So I have to take a long hard look. What I haven't mentioned before is that Sassy spent many years on a pain management program with daily Rimadyl and Tramadol and Adequan injections because her surgery also didn't turn out well.
I need to point out that Bessie is not in any pain. She has responded exceptionally well to the Gabapentin and Rimadyl and CBD oil. So we are not faced with a sense of urgency to get this done. I need to have a consultation with my own Vet to get her unbiased opinion because she doesn't do the surgery and has no profit incentive.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

No end to the explanations


OK, here is the bad news about Bessie. I tried everything to avoid Bessie getting the TPLO surgery but it looks like there is nothing else to do. My primary concern over surgery was being able to keep her immobilized for much of the day for 3 months to allow good recovery. I will have to make some changes in the house and build a large pen. 

After doing all my research on alternative treatments for healing CCL tears I went in to see Dr. Susan Hodge, the Orthopedic specialist, this afternoon. I had read about expensive knee braces (Posh) and about Prolotherapy for non-surgical healing. 

Dr. Hodge took new detailed x-rays and showed exactly what my Vet at Noah's Ark had told me. Bessie's Left knee has a fresh slight tear. Dr. Hodge explained how the ligaments were made up of strands and what happens in a partial tear when a few of the strands break and when they peel back they wither and die and cannot grow back on to the remaining ligament.

I had hopes for the Prolotherapy because a search of authorized practitioners showed one of them, in fact, was the primary Veterinarian in Dr. Hodge's office. Dr. Hodge told me she spoke to the other doctor and he said he had trained for using Prolotherapy years ago but gave it up because it didn't work very well.

I asked about using the Posh Knee Brace but as I had imagined the problem of putting it on and taking it off every day would be difficult since Bess gets upset when I try to hold her feet, Dr. Hodge said she saw many dogs reject the brace and try to roll over to get it off often causing more damage.

I thought it would be useful to write a comment and explain why I was so reluctant to have TPLO surgery done on my 4 year old Rottie girl Bess who is weeks away from getting her left CCL repaired. I just came across a post-op photo of my previous Rottie girl Sassy who tore both her ACLs 12 years ago and had them repaired in 2007 when she was also 4-years old. I have many photos of Sassy but this is the only one of her taken after the operation that shows the incision.
Eleven years ago I was totally ignorant about ACL surgery. We had conversations with the surgeon but I didn't understand most of it or even the description of the procedure. Because of that I didn't have a clue about what questions needed to be asked of the Orthopedic doctors both before surgery and especially after surgery. I do recall Sassy never had a crate at any time. We had bought a couple of large dog beds that she used. And there was no physical therapy, either.

Within a year after her surgery Sassy was in so much pain that our own Vets had put her on a daily pain management program using Rimadyl, Tramadol and Adaquan injections. Even back then the drug costs were expensive. Without the drugs Sassy wouldn't have lived a normal life. Seven years after her surgery Sassy developed liver and kidney failure. She was 11-years old when she was put to sleep, the youngest of all my Rottweilers to go to the bridge. And her experience left me with a very bad feeling.

 

Update on Bessie.

So sorry for the long delay in posting updates but a lot has taken place since my last post.

Bessie went to see an Orthopedic specialist two weeks ago. The problem was that I had misunderstood what my Vet had told me after doing the physical exam and taking the x-rays. So I thought it was more important to try and fix Bessie larger problem the hip dysplasia.

What I had misunderstood was that when our Vet Dr. Black told me Bessie's hips are a mess, she also said that Bessie has had this problem all her life and has learned to live with it. So at first I was devastated when the Ortho specialist said there was nothing that could be done to fix Bessie. Oh yeah, there was one procedure, a Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO). But the Ortho specialist described this procedure as such a horrible piece of surgery she would not want to do it. What is does is the Femur is exposed and pulled from the hip socket and the ball at the end is cut off and the Femur is stuck back into the hip and left to heal with scar tissue.

When the light bulb eventually went off in my head and I realized what Dr. Black was telling me, I made another appointment to see the Orthopedic surgeon. We had a long discussion and she carefully explained all the details and took two new x-rays, seen below. Within two weeks Bessie will go back and have her CCL repaired with a TPLO procedure. TPLO Surgery (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) is for large dogs. This method is preferred on dogs that have a relatively stable knee to start with and Bessie's CCL tear is only a partial rupture and happened only recently.


And that tiny dark gray triangle inside the red circle is the indication that the ligament is torn. The shape happens when the joint tissue becomes swollen and squeezes it.

Friday, March 30, 2018

When it rains it pours.

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is Ruffin is officially the healthiest person in my house. And I came in a distant second. The bad news is all about Bessie.
Bessie has been limping for the past week and because of her penchant for jumping up and catching the ball when I throw it to her outside, I suspected she may have sprained her ankle or her foot. Those things usually work themselves out with nothing more than a few days rest. But not his time. I became concerned when the limp didn't go away so I took her to the Vet this afternoon and got a physical exam and some x-rays.
Bessie has a partially torn ACL in her left rear leg but the x-rays showed she has Hip Dysplasia in her both hips and her right hip is in the worst shape. In the words of the Vet, Bessie's hips are a mess.
Bessie will be placed on pain medication for as long as necessary but I won't put her through surgery for the ACL with her hips in such bad shape. She may be able to go on for a few more years until her quality of life becomes the most important issue.
This also changes all of my plans, too. Even though he is blind and has just survived major surgery, Ruffin is in very good shape. I am hoping to have him around for 3 or 4 more years. Now it doesn't look like Bessie will last that long so my plan to adopt an adult Rottweiler to keep Bess company has no purpose. I will notify all the rescue groups that have been looking to discontinue their efforts immediately.

You know what they say, when it rains it pours. Right now that is both a literal and figurative description of my life. But you know what, my two Rottweilers know how to deal with it. So while the weather outside is lousy they go take a nap. Daddy will take care of everything.
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This past week I've been watching old man Ruffin. He has been taking naps during the day, after breakfast, after lunch and after dinner and he has been laying in the most awkward positions. I started thinking he was falling off the bed except that its only 3-inches high to start with. But actually, this is how he has been plopping himself down when he goes to sleep.

I love this big lug and as far as I'm concerned he can sleep anywhere he wants, any way he wants.
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And finally, I gotta mention the weather because three days after the first day of Spring we got the biggest snowstorm of the entire Winter. Six inches of the sloppiest, wettest snow you can imagine. The backyard looked prettier than the front yard so I took these photos from the kitchen window. Bessie went out and found an old yellow ball and managed to play by herself. 
 
 
That's it for now. I need to do mores research on getting Bessie's legs fixed.




Wednesday, March 21, 2018

This is what the first day of Spring looked like

Sunday we had some beautiful, sunny weather with temperatures pushing 60 degrees. Three days later, on the first day of Spring, we woke up to a surprise, 4-inches of snow. OK, I'm the only one complaining about it. Bess and Ruff, judging by the looks on their faces, were perfectly happy eating snow again.

By the end of the day the temperature had gotten above freezing and the snow was almost all melted. And that's the way the weather flip flops in Northern Kentucky. Did you know they have a saying in Cincinnati, if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes.
Next few days we'll have a chance to dry out again, then possibly get more snow. This has been a very mild winter this year and all of the totals from our 5 or 6 little snowstorms didn't add up to 10 inches of snow.
 
 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Love the preview of our Spring weather

Ruff had his stitches removed last Friday and his latest blood test came back looking good. So we are all very relieved that this major surgery to remove his spleen and the huge tumor was successful. Thanks to our Vet Dr. Matt McGlasson at Noah's Ark Animal Clinic in Ft. Wright, Kentucky for taking such good care of my precious friend. And, a big Thank You, to the hundreds of Facebook friends who sent their prayers.

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What a Beautiful day today has been, the Sun is shining and temperature is pushing 60. Now its time to explore the backyard and see if it survived the Winter. While Bessie played with her ball me and Ruff enjoyed sitting on the grass and soaking up the Sun. (and taking pictures)
 
 
 
 
While I was busy trying to get a photo of Bessie catching her ball, old man Ruffin snuck in and caught me by surprise with a big wet kiss.
Updated Monday, 3-19-2018
That last photo above has raised some interesting comments on my Facebook page. "The kind of photos pros dream of capturing. This one was captured by a dog, a Rottweiler. Love it" "Beautiful shot! He is a great photographer that dog of yours! " So I decided to try and explain it by also showing the photo that was snapped a few seconds before it just as Ruff had pushed into me. 
What happened yesterday and how it made for a very unexpected photo.

I was kneeling on the grass throwing the ball and taking photos of Bessie catching it. Ruff was sitting next to me. Just after I snapped the first photo of Bess, Ruff pushed into me and jarred the camera upward as I was taking another photo and gave me a quick face lick. He caught me by surprise even before I got to close my mouth.

The photo of Ruff kissing me was perfectly exposed and even got a beautiful Sun flare in the picture.

 

Friday, March 16, 2018

KISS ME, I'M IRISH

When I ordered the St. Patrick's Day t-shirt to put on the bear I had a hard time finding a place that carried them. Has anyone else noticed a shortage of t-shirts saying, "Kiss Me I'm Irish"? Liberals have been very busy dreaming up new sins for everyone to feel guilty about and their newest effort is Cultural Misappropriation. In this case it basically means if you are not actually of Irish descent it is wrong to say, "Kiss Me I'm Irish".

Cultural Misappropriation, is defined as a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. 
If you plan on having corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day here is an authentic recipe for Irish Soda Bread passed down from my wife's family. Jacqueline used to make every year and now its been my turn. 
Authentic Irish Soda Bread ( Landen-Osborne Family)

Recipe Makes 2 Loaves
Bake: 35 - 40 minutes
Pre Heat Oven to 375

Ingredients:
4 cups. Flour
3 teaspoons. Baking powder
1 teaspoons. Baking soda
1 teaspoons tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup Caraway Seeds
1 - 1 1/2 cups of Raisins
1  large Egg
1 3/4 cups. Buttermilk

SIFT OR WISK ALL DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER IN A LARGE BOWL AND SET ASIDE.

1/4 cup Butter (1/2 stick)
CUT IN BUTTER WITH 2 KNIVES OR A PASTRY BLENDER.
Add large handful of Caraway Seeds and 1 -1 1/2 cups of Raisins to mix.
1 large Egg
1 3/4 cups. Buttermilk

LIGHTLY BEAT THE EGG AND ADD TO BUTTERMILK.
MIX INTO DRY INGREDIENTS WITH A FORK UNTIL BLENDED.
TURNOUT ONTO A FLOURED SURFACE AND KNEAD UNTIL SMOOTH FOR APPROXIMATELY 2 - 3 MINUTES.
(A MIXER WITH A BREAD HOOK IS HELPFUL)

DOUGH WILL BE STICKY. COAT HANDS WITH FLOUR.
FORM INTO A LARGE BALL AND CUT IN HALF WITH A SHARP KNIFE.
RESHAPE EACH HALF INTO A ROUNDED MOUND CUT AN X ON TOP OF EACH MOUND.

PLACE ON GREASED BAKING SHEET. Bake for 35 to 40 Minutes.
REMOVE AND COOL ON WIRE RACK.
THEN TOP WITH GLAZE.

SUGAR GLAZE:
1 cup 10x (powdered) sugar
1/2 teaspoon. Vanilla
1 tablespoon Milk

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Kiss Me I'm Irish.

The seasons are a changing. Christmas bear just got a new t-shirt and just in time because this weekend we are all Irish. We are trying very hard to get back into the holiday spirit and when you see lots of people walking around with signs that say: "Kiss Me I'm Irish", you know you've picked the right one.
Of course, it helped to have been married to a girl whose grandparents came from Ireland.