Ollie: Back From The Vet

I have just returned from taking Ollie to the Vet this morning.

After getting his booster vaccinations, and a full check-up, the Vet pronounced that there is nothing wrong with him whatsoever. His weight, temperature, and heart are all good, and he has no signs and symptoms of any infection or discernible illness.

My concern about Ollie not eating as much and drinking more water was put down to Ollie’s age, and the fact he has slowed down considerably. Less rigorous exercise means that he is not as hungry, and because it has been unusually cold and we have had the heating on might well make him more thirsty in the house.

It seems I was over-reacting, but I am glad that Ollie has been checked over, and is fine.

Thanks to everyone for your concern about him. That is always appreciated.

Ollie’s Vet Visit Today

***Another update following Ollie’s illness last week.***

Ollie had to go back to see his regular Vet today. Fortunately, he had a better day yesterday, and didn’t seem to be so distressed. He slept well and was eager to get into the car this morning.

The Vet looked at him in the car first, (social distancing) before taking him inside for an examination. A little while later he returned with a provisional diagnosis. Ollie’s chest and heart were all fine, and his temperature in the normal range. The Vet concluded that he may have developed a reaction to the steroids he is often given to control his skin problems. That reaction is well known, and often causes hyperventilating, and breathing issues.

His advice is to immediately stop all remaining medication, and wait to see if Ollie improves dramatically in the next 48 hours. If he is no better by the end of this week, then he will have to go back for blood tests to try to find out if there is anything more sinister causing the problem. If he makes a full recovery, then it will prove it was the medication, and he will need no extra tests.

So once again, we have a couple of days watching him closely, and hoping for the best.

Ollie Emergency!

After finishing his course of antibiotics and steroids yesterday, Ollie’s skin was clearing up nicely. But something else was happening. He was beginning to pant a great deal, and seemed to be out of breath after not much exertion. Late last night, that started to get much worse and his respiratory rate increased to over 80 per minute around four times faster than it should be. By 2 AM, he was getting visibly distressed, so the Emergency Vet was called. After telling her the symptoms, she agreed to travel to the surgery in Swaffham, and told us to meet her there.

Luckily there is little traffic at that time of the morning around here, so the journey was quick and easy. With social distancing still operating, she met us in the car park and took Ollie inside to examine him. It was a worrying wait, but when she came back with him she looked relatively unconcerned. She suspected he might be carrying too much fluid from the recent infection, and had given him an injection of Furosemide to make him urinate more often, as well as booster injections of both antibiotics and steroids in case the rapid breathing was caused by a chest infection. There were lots of tablets to take home with us too.

By the time we got home it was close to 4 AM, and time to try to get some sleep. This morning, Ollie is very tired and his breathing is a lot slower, if not quite back to normal. It was the first time since we got Ollie that we have had to use an emergency Vet in the middle of the night.

I hope it’s the last.

Ollie’s Skin: The Saga Continues

So many times I have written on this blog about the skin conditions afflicting my poor dog, Ollie. After the last bout cleared up, the fur grew back slowly. But by the end of March, he was looking pretty good. Good enough for other dog-walkers to remark on how well he was looking, and how shiny his coat was.

Then the weather warmed up in May, and he started to moult. Nothing excessive, and to be expected. Just a lot more of his shed fur collected in the vacuum claner. Two weeks ago, he started to smell rather ‘doggy’, and I thought about booking him in for a bath at the groomer’s by the end of June. But while the tiling was being done, I wanted to stay around the house.

Then last week, we got the real mini-heatwave I have mentioned. Ollie started to scratch a lot, and I noticed the fur that had grown back had fallen out again, leaving bald patches of inflamed skin. So today, he had to go back to the Vet yet again.

They have a new procedure for Covid-19 safety, whereby no customers are allowed inside the large building. You telephone on arrival, and let them know you are there. Then a Vet comes to inspect the dog in your car, or outside it, before deciding whether or not he has to take your dog (or cat, or whatever) back inside for treatment. In Ollie’s case, the regular Vet knows him well, and carried out a car-park examination while Ollie stayed on his bed at the back of the car.

Allergies and skin infection was diagnosed, as it has been so many times before. He returned with steroid tablets, antibiotic tablets, and the suggestion that we give Ollie a cheap antihistamine tablet every day of the summer months. I had to come home and pay over the telephone, as he wasn’t letting anyone use the card machine, for fear of infection.

Ollie now has two weeks of tablets, twice a day. We already know they make him extra thirsty, and increase his appetite too. So I will give him slightly bigger dinners while he is on them, and make sure to keep his fresh water filled up.

I phoned as requested, to make a card payment over the phone. £160. Pretty hefty, for ten minutes in a car park.

But he is worth it of course.

Ollie At The Vet (Again)

Ollie had to go to the Vet again today. That’s why I am late posting my serial episode, (for those of you that noticed) and just running late in general. Any break in my fixed routine makes me feel that I lose the rest of the day trying to catch up.

Anyway, Ollie had to have his annual booster injection, and general health check. In addition, I was worried about a sore eye that was troubling him, and the fact that he just cannot seem to stop shedding hair out of season.

Excited to get in the car, he was less impressed after the 12-mile drive deposited him at the hated Vet. Not that he balks at going in, but once inside he shows obvious signs of distress about what may be about to happen. Luckily, there were lots of other dogs there already, so his attention was distracted. Two Golden Retrievers, a young Rottweiler, a barky Labrador, and a nervous Poodle all gave Ollie the eye as he came in, and there was a great deal of mutual sniffing. Only the trembling Poodle made sure to avoid my dog.

He weighed in at thirty kilograms. This is a one kilo increase on last year, and a two-kilo increase on his weight at the age of two. The Vet checked his heart, looked in his ears, and gave him the booster jab. Then he was examined around the eyes, as I talked about the never-ending moulting of fur. He had to have an ‘indicator solution’ dropped into the bad eye, and after a short delay, the colour change (to green) indicated Conjunctivitis. The issue with the fur was diagnosed as yet another yeast infection on the skin, causing the fur to constantly fall out and re-grow.

The treatment will be seven days of eye drops to clear up the right eye. The Vet agreed that we should avoid yet another dose of oral antibiotics and steroids for the skin, but has suggested weekly baths in the special shampoo for the foreseeable future. That in itself is going to be a mission, getting Olie in and out of our small corner bath, and trying to dry him off. I could take him to the groomer every week, but at £32 a time, that option is too expensive.

As he filled out the report on his computer the Vet also discussed Ollie’s age. He will be 8 years old in February. For a Sharpei, that is the human equivalent of 65 years of age, and is why he is slowing down more each month, and sleeping longer. He casually added, “If he sees double figures, I will be happy, but surprised”. I was shocked, and asked him if that was really true. Might Ollie only live for less than two more years? He shrugged. “The oldest one I have ever seen was ten years old. I have never seen one older than that. Too much in-breeding, I’m afraid.”

I paid the £60 bill, and we left. As I was driving home, I wondered if the Vet’s gloomy prediction could be correct.

Life without Ollie in it just doesn’t seem possible.

Ollie At The Vet Again

Just over a week ago, we noticed that Ollie’s fur had still not grown back completely, after his last skin infection during the hot spell.
I took a photo of it, when we were out on his walk. You can make out the circle of bare skin, and the mark where a scab had formed.

Then over the weekend, his back got a lot worse. Hair was falling out in more circular patterns, and it was soon looking like this, with more scabs appearing.
(Notice his tail is uncurled, a sure sign he was unhappy at being photographed close up.)

On Monday evening, we noticed this awful sore had appeared on his neck, just above his right leg.

I rang the Vet on Tuesday morning, and managed to get an appointment for today.

Now we are back, with a diagnosis of a yeast infection of the skin, an ear infection in the right ear, and a sample sent away for laboratory testing in case it is Ringworm. Ollie has a week-long course of antibiotics and steroids, ear drops for the right ear, and the sore at the bottom of his neck has to be washed twice-daily with salt water.

I may have to bathe my wallet too, so it can recover from the amount taken out of it…

He was very well-behaved, and allowed the lady Vet to scrape, prod, and poke. For his good behavior, he was rewarded with some delicious cooked chicken pieces once we got home.

Let’s hope that it clears up soon, and he gets no more infections for the remainder of 2019.

Ollie goes out in the car

Ollie, when he is ‘not happy’. Tail down, and panting.

Since he started the summer moult, Ollie has been scratching his legs and biting his ‘undercarriage’. These are sure signs of irritation caused by the usual skin infection he gets a few times a year. Rushing through nettles and brambles doesn’t help, nor does standing for long periods up to his neck in the river. That might cool him down, but it allows who knows what in the river to get into his system too.

So I bowed to the inevitable, and booked him in for a Vet appointment today. Then on Wednesday, he went to the groomer to have the loose fur stripped, and a nice bath. He came back looking sleek, and smelling a whole lot better too.

Taking Ollie to the Vet has to be done by car, as it is twelve miles away, in Swaffham. It makes me feel guilty to see how excited he gets to be going for a drive to some exciting new place, when I know where we are actually going. In the familiar car park, he emerges from his place at the back with a worried look. Having spent so much of his life to and from one Vet or another, he recognises the location immediately.

Once through the door, he begins panting and placing his paws on my knees, looking concerned, and turning in circles on his lead. I always try to see the same Vet, but he was doing surgery today, so I had to see a young lady instead. Meanwhile, a nervous Spaniel in the waiting room was whining and crying, which upset Ollie even more. He kept going over to check on the dog, to make sure he was alright.

By the time we were called in to the examination room, Ollie was trying to head for the door. Fortunately, his condition is well-known, so he only had to be weighed, and suffer a brief investigation with an ear-scope. He tolerates Vet treatment very well as a rule, and as long as I am there, they can do more or less anything to him. After a quick once-over, the lady Vet agreed that he should have the usual doses of ear-drops, antibiotics, and steroids for the inflammation and itchiness. When she got up to go and get the medicines, Ollie tried to exit through the closed door, keen to get back out to the car.

Still feeling guilty, I took him straight up to Milennium Wood in North Elmham, where he came across a group of Labradors and Terriers to sniff and play with.

By the time we were heading back to the car, he appeared to have forgotten his distressing trip.

Until the next time.

Ollie and the dentist

Ollie has lived for well over five years without any dental problems. His teeth have always been in excellent condition, even the Vet said so.

On Tuesday, he suddenly stopped eating his dinner, and sat down. He looked at me plaintively, so I checked his mouth, to see if something was stuck in his teeth. I was alarmed to discover that one of his top molars was loose. On further investigation, I could see that the large tooth was actually split in two, with the outer section easily moved by my finger. He wasn’t complaining though, and finished his dinner soon after.

The next day, I phoned the Vet. They made an appointment for Thursday, to check the tooth. Sure enough, it had broken in half, just held on by being secure in Ollie’s gums. The best guess was that he had chewed too hard on his plastic bone, ironically intended to promote dental heath. The Vet advised tooth removal, and booked Ollie in for an extraction on Friday morning. I took him in at 08:30, and he reluctantly walked off with the nurse, oblivious to what awaited, but undoubtedly suspicious.

I phoned at 1 pm, and was told it was all over, and he was doing well. I could collect him before 4.
When I arrived, he was dopey, and fed up. Not interested in pats or cuddles, he marched off to the car, eager to get in, and get home. Along with the enormous bill, (£300) the Vet gave me the tooth. It was a huge double molar, otherwise very healthy, save for the large split.

Ollie was not his old self at all. He took to his bed, and looked sideways at me, no doubt upset at his treatment, and being abandoned. Despite pain relief, he cried intermittently, and refused to wag his curly tail. I gave him his favourite meal, chicken and pasta, but he took almost two hours to eat any of it. He is now sitting grumpily beside me, in a half-doze. In ten days time, he has to go back for a check-up.

He’s not going to like that.

Ollie and his ears: An update

I know that many of you love to hear about Ollie, and what he is up to. For most of this year, he has been troubled by ear infections. This is nothing new, and was not unexpected, as it is a well-known issue with the breed due to the shape of the ear canal. However, the recent bouts have been more than usually distressing for him, as it causes a blockage, and an itch he cannot hope to scratch.

His way of dealing with it is to shake his head violently from side to side. As much as we can, we try to calm him down and stop him doing it. But we can’t watch him all the time, and obviously not when we are asleep. After a while, the constant shaking causes the tissues in his ears to swell, and they begin to close up. This is the same problem experienced by old-time boxers, and known as ‘cauliflower ear’. This swelling makes it doubly difficult to administer his ear drops, and the cycle continues.

Once out on his walks, he will run off and drag his head sideways along the ground, trying to scratch the constant itch. Again, I stop him doing this when I can, but it often takes me a while to catch up to him. The problem is soon cured by a quick trip to the Vet, where he is given antibiotic tablets and ear drops, as well as steroids to stop the itching. This medication works very quickly, and within a day, he is back to his old self. Sadly, it is never too long before it starts all over again, and back to the Vet he goes.

After the most recent infection, we discussed the possibility of surgery. This would involve partial or total removal of the ear canal in the right ear, which is always the worst affected. Partial removal might do the job, and would not leave Ollie deaf in that ear either. More importantly, without the inside tube to become infected, it would be unlikely that he would ever suffer such bad infections again. It would naturally be expensive, but so are the frequent visits to the Vet, and the cost of medication. We do get some of that back from insurance, but our main concern was putting him through more operations, when he had so many as a pup.

This afternoon, he had to go in for his annual inoculation booster, so it was a chance to talk to the Vet about surgery again. He did a thorough examination of Ollie, including his ears, and pronounced that he was fighting fit, and free from infection. Some fur loss and irritation between his front legs was put down to seasonal allergies, or contact with plants and shrubs that irritate. But otherwise, he could find no cause for concern. With a new quarterly tick and flea tablet prescribed, and injections done, it was agreed that we would wait and see if he gets another ear infection. If that does happen, then the surgery will go ahead.

Having a great dog like Ollie can be a really delightful addition to life,  and he feels like a member of our family, in every way possible. So when he is unwell, we naturally worry. Let’s hope that he doesn’t need any more treatment for some time now. He has gone through enough, in his short life.

The return of the crop circles

Almost a year ago, I wrote about a worrying skin condition that was affecting our dog, Ollie. His fur was falling out in a circular pattern, revealing a sore patch on the skin, and a worrying baldness in the area. After some visits to the Vet, it was eventually cleared up by a combination of creams and shampoos, as well as some antibiotics. Since last November, Ollie has had his fair share of ear infections, and some more trips to the Vet, but after his main moult, he seemed to have been clear of most problems.

Sadly, I have to report that the crop circles are back. And they are on his back too, running in a discernible line along his spine. As well as being unsightly, they have sore patches in the centre, and they are obviously causing him some distress, as he cannot reach them with his paws. I have applied the same cream, and been careful when stroking, but they are not going away. If anything, they are getting worse.

Last year, the Vet was unconcerned about them. He said that they were a non-infectious, bacterial problem, well-known in Ollie’s breed; that of a Shar-Pei. That doesn’t really help, when you love your pet, and don’t want him to suffer. So we make sure he is happy in every other way. He gets the same walks, the same food and treats, and also plays with his doggy pals over The Meadows. I know many of you think a lot of Ollie, so I can assure you that if it gets any worse, he will be going back to the Vet. In the meantime, he is still eating, still playing the same as always, and still seems to be as happy as ever.

Here is a link to the last post, in case you didn’t see it.


Just keeping you updated.