Emily's Journey

Emily is a beautiful 6 year old Great Dane. She was a happy healthy dog, that never showed any signs of anything being wrong. One day Emily's Pawrents came home and she was just not moving right. At first the vet thought she had somehow hurt herself romping through her house. Unfortunately it appears to be a neurological problem.  It seems to be a mystery at this time as to exactly what Emily is dealing with.

Emily is progressively getting worse. She is losing feeling in her back legs, at times she does not know where they are, or how to control them. She has started to drag her paws, causing damage to her toes. Her muscles wastage is a problem, especially for a dog a large as Emily. She weighs 168lbs. and is very very tall.

Our plan is to strengthen her core so she is better able to balance herself, and to increase her stamina and cardio health. The best case scenario will be Emily will be able to transfer her full range of movement from the pool to land. Emily moves beautifully in the water, using her back legs flawlessly.

Emily has just finished her three day orientation swim. After two days of swimming her Pawrents were so happy to report they have noticed an improvement in Emily already. Apparently when eating Emily did not have the strength to stand up for her entire meal. She would eat about 1/4 of her meal standing up, she would finish the rest lying down. After her second swim, that evening she stood for her entire meal And  she drank her water still standing, then she walked to her bed to lie down.
                                                 Good Girl Emily!!

It is so incredibly rewarding to see how quickly dogs are able to start to improve.
We are so happy Emily is improving. She will be back in the pool in a couple of days to continue her journey.


More Heartbreak via Blue Green Algae

I found a copy of this disturbing post while I was researching my first Blog post about Blue Green Algae. For me it puts a 'face' to it, which I will not soon forget. Again I was shocked at how many dogs face the same fate as Vita. My hope is everyone that reads this equates to at least one less dog that will be exposed to this silent killer.
Here is Vita's story:
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this and I apologize for its length.
Please, PLEASE pass this around.

On Monday, June 25, 2007 I took my healthy 9 month old Border Collie
Vita swimming at approximately 6:30 p.m. Vita and two other BC's
spent about an hour and a half diving off the dock, chasing the Water
Kong, and running around. The temperature that day was just over 90
degrees, but none of the dogs looked particularly winded or hot.

Vita emerged from the water and looked as if she was going to vomit.
She threw up lake water three times. I wasn't particularly concerned
as she took in a lot of water from retrieving and swimming so much
and had seen other dogs do that in the past without complications.

After the third time throwing up, she lay down and closed her eyes.
Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth and I began to suspect she
may have heat stroke. I immediately placed ice on her stomach and
checked her gums. They were pink. I took her temperature which was
101.9, still normal. I then called my Vet who said these conditions
did not indicate heat stroke and said I needed to get emergency
medical attention right away.

Vita was not responsive and when I picked her up to put her in the
car she was limp and her eyes were still closed. Her breathing was
slow and her heart was racing. I arrived at the emergency clinic only
a half hour from the time she showed signs of distress. The ER Vet
asked me what sorts of things Vita had been doing all day. I
explained that she was crated as I was gone for the latter part of
the afternoon and that upon coming home, the only other place she
went was to the lake.

Vita's eyes were fixed and dilated and the Vet suggested there was
already brain damage. After administering an IV and oxygen, the Vet
called me in and said Vita was not responding and that it appeared
that she was suffering from some kind of toxic poisoning. Her heart
rate was 200. He mentioned that he had recently seen a couple of dogs
who died from Blue Green Algae Toxicity. I told him that the lake had
what appeared to be algae blooms on the surface of the water. Neither
of the other two dogs showed any of the signs that Vita had and that
neither dog took in as much water as Vita apparently did. We decided
to put her on a ventilator overnight and give her a "chance" to pull

When I got home I did a Dogpile.com search of "Blue Green Algae
Toxicity in Dogs" and found some very disturbing information:
-Swallowing water that has cyanobacterial toxins in it can cause
acute, severe gastroenteritis (including diarrhea and vomiting).
And the following:
-Liver toxicity (i.e., increased serum levels of liver enzymes).
Symptoms of liver poisoning may takes hours or days to show up in
people or animals. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and
-Kidney toxicity.
-Neurotoxicity. These symptoms can appear within 15 to 20 minutes
after exposure. In dogs, the neurotoxins can cause salivation and
other neurologic symptoms, including weakness, staggering, difficulty
breathing, convulsions, and death. People may have numb lips,
tingling fingers and toes, or they may feel dizzy.

Vita had indeed exhibited salivation and signs of weakness,
staggering, difficulty breathing and vomiting.

At 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 I called the Vet and was told
that they took Vita off the ventilator a couple of times during the
night and that she was not breathing on her own. I told him to
discontinue the procedure and to let her go.

I called the DNR here in Michigan and was told that Blue Green Algae
didn't usually appear this time of year and I told the agent that the
conditions were that of late summer in Michigan, very hot for the
last two days and reminded him that Blue Green Algae can appear at
any time. He told me not to panic or to alarm other people. I told
him that had someone else panicked, we wouldn't be having this
conversation right now.

Later that morning I found out from a neighbor that her two
 young boys had vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps last week and her
Doctor suggested she bring in a water sample. I do not know if she
did or not.

I also talked to a woman from a neighboring county whose neighbor's
dog ingested a lot of water from a pond and died suddenly a couple
weeks ago.

As of this writing, Wednesday, June 27th, I have not heard anything
from Michigan State where I took Vita for a necropsy and toxoligical
panel.For the time being, I would strongly suggest you watch your dogs when
swimming in small lakes and ponds as the potential threat of toxic
poisoning from Blue Green Algae is prevalent. Had I known that algae
of any kind was toxic, you can be sure my dogs wouldn't be swimming
anywhere and that Vita, whose name quite ironically meant "life" in
Latin, would be alive today.

Missing you more than you can imagine.
May you rest in peace, Red Top Vita
09/05/06 - 06/26/07

Bob Tatus
Mabley Hill Road
Fenton, Michigan 48430


Let's Jump Right In.....Or NOT!

While it may be a little early in the year, it is never too early to be aware.

Where we live in Upstate New York toxic algae is rampant! Below is an excerpt from the Whole Dog Journal.

"The dangers of a “toxic bloom” of blue-green algae are well known in some states. According to a website published by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, certain environmental conditions that generally occur late in summer can trigger a sudden overgrowth of a certain family of algae called cyanobacteria. This type of algae occurs in many aquatic environments year-round, but may thrive to a dangerous degree during periods of sustained warm, sunny days in shallow, nutrient rich bodies of water. In these conditions, the blue-green algae suddenly “blooms” – that is, reproduces exponentially. The algae produce a powerful toxin – one of the most powerful natural poisons known.

Dog owners should be aware that toxic algae blooms usually occur in late summer or early fall, but can occur at any time. They can occur in marine, estuarine, and (especially) fresh water. The latter are of the greatest concern to dog owners, as dogs are commonly taken to ponds, lakes, and reservoirs in the summer for recreation, exercise, and cooling — and they routinely drink the water. Some of these algae blooms look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of the water. The blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or red (“red tide” is perhaps the best-known so-called “harmful algal bloom”) – but some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water. The water may or may not smell bad. As a further difficulty to dog owners trying to protect their dogs, not all algal blooms are toxic!

When an algal bloom is toxic, obviously, it can kill or seriously sicken an animal, sometimes as quickly as within 15 or 20 minutes of ingestion. The effects depend on the amount ingested, the size of the animal, the amount of food in the animal’s stomach (a full stomach has some protective effect), the sensitivity of the species and individual animal, and the amount of toxin present in the bloom."

In our area Ontario Beach in Charlotte was the seventh worst in the state in 2009. Durand Beach in Rochester and two swimming areas at Hamlin Beach State Park were near the top of the list in New York State for bacteria problems.

Call (585)-753-5887 in the Rochester area to hear Monroe County Health Department daily report on conditions at Durand and Ontario Beaches.

Although all blue green algae should be treated with suspicion, there are many strains and not all of them produce toxins. In the long run, it's better to err on the side of caution and keep your dog away from any water you have reason to believe is contaminated.


  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP