Every year when December comes around, I always feel time flies too fast. 2003 will be over soon and I don't know how we spend these days so quickly. I finished Poodle Moments '02 just a couple of months ago?
Anyway, here comes my yearly event, a new Poodle Moments. I hope you can enjoy.
nanako sitting
Killing me softly ....

Do you know the old song titled "Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack? That is a real beautiful song with nice melody and nice lyrics, and I really love it. The story of this song and what Nanako is doing are completely different but this title comes in my mind every time when something wrong happens to Nanako. She is exactly Killing Me Softly With Her Condition.

Nanako's condition was so bad until this March. Early in this year, she started stumbling when she tried to start running or moving fast, and gradually she refused to go upstairs. I understand that getting old means losing physical strength and ability. She is no longer a young dog and I'd better not compare Nanako with Leanne. Considering the fact, it should be a natural process for Nanako to pass, but to me, seemed it came too fast. I know she's not young anymore but she's only 12! She still can hear my low, soft voices and she still can see even though both of her eyes develop cataracts. I really want my dogs to be happy and want them to enjoy their times.
I know we can't stop anybody from aging, but with a suggestion from my vet, I gave her a pain relief supplement made from 'Green Lipped Mussel.' This works so well on her and now she has almost no trouble when going upstairs, and she doesn't stumble at all. She seems she revitalizes herself and she can enjoy outside play again.

This was a happy event until we had that nightmare again.

Bloat again and again, and ....

It was last May when Nanako bloated for the first time. She had been OK and both of us completely forgot that nightmare.
Her second bloat came one night in early June. This time, I soon noticed it was a bloat. So, I woke up my husband, called my vet and rushed into my car. Thank God, she was saved.After the treatment, my vet and I talked about tacking up her stomach someday in a near future when her condition was OK. I was reluctant to do the operation because of Nanako's age. As long as we can pull out the gas with a tube, I thought it should be all right.

On September 6, her third bloat came. Since it took her a year to have her second bloat, I thought third one wouldn't come so early. This time, I couldn't catch my vet. I had to drive to the other veterinary clinic in midnight. This was tough.
The veterinarians at another clinic were very young and both of them hadn't experienced the bloat first-aid. One of them told me that he would put the needle directly to the stomach. I asked him to try putting the tube first and try not to put her under anesthesia because she was too old.
Fortunately the tube went through and we could save Nanako again.
It was really a long night. I hoped I wouldn't spend this awful night again. My vet and I talked about the operation again but still I couldn't decide.
Nanako seemed okay after her third bloat. We all go back to our usual days and I took both Nanako and Leanne to the training seminars held in Tokyo. Leanne did some demonstration and Nanako was just there with me. She has been retired from demo works now.

It was September 22. We were at the training seminar. Nanako coughed a bit that day. I felt something was wrong but I didn't think it was serious.
It was about 4:00 p.m. when Nanako's condition changed. I thought it might be a bloat again, so I tried to find out the closest veterinary clinic from the seminar space. Within ten minutes or so, her stomach grew bigger and bigger!

I really felt I might not be able to save Nanako on that day. It was Monday and there was a traffic jam. I drove to the clinic as crying. Fortunately I could get to the clinic before her stomach got torsion and the gas could be drawn out with a tube as usual, however, her condition got worse and worse. She couldn't even raise her head.
There was no other choice. I had to leave Nanako there for an operation.Making a looooong story short, she survived after two-hour operation. Some parts (tissues) of her stomach were already dead. She came back home after spending four days in a hospital.

As a result, we were very lucky. Every time Nanako had a bloat, we could get to the clinic before torsion. Even at the last (I hope this will be the last) and worst situation, we could find a well experienced veterinary clinic.

nanako smiling

Now Nanako is doing very fine. Her stomach condition seems very good too.
I don't know what caused her bloat repeatedly. Aging may be one of the primary reasons. Nanako is a very optimistic, happy natured one and I don't think her temperament caused a bloat. I don't know her family trait at all but if this was from genetics, she should have bloated when she was much younger. Another reason I suspect is the steroid hormone. She had been taking prednison for about 1.5 years since she had thrombocytopenia. One of the side effects of steroid is making mussels weak. I suspect pred weakened her muscles as well as ligaments around internal organs and it could be a trigger of the bloat.

Anyway we don't have the risk of torsion now. However, we still have the risk of bloat. Now I am paying close attention to what and how to feed Nanako. I hope this horrible incident will never occur again.

She had a minor operation on December 1st. I knew she had a tumor on her shoulder and it suddenly ruptured. I really can't take my eyes off from her at all. I hope she won't have any trouble next year.

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