April to June 2011

Life with Riley
  The Diary of a Spanish Water Dog

Friday 1 April 2011


Riley is the pin up in the Spanish Water Dog Club calendar for April 2011.


Saturday 2 April 2011

Riley is 17 months old today.


Sunday 3 April 2011


Today we headed down to Burnham-on-Sea and the home of Gran Reserva for a Treasure Hunt on the beach.  Riley had been practising holding her cutlass whilst wearing her pirate hat - which of course she then refused to do on the day...


We were very lucky with the weather, with the rain holding off until we were within a few feet of our car.  This was followed by lunch and prizes for those finding the buried treasure - Riley won a  hand-made fabric ball (made by Tanya's mother) which had been constructed and stitched in such a way that it created lots of holes where you could hide treats.  A small piece of sausage hidden in one of the holes can keep Riley amused for about 20 minutes trying to find it.


We then drove to my brother's house which was nearby, to see their latest addition - a second Tibetan Terrier puppy called Polly.   Jayne


Sunday 10 April 2011


An excellent gundog training day with the Spanish Water Dog Club up at Wymeswold.


We had finally found time in the previous week to start teaching Riley using a whistle.  It took two evenings, each of 10 minutes, for her to understand come and sit using the whistle.   Jayne


Thursday 14 April 2011


Today Riley had her third ever haircut.  This time Mike did it under Di's supervision/tuition having bought the clippers when we went to Crufts.    Jayne


Friday 15 April 2011


I finished work at lunch-time, and we headed down to a cottage (which was an old dairy) that we had rented on Dartmoor for a long weekend.  Mike had bought me a seafood cookery course for Christmas, and we had booked it for the Saturday and Sunday, with Mike and Riley intending to explore the surrounding area whilst I was there.  I had also booked Monday off, so we didn't have to rush back home after my course finished.


We stopped off at Weston-super-Mare on the way down so that Riley could have a run along the beach.


When we arrived, Riley discovered that David and Mary, the owners of the cottage (who live across from the old dairy), had a very friendly spaniel called Fudge that she could play with.   Jayne


Saturday 16 April 2011


Up early to get to my course.  Riley seemed a little quieter than usual but no real cause for concern.  Mike took her for a walk during the day, and thought she seemed a bit lethargic.  She was quiet during the evening, and when we put her in her crate, she settled down with her favourite blanket on her in case she was cold after her recent haircut.   Jayne 


Sunday 17 April 2011


Usually as soon as Riley thinks we are awake in the morning, we hear her shake and yawn loudly, followed by the occasional whine as she waits to be let out of her cage.  Today there wasn't a sound when Mike got up.  When I went into the adjoining room where her crate was, she was still lying down in her cage with the blanket still on her - she hadn't moved all night.


Mike called the emergency number for the vet in Bovey Tracey and arranged to take her in for 9.30 am having dropped me off at my course on the way.  We carried her into the car still inside her cage.


The vet carried out blood tests, which showed that she was severely anaemic, with a very low red blood cell count (10.9% where normal is 37 to 55) and a very high white cell count.


She was given an antibiotic injection and a steroid injection, and Mike was allowed to take her back to the cottage, with instructions to take her back the next day (or before if she got worse).  Her weight was 16.0 kg.


Mike left David and Mary looking after Riley when he came to collect me after my course finished.  Riley stood up in her cage when she saw me, and I opened the door.  She took a couple of steps, barked once at Fudge and then passed out.  Although she soon came around, she would then stand or sit totally immobile with a vacant look in her eyes.  Eventually (with our assistance) she did relax a little and went to sleep.


When I opened up a container with crab soup in that I had made, she woke up and padded across the floor to me.  As it was all natural with no added salt at that stage, I put some in a dish for her, which she ate.  That was the first time she had eaten that day.  After that she perked up a bit and was walking around.


As we had intended to eat out every night, we had only brought food for breakfast.  David and Mary offered to look after her whilst we went to the nearby pub for dinner.  When we got back, we found she had been eating Fudge's food and bits of chicken that they had given her and seemed much improved.   Jayne


Monday 18 April 2011


In the morning she was back to how she had been on Sunday morning.  We called the vet and were dressed, packed and on our way to Bovey Tracey straight away.


Riley stayed with them until just after lunch.  They carried out further blood tests and blood typing.  Whilst they were waiting for the results (which they were going to fax to our vets) we collected Riley and drove back up to Malvern to our vets (who were organising a blood donor).


Riley had a blood transfusion during the evening.


Her red blood cell count before the blood transfusion was 9.9%.   Jayne


Tuesday 19 April 2011


The vet thought that Riley would be able to come home tonight for an overnight visit, going back in for more tests on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, when she saw Mike, she got excited and passed out.  They had to carry back to her cage and give her oxygen.   Jayne


Wednesday 20 April 2011


She is still not well enough to come home, but is eating and has been outside with the nurse.  Her red blood cell count is now 16.4%.   Jayne


Thursday 21 April 2011


I was hoping to bring her home today, but they are still concerned that she isn't strong enough yet to cope with the excitement of seeing us.  It is so quiet at home without her.   Jayne


Friday 22 April 2011


Riley is still not well enough to come home yet.  She has had more blood tests today and her red blood cell count is improving slowly and is now 17.1%.  Her gums are still very pale, but the vets think there is a hint of pink.


She is eating and going outside for little walks with the nurse, but her temperature has increased slightly (which they are treating).


As they are worried about her getting excited and passing out again, I can't even visit her.  I am off work now until 4 May, so can spend plenty of time with her once she can come home.   Jayne


Saturday 23 April 2011


Riley has to stay in for at least a few more days.  There is a little colour in her gums, but even going outside with the nurse is hard work for her, and therefore getting excited by seeing us (even for a visit) is too risky at the moment. 


The diagnosis appears to be auto-immune haemolytic anaemia.  She is now being given the immuno-suppressive drug azathiophrine in addition to prednisolone, together with two different antibiotics.   Jayne


Sunday 24 April 2011


I am told that Riley is much livelier today and keen to get out the cage she is in at the vets.  If the blood tests show an increase in her red blood cells tomorrow, then there is a good chance that we may be able to bring her home.


I still wasn't able to visit her, but I did drop off three of her favourite toys.   Jayne


Monday 25 April 2011


The call I have been waiting for - Riley can come come.  Mike arrived back from Belgium this evening as well, so the house is full again.


Her red blood cell count was up to 21.5% ... and as she was feeling better she had started to get a little boisterous, and was barking at them to let her out of the cage.


She is being kept on the same drugs until they see her again on Wednesday, as with the excitement of coming home, they didn't want change her medication as well.  No walks, only short visits out into the garden ... which are fairly frequent as the steroids make her drink a lot.  They also make her hungry, but she will only be having her normal food allowance (which needs to have a protein content of at least 25%).


The hard part will be keeping her relatively quiet, as when she wakes up from a short nap she wants to play.  She is visibly weaker though, and it doesn't take much to tire her out.   Jayne


Wednesday 27 April 2011


Riley has been back to the vets, and her red blood cell count is now 29.6%.


She is much more energetic (in between sleeping), and because of the steroids she is continually looking for food.  She is still not well enough to go for walks, but we can't take her out anyway, as she is at risk from infections due to the steroids suppressing her immune system.  Her prednisolone has been reduced slightly, with the azathioprine staying the same.


We are keeping her distracted with some training ... which is going very well as she has worked out that obedience training means treats.   Mike


Monday 2 May 2011


Riley is 18 months old today. 


Tuesday 3 May 2011


Back to the vets for another check up.


Riley's red blood cell count is now 32.3%.  Both the prednisolone and azathioprine have been reduced, though she remains on those and the antibiotic Noroclav, which still make her very thirsty and hungry, and she is not allowed out at all.  When she's not sleeping, we are trying to put her hunger to good use, and keep her occupied, by more clicker training!


Wednesday 11 May 2011


Excellent news following our latest visit to the vet this morning.  Riley's red blood cell count is up to 38.6%, which puts her into the 'normal' range, albeit at the low end (normal is 37 to 55).  Haemoglobin is also more normal at 13.1%, as are all of the other measurements.  She will have a more comprehensive test next week to check for any other problems.


She is now on 2 prednisolone a day, and 1 azathioprine every 3 days; she is no longer on antibiotics.


And she is finally allowed out for a 5 minute walk (but keeping her away from other dogs so that she doesn't get too excited).   Mike  


Wednesday 18 May 2011


Riley's red blood cell count is now up to 41%, and her liver, kidney and pancreas are all normal.  Her prednisolone has been reduced to 1.5 every day with 1 azathioprine every  4 days.


She is allowed out for longer walks, with the aim of slowly getting her back to her normal level of fitness.  Her next check up is in two weeks time.   Jayne



Tuesday 31 May 2011


Riley's red blood cell counts had dropped to 36.7 (which is below the normal range).  Her liver and kidneys are normal though.


The vet wasn't too concerned, and she is still allowed to go to day care for the first time since she became ill (as Mike is in Budapest).  Her prednisolone has been increased back up to 2 every day with the azathioprine remaining at 1 every 4 days. 


To ensure the decrease in her red blood cells was just a blip in her recovery, she will have another blood test next week.   Jayne


Thursday 2 June 2011


Riley is 19 months old today.


Tuesday 7 June 2011


Riley's red blood cell count has gone back up to 40.5%; again her liver and kidneys are normal.  She is remaining on 2 prednisolone a day, but is stopping the azathioprine.


We need to continue building up her exercise ... particularly as her weight has increased to 16.75 kg (where her normal weight was 15.85 kg).   Jayne


Monday 21 June 2011


Another trip to the vets for a blood test.  Today Riley's red blood cell count was 36%, and so her prednisolone has been reduced to 1.5 a day (one in the morning and half in the evening).   Mike


Saturday 26 June 2011


Riley appeared to be vomiting in the garden.  Although initially we thought that she had been eating grass, when we got to her, we realised that it was bright red blood.  It was all over the grass, her face and paws, and probably looked a lot worse than it was. 


We thought that it might be a stomach ulcer and the vet agreed.  Armed with more drugs, and another large bill (sorry Petplan), we took her home.


Some early starts for us for the next few weeks.  We have to syringe an antepsin suspension into Riley's mouth three times a day.  That has got to be given to her two hours before the cimetidine, which has to be given one hour before she eats.  No sooner have we finished the first lot, than we are planning the next one.   Jayne


Monday 28 June 2011


More blood tests and a check up for the stomach ulcer.  Riley's red blood cell count is 38.5% (which is still in the normal range); however, one liver enzyme is high.  Our vet is going to discuss this with a specialist.


Riley is a lot more bouncy now that she is taking the drugs for her stomach ulcer.  It feels like we have a puppy again though, as she is waking up as soon as it is daylight (although we have to be up by 6.00 am anyway to give her the antepsin suspension).   Jayne







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