Local Dog Attack

dog attack

This is the picture of a local dog that was recently attacked and the story has been reported in the media. Oreo, (not my Oreo) is a cockapoo who was attacked and severely injured just last month.

A loving dog parent and family’s worst nightmare. A dog attack.

Oreo the cockapoo was outside with Tammie Jesberger’s father-Bill Tittel. He was taking her for walk around noon in a nice neighborhood. As they walked to the top of the road he saw two pit bulls. Before he knew what was happening, the larger one attacked Oreo and went right for her throat. Bill hit the dog and managed to get the pit bull off of Oreo after pulling out its’ front legs. Oreo was released and Bill yelled for Oreo to go home, but Oreo wouldn’t leave his side.

Bill had to get Oreo home, but knew he couldn’t let go of the pit bull’s front legs or it would go right for Oreo again. He decided to keep holding the dog’s front legs and it used its’ back legs to walk so he could try to get Oreo home. The dog tried to lunge at him and Oreo but he used a strong voice saying, “DON’T YOU DARE!” Tittel being an older gentlemen, dragged the dog as far as he could, trying to get his own dog home. He yelled out for help, but none came and he collapsed after using all of his strength to protect his dog.

Bill’s daughter Tammie heard the commotion and tried to get the pit bull off of Oreo (which again had a deadly grip on her throat after Bill collapsed). Bill scraped up the strength to get up and ran for a shovel and hit the dog with it, but its’ lock was holding. The pit bull dragged Oreo into the bushes shaking her like a rag doll.

Tammie remembered something she saw on Animal Planet about wrestling alligators and grabbed a Christmas decoration and took the stake from it and pried the pit bull’s mouth open. The pit bull released Oreo. Tammie grabbed Oreo and rushed inside, with the pitbull barking and lunging-leaving bloody paw prints and scrapes on the front door. Tammie wrapped Oreo in a towel and called 911. The police came and the dog tried attacking officers who shot the dog. The entire attack lasted over 40 minutes.

Oreo had extensive injuries including a broken jaw and ripped open throat. The owner of the pit bull is paying penalties for not having the pit bull on leash or contained in the yard. He is also paying thousands of dollars for Oreo’s vet bills. Oreo has been to the vet many times for surgeries and is physically recovering. Tammie reports that Oreo is very nervous and wakes up every night crying from nightmares. Tammie and her father say that we can’t even imagine the terror and what they lived through.

Unfortunately many people do and can imagine the terror with the rates of dog attacks increasing. I wished after Oreo (my Oreo) was attacked that NO ONE else would ever have to go through that nightmare, but it happens every single day. My former coworker on facebook just posted her new puppy was attacked by another dog and now has a broken jaw. People let their dogs wander the neighborhood or have doors that don’t close securely. Dogs escape fences and people approach unfriendly dogs. Even a friendly dog can attack for many reasons. That’s why we always need to be prepared. I am not trying to scare or disgust you (although I’m sure the article does). I am trying to make it clear that dog attacks can, will, and do happen anywhere and frequently. In the next few articles posted, I will discuss how to protect yourself, your dog, and the both of you from the nightmare of a dog attack. I will also address what to do if you or your dog gets attacked legally, reporting it, and the after effects from a dog attack, including ways to help your dog be brave again.

Medication Mania

dog-medicine-bottleA recent post by a friend on a social media site left me wondering…what do people think about dog medications? And why do many of them think they are more harmful than helpful?

Some people still seem to be stuck in the past, thinking dogs are just entertainment to have around. Medication? No way!! People frequently laugh, giggle, or give me weird looks if I tell them my dog is on medications for anxiety/fearfulness. I always get the saying, “Oh she’ll grow out of it” or “She’ll be fine, don’t worry about it.” Well, I do worry about it…or rather I did, before we had a breakthrough with medication.

If you feel like your dog is fearful or has anxiety and you’ve tried training but hit a brick wall, there are other options. Medication is another option, but should be given after extensive training has been tried. It’s not something to be taken lightly, but it’s also not something to fear. It’s also not a magic pill.

With dogs that are seriously fearful and haven’t progressed with the help of a positive trainer, medication is something to talk about with your vet. There are many options for whom to talk to about this. The best person to consult is a veterinary behaviorist. They specialize in dog behavior issues (aggression, anxiety, etc) and medical issues. Many times an underlying medical issue contributes to a dog’s behavior. It is important to get your dog checked for medical issues before considering anxiety medication. Many times simple things such as hypothyroidism could be a cause of many different behaviors including aggression.

There are a variety of medications to treat fearfulness/anxiety. It is important you talk to someone knowledgable about them, as they are recommended for different things. For example, some are used to treat separation anxiety, while others are recommended for general anxiety, and other for aggression. Blood tests will also be taken to make sure your dog will be able to take medications and check ups for blood work may be needed later.

I am going to repeat this again-because it’s not a quick fix–first you must make sure you have tried everything you can with a positive trainer, make sure your dog has adequate exercise, and rule out any other medical problems before even considering medication. I don’t want you to think it’s a bad thing either-because it can help immensely.

For example, Oreo was getting exercise and training for a long time with a positive trainer, but her anxiety issues were getting worse. She had trouble with training activities and seemed like she “hit a brick wall” in training. We could only take her so far. We also found out she did have some medical issues, but those were being treated and she still wasn’t progressing. So we worked with the vet. We started her on a low dose of an anxiety medicine. We increased the dosage but saw no improvement (the medication does usually take weeks or a month to kick in). We decided to wean her off of it and try another. This medication helped her immensely. She was able to progress nicely in training and take walks again. It allowed her to get over that hurdle that was stopping her, the debilitating fear that everyone and everything was out to get her.

If you had anxiety and it was so bad you couldn’t live your daily life, I’m sure you would try seeing a therapist and seeking out medication if that didn’t work. The medicine would allow you to combat your fears, and one day you may be able to get off of the medication. However, not all people or dogs do well off of the medication either. Oreo is still on medicine and we aren’t sure if one day she will be able to handle life without it. Do I like that she is on medicine? No, I don’t like giving her pills, but now I’ve learned that she needs the medicine, just like a diabetes patient needs them. Without them, she couldn’t live her daily life and function. Medication is not something to be feared, but not taken lightly either. Do you homework and read up-but also don’t rule medication out. It helped Oreo’s quailty of life immensely.

Medication can be a lifeline for dogs that would otherwise be euthanized.

For people with dogs that aren’t seriously anxious in only certain situations-there are many natural medicines or remedies for you. Look in chinese herb medicines, thundershirts, chamomile, and essential oils.

Lumps, Bumps–AHH!

                                                       Last year Chrismukkah Card

Oreo has had a few bumps & lumps the last few weeks. She seemed to be getting a few more and some were not disappearing. I decided to bring her into her favorite place (yea…right) the VET! They did a needle aspiration, where they use a needle to take a sample from the lump or bump. It’s very easy for them to do, without needing to sedation or anesthesia.

Most of the time vets can get enough good cells from the lump to take a good look and make a diagnosis by looking at the cells on a slide. They can easily diagnose tumors such as mast cell tumors, lipoma, cysts, histiocytomas, and lymphoma. Occasionally, the vet will not get the cells from the lump, or not enough and this can lead to no conclusion or the incorrect one (doesn’t happen too often).

I would say Oreo has at least 5-6 lumps now. Some are small, round and soft. There are 2 which are more concerning to me which seem a little harder. They tested 3, and tried to get the 4th but it was too deep. The one from the neck is probably a cyst they said. They did not draw enough cells, but said when they did the fine needle aspiration yellow came out, which is usually from cysts. The second lump is different from the others. It is red, raised, and seemed to be filled with pus which came out and now it’s beginning to flatten.

The vet diagnosed the leg bump which is read as Histiocytoma, which is a benign skin tumor. These are common with dogs, especially dogs under 2 years of age (she is 2).

Symptoms of Histiocytoma:

  • small, firm, dome or button-shaped mass
  • autoimmune blistering
  • solitary
  •  non-painful
  • fast growing
  • usually found on the head, limbs, or ear edges

Treatment

  • Remove the mass
  • or wait, it usually will regress and disappear within 3 months

We have decided to wait, since it has already flattened and looks like it has started regressing.

The 3 bump concerns me much more, it is on the back leg. It is larger and has been there for 3 weeks. The vet pulled a sample and got white blood cells, but not enough to be conclusive. It did bleed a lot afterward…she thinks they may have hit a vein or something. She said it doesn’t look like lymphoma or mast cell cancer (phewww I sure hope not). She said we’ll keep an eye on it for 2-3 weeks, then move from there. If it stays the same or gets bigger we will have to do a punch biopsy with a local anesthesia (yikes). I discovered 2 more bumps on here, a small on her side, and a large bump on her stomach.

I am very confused by how many she has in such a short time. Within the last month 6 seemed to have “popped up”. They are not skin infections like before, they are inside and more concerning for me. I have lost sleep worrying about them! I can’t believe so many showed up in such a short time, and she is only 2 years old. I do have some theories….I hope she doesn’t have cancer. She seems to be happy and nothing seems to be bothering her health wise.

A theory I have is that she has had too much Omega 6-fat. I have been adding extra virgin organic coconut oil to her meals and I switched to a different recipe that seemed to have more fat in it last month. I am thinking perhaps that could be the culprit after some research. So I have switched the food to less fat and less coconut oil in it. I also think perhaps it is something she is missing or getting too much in her diet. Or…I asked the vet why she is getting so many in such a short time, when she never had one before. The vet said we would have to do a punch biopsy, but since Oreo is super nervous and afraid of the vet we will wait a few weeks, unless it gets bigger. She said it could also be inflammation. I am thinking it may be inflammation, she could be trying to fight something. I wonder if it could be related to all the ticks that were on her… or her diet, since those are the 2 things that changed around the time of her lumps.

As you can tell I worry about her a lot, she is like my daughter. I have done so much work with her so that she can be a happy dog and live a long, healthy life (the best she can). We have finally gotten to a calm, happy place with her. So I am hoping these lumps/bumps decrease with the change in diet, if not, we will be going for a punch biopsy in a few weeks.  If you see lumps on your dog, my suggestion is to go in and get them checked out-better not to worry like me! However, you may have to wait anyways, but better safe than sorry! Spend time with your dog, make them happy, like they make you happy 🙂 I’ll keep you updated.

Allergies and How to Stop Infections

It’s been 2 years that Oreo has been dealing with her allergies. As mentioned in the previous post, food allergies were partly to blame. She is also allergic to pollen, and her allergies flare up the worst after it rains. Oreo+wet grass = bacterial infections

If you have a dog or cat with allergies, you know how frustrating it can be. I have tried so many different supplements, allergy pills, and other items. I will tell you what works for US. It doesn’t mean it will work for anyone else, but if you are struggling with allergies perhaps it will help. I know the pain and agony of bringing the dog to the vet continually to get antibiotics which seem to help for a few weeks, then you are back at the vet again.

Some things I have tried:

  • allergy pills claiming to help (online, in pet stores)
  • cover ups  (t-shirts) to stop flare ups outside
  • wiping her feet/belly when coming in
  • herbal supplements (Calendula, tinctures, etc)
  • wipes
  • itching spray
  • tea bags on towel then warm compress on eyes
  • Benadryl, zyrtec, etc (as prescribed by the vet)
  • bathing her at least once a week

Unfortunately, as some of you already know, my conventional vet failed me when it came to allergies. She just kept recommending different types of antihistamines which didn’t work and didn’t even suggest a food allergy test. This is when I went to Smith Ridge where they combine conventional with complementary therapy (totally recommend looking at all choices). Some of the things they recommended work, some I figured out on my own or other dog owners have helped me. This doesn’t mean it will work for you, but I hope it helps.

Some things that have HELPED:

  • wiping her paws,legs, belly with a towel after a walk when it is wet outside-helps get the pollen off
  • walking her so much she is too tired to itch! (may seem funny but when she is tired she is less likely to itch and bite at herself)
  • clean her ears at least once a week with WITCH HAZEL (no alcohol) I recommend Thayers. This has worked MIRACLES for us! I put some on a cotton ball and wipe the inside of her ears. I don’t even have to use harsh ear wash that irritates her or put drops in her ears (which she HATES).
  • supplement that has really helped: http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/products/Seven-Forests-Quercenol-Dog-Herbal/105004.aspx it’s quercenol-it helps the immune system, liver, and allergies. It is especially helpful with itchy skin, ears, and paws due to allergies. You can read more about it at the link above. I got it from the vet when she told me about it, but you can order it online too.
  • Keeping stress down. When her stress builds up her immune system is weak, therefore, allowing allergies to bother her more. Keeping stress down is easier said than done (as all of us reactive dog moms/dads know).
  • Got her food allergy test done. If your dog has seasonal allergies I really think you should still get a food allergy test because you NEVER know!
  • Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil-This is the similar to giving your dog fish oil pills, but Oreo is allergic to those. I add about 1/2 a teaspoon to her food every day. Here is an article about the health benefits of coconut oil for your dog. http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/ Make sure you get ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN coconut oil.
  • Douxo Chlorhexidine 3% PS Pads-these are pads that help stop infections. Instead of going to the vet every single time Oreo gets bumps or a rash, I simply wipe the area a few times over a couple of days and usually it is all better! It also has great reviews on amazon (5 stars). This was recommended by a woman in my training class. Here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LO0MGU/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00
  • Bathing her-once a week or once every 2 weeks. I neglected this recently since she doesn’t love baths, but gave her one this morning since she is getting super itchy. I definitely notice a difference in the severity of her itching if I don’t give her a bath for a few weeks.
  • Last but not least natural hydrocortisone from the yam plant. If you have never heard of this ask your vet if your dog is on hydrocortisone-the natural kind has less side effects. It is also mentioned in the article below.

http://www.myholisticpetvet.com/2012/02/09/treating-itching-and-scratching-a-ticklish-subject/

All of these seem like a lot, but they become part of the routine and I didn’t add them all at once. If your dog is super itchy make sure it’s checked by a vet (many things can cause itching, not just allergies). Helping your pup with allergies can be very frustrating. If it is frustrating for you, think about how bad it must be for your pup. I thought NOTHING would work, until I found the right combination and so far it’s been smooth sailing (okay not smooth, but so far so good-knock on computer!)

Valentine’s Day at the Vet

I came home yesterday to find Oreo had red in her left ear, some yeast, and a pimple or blister looking bump. I knew it was time to take her to the DREADED vet! Oh no!!! Needless to say, my Valentine’s Day was spent at the vet! We got there, rushed Oreo in the back door to avoid the waiting room, and directly into an exam room. I was asked by a tech to swab her ear, which I promptly responded, “She won’t let me.” Ha-all you can do is laugh. Oreo is okay with cotton balls, as long as I warm the witch hazel I use to clean her ears. But anything new like bottles, pens, anything will scare her to the point where she will lift her lips and then give a warning nip if you get to close with it (to her ear).

That’s what a reactive dog is…they react! When they are scared and over their threshold (the point of no return! I’m sooo scared & upset my mind isn’t really thinking, I’m just acting), they usually growl, bark, bite, etc. Anyways, in the waiting room she went directly under my husband’s chair and was shaking & panting. I got her to do some targeting & tricks, but as soon as someone else walked into the room she went back under the chair. I managed to do some hand targeting to get her weight taken on the scale.

However, the vet came to take her in the back to check her ears & her skin since she was so itchy. This was a different case. We had to almost pull her out of the room. Usually, once she is out of sight from us she trots happily into the back. Today it took her longer. She was holding her ground. Luckily, the vet got her to move with some treats eventually. They of course muzzled her for safety (she doesn’t like her ears touched when they are hurting, plus she remembers all the painful trips to the vet).

The vet came back to tell us we are doing a good job, she has seen some improvement with Oreo’s behavior (yay!!!). However, shortly after Oreo was hiding under my chair and the vet came over to hand me a medicine, and Oreo went to bite her. My belief is because Oreo thought she was reaching down towards her & it was a sudden movement. Still upsetting.

Turns out she has a yeast/bacterial infection in her ear. Luckily it is just on the outside, and not the inside so I can put the medicine on a cotton ball and use it. As for her skin, on a level 1 (the lowest) to a level 4 (the highest) of a bacterial infection, she was a 4+, so she is taking an oral medicine to help. She has brown spots and bumps all over her belly. We believe it is because of allergies, more specifically fleas.

We have had lots of flea drama. I didn’t think I’d have a dog with fleas. But…she is allergic to the drops (itches nonstop spreading it all over furniture), allergic to the collars (loses all the hair on her neck), and just about everything. So I was just using a comb to get fleas out whenever she would get them. Unfortunately, I learned a while ago fleas are all over our neighborhood! We live in condos so there are tons of dogs, people, and houses smooshed together. One flea bite will cause Oreo’s whole body to go out of wack. So we are trying a new heart worm medicine that is a combination with flea medicine. I know it might not be the best, I wanted to go all natural since tick & flea medicines are very harmful, but I believe the new flea medicine will be the lesser of 2 evils.

So needless to say my valentine’s day was spent at the vet. Oreo was okay with the first time I cleaned her ears with the new medicine, but this morning she was snapping at me, so this may get interesting. I know her stress level is over threshold, and I may be seeing her stress for a week or two from the vet, but it was needed. Oh the drama of having a reactive dog!!