Thursday, September 29, 2011

Companionship, Class, and Bug-date

Zeek & Zoe

First the great news, the g-pigs are getting along famously. The change in Zeek is dramatic, to say the least. He was a pig that was practically “nose to the corner” (i.e. g-pig slang for giving up/dying) and how he has a new lease on life. I find myself watching the two of the eat hay! And when I hear purring or wheeking my heart swells.

Zoe was a bit shell-shocked the first day or two, but she has started to come out of her shell. She still does not really trust me, but she does now bolt out to eat when I put new hay or pellets in their cage (versus hiding until I leave). I have also spotted her trying the vegetables. My g-pigs have always loved veggies (spring mix, carrots, bell pepper, parsley, watermelon, and the list goes on). Zoe never had any of those items so there are a lot of new experiences going on at once for her. I think one of the reasons she is so overweight is because she ate primarily a pellet diet. Ideally pigs should eat hay as their primary food with 2 cups of veggies a day. A tablespoon of pellets is okay every other day as a treat, but not as the primary diet. I should weigh her because I suspect she will lose weight with me.

This experience with Zeek really illustrates to me how much animals NEED companionship. Had I not gotten Zoe I have no doubt Zeek would have died or been euthanized. What planted the seed of pursuing a companion g-pig for Zeek was a piece I heard on The World on NPR last week on guinea pigs in Switzerland. In Switzerland you can not own a single pig. It is illegal. There is a woman there who raises g-pigs, and she rents our g-pigs to people who have lost a pig and need a companion for it. I know a friend of mine, who is the Assistant Director of a ferret rescue, said they do the same thing (well, they lend them out – not rent them out) because they find ferrets grieve quite deeply for their companions.

Ikey P.

Ike had agility class on Tuesday night. He still needs to be adjusted in stride and his a-frame was a bit off, I think as a result. He was not quite jumping off early, but his stride was off coming off the a-frame and it did not look comfortable to my trainer. Other than that he had a nice class. It was dark out, the outdoor lights were on, and he was still willing to go in the navy tunnel. Yes! Finally tunnels are becoming more rewarding.

He also interacted with a 4 month old poodle and it was a positive interaction! Ike has always disliked puppies. However, since Hush stayed with us and he discovered she was just annoying and desperately wanted him to love her….ta-da! He is not longer so bothered by puppies. There was also a 9 week old Belgian Terv there and Ike didn’t even blink at his presence. This attitude about puppies is new and I certainly hope it stays.


Bug is scheduled to have a Bile Acid Test (BAT) on Saturday. Bug will be fasted (12 hours), have blood drawn; be fed a fatty meal, have blood drawn again. The whole process is scheduled to take 2 hours. I am unsure if the test will be processed in house or if I will be waiting for the results. The vet will look at the bile acid levels to see if the liver is processing the meal correctly.  From my conversation with the vet, and research, this is a common step in ascertaining whether the liver is functioning properly.

Here is a blog post I found called Demystifying the Bile Acid Test

If the BAT comes back high the vet suggested the next step might be a liver biopsy. In talking to some friends/acquaintances who’s dogs have liver issues (all diagnosed at different ages [5, 4, and 10] with different symptoms) their path seemed to be CBC, BAT, then ultrasound. We did CBC, ultrasound, and soon to be followed by the BAT. In some ways I suppose it would have been easier if the ultrasound showed a shunt. All three of my friends’ dogs had developed shunts that were immediately apparent with the ultrasound. The great news is the ultrasound did NOT show any growths! All the organ structures were “unremarkable.

I have decided to suspend Rally lessons with Bug until we figure out what is going on. His stamina seems impacted by whatever is going on and he isn’t 100%.  I am tired, distracted, and not devoting enough time to training.


Diana said...

That's so wonderful about the g-pigs!!

Kathy said...

So glad for the guiney pigs it seems it turned out a win/win for all animals. I had read that about Switzerland, wasnt there a pretty big list of animals that are not allowed to be purchased without having a companion?
I hope Bugs energy is back to 100% really soon ;-)