Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekend Wrapup

2014 isn't treating us very well so far. We thought we would give you an update on life for The OP Pack.

Sweet Ciara is under the care of a neurologist in the hopes that we can help her with the seizures.

If all goes well, in about a week, she will be accepted into a seizure study being conducted nation-wide for seizure control.  She still has to have her final screening.  We do not want to put her on the phenobarbital too quickly in the hope that her seizures will space themselves out a bit more.  Being in this study will buy us some time while she is still getting excellent and close monitoring.

We are all trying to stay optimistic, but Mom says it is hard when she knows just by looking at the Princess that something isn't quite right.

She has lost her zip and free spirit.  We hope it is a temporary thing because she is just so young.

And as if this isn't enough to deal with, Phantom had his annual exam on Thursday.  As part of his senior checkup, he had his blood stolen for testing.  Unfortunately the results were concerning.

In addition to a few levels being a bit out of whack, four of his liver functions are elevated quite a bit.  This could be due to many things including liver disease of some sort.  The biggest possibility is a side effect of the Deramaxx that he is taking for his back issues and arthritis.  Since he has been on the medicine, we have noticed a marked improvement in his mobility and overall behavior.  Although his eating is still a problem, at least now he isn't in his crate all day and he has been waking Mom up a lot less at night, probably because his back and joints are so much more comfortable.  So the dilemma is, do we stop the deramaxx and put him back in pain, or at 15 do we think more of his comfort and leave him on it?  Any thoughts appreciated.  We are pretty sure we know the right answer.

Hey, what about me?  Don't I get a role in this post too?

Lightning is really missing his playful pal Ciara and keeps wondering why he is outside alone so much.  He wants someone to come play with him.  Ruby, any chances you can come this way?

As you can see, we are all still very interested in a tasty treat, even if Phantom is having a hard time keeping his front legs up:)

We wish we had a happier post for you today.  We hope you will understand if we aren't around much.  Mom says it is getting harder and harder to be "up" when so much is "down".

Woos - Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning


Sam said...

I think I would ask the vet if it was the meds, where would this lead long term, and then make the decision to keep him on them.

We've been thinking of all of you. Hugs and love to all!

Monty and Harlow

Sue said...

We have some of the same concerns with Miss Morgan. She used to be on Deramaxx because she has pretty bad arthritis. She's been switched to Metacam because our vet thinks it's easier on her liver. She has Cushings and at one point her liver values went sky high, over 3000. Now she takes Denamarin every morning and two of her levels are normal again. The really high one has come way down though it's still higher than it should be.

She walks slowly and stiffly but she gets around and even does her version of running most days. Though she acts like she can't move very well, we saw her jump over Sebastian as he was sleeping in the doorway the other day. It's hard to know just how badly she hurts. I think we're going to start Adequin shots soon.

It makes me want to cry to see her looking so old and frail, but I try to just make the most of each day that we have her with us.

Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs said...

Quality of life rules out quantity every time. At 15 making Phantom as comfortable as possible is my own personal opinion the way to go. It is always a hard choice but for me...I would rather have a happy pain free doggie for a year then one that can barely move and is in constant pain for two years. Sigh - it is the curse of being human - that we will always outlive our furbabies :(

Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs said...

Oh....I would ask about what other treatments are available - there may be something new to try.

The Army of Four said...

I'm so sorry about all of this! I will be praying for EVERYone.
For Phantom - have you tried putting him on Marin ( or Denamarin? We had Dave on Marin for a good long while, and it helped his liver values tremendously. He couldn't take Denamarin, as he was on Tramadol for pain and it shouldn't be taken in conjunction with SAMe, the "extra" ingredient in Denamarin. It's definitely something to ask your vet about. It also helped his appetite a little bit.
Maybe your vet can come up with an alternative to Deramaxx --- like Tramadol -- that wouldn't affect his liver.
My personal vote is to put his comfort first.
Please give him a gentle hug for me.

Mitch and Molly said...

We so hope that something positive can come from the study for you, Ciara.
We don't want you to hurt, Phantom. You're too sweet!

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

Steve Finnell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SissySees said...

We are so very sorry 2014 isn't off to a great start there either. It's so hard when our fur-kids aren't feeling their best, isn't it?

You have some great advice already, so we'll just cross paws and keep you in our thoughts.

rottrover said...

We are glad that Miss Ciara will be monitored closely - and we especially hope there isn't anything more serious than epilepsy going on with her. We will send her a Star-Pups card if she decides to try the pheno.

I'm all about the comfort, as are many others. Bart has responded so well to the pred, but his liver levels are a little elevated. The vet gave him a supplement for dogs that is mostly Milk Thistle. When I get home I can send you the name. She has suggested reducing his pred a little, but I think he looks wobbly on the reduced dose. I'd rather see him bounce around a little than teeter.

Sometimes being a dog mom is no picnic!

PeeeEs: Lightening, I'd LOVE to come play with you. My girl, Riley tangled with a critter in her back yard and is wearing the Cone of Shame. We can't play together for a while :-((


Toma said...

i was waiting for your post and hoping for the good news.

i don't even kwow what to say.It is no easy when family members (even if they have 4 legs) are not feeling well.

Best wishies to Phantom and Ciara

Ruby said...

Oh dears. Wells, that's good news that your gurl might be able to gets into a study! YEA! I'll keep my paws crossed. Oh Phantom...sorry abouts your livers (and not the yummy kinds...hehehe). I'm with everyone else, maybe another med might be easier on his liver, butts, if this is the only med that works for him, I say quality of life is much more important. I'll keep my paws crossed that you can have BOTH!!
Okays Lightning, your in luck...I'm feelin' TONS betters today and drivin' Ma CRAZY with my whining that she is TOTALLY boring and won't play with me EVERY second, so I'm gettin in my tunnel and comin' to see you!!! ZOOMIES!!! WooooHoooo!
Ruby ♥♥

Millie and Walter said...

We're sorry to hear that things aren't going well right now and agree with most of what everyone else has said.

Hey Lightening if you want to take a vacation you could come visit us and play every day. We also usually get more snow than you do so there is that extra bonus.

Nola said...

Maybe Metacan instead of the other? I've heard it's easier on the liver. POTP to you all.

Mindy Slimmer said...

Hi OP Pack!
Mama Mindy here. Comfort and quality of life is much more important than quantity...with that said...Tramadol might be of interest if Deramaxx is the issue. George has arthritis and gets Deramaxx and he has elevated creatnine we hope it goes away...if not, we might be in the same boat to put him on something else. Tramadol is the only pill that we use when the Deramaxx just isn't cutting it. ASk your doctor about it...or what would be a better alternative...which I would hope exists. Thankfully, however difficulty, George could get a lot better movement with weight loss which is quite trying when he given such loving looks while one is eating or near the treat bag. what is best for you and for Phantom...
Much Love,
Mindy :)

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi its me,, and I wanted you all to know I think of you every day!
I so hope Ciara can be a part of the study and get some help,,,
And find some good help for Phantom too,

Prancer Pie said...

Boy, does our Mommy appreciate this post! We'll keep purring and purraying for all of you, too.


KB Bear said...

Oh my... Poor Ciara - I hope that she gets her mojo back and the seizures get under control. She is so sweet, and it makes me sad to think of her not being herself. That study sounds like a promising possibility.

As for Phantom, have you considered tramadol? I remember having a similar problem with an older dog a long time ago, and I think that we went with tramadol, long term, for pain control. I think it was easier on the liver - but you might consider asking your vet about this possibility.

I'm having trouble getting around to visit too, due to some issues around here. But, I send you a huge hug. I want you to have some smooth sailing, with happy and unworried days. I hope that, somehow, that can happen for you. I am thinking of you, my friend.

Jeanne Pursell said...

We are so sorry that news isn't so good right now...but we sure are hoping that Ciara will be soon feeling like herself again once she is on the special meds. My big guy was on Tramadol when he was about ten. I have to agree...Quality does seem to trump Quantity. Sure do hope that your boy is feeling better real soon...If memory serves me correctly, I think tramadol was easier on the liver...sending hugs and prayers!!

The Florida Furkids said...

That's a whole lot of stuff to deal with. We hope they can get Ciara regulated and that the seizure monsters will stay away. It would be nice if there were some other meds that Phantom could take that wouldn't create liver problems.

The Florida Furkids

Karen Jo said...

I hope that the study can find a way for Ciara to keep the seizure monster away. I also hope there is a medicine that will help Phantom's pain while being easier on his liver.

Jo's World said...

It would be our hope that Ciara will get into the study and find some help there.

For our old pal Phantom we are wishing for a pain free life, he is such a deserving guy.

You won't be surprised that I am voting for Quality of Life.

Cheers and hugs,
Jo, Stella and Zkhat

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Bibi-Chan, Gen-Chan, Vidock, Violette said...

We are so sorry that 2014 is proving to be such a tough year so far for you. We are crossing everything we've got that the study will help deal with Ciara's condition and she will return to her usual happy self very soon.

As for Phantom, we agree that the greater comfort is the way to go. We have mentioned this before, but have you considered giving him Devil's Claw supplement? It can work extraordinarily well and here is the snippet on it from a CSU study on alternative treatments for arthritis in dogs: "The herb “devil’s claw” (Harpagophytum procumbens) has become particularly popular in holistic circles. In vitro studies suggest that devil’s claw offers analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant effects. Results from two randomized, controlled trials in humans suggest that devil’s claw delivered a statistically significant benefit in pain control over placebo."

Woofs, Purrs, Neighs and Hugs,
The Poupounette Gang

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

Howdy Woos. Well mates, if only our mums could get together for a cuppa and a hug. We still keep paws crossed for Ciara that the SM goes away for good. Our thoughts on Phantom is that he needs the comfort in his old age. We are all sending you a great big hug (so you can share with all the family). Take care mates. We're here for you.
No worries, and LOVE, Stella and Rory

Molly The Wally said...

Our hearts are aching for you. I think putting Clara on the study is a brilliant idea. We know she will get the best possible care and such scrutiny will help decide the best course of action. Re Phantom if it was Pip we would go for comfort every time. However we know you are between a rock and a hard place with that one. I am so sorry things are not good. Rest assured both you and your babies are in our thoughts and prayers.
You know where we are if you need us.
Best wishes Molly

Priscilla Phang said...

So sorry that 2014 didn't give you a good start and my heart goes to you and your furbabies! I'm glad that Ciara is under some good hands and hopefully they can find the most suitable meds for her as soon as possible. Making decisions for Phantom is hard but whatever decision you've made, it's the best decision for him because you know him the best and he deserves the best. Our fingers and paws are all crossed tightly for Ciara and Phantom. All of you are always in our thoughts and prayers.


Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

Putting Ciara into the study is wonderful. THAT will help HER and OTHERS.
We see that you got a lot of very good and helpful advice. Blogville at its best.
Our paws are crossed for ALL of you.

Anonymous said...

I hope the neurologist can help Ciara and the study will help to find a cure for your sweet Princess and all doggies who have to bear that seizures. I cross my paws for you all the whole time.

Jenna,Mark Drady said...

Oh we've been thinking about you all
Wondering how things are going...
Not so good apparently.
I wish there was something I could do to help. My thoughts are with you though.
And as far as whether or not to take the meds away....I think at 15 my choice would be to make sure phantom stays as comfy as possible providing there is no other medication that would be a better fit for him.
(Keep in mind I have no experience with these things with my girls yet)
And pretty girl Ciara, I'm so glad she will be involved in a study like that I truly hope that helps.
My prayers are with all of you.
((Husky hugz))
"Love is being owned by a husky"

Marg said...

Oh we are so sorry to hear all this news.Ciara, we know they will figure out something to help you. Glad you are in a study to figure out what to do. But it makes us sad that you don't feel well.
Phantom, we just have to vote to keep on with the pain medicine. Quality of life is soooooooooooo important. It sounds like you have gotten some good suggestions for some alternates. Any way, we are sure sending tons of purrs to both Ciara and Phantom. And the donkeys sure are crossing their hooves for you. Poor Lightning, you must wonder what is going on.
Thanks for the update. Take care.

Rebekah said...

Thinking of you...thats all so rough.

Honestly, at 15, I'd be more worried about his comfort than anything else.

Dip-Dip and the Bridge said...

Oh that's terrible, we are sending prayers and crossed paws that the vet can fix you both up :)
Dip and Elliot x

The Furries of Whisppy said...

I have always believed in quality over quantity. Even if you know the *right* answer for Phantom, it still isn't an easy decision to make. I am hoping there is some form of liver support supplement that can help bring down the numbers.

As for Ciara, I truly hope the seizures can be managed because as you mentioned, she is very young and should be living life to the fullest.

We will keep your family in our prayers for things to get better soon. We wish you could fit in our tunnel so you could teleport over for some playtime, Lightning!

Stewey said...

Oh my - this is so heartbreaking.
I'm glad that Ciara will have neurological monitoring, though.
As for Phantom, I think that quality of life is what matters most. I have my paws crossed for all of you.
Gentle hugs,

24 Paws of Love said...

So scary and heartbreaking, especially after just losing Thunder. I can't imagine the things that must be going through your mind. We will be thinking of you and know that you are in our prayers.

Take care of yourself.

Madi and Mom said...

Oh my precious Woos. We are sorry to read Ciara is still having problems but we agree with you peeps
decision to put her in the trial. She will surely be monitored well.

Mom is a firm believer in the quality of life Phantom has. Most important at his age to be comfortable and pain free. They joy he has being pain free is most important.

Lightning sweetie you are brave to go out alone and play but we are sure before long Ciara will be bouncing around with you.

Mom and I send you lots of love and we are glad you have such wise and loving peeps.

Hugs madi your bfff

scotsmad said...

That is a bummer of a start to the new year. We think at 15, maybe he just needs to ENJOY life (and have more fish treats). A worrying time for you. We'll keep our paws crossed for all of you.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Dory and the Mama said...

We hope that 2014 gets better for you all. We are sending the PoP and many prayers your way!

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

I can so understand why you are feeling it hard to be up with so much going on. I so hope the program helps Ciara as she is as you say so young. Phantom I think would much rather be free from the pain and at 15 that must be the best deal. It is so very hard and the heartbreak must be so strong. I have you in my thoughts and send love xx

Cocoa and Melon said...

Dearest Momster and her Woos, thankyou for the update. We have been checking every day for news of sweet Ciara. We are glad to hear that you have a neurologist on hand and she may be able to be part of a study. Try to remember that even though it's a unfortunate situation for poor Ciara it sounds like she is in good hands for getting whatever medical help we can give her.
We are also sorry to hear of Phantom's issues - Melon thinks of him often because we know he is a senior guy now. We know you will make the right decision for Phantom because you know him best so whichever decision you make for him is the right one. Actually we are trailing some painkillers for Coke at the moment for mobility issues as well, funnily enough we couldn't find any arthritis on his x-Ray though.
Cocoa sends some wheeks and Melon sends some scritches to Lightning. And of course as always hugs to the Momster.
Oh and Melon totally understands about struggling to be "up". You will get there, and there will be many understanding people who will support you along the way.
Take care.
Melon and Cocoa

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

We are so sorry to hear of all the turmoil in Woo land.

We are sending healing purrs and hope an answer can be found for Sweet Ciara.

We knows you will make the right choice for Phantom. We are so sad the pain medication is throwing his liver out of whack. <3 U Phantom, an a extra large dose of healing purrs for you.

Lightening Fenris would love to play with you. We so wish you lived closer so he could visit with you in the furs.

Clive said...

Goodness, we are so sorry to hear that all is not well with the Woos! Poor Ciara and poor Phantom.

Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.

Big 'virtual' hugs from all the gang here in Ireland ....

- Clive & Murray

Arno Vom Altvilstal said...

My dear friends,
you are going through very hard times and we are very concerned about Ciara and Phantom! We wish you all the best and keep thinking of you all!

Sagira said...

I am so sorry that 2014 hasn't been very kind to you. Your family is way to sweet to not deseve the best. We are keeping sweet Ciara in our thoughts. As for Phantom our thoughts are to leave him pain free and mobile. You are blessed with each day you have him. That is how we feel with Starr, she is 13.5 and now and we feel so lucky each day we have her. Have you tried any laser therapy by chance? Some people around our town are doing that on their older dogs and it seems to be helping them out. Just a suggestion that you might want to look into. Lots of love and hugs from my crew to yours.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

hello woos its dennis the vizsla dog hay i am sorry that too thowsand forteen is shayping up this way so far!!! we ar all sending tail wags yore way for phantom and ciara and tucker is sending ekstra ekstra tail wags frum wun fifteen yeer old to another for phantom!!!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

hello woos its dennis the vizsla dog hay by the way i askd mama wot she givs or yoozd to giv tucker for his liver and this is wot she sed!!! "Milk thistle and sam-e both help the liver to function better and many people have good luck with it reducing the liver enzymes. It worked well for Tuck when his GI was able to handle things better. Denamarin is a combo product."

Brian said...

Dang, come on 2014, be nice to this wonderful bunch.

chicamom85 said...

Mommy is praying for all of you and I am keeping paws crossed. I hope Ciara feels her self soon. Lightning I would love to come over and play with you!

Mommy has a very special love of Phantom and it is such a hard decision but we know you will make the right choice for him.

We love you and magic bubbles are on their way.

Loveys Sasha

sprinkles said...

Not that my opinion really means much, but I always think of quality over quantity when it comes to a pet's life. But yeah, I'm not sure what I'd do in your situation. It's a hard one to be sure.

Phantom has always been my favorite out of your group of dogs. Now Ciara has a little bigger place in my heart now. I really hope this study will help her and they'll be able to find something to make her feel better. She's so young still.

Y'all are in my prayers still.

YD, sometimes with ♥June and ♥Angel Samantha said...

Oh my OP Pack friends, we just want to go over there and give you all a big long is unfair sometimes but we must make the best of it. As you already know we are in a worrying stage here as well. We will keep thinking positive and we will keep you all in our thoughts. We will also keep you posted as soon as we hear back about the bloodwork.

Hugs to all,

June & mom.

Casey said...

It's a hard decision, but Momma said that now Cinderella is so old, her FURST concern is with her comfort. Momma won't have her in pain fur anything. If the medicine makes Ella more comfy but has long-term side-effects, we'll go with the medicine. Momma says Ella's earned the right to comfort.

Furry Bottoms said...

As for phantom, I would say comfort would be the best bet. Since he is 15, nearing the end of his life, he should be comfortable and all that? That's just my thought. As for Ciara, that is a difficult call. I think Lightning and Buddy need to get together and have a play date.

Jake of Florida said...

I have no good new advice, but I too would go for quality over quantity.

It's heartbreaking to think of the uncertainty you are facing regarding Ciara's condition, and Lightning;s missing his playmate, and Phantom's uncertain blood results.

The best we can do, Just Harry and I, is to send you love and wirey kisses and tell you we are thinking about you and hoping some things will turn up rather than down!

Joan and JH

Mollie said...

Our hearts and love go out to you. Paws are all crossed that things get better, such a worrying time for you all xxxxooxxxxx

Mollie and Alfie

Mrs. JP said...

oh, what a hard time you are having! you alone know your dogs and no one else. I will be praying for you to be lead to know what to do in each situation. love from the holler...

Furry Bottoms said...

Ive already stopped by and commented here earlier, but I have been constantly thinking about you and your pack all day. I just wanted to send you hugs and give the furry pals a woof hello. Sometimes some things just stick in your head all day. You were on my mind today.

Katz Tales said...

Oh how awful! We're purring that things turn around for you this week.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Keeping your pack in our prayers! I so hope the study will help Ciara! As for Mr. Phantom... I say comfort!
Poor Lightning... he needs a playmate! Any doggie daycare near you???

Hoping all the Woos feel better soon!!!

Misaki @ misadventuresofMisaki said...

hugs to you all xxxx

Soggibottom said...

Oh 'er guys, I haven't been around much and so much to catch up on.
Amie also took meds for her arthritis, it gave her pain relief and us another year and a half of treasured memories with our beloved dog. In the end, it was her heart that gave out, but we wouldn't have stopped giving her her pain relief for her arthritis. All good thoughts for you all guys, lots and lots of love. x x x

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Hi my friends,, just checking in on you---
we care about all of you

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

Tell momster there is no need to be "up." We understand and all want to share your journey no matter where it leads, because that is what we do in this Blog family.

Our beloved Dr. Julia advised us when we worried about Quinn and the amount of liver effecting meds he was consider the quality of life and what would happen if he were taken off. As a senior, pain management is foremost she advised. And you are right to not rush to Pheno for your beautiful girl.

Feel us beside you, in support and love...and here for the long haul. Strength to mom.

Dexter said...

A lot going on. Pain free Phantom is the way to go with that one, right?

I hope that Ciara can get relief from her seizures, and contribute to the body of knowledge about doggie seizures at the same time.

Sending hugs.

Mango Momma

Duncan said...

I am so sorry we didn't see this post sooner. We're keeping you in our thoughts!

FiveSibesMom said...

I am truly sorry you have so much weighing on have had so much to deal with this past year. Please keep me posted on how Ciara is fairing...and if she gets into the trials...I am just an Email or phone call away! I have not read other responses, but in my honest opinion I would at 15 think of Phantom's over all comfort. It's never easy when we realize their age, but I think comfort would outweigh the meds so he can enjoy himself with less pain. You know how much I believe in holistic supplements, but sometimes they are just not enough. I'm going through that right now with Gibson and Wolf, and I see the difference the added meds make. They are still young, so weaning them off and watching how they react will be the big test, and with Gibson already have the Pheno & Potassium Bromide I have to counteract his liver with Milk Thistle, it does concern me. But in my heart, comfort is the key, the best way we can give it to them. I am sending you big, big hugs...and as a good friend just recently said to may be travelling through a (long) dark tunnel...but we do get through it and there is light at our destination. Keeping you and the beautiful OP Pack in my thoughts and prayers. I'm going to share Ciara's post on my FiveSibes page and have a #pawcircle of healing and hope started for her. I know with my boys, the support of others really means so much to me and I believe they can feel all the love.

Momo and Pinot said...

2014 has to treat everyone much better. So sorry for your health issues. Let us send vibes to your family.

Momo & Pinot xo

Kari in Alaska said...

I hope 2014 gets better

Stop on by for a visit

Stewey said...

Just stopping by again to say we miss you all and are still sending lots of warm, healing vibes your way ~
Stewey and his mom

Taffy said...

I've been thinking of you guys even though I haven't been around much. That picture where Phantom can't keep his legs up is a great one. He looks so happy in that pic. Please let me know if there is anything you need help with. I think you have my email address.
Hugs and Love,
Teresa and Taffy

Anonymous said...

I have been reading backwards to learn about Ciara. Glad she might be in the study. Such a worry. I watch for your posts all the time and now Mom is back, we can be more timely. paw hugs and arwwoooo, Savannah