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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Solsey Pouch renamed to The Luna Bag


As you open today’s OBP news, you may be asking, "Why is Luna in the Solsey pouch?!" Well, it is a long story, so readers, brace yourselves.

This photo was taken on the same day that Benny was in the Solsey Mobile. Last Monday night Benjamin dislocated his shoulder and we went to the emergency vet that night. Well, Tuesday was a pre-planned visit for Luna to go to AVS (Affiliated Veterinary Specialists) in Maitland about 50 miles from our home.


Luna has been in need of what they affectionately call the “nose package” which is the same surgery that Benjamin had done about a year or so ago. It is when they remove some soft tissue from the back of the throat, widen the nasal passages, and remove the air satchels all in the efforts to assist with breathing and respiratory challenges.

Additionally, over the last year, we have been noticing some other small but recently increasing concerns with Luna’s gait. During breaks on walks (like while waiting for her brothers to go potty) she stands still but her rear leg or legs will tremble. She is no longer confident jumping up on the sofa or bed and she has simply just fallen over for no apparent reason twice.

When her legs first started to twitch or shake we didn’t really think much of it. In the beginning, as it would usually happen towards the end of long walks we figured she was just tired (like a marathon runner whose legs are like cooked spaghetti noodles at the end of a race). Since she has to take about 3-4 steps for every human step and a step or 2 for each of her brothers then her pace was always quicker in relation to her body size. Well, when we realized that Luna was hesitant to eat we knew there was a major issue. We sort of put the whole thing together when offering her food closer to her face she would gobble it down as usual. Luna was apparently hurting so badly when bending her neck to get to her food dish that she would just rather not eat than to have to put herself in that position to eat.

So, we took her to our usual vet and he put her on an anti-inflammatory medication in order to see if that would help by reduce any back/neck swelling. It is also a pain reducer (its like doggy Tylenol). This was a 2 week dose. And while it helped some, it did not work considerably well.


Over time, we worked on managing the problem in other ways, too. We created a raised food dish for her so that she doesn’t have to bend over so far to eat. That has seemed to help tremendously in the area of eating. We shortened her walks so that the condition wouldn’t continue to be exacerbated. And when all of these things were not correcting the problem sufficiently, we took her back to our vet who recommended x-rays and warned that while that was a good start, a CT scan and/or MRI would likely be necessary to see what the problem was truly.

So, you can fast forward (or rewind-depending on how you look at it) to Tuesday. Tuesday was the day that she had the appointment with the specialist to decide how to move forward with the nose package and the neck/back issues. The appointment was for 10 AM. This means leaving the house around 8:30 AM (and Luna had to fast for this appointment since at the specialist’s office they never know if they will have to sedate the patients to do testing). So, out we went.

We got to the specialist’s office and the internal medicine doctor consulted with the neurologist. X-rays were performed on a mildly sedated Luna. They showed a "lesion" on her vertebrae in her neck. We were reassured that it was not a tumor or cancer but more like an area of swelling or a slipped disc. In discussing the options for treating Luna, between us, the specialists and our own vet, we are all on the same page with the upcoming events. That is: today, Luna will go under the knife to get her nose package done. While under, they will perform the CT scan. If the CT scan shows something that needs to be surgically repaired, then they will do that surgery tomorrow. The specialists shared that two short episodes of anesthesia is better than one long episode. And hopefully, she will not need the second go ‘round. Hopefully, whatever the CT scan shows will be able to be treated some other way.

So, getting back to why is Luna in the Solsey pouch? Well, the specialists tell us to keep her "on bed rest" for 6 weeks (regardless of surgery or not but if neurosurgery could be even longer). This is no small feat! She is a wiggly, feisty, willful little alpha female pug that won’t be stopped! So, we are doing our darnedest to keep her still. This is why last night we took Benny out in the Solsey Mobile and Luna out in the Solsey pouch. Henry actually had to walk. Benny is on rest until the end of the week and Luna for 6 weeks.

We are definitely not sure how exactly we will accomplish all of this but we will make it work. Somehow we always do. And somehow the pugs always get with the program, too.

So, we will keep you posted with the details of today's surgery and what the C/T scan reveals about Luna's back.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Benny Update: Sorry for the delay in getting a Benny update posted. We took Benny in to see our normal vet today and get another check on his shoulder. The good news is that everything looks good. Our regular vet had a look at Benny's x-rays and said his bones look strong and joints look great. His shoulder popping out of place was more than likely just a fluke.

Other than his trip to the vet, Benny mainly rested. While his shoulder is back in place, he is still very sore. He has a little bit of limp, but mainly he is just tired and groggy. The hardest part for me is seeing his tail uncurled. It just breaks my heart.

For the next 5 days we need to restrict his activity. Which, so far, hasn't been that hard. He has been happy resting on his pile of pillows. Hopefully, tomorrow he will be a bit less sore.

Thanks for all your support! We appreciate all your kind wishes for Benny!

Last night on our walk, Benny dislocated his shoulder. How he did it we are not exactly sure. He was walking out of the grass to the sidewalk and the next thing we know his arm is at a 90 degree angle to his body. He was howling in pain and we got him to the emergency vet as quickly as possible.

When we arrived at the emergency vet, he got a rush of adrenaline and managed to pop his shoulder back in place. This made things better, but he was still pretty uncomfortable. He was pretty restless in the evening as well.

I will keep you updated as best I can.

Friday, March 18, 2011



Luna had an eye checkup yesterday and received a very good report. Her eyes are holding steady, which for Luna is great news. The tear production in her bad eye was even up a bit from her last visit.

Not only did she get a great report, but she was a really good girl at her appointment. She got to meet a few dogs and she was a very good girl while having her eyes examined.

After the long car ride there, the excitement of the visit and then the long car ride back home, as soon as we got home, Luna plopped down in her puff pillow and sawed logs for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Henry’s Checkup


After Benny was done being poked and prodded on the exam table it was Henry's turn. Henry got a little fussy when they were drawing his blood, but other than that he did OK.

My main concern with Henry was his eyes. I have noticed that he is missing a lot of treats when we play our treat toss game. I know that he has the beginnings of cataracts in both of his eyes, but it is extremely early in the process.

The vet took a look and said that it looks like the cataracts are getting a bit bigger, but again it is still early. At this point we should just keep monitoring him to see if we can pick up on any type of vision changes.

Not great news, but it certainly could be worse.

The vet also checked Henry's hips and knee to checkup on his arthritis. Henry has had a bit of arthritis in his hips since he was about a year old. The arthritis has been attributed to his hip dysplasia, but we have done a pretty good job managing it. As he gets older, we do our best to keep an eye on it because the problem is certainly not going to get better as Henry ages. The arthritis might be a tad worse than last year, but all in all Henry is doing great in that department. Henry was also down a pound which I was thrilled about. Keeping Henry at a healthy weight is pretty much the only thing we can do to help his hips and arthritis.

Another small item on Henry's list was his dry nose. Henry's nose has gotten to be extremely dry and cracked. I wasn't sure if this was a sign of some other problem, so I jotted it down on my list of things to ask the vet. The vet said that all is well and that a dry nose is just a part of aging. He gave me a gel to put on his nose to help put a little moisture back into his nose and by golly does that stuff work. Henry is almost back to his puppy nose!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Benny’s Checkup


At his checkup last Friday, we found out that Benny has an ear infection in his left ear. Since Benny just started shaking his head a few days before, I was expecting the diagnosis. The infection isn't too serious, so we have to flush and add some drops to his ears for the next 10 days. He is handling his new morning ear routine better than I expected so that is making things a lot easier.

Our other chief concern was his hiatal hernia which makes him have a little coughing episode anywhere from 3 to 6 times a day. We were prescribed a new medicine that works great in some dogs and not at all in others. We are trying it out for the next month to see what kind of effect it has on Benny. The first two days he was on it, he had no coughing episodes, which had me on cloud 9. However, since then he has had at least one coughing episode per day. So, they are less, but not completely gone. But, I'm not sure if we will keep him on the medicine because the main side effect is jitteriness. Benjamin is naturally hyper enough, so once the medicine got into his system he was bouncing off the walls. Although, he seems to have calmed down a bit the last few days.

With the two big items out of the way, Benny got his shots and the rest of his exam. The scar on his chest from his mast cell removal has healed wonderfully. Other than his teeth, he got a good report. His teeth don't need a cleaning now, but probably will in about 6 months. As much as we try to brush his teeth, he still needs to get cleanings. The vet attributes this to the arrangement of his teeth in his mouth. His teeth are packed in there which makes it very hard to get them cleaned. Henry is on the same tooth brushing routine as Benny and he got a stellar report on his teeth.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Benjamin and Henry

On Friday, the boys had an appointment for their annual checkups. It was actually pretty good timing because the day we made the appointment, Benjamin started shaking his head. It didn't take us long to figure out that something was up with his left ear. So, I added Benjamin's ear to the list of things to discuss with the vet.

Overall, the visit went well. I will give the specifics for each one of the boys later in the week. Each has little things that are common for their age that we will need to keep an eye on, but to summarize we have two 8 1/2 year old pugs that are "looking good". The thing I can't believe is that the boys are 8 1/2 years old.

Friday, September 18, 2009



Sol continues to do well. She slept most of Thursday, which was to be expected. Her appetite is back in full swing which is always a good sign. The biggest problem we are having is that the little bugger can a find a pill in pretty much anything.

For the curious, here is a picture of Sol's incision on her belly that I took the night of her surgery day. If you are squeamish or you happen to be eating breakfast feel free to skip right over that link.

The 2010 calendar submissions came to a quiet close earlier in the month. We received over 1,250 amazing pug photos! I was happily surprised. A huge thank you to all that submitted pictures.

I have been hard at work on the calendar whenever I have a moment of downtime. I am hoping to send it off to the printer by the middle of next week, which would keep things on track for an early October release date.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! You all deserve it! I'm sure everyone is tired after sending all those well wishes to Solsey Baby.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


As you may have read earlier, Sol went in Monday for what we believe to have been her first dental cleaning.  She also had the growth removed from her eye.  Additionally, she had a skin tag removed from her knee.  We were prepared for all of the little “extras” of the procedure.  However, we were somewhat surprised to learn that the vet discovered a tumor in her mouth during the routine dental procedure.  They removed the top piece of what they described as a “wart”.  Since this oral growth was of particular concern, a biopsy was performed.  The eye growth and the knee growth were not bothersome to the vet and those did not warrant a biopsy.  The vet tech described that these types of mouth warts are common in dogs and that while they can be cancerous, they generally are no big deal.  She told us to expect the results within 7-14 days.  Waiting a week to two weeks seemed like an eternity until today.  The results came quickly.  I would have waited the 2 weeks to find out this news because unfortunately, the results were not good.  It is Pappillary (verrucous) Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  Cancer. 

The good news is that it is considered a low grade malignancy.  While the vet referred us to a specialist, they mentioned a couple of options.  These were aggressive vs. non-aggressive treatments.

The aggressive would be to remove the tooth in front and behind the tumor and the entire tumor which would likely include a significant piece of the mandibular (jaw) tissue.  The “problem” with this is that this type of cancer will reoccur and even if we took care of it, it would come back.

The non-aggressive treatment would be to simply monitor her bloodwork every 6 months to see how her lymph nodes are functioning and perhaps the cancer is such a slow growing variety coupled with the fact that she is already 12 years old she would not really be affected for the rest of her relatively short remaining life expectancy.  The “problem” with this solution is that we feel like we are “doing nothing” because we would be doing next to nothing.

We will of course consult with the specialist and determine which treatment plan to follow.  The specialist is “conveniently” located adjacent to Luna’s eye vet.  So, at least we are familiar with the area and while it is not “close” (about 50 miles away) we are due to bring Luna, Sol & Henry to the eye doctor soon.  We’ll just double up the appointments on the same day.

There is a particularly sad irony to all of this.  It has been barely a year since Sol’s Grammy here in Florida was also diagnosed with oral cancer, received major surgery, had radiation and is just beginning to feel the benefits of being on the road to recovery.  As I sit here I am still in somewhat of a denial filled fog.  I just have to ask, “what are the odds that your mother and your dog both are diagnosed with oral cancer within a year’s time?”  The quick response to that when asked aloud was, “well, obviously better than winning the lottery”.  Too true. 

Needless to say, there were some tears shed in the OBP household tonight.  Between reflecting on the last year dealing with human cancer and imagining the upcoming year dealing with puggy cancer, the emotions got the better of us.  Albeit temporarily.  We have hope for a positive outcome.  We will grab that cancer bull by the horns and fix poor little Sol as best we can.  She made it our way for a reason.  The reason now is crystal clear.  We are here for her.  She has a forever home filled with love and support.

For the curious, here is a picture of Sol’s tumor.  They took it while she was under for her dental.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Pearly Whites?

Well, as promised, here is the follow up to Luna’s day at the dentist last week.  I have been putting off writing this post because things did not go quite as expected on her teeth cleaning day. We knew her teeth were not in super shape as she did suffer from doggy halitosis or as we call here in the OBP household “stink breath”.  When we got Luna her breath was terrible, but that was mainly due to other medical concerns.  Well, this time, her breath was awful because her teeth were terrible.  We just didn’t know how bad it really was. 

She has severe periodontal disease.  She lost a total of 4 teeth in the process of her teeth cleaning, one of which just fell out during the procedure and the other 3 were extracted.  She lost one around the house last week, too.  So, she is down 5 teeth this week.  This has been a mortifying experience for us and a painful one for her.  We don’t get around to brushing the pugs’ teeth each day.  However, we usually work in a brushing at least once a month and during the brushing Luna is by far the worst in terms of cooperation.  Plus, her mouth is tiny which gives us almost no room to work.  So, I guess you can say we aren’t very diligent about brushing their teeth.  The boys have had this type of teeth brushing routine their whole life and we had never experienced anything like this before with the boys.  Henry’s teeth are actually pretty good while Benny’s are a little worse, but apparently nowhere near as bad as Luna’s. 

The only real saving grace in all of this was that the vet said that there was no way for us to tell just how bad her teeth were until she was under sedation.  When you look at her teeth, from above the gumline, they look alright.  The vet saved her teeth and we have them here now.  She showed how terrible and decayed they were under the gumline.  She did say that her past life history plays a contributing role and that Luna’s tiny mouth of course play a part, but it definitely makes us feel like bad pug parents when we have our little girl in for routine care and when she comes out we have this overwhelming feeling that we have been neglecting her.  It is just so disheartening.

We knew when we rescued her that we would be giving a spoiled forever home but feeling like we dropped the ball on her dental care is just devastating for us.  We feel like we let her down.  Our goal was to have her be just as healthy as the boys once we “got her up to speed” and we felt like we had finally done that once we got her on a good diet, found a specialist for her eye care and got her eye medications regulated.

The silver lining around this gray cloud is that we are more aware than ever as to what we have to do to be sure that Luna keeps her teeth.  (We will of course do the same for the boys and Cupid, too.)  We have always known that poor dental health leads to other medical issues,but somewhere we got side tracked and we are ready to get back on track.  It is even more important in pugs to maintain teeth brushing and dental care because their teeth are such a jumble in their crowded little pug palate. 

So, we took a couple of days to have a pity party for Luna and kick ourselves a little bit, but now we are ready to get serious about good dental health.  We can’t get back her lost teeth, but we certainly can keep her other teeth in tip top shape.

Here is a picture of the teeth that Luna had extracted.  The points on top of the teeth are below the gum line, and as you can see, the area that was actually below the gum line show the most signs of decay.

Luna's teeth

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Caption This #28

Luna at the eye doctor's office

Here we have little Luna at the eye doctor’s office waiting for the doc.  She doesn’t know it, but she is standing on top a treat goldmine!

Luna does very good at the eye doctor’s, but if she had her choice, she would prefer if I took her to a more fun place.

Looking forward to your captions in the comments!

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