Probiotic Mission

Somehow, I was lucky enough to pick out a puppy that seems to be as sick as me (I have Lupus). She is constantly getting smelly ear infections, which I admit is partially my fault for not always being diligent and cleaning them. About every three to six months she has a “sick day” which entails her vomiting and not being able to keep anything down. So I am on a mission to find a probiotic that will help her with these issues. I hope to find a “cure-all” but know that idea is far-fetched.

My first product to test was Probiotic Miracle by Nusentia (www.nusentia.com) which starts at $25.99. They have the “Miracle Pack” which contains Enzyme Miracle and Probiotic Miracle. I didn’t want to spend a lot to find out both products don’t work so I just bought the one. I didn’t notice much of a difference when she was on this except that maybe she passed less gas. Not quite what I am looking for, but it is nice that I don’t have to smell those noxious fumes as often as I used to!

Every day I would place two little scoops on her food. At first, she wasn’t too excited about the taste; she would try to eat around the little area where I put the probiotics. After a while, she didn’t seem to notice and would lick her bowl clean.

On the nutrition label it reads that this product is a blend of:
• Bifidobacterium animalis is a fancy name for bacteria which can be found in the large intestine of you and me, or any other mammal.

• Lactobacillus acidophilus is found in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract or vagina of a mammal and is killed if taken by an oral antibiotic. This strain can improve bowel regularity and can prevent diarrhea.

• Lactobacillus rhamnosus resides in the digestive tract and produces lactic acid.

• Lactobacillus fermentum can be found in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. It may prevent and treat certain health problems, such as allergies or bowel disease.

• Lactobacillus reuteri is found in the gut and helps fight off other harmful organisms and hold off the growth of E. coli.

• Lactobacillus salivarius is a strain of bacteria that produces toxic enzymes for unwanted bacteria and is a benefit to dental health as well as gut health. “Animal testing confirmed that Lactobacillus salivarius improves the immune system response to simulated colitis and also septic shock.” (source: http://www.probiotic.org )

• Inulin (probiotic) is mostly used in processed foods to replace fat or sugar. It also increases calcium absorption and is considered a form of soluble (dissolvable if in a liquid) fiber.
I only have a couple of scoops left before I start a different product. Another blog will be in the works for that…

Source for probiotic information: http://www.wikipedia.org

Do you have a case of a “dripping/leaking” dog?

I often take my dog, Storm, into doggie daycare at Mini Critters to help get rid of her never ending energy. They are just wonderful with her and I am pleased with their service. I pick Storm up and she comes out with red eyes on her sleepy face. I tell her to jump into my CR-V and she looks at me with her eyes asking if she really has to. She eventually looks at the seat and estimates how much energy she will have to exert to be there and then jumps in.

Every day that Storm goes into daycare, she has a report card with her when being picked up. It often lists who she played with and anything special that day.

I started to receive report cards with comments such as, “Storm is leaking… Storm is dripping…” I called my vet’s office regarding this and they mentioned that she probably has to go the bathroom but is having so much fun that she wont take the time to hurry and squat. It seemed like a rational answer so I disregarded Storm’s “leaking” issues.

Not too long after I called my vet’s office, Storm started to get “dripping” comments again. The daycare mentioned that they had become worried about her and had to follow her around with a mop. They got a hold of me and tried to get me to take her to the vet. They also asked me if I noticed any little, pools of urine under Storm.

I mentioned that nothing seemed to come to mind. I remembered seeing a pool of liquid a couple times but she constantly licks her paw, but I figured it was just slobber.

I decided to take her to the vet for her “dripping” issues. We found out that her pH levels were off (Ok Chemistry geeks—do you remember what pH level is considered neutral?).

We decided to change her food and give her “Uroeze.” Uroeze comes in both powder and tablet form, however the powder seems to work the best. I noticed that it began to work instantly. So, that is something to ponder about if you find yourself with a “dripping/leaking” dog problem.

Doggie Daycare Day

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Today it was the day to volunteer my services at Doggie Daycare. We had a loud, feisty bunch today but it was fun! I wish I could do more, but I hate to set up so much then get sick, only to disappoint them. I actually missed last week’s session due to being sick.  I was sick this time as well but I missed seeing the regular dogs that come in. So I suffered a couple hours to see all those smiling, drooling faces.

There was even a frenchie pup I got to play with! Some of you may not know but I am dying to get one right now. Due to circumstances, that thought is placed on the back burner for now.

A couple pics taken today for your enjoyment 🙂

To That Big Doghouse In The Sky

I look into my parent’s dog’s green gook covered eyes as I spend my last minutes with her. We just found out she has kidney failure and my parents made an appointment for the next day to put her down. She is lying in her little, pet bed in her wire cage, curled up in to a small ball. On her bed are a several different towels since she can’t seem to keep anything down, not even her favorite treats. She is a mere five pounds from the 14 pounds months ago. Not only can you feel her bones, but you can see them by just looking at her. Her bright white, fluffy hair is now greasy and thin. She doesn’t even realize I am there until I touch her. She sits up while her head lightly sways side to side as she doesn’t have the energy or muscle to keep it up.

My thoughts begin to go back ten years ago when we bought her from Mini-Critters. Like all puppies, she was very cute. My stepdad, who is very business -oriented, conservative, anal retentive and never tries to show any weakness, ended up being quite fond of her and soon put her on a pedestal.

He taught her to “hug.” He was so proud of the trick that he had to show everyone that walked through our front door.

“Here, look what she can do,” he began. “Give me a hug, Gee Gee. Hug.”

He would bring her up to his chest, put her paws over his shoulders and then she would lay her head on them. And when she did that, you could hear the guest(s) “coo” and “awe” over her. He also held her on her back, as if he was carrying a baby. She happily agreed to lie there, despite the laughs because she knew it pleased him.

Years passed and she began to show a sign that she was aging: blindness. You couldn’t help but feel bad watching her run into a wall while laughing as you watch it. Or that she would try to hear where your voice was coming from, but would look in the complete opposite direction staring at nothing in front of her. She often fell down the stairs which made it easier for her to decide that she should just lie in her cage all day. If she walked around, she could find her cage by finding the loveseat. Once she found the loveseat, she would walk up and down along it rubbing her face on it followed by licking it. We still couldn’t figure out the licking part.

Not only am I learning unconditional love from my own dog, but it is interesting to see how other people learn as well. Especially people like my stepdad. You don’t plan on having this feeling; it just sneaks up on you. And you find out that no matter how strong you try to be, you have no control of your emotions or tears. Other than the love from my family, I never knew a love like this could exist. And hearing that my stepdad is having a having a difficult time with this, I’m sure he never knew either.

I stroke Gee Gee’s head as I stare into her half closed, cataract eyes, feeling guilty that I ever yelled at her for being naughty. And wishing I could take back the times that I scowled at her for having the last word, err bark, when she heard the front door open/close.

She is too tired to sit anymore and lies back down to curl back in a ball. I hope she does this as a way to let me know that it’s ok and I am forgiven for not realizing how much she meant to me, without me even knowing it.

The Beagle Freedom Project

I’ve heard that some research labs use animals for testing. However, I never really looked further into it because I was ignorant and thought if I don’t hear/learn about it, I dont have to believe it’s actually happening. But something caught my eye when reading one of my most recent dog magazines that made me want to dig deeper. It appears the most popular dog breed used by reseach labs are beagles.

There is a new organization out there that is wanting to help combat this issue. It is called the Beagle Freedom Project (www.beaglefreedomproject.org). Like other rescue groups, they are trying to take the dogs out of their current, horrible conditions and find them a home so they can finally be as they should be…a dog.

On their website, they have all the information you are looking for including current beagles up for adoption. They also list information about certain companies that still test on animals. I am glad I came across this information so I can be more aware of what is going on around me. Please do not be ignorant like I was and learn more by visiting the site.

Here is a clip from their site.

Swallowing My Pride

I have always had a Type A Personality and been a perfectionist. Overachiever? Ha, that is an understatement. Never settling for less? You betcha. I wasn’t going to let being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus get in the way of my goals. However, I soon found every day was hard for me just to live life. I can count on my hand how many times I wasn’t in pain compared to how many days that I was in putting up with my pain. The beginning of this year started my second straight year of having to use FMLA at work due to my lupus. My fatigue and Fibromyalgia seemed to be getting worse and wasn’t showing any signs of letting up.

My friend Britney recommended that I should go on social security but I was too proud. I also didn’t think I should go on disability because I knew there were people worse off than me. I felt guilty just even thinking about going on disability.

I try to read all the different Lupus books because knowledge is power. They generally have the same information but sometimes you can catch something that is different from the other books. I am disappointed that most of the books are informational and there are not many memoirs. I recently came across one that really made me consider applying for social security. Despite Lupus is written by Sara Gorman and I highly suggest the book to any Lupus patient. Not only was it informational but it also gave excellent examples of things she has came across living with Lupus. She has a certain chapter in her book regarding asking for help. I am not one to ask for help but that section helped give me the strength to really consider going on social security.

After 10 painful years, I swallowed my pride and decided that I cannot do it anymore. My doctor and I decided that I should not return back to work. It is really bittersweet. It’s hard to be able to leave my status and income that I worked so hard for. But it is nice to finally be able to take care of my health and my lupus, and not feel stressed or guilty about missing so much work.

And as you are thinking, “Yeah, must be rough not having to work and to do whatever you want!” you can immediately toss that idea out the window. Yes, it is nice not having to work. But most of the time I am too tired to function or I am in so much pain that I physically can’t do anything. Healthy people take for granted what it is like to feel good every day and cannot even come close to comprehending what myself, or another Lupus patient, goes through. I often find myself getting bitter when I explain to someone my situation and they say, “Oh yeah, I understand.” Technically, they don’t. So to all the healthy people out there—if you are talking to someone that has an illness try to use, “That is understandable” instead. This will put the patient more at ease.

Right now my employer’s short term disability insurance is deciding whether or not to accept me. I originally was on short term disability for my gallbladder surgery which then triggered my lupus to go out of control (and still is after almost two months from my surgery). So as of right now, I have no income. It’s something I never thought I would have to go through. I’m glad that I am so anal retentive and that I pay one month’s rent in advance because I don’t know how I would come up with June’s rent.

I once again had to swallow my pride and apply for social security since I don’t have a crystal ball to see if the insurance company will accept me or not. No help from my Magic 8 Ball. I kept turning it over but continuously got the response, “Reply hazy, try again.”

Knowing how the government works, I expected the application portion to be long and tedious. I like it when I am right! Once I finished the application, a two hour phone conversation with someone handling my case followed. She mentioned the “average” waiting time is three to four months. I know someone’s uncle that had to wait six months and someone else that had to wait 18 months before being accepted. So I give it about a year. Word in the doctor’s office is, that the majority of people get denied at first. I don’t plan on being one of the lucky ones getting accepted right away. I’m not looking at it negatively, I am just being realistic. Also, this way my little ego won’t be as bruised.