Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Toesies Tuesday

Today is the day pup Astrid goes in for her toe amputation, so as to remove the sarcoma on her paw pad. She had the tumor itself removed last week, as many of you already know, but the biopsy that revealed it to be a soft tissue sarcoma also revealed that not all of the margins were removed. Hence the toe amputation today.

That all being said, Astrid's paw has been in a bandage for about a week now. It seems that our days of bandages are not yet over, either. Perhaps that's why this is the Toesies Tuesday shot we're sharing with you today:

It took roughly half a second for the bandage to be covered in hair, 
in case you were wondering.

That there bandage is actually one that I put on Astrid's paw at home. The vet put on the first bandage after the surgery, and it was all pretty and blue. When I raided the first aid aisle at Walgreens to prepare for the at-home bandage changes, though, I found that their bandage selection was not as colorful. Astrid's paw looks like that of a mummy. I guess we know what she'll be dressing up as for Halloween this year.

We again want to thank you all for the love you've been sending Astrid's way! It truly means so much to us.

Needless to say, we cannot wait to have Astrid back home with us tonight and on the road to recovery.

Our Doodle of the Day:

The second round of Astrid vs. Bandage will be airing soon.

Our Tip of the Day:
Yesterday we talked about the importance of understanding and following at-home care instructions after a furbaby has undergone a procedure. Just as important, though, is making sure to follow all instructions prior to a procedure. One of the simple rules is that you should not feed your kitty or pup after 10 pm or so on the night prior to undergoing anesthesia. This is because a cat or dog should have an empty stomach when being anesthetized, in order to prevent issues such as aspiration. They can, however, still drink water. In addition to this, you should talk to your veterinarian about what medications should and should not be given prior to a procedure. In some cases, depending on the situation, your furbaby might need something such as an anti-inflammatory prior to surgery. This might be the case if a growth is being removed and inflammation needs to be at a minimum prior to surgery. In other cases, you might need to hold off on giving other medications, such as if your furbaby is on a pain medication that might be excessive with medications being given on the day of the procedure. For these reasons and more, always discuss with your veterinarian what is expected prior to surgery, so that everything can run as safely and smoothly as possibly during the procedure.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Nurse of the Month

First and foremost, we want to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for your outpouring of love and support for Astrid! Tomorrow she will be going in for her toe amputation to remove her sarcoma, and we cannot express how much better it makes us feel to know that you are all sending her such comforting purrs, barks, thoughts, and prayers. Some of you mentioned even having similar experiences with your own furbabies, and that they recovered just fine. That gives us even further optimism, and we thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

We apologize if we are absent or late to visit and comment lately. We are juggling all of Astrid's medication administrations and bandage changes on top of everything else, but we don't mind. That being said, we will be getting back on track soon and plan to visit all of you who have shared your kind words with us. Please do know that we are so, so appreciative to have such wonderful friends as all of you!

Now, today is Mancat Monday.

Evan here wanted everyone to know that he is and will continue to be a magnificent nurse for Astrid. His favorite is to help when we change the bandage on her foot.

We hope you all have a marvelous Monday!

Our Tip of the Day:
If your furbaby has a procedure done, do be sure to always get all at-home care instructions from your veterinarian. Some procedures come with certain rules, you could say. For example, if your furbaby comes home with an incision, bandage removal and/or replacement may need to occur on a certain day thereafter, which may occur at home or at a followup visit. Sometimes a followup appointment will be necessary for suture removal. For a number of procedures, certain medications may go home with you to administer them to your kitty or pup, such as antibiotics, pain medication, or an anti-inflammatory. Some procedures, such as dentals, may have rules for when and what your furbaby can eat. So, do always ensure that you understand what is expected of you and your furbaby after arriving home following a procedure, as recovery continues even after you've left the vet's office.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pup Update

A certain somebody wanted to share a selfie and an update with you all today as part of The Cat on My Head's Sunday Selfies blog hop.

Astrid's snoozing pretty well lately, for she is on pain and anxiety meds to help her cope with the bandage on her foot that she dislikes so much.

Speaking of which, pup Astrid and I also want to share the latest update on her recent surgery to remove a tumor on her paw pad. We posted about this on Faceook, so many of you already know what we're about to say.
One of the veterinarians at our clinic called me yesterday with the biopsy results for the tumor removed from pup Astrid's paw pad. The vets and myself were all a bit shocked to find out that it is a soft tissue sarcoma. That is a malignant cancer, but, we're thinking we can be optimistic. It has only been classified as a grade I tumor, which is the least serious, you could say. It is often a localized cancer, and as long as all margins of the tumor are removed, the animal can often then be considered cancer free with a good prognosis.

That being said, the biopsy revealed that not all of the tumor's margins were removed during Astrid's surgery last week. So, she is going in on Tuesday for a full toe amputation. The vet and I had a long discussion on this, weighing out toe versus limb amputation. Both vets at our clinic, whom I really do trust, are leaning toward just the toe, as the tumor is not considered aggressive, and it is believed that removing the toe will remove the tumor in its entirety. Of course, we will always be watchful thereafter, and if we find anything concerning in the future, it will be checked out and further amputation will occur if needed.

Though no metastasis is believed to have occurred, given the generally localized type and grade of tumor, prior to surgery Astrid will nevertheless have a chest x-ray done. This will help reveal if there are any concerning spots in her lungs, or any other issues going on. She will also have pre-operation bloodwork done, though just last week her bloodwork showed nothing concerning.

There are a couple of reasons this was all so shocking to both the veterinarians and myself. One reason is that Astrid first had a tumor appear on her paw pad two years ago. At that time, it was deemed a benign histiocytoma. After some time, as was expected, the tumor went away on its own. It wasn't until recently that tumor growth began again the area. We assumed it was a histiocytoma again, but took her to the vet to be safe. That was when an inconclusive aspirate was done, and though the veterinarians were thinking it might just be a return of the histiocytoma, they did suggest removal. We moved forward with that, and here we are now.

One more reason we're all a bit shocked by this is that Astrid is only 4 years old. Of course cancer can potentially occur at any age, this type of cancer is far more common in older dogs. It's not impossible for a 4-year-old dog to have sarcoma, it's just less likely.

Though a lot of information was thrown at us, and though having Astrid go under anesthesia yet again is making me a nervous wreck, I feel like I can be optimistic with this situation.

If you have any purrs, barks, thoughts, and prayers to spare, we would certainly appreciate them. Thank you all for being such kind and supportive friends, always!

And thank out, Ann, for this beautiful badge for Astrid!

And thank you to Madi and her mom for making a post for Astrid over at the POTP blog!

We don't know what we'd do without all of you.

Our Doodle of the Day:
Our Tip of the Day:
Never forget the importance of doing routine checks of your furbaby at home. This can include feeling for any lumps and bumps during a petting session, or watching out for any other concerning symptoms. For many types of diseases, whether it be cancer or disease of the kidney, thyroid, heart, intestines, or anything else, early detection is often crucial. Since you spend the most time with your furbaby, and since you know your furbaby best, early detection can often begin with you simply keeping a watchful eye.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Caturday with Cat-o'-Lanterns: The Sequel

Welcome to the weekend! The arrival of the weekend means we get to participate in some of our favorite blog hops, like the Caturday Art blog hop, hosted by lovely Athena.

I believe we mentioned before that we were considering creating yet another Halloween header for our blog. We enjoyed doodling our current one, but we figured it never hurts to have options. And we recently mentioned that we've had cat-o'-lanterns on the mind yet again, which is probably why we are now sharing this:

What do you all think? Should this be our Halloween header now? Let us know which one you prefer – our current haunted house, or the cat-o'-lantern lineup. You all have to see our header each time you visit us, so we want you to pick!

Have a wonderful Caturday!

Our Tip of the Day:
There is sometimes debate over the health benefits of a dry versus a moist food diet for our furbabies. In some cases, dry food can potentially help keep teeth free of tartar and other such issues. This is not a guarantee, however, as animals on a dry food diet can still end up needing dental cleanings. Nevertheless, in some cases, a dry versus a moist food diet can very well affect the teeth. For example, does your furbaby have painful teeth, or no teeth at all? In this case, a moist food diet is often recommended. There are also special diets formulated for dental health, in the case that a cat or dog might benefit from this. Not only are the teeth affected by dry versus moist food, though, but also other parts of the body. Moist food, for example, is obviously high in moisture content, and so it is often recommended in the diet of any furbaby who might benefit from taking in plenty of moisture. This would include animals with kidney disease, as well as those prone to UTIs, crystals, and so forth. It's also important to think of the foods that cats and dogs eat in the wild. They often eat the meat of prey, which is not all that crunchy and which is high in moisture, which might indicate that moist food is more in line with how they would eat in the wild. Of course, though, sometimes it all comes down to the cat or dog's preference. Some cats and dogs refuse to eat dry food, and some refuse to eat moist food. In such cases, we have to take this into consideration and select foods that they will consume, as food intake is of course crucial.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Fun

TGIF! As always, we are starting this fantastic Friday with the Friendly Fill-Ins, hosted by 15andmeowing and McGuffy's Reader.

This week's fill-ins are just as clever as ever.

1. Keep calm and _________.
2. _________ disappoints me.
3. _________ is my _________.
4. In retrospect, _________.

And here are the answers my brain worked its way to:

1. Keep calm and cuddle a cat.
(Need I say more?)

2. Holiday Reese's Peanut Butter Cups disappoint me.
(Let's be honest, I had typed out the answer, "Humanity disappoints me." The news these days initially prompted me to write this. Then I decided that today I didn't want to be so down and dark. So, now, here I am expressing my disappointment in holiday candy. Honestly, have any of you had the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup pumpkins? They taste as they should, but they look nothing like a pumpkin. The same goes for the Christmas trees. I once read an entire article on someone's disappointment in the Reese's Christmas trees, and they outright said the candy looked like a turd. I can't say I disagree.)

3. My angel Rosie is my muse.
(I've said this more times than I can even remember. I do have a great many muses and inspirations in my life, but my calico angel Rosie is most definitely one of the biggest. As some of you may already know, Rosie was by my side from the time I was 4 years old until I was 26 years old. I happily spent a lot of time with her, and though we are no longer together on this earth, she still inspires me every day. Though some people I know might not understand understand this, as I grew up with Rosie, she taught me so much about compassion and life in general, and she is my muse in so many ways.)

4. In retrospect, perhaps I would have enjoyed a college major in art, literature, and/or creative writing.
(I have a bachelor of science in animal sciences, which I really do appreciate having. After all, I love animals, and I learned a lot about animal health and behavior, and even worked in veterinary settings for 3 years after college. But, after a while, I got a bit worn down from seeing ailing animals and watching sad goodbyes on a regular basis. I absolutely love animals and appreciate the opportunities I have had to help them, but in the end I felt like that line of work wasn't really my calling. I now work in a chemistry lab. Whats more, though, in addition to spending time with furbabies, my favorite things to do are draw and read and write. I'll admit that some days I do wonder if a major in one of those areas would have been more up my alley.)

Okay, now, what's next? Eddy, of course!

I snapped this shot during a brief Eddy nap. This sort of calm doesn't happen all that often, so I took advantage of the opportunity. That's in part why the shot is dark and not all that great. When Eddy is sitting still, you just go for it and grab the shot.


We thought we'd give you an update on Astrid, after she had the tumor on her paw pad removed on Tuesday. We are still awaiting the biopsy results, but that's not the purpose of this update anyway. To make this brief, let's just say that Astrid's foot has been agitating her ever since she got home, even with her pain and anti-inflammatory meds on board. The poor girl. She wants nothing more than to lick and chew at her affected foot, she panics when wearing the cone the vet sent home with her, she tries to remove any and all bandages and boots we put on her foot, and yesterday she managed to make her way to her incision and remove the majority of her sutures while we were away at work.

So, off to the vet we went to have her patched up. Understandably, the vet said that somehow we need to keep that dreaded cone on this anxious and annoyed pup so that her foot can heal. After doing some brainstorming, the vet gave us some anti-anxiety meds that will help calm Astrid while she's wearing that dreaded cone, and while she heals overall. I was at first worried about giving Astrid the medication, for fear that she would be too sedated. Let me tell you, though, after Astrid woke up at 1 o'clock this morning furiously kicking her foot and doing everything she could to remove her bandage, I am grateful for the anti-anxiety meds. We gave her one, and she is now resting and is the most calm I have seen her since the surgery, even with the cone on. 

All we need is a couple of weeks to get this all healed up, and though it will be a long couple of weeks, we'll get there!


Happy Friday!

Our Doodle of the Day:

Our Tip of the Day:
When we think of carbohydrates, things like pasta and bread may come to mind. But, carbohydrates in other forms are also an important aspect in pet food. In a dog or cat's food, carbohydrates often come from plants or grains, such as corn, rice, oats, or wheat. Just as in humans, carbohydrates can serve as a source of energy and fuel for our furbaby's body. That being said, carbohydrates is one aspect of pet food that may hold different levels of importance for cats and dogs.

Dogs are omnivores, meaning that even in the wild they get their nutrition from both animal and plant sources. For this reason, carbohydrates in the form of plants and grains are of course important in commercial dog food, just as meat products are. 

On the other hand, cats are strict carnivores, and in the wild they gain much of their nutrition and energy from the protein and fat of their prey. This is why plants and grains in commercial cat food is sometimes debated. Some studies indicate that cats in the wild do consume a small percentage of plant and grain carbohydrates, these being from whatever vegetation their prey may have eaten. Regardless, most commercial cat foods do contain carbohydrates from plants and grains, some in far higher percentage than others. This is where reading labels and comparing protein versus carbohydrate levels can be important for cat owners to do.

Not only is it important to consider a cat's strict carnivore ancestry, but it's also important to realize that for cats as well as dogs, a diet with a higher carbohydrate content can potentially lead to digestive concerns, such as diarrhea or flatulence. In addition, just as can be the case with fats and even protein, an excess of carbohydrates in the diet can potentially lead to weight gain. This is all just one more reason why it is so important to research, understand, and discuss with your veterinarian the best diet for your kitty or pup.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thoroughly Poetic Thankful Thimble Thursday

We enjoy so many fun challenges and blog hops each week. One of these is the Thoroughly Poetic Thursday challenge, hosted by Angel Sammy and Teddy.

Today's rhyme time brings us to the letter R. So, are you ready to meet our R of a someone?

Ruby the Radio DJ

Do you have a favorite song?
It doesn't matter if your tune is short or long.
Whether it be a guitar ballad or a pop jingle,
Or even a famous one-hit single,
Ruby the Radio DJ can put it on the air.
She knows how to treat good music with great care!

Really, please, do not stall.
Give Ruby the Radio DJ a call.
She takes requests night and day,
And any song she will be happy to play.

Are you in the mood for jazz or blues?
Or perhaps one or two country tunes?
Do you prefer rock or pop?
Or maybe even a bit of hip hop?
No matter what music it is that you like,
Ruby will never tell you to take a hike.
She can mix songs of any kind,
For Ruby the Radio DJ is a musical mastermind.

To visit the real Ruby, just click on her name there! And, of course, here is Ruby the Radio DJ's little doodle:

Now, of course, Thimble is here for her time to shine. Literally, as we recently had ourselves a day of lovely sunshine.

Today, of course, the clouds and rain have returned. But, we'll just wait for the next chance we get to bask in the sun.

Thimble wants to share her happy sunny days for Brian's Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

We are all grateful for the sun when it shines. Then again, we're also thankful for the rain that makes things grow. And, as always, we also are so happy to have so much else for which to be thankful, including family and friends like all of you.

We are wishing all of our friends a beautiful day!

Our Tip of the Day:
We've talked about protein and fiber in pet food, and now we're moving on to fat. Fat, like other nutrients, plays important roles for both us humans and our cats and dogs. Fats are yet another source of energy for the body and its cells, they aid in healthy skin and coat, and they are also important for growth overall. In pet foods, some fats can come from the protein source, such as chicken and beef. However, there are also other potential sources of fats in our furbabies' food. Fats can of course come from oils, such as fish oils or plant oils. The important thing is to make sure that your furbaby's food includes good quality fat sources, and in a healthy balance. For example, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which often come from sources such as fish or plant oils or chicken fat, are very beneficial, but most importantly so in proper amounts. Less quality fats and oils would include lard and other similar ingredients, and therefore do be cautious if you see these on a pet food label. Of course, any fats in too large of quantities could lead to health concerns such as obesity, so even healthy fats should not be consumed in an overabundance. As we've said before, try to educate yourself on your cat or dog's health and the best nutrition for them, and of course discuss this with a veterinarian as needed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday

Thank you all for the purrs, barks, thoughts, and prayers for Astrid! Her surgery yesterday went very well. She had the tumor on her paw pad removed, as well as a quick dental cleaning since she was already under anesthesia. Though we anticipate the biopsy of the tumor to show benign growth, as the vet still believes it is a histiocytoma, we'll know for sure soon.

For now, though, this pup is resting.

The hardest part is that Astrid's walks and other activities will be reduced while her sutured paw heals. We'll be removing her bandage tomorrow, and after that we wait two weeks and then take her in for the removal of her sutures. For these next two weeks, Astrid will have to continue wearing her boot, especially when going outside. Luckily, she is already used to wearing a protective boot on the affected foot, as she has been wearing one since the stubborn tumor first made an appearance many moons ago.

Happy Wednesday!

Our Artsy Fartsy Endeavor of the Day:

Our Tip of the Day:
Our food talk continues today with a little something known as fiber. Fiber is a very important nutrient that, for one, aids in digestion for not only us humans but also kitties and pups. In terms of digestion, fiber can play more than one role. Depending on the circumstances and the particular type of fiber consumed, it can assist with both constipation and diarrhea. That's not all, though, as fiber can also play a beneficial role in weight loss. Fiber can make food more bulky, and in turn can help a kitty or pup feel full, which can then lead to less gorging and therefore aid in weight loss. Still, though, fiber's roles in a cat or dog's health does not end there. Studies have also indicated that high fiber diets can benefit those with diabetes, such as by helping to control blood sugar. For all of these reasons and more, be sure to educate yourself on your furbaby's health and diet, and of course discuss options with your veterinarian.