Monday, April 27, 2009

Carmella's New Plan of Action Against Mange Mites, and Mine

Carmella went back to the vet on Saturday and started a new regimine to combat the Mange mites that proliferate at the slightest opportunity. Dr. Norwood did a skin scraping and found that she in fact does have Demodectic Mange as she had before. The bacteria seem to be under control for the most part, although she was developing an infection in her ears. Just my luck that one problem ends, just to make room for another.

Dr. Norwood seemed perplexed as to what to do to improve Carmella's immune system, and mentioned that maybe there is a product that could be ordered that he doesn't have in stock, although he doesn't know alot about that kind of stuff, as it falls more under homeopathic medicine than mainstream veterinary medicine. In the meantime, something would have to be done to kill the mites that are multiplying currently. I asked whether she could be given a higher dose of the Pro-meris every two weeks, and he said that that might possibly work, but that there really was no precedent for it and it would be off-label, so he was reluctant to try that option.

Then I asked him what he thought about using Ivermectin. That he seemed to think was a good idea. He went into the back room where he deliberated for a good 15-20 minutes about the dosage. When he had finished his figuring he sent the male vet tech in to give me the instructions for dosing.

Invariably this guy always seems to forget something or relay some instruction insufficiently. It would be much more reliable if Dr. Norwood delivered these instructions himself. The prescription for Carmella's ears was predicatably forgotten and the vet tech ventured a guess as to whether the Mange treatment would address the secondary ear infection, so I asked him to go ask Dr. Norwood, not wanting to take any chances. In a matter of just a day or two Carmella could be worse and need to come back in, so I figured I'd save myself that hassle.

The vet tech returned with a tube of antibiotic ointment and some stuff to clean her ears with, then went over the instructions for the Ivermectin (1% solution). I am supposed to titrate up as follows:

Day 1: .2 ml

Day 2: .4 ml

Day 3: .6 ml

Day 4: .7 ml

Day 5: .8 ml

Day 6: .9 ml

Day 7: 1.0 ml

Day 8: 1.1 ml

Day 9: 1.2 ml

Day 10 on for 2-4 months (continue to give 1.2 ml per day)

So far as of day 3 there have been no adverse reactions.

She is on Gentizol ointment (manufactured by VetOne) for her ear infection (Gentamycin sulfate, USP, Betamethasone Valerate, USP, and Clotrimazole, USP), taken for 14 days, and the ear cleaning solution is Vet Solutions Vetoquinol (an 8 oz. bottle).

Carmella is still biting and licking herself somewhat but not constantly. I let her spend a good part of the day out in the sun this afternoon which she thoroughly enjoyed, lying on an old green cushion just outside the back porch. Maybe being out in the air and the sun will help dry out some of the pests that are plagueing her.

Yay! The Carmella-cam is working again! I thought I might have to buy the hosting service's paid service to have it work again, but apparently it fixed itself. When I got on the computer today I saw it come up on my computer for the first time in several weeks. Then I checked the link in my seidebar and saw it was working here too. Be sure to check her out in the kitchen!

I am preparing for some jewelry competitions and finishing up a local custom order, as well as going to some doctor's appointments.

After seeing my GP last week it looks as if the bone loss in my jaw and pain in those bones is finally going to be addressed, as will my appeal to Medicare for my Benicar.

By Friday or Saturday I began to have intermittant shortness of breath. Now that I have run through the medication I had stockpiled some of the earlier symptoms are returning, (but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to have predicted that outcome). You'd think that Medicare would know that. What is really disturbing about that whole situation is that they obviously know but don't care. I am not the only one on that off-label protocol whose health is in jeopardy because Medicare is too cheap to continue paying for the lifesaving medication that people with a number of autoimmune diseases need for which this regimine is indicated. Their denial is hurting many, possibly hundreds of people with Sarcoidosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Lyme Disease, just to mention a few conditions.

I may have to ultimately take my case before an Administrative Law Judge because although it is cheaper out of pocket by buying it from India than from the manufacturer (Sankyo) here in the US, I do not know how long I could fork out that amount of money either (or whether I could do it every single month).

I have made only two small sales this month and that's not enough to keep me and Carmella going. I hope these two sales are just the beginning, and that larger ones and more of them will follow.

If I can find out whether or not I have an active bone infection, and get that taken care of on my insurance, then getting the bone regeneration procedure should not be any expense at all since it is research.

My GP is going to speak with the guy doing the bone regeneration project and ask if he knows anyone he reccomends for me to see to assess the infection status before we get started.

Please check out my Etsy shop often and tell your friends and relatives about it. The 20% off Repeat Customer Appreciation Sale continues through midnight Mother's Day (May 10th). I want to be around for years to come to make lots more jewelry, and to continue to take care of Carmella. If I can pay off her vet bill it will sure be one big load off my mind. I've currently got a long way to go to raise $2,000, but if enough people take action it is an achievable goal. I created this ad for a necklace that I think would make another wonderful gift for a mother. The Labradorite, pink pearls, and faceted Rose Quartz create a understated and classy look combined with the sterling melon beads and Hill Tribes Silver Rose focal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Buy Your Mother A Gift She Will Cherish Forever!

Promises and Keepsakes- These are some of the best pearls I have ever had in my posession. The creamy yellow Jade pendant and sterling filligree heart create an ambiance of elegance and finery. Your mother is sure to feel special while wearing this classic piece!

Update on Carmella

Carmella goes back to the vet on Saturday.

Her paws are much better

although not completely healed.

As the areas that were affected heal they seem to turn kind of purpleish.

I took the cone off for awhile after giving her a bath today with the special antibacterial shampoo. I do this once a week.

She still sneaks a lick at her paws every once in awhile.
Now patches are developing again on her fur.

I hope her Mange isn't coming back.

As you can see it looks as though her hair is getting choppy again in certain places. Tomorrow is the day I put more Pro-Meris on her. She is on a double-dose of this for what she would normally get if she was having it applied just for flea-killing. I am beginning to wonder if this stuff is wearing off after only about a week and a half instead of lasting for two weeks even at this higher dose. She gets the amount a very large dog would have. Apparently research has shown that this is effective in controlling Mange on a maintenence basis, but I'm not sure what we do next if this is not controlling it. Maybe, we should try Ivermectin.

I did try the boric acid and peroxide way back after we discontinued the dips and I think that actually just inflamed it more. Lemon helped a little, but still didn't fully get rid of it.

I could try pure Tea Tree oil, but from what I read it stains everything. Since she sleeps on my bed and I am always hugging her throughout the day I don't know how feasible that would be. It would get all over my clothes, the carpet each time I let her out of the kitchen to go outside, possibly all over the walls if she leaned against them, and also I don't know if I'd ever get it out of her fur.

I woke her up from a nap tonight to give her her pills and she was kind of groggy at first, but then got really rambunctious and started to get in one of her chewing moods. She grabbed onto my sleeve and tried chewing my arm too!

Then she jumped on her stuffed aquirrel as if it were a real one that she was trying to kill.
The Carmella-cam is down again and I had to write the hosting service to see what could be done to get it working again. Since I have the free account they might take 4-5 days to respond. I hope it will be up and running again soon.

The little duckling died over the weekend. I was really bummed because he was starting to get quite tame. He had begun to stick his head out of the bars of the cage to greet me every time I came into the computer room, and was able to stay on my open hand that last day without trying to run. One morning I woke up and went in to check on him and found him lying completely still in his cage. I picked him up and saw he was not breathing and that he was cold.

He had eaten heartily the night before and was very active. There was no clue that he was going to die anytime soon. I am beginning to think maybe his mother abandoned him because he had something wrong that I couldn't see by looking at him. It may have been a genetic defect of some internal organ.

The last day of his life I took some more pictures of him luckily.

I had really hoped he would make it and I would be able to raise him.

Rest in peace, little guy. :(

Back to some happy news; I finally sold something after a slow period. Promoting for the previous weeks had been like breaking rocks with little result. Oddly, it was when I'd almost turned my attention away that it came in, but it seemed to happen while I was renewing things that had expired. I checked my Etsy store after walking away from the computer to do somethng else and then coming back, and found that my number of sold items said 82! When I checked to see which piece sold I found that it was a pair of my Haiku Earrings. The pair I sold had Variscite rondels, but my last pair has frosted Amethyst. At only $8.50 just about anybody can afford them.
This line is just perfect for Earth Day, with natural wood and genuine gemstone!

It is simple yet still retains the elegance I strive for in all my pieces. If you have not bought from me before and would like to make use of my 20% off Repeat Customer Appreciation Sale, you could buy these at full price and then use your discount on something more substantial! Just imagine what you could save on one of my Budding Vine bracelets for instance!

I also finished a necklace recently using a Blackberry leaf and set a Citrine cab in it.

Here is it in it's entirety, with a hand-made patterned bail, and lovely flat link chain with a Bali sterling hook.

Buy your mother a gift she will cherish forever!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Surprise Package!

This morning I let Carmella out in the back yard and since it was a nice day I went out there with her. No sooner had I walked out I saw something skitter across my field of vision. There are lots of squirrels because both back and front yards are full of trees so I thought it was another squirrel or maybe one of the chimney swifts that sometimes gets into my house when I open the door or in through the chimney. I didn't pay much attention to it until Carmella ran over and pounced on it (which she doesn't usually bother to do with a squirrel or a chimney swift. This animal she was intent upon trampling, and pinning it down with her front paw and then tried to grab it in her teeth. She normally hung back a bit, but this time she seemed to be going in for the kill, so I ran over and said loudly, "Give me that, Carmella! Drop it!" I looked down to see a squirming little thing beneath her grasp and upon closer inspection I realized it was a little duckling! I picked it up and although it was terrified, flapping its tiny fuzzy wings and peeping loudly, it was not hurt.
It seems I rescued it just in time. Carmella continued to sniff the area and I watched her thinking that if this duckling was wandering around out here in the back yard that there might be others not far behind. You don't usually see just one baby duck by itself, but after about 5 minutes I didn't see any littermates nor the mother, so I figured a neighborhood dog or cat must have gotten them for this little guy to be out by himself like this. There is a small lake about a half a mile up the road where ducks and geese live but normally they don't come in this close to the house, and I've only seen geese fly honking overhead; never land.
The small duck was struggling to get out of my hand and Carmella jumped up on me as if I had a dog treat for her or a juicy steak! It was quite a feat to keep it from hopping away as it was surprisingly agile for a bird that is not really known for agility. I left Carmella outside while I went in to find a container big enough to keep it in, found one of my shipping boxes that some supplies had come in earlier in the month and put it in there temporarily, folding the flaps over and under to keep it securely closed.
The sun was shining brightly, so I took some pictures of it while the lighting was good. Trying to snap a picture with one hand while holding it with the other was not easy and capturing it for the short moments when it wasn't moving, even harder.
Then it occurred to me that Carmella's old carrier that she'd grown out of would make a perfect cage. It had holes that were too small for the duckling to escape, yet big enough so that it would get air and for me to see in. I lined the bottom with newspapers and then took the bird out of the box and put it into the carrier. It seemed to take to the space easily and settled down after just a few minutes. I placed it on top of my washing machine and closed the shutter door in front of it so that it had the effect of a protected little cave.
Then I looked on Google to see what it would eat. The information I found said that ducks are mostly vegetarians but that in addition to things like fruit, vegetables, and grasses, they will also eat bugs. Apparently they drink alot of water but the dish cannot be filled any deeper than about a quarter of an inch or they might drown while playing around in it. I found a jar top and then cut off some kernels from a corn cob I had in the referigerator and placed them in a cut-off styrafoam cup bottom. A little while later when I came in to check on it, it seemed to have eaten some of the corn already.
Carmella seemed to be very jealous of the attention I was giving the newcomer and whined as if she both wanted to eat it for dinner and felt a little ignored. She hovered close by while I typed on the computer and read more about ducks. I petted her and finally when she realized that I had no intention of giving her the little fellow to eat she lay down on the carpet and fell asleep. She soon forgot about the little guy in the next room.
I called Petsmart and asked whether they carried any special food for ducks and the woman answering the phone told me that they do actually have some sort of mix specially made for ducks and geese. a 10 Lb. bag, she said, was only $7.00 and could last a young duckling quite awhile. In the meantime, stuff I have around the house would be fine to feed it. In addition to various fruit and vegetables my house has no shortage of bugs. The new addition should be a great solution to my moth problem and I believe, cockroaches too.
As a child I had all kinds of animals and it seemed that strays always managed to find me. Many summers in Baltimore I would come across baby blue jays that had fallen out of the nest, turtles, snakes, baby squirrels, etc. I'm surprised actually that this is the first orphan duckling that has ever come along.
I had heard that ducks bond to people pretty easily and that youg ones such as this imprint upon humans as if they were their mother. From what I was able to tell from pictures on the internet I believe this one is probably a mallard. I hope it's a male because I love the irridescent green head the adult males have. What I read sounded as though it could be hard to tell the gender of the duck; that sometimes a young male has a weaker cry and sometimes the bill is darker but these methods of telling them apart are not always foolproof. Since I only have one I have no way of comparing a weaker cry from a stronger one and I don't know how dark or light the bill should be. This one has almost all black on the top half and partly yellow and red on the bottom half.
His feet have an interesting pattern with yellow and a little bit of red running vertically to the toes on each side of black webbing.
Carmella's face is continuing to clear up after about a week and a half of antibiotics, and I was able to take her cone off for a few days but then she started biting herself on the flank so vigorously I thought she might bleed soon and start to sneak licks at her paws, so I put the cone back on her today.
I called Dr. Norwood's office to find out whether they ever got the results of the fungal culture. Gwen was in but Dr. Norwood was gone for the day, and she said he'd be back tomorrow and would give the results himself.
I listed several new pieces of jewelry last night. So far there have been no buyers to make use of my 20% off Repeat Customer Appreciation Sale. I've been tweeting the past few days on Twitter and expanding my network there. Another jewelry seller on Etsy told me she sold 8 things on Etsy in one week and 7 things in her Ebay store just recently, so I hope to see some serious buyers soon. People should be getting tax refunds soon if they have not received them already and that should expand most people's buying capacity.
If you'd like to help Carmella here's how you can do that:
1) Purchase jewelry from my Etsy store
2) Buy a $5.00 Scratchback ad on my blog
3) And/Or use the donation button to your right in the sidebar.
I need to raise about $2,000 currently to pay off Carmella's vet bill.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Little Friend is On the Mend

Carmella's paws look alot better after 5 days on the antibiotics!

The sores are beginning to look more like callouses

and what used to be raw, oozing flesh has now dried up alot

and the pads seem to be returning to more their normal color.

I'm not sure what this yellow coloring is though. It almost looks as though she stepped in pollen and it soaked into her pores, but I think it has something to do with the infection. Hopefully this will go away also.

Even Carmella's face is clearing up. It turns out that what Dr. Norwood thought was the remnants of the mange was really the bacteria. It seemed to be taking inordinately long for the lesions on the side of her face to heal, but I see more hair growing where it hasn't grown for weeks or months! Her eyes are also not getting goop in them constantly as they were before.

Her crotch still has a few little pustules but not near as many as before.

As you can see, her ears look better and the scabbiness is gone from her cheek!
Her snout where the whiskers are is still kind of red, but it is getting better. I hope it will look alot better by the end of the weekend.

She's not itching near as much and so is not licking, scratching, and biting herself except for every once in awhile. If this keeps up I may be able to take her cone off pretty soon!

I just added some more jewelry to my Etsy store. So far nobody has used the repeat customer sale, so if you like something you see I have things in a number of price-ranges, so go ahead and pick some of your favorites up and take them home. I've spread this out for a full month to make it easy for most people over several pay periods to fit this into their budget. I hope you all are seeing my shop and checking it often and that you will become regular customers if you're not already.

Those who have already bought jewelry from me can get the 20% discount on your very next purchase, and remember that once you have bought the first time you have all the way through Mother's Day to buy as much as you want at 20% off! If somebody's birthday is coming up but it's not for a few more months then why not just buy their gift early and keep it on hand while the discount period lasts. Now's the time to jump on it and make it work for you!

I recently finished a bunch of stuff to send off to VIX Emporium which will be having it's Grande Re-Opening after it's owner gets back from maternity leave.
It looks like I'll just barely have enough money to mail the package.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Blowing Their Cover

Carmella's first round of test results came back today (the segment which tests for bacteria and antibiotic sensitivity) and they found E-coli, Streptococcus Group G, Pseudomonus, and Enterococcus in abnormal levels. The part of the culture for fungii should be in within the next few days.

I spoke with Dr. Norwood over the phone today and he said that she should be put on both Clavomox and Ciprofloxacin. Some of the bacteria respond to one and not the other. He is also going to prescribe Hyrdoxezine for her itching, and a medicated shampoo with antibiotic in it. He thinks she may have rolled in something when she was outside and because of her compromised immune system it took hold in her body.
She now has this stuff not only on her feet,
but more of it on the left side of her face,
her crotch,
and inside her ears.
She's beginning to treat the plastic collar the way some people treat their glasses; hardly noticing
it's there and eating,
and running as though she didn't have it on.
A case study, written by a vet a Cornell describes what is known as Necrotizing Faciitis, one of two presentations of the Streptococcus Group G bacterial infection. In the case of this boxer the dog had to be hospitalized to have dead tissue removed surgically and was given IV antibiotics to save its life. It did recover but I hope that won't have to happen to Carmella, because removing dead tissue is really just a more minor form of amputation. It sounds horrible.

I sent pictures to Dr. Norwood tonight to see whether he thinks any of the skin on her paws is necrotic. He should receive my e-mail in the morning. Here are some I took of her left front and back paws (the ones that are affected the worst.

I am concerned because when I picked up her back paw to photograph it the skin oozed some sort of clear liquid.

This article which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology documents the likelihood that streptococcus Group G bacteria can jump species from dogs to humans. That is kind of scary!

Some of the other material I read said that spreading to humans is not very common, but at the same time not enough study has been done for them to know for sure.

My reading about Pseudomonas reveals that it, like Streptococcus Group G can be a very nasty bacteria that is hard to get rid of and can cause serious damage. Pseudomonas tends to attack the ear and in some cases can damage it so badly that surgery is needed. Some dogs have had to have cochlear implants as a result of such damage.

Pseudomonas is most often treated with Flouroquinalones and when present in the ear the dosage must be high in order to hit the bacteria hard and fast before it has a chance to become resistent to it. Sometimes medications are also given directly to the ear in addition to oral medications, and in tougher cases inhections are even given. Treatment can be costly and the infection can sometimes re-occur and require treatment again.
This article goes into quite a bit of detail about strategy in treating difficult bacterial infections, and talks about how certain bacteria interact.

I sent the above link on to my vet as well. I really hope this won't be a long, drawn-out process and that these antibiotics will work on the first try. Carmella has had so much happen to her in just a year she deserves to be healthy the rest of her life.
Carmella's vet bill is now over $2,000. so your help is urgently needed. Be sure to stop by my Etsy store and make use of the month-long sale. You may find that you love being a repeat customer! Buy your mother a nice gift, and help a dog continue to get the treatment she needs.