Now you see me; Now you don’t. – Life and the Emergency Room

Share Button

Tommy did it again. He went back to the ER about two weeks ago. His constipation had him again, and we need to work to getting him all set up back at his regular vet and see if there is or isn’t a diagnosis for IBD. He’s been on Miralax for a few years, and it seems like from time to time he backs up too far. He ended up with an enema after x-rays and a prescription for oral lactulose. They also gave him subcutaneous fluids because he was getting dehydrated from the vomiting.

Lucky me. Another $5xx.xx bill for the bub. AS WELL AS pulling $200 out of a hat much earlier than expected. His dad theorized that should Tom have IBD, the pork shoulder I put in his batch of food last time may have been irritating his guts. I had just made a new batch of food the day Tom went to the ER, only I broke a pork bone down in the Instant Pot and just put pork broth into it. Tommy got to eat the rest of the Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein canned turkey until a new order of rabbit came in from Hare-Today in PA. I had just completed a few gig jobs to get ahead on the electric, and suddenly I’m making cat food again.

New dilemma: More money

I start work tomorrow morning at a local pet boutique specializing in more natural foods. I just heard that Lotus is coming out with a raw, so I have some new things to learn and research, as well as being able to keep up with being physical this winter when I would normally be sedentary.

What is Stop and Eat the Flowers going to be doing? I am not sure. This has been sure a flop of a year with personal challenges, and now I am right at the cusp of seasonal depression issues with the DST shortening the evenings – I want to be happy and healthy and get my zeal back. Next month is 1 year since one of my friends died. July of this year another friend died. May I broke my car and rushed my parrot to the vet for surgery. June I bought another car and rushed my guinea pig to the vet over a heart condition, and it was decided to put her down. August, the funeral was finally held for my friend and during that month, Idris (my youngest parrot) was rehomed.

I still had my blue hair and interviewed for a rock and roll barber shop for the desk, and then later at Carmax for the sales department, and then a friend said I might want to think about changing my hair after four years. So here I am, with silvery steel hair and a new job.

What’s got your allergies? The Test

Share Button

“If you didn’t have all those animals in your house, you’d be fine.”

Nah. I got proof this month.
I had allergy testing done as a child, but the process is a little updated, and there is one big thing I wasn’t aware of:

YOU HAVE TO DISCONTINUE ALL ANTIHISTAMINES FOR 1 WEEK

However, you can still use your nasal steroids ie Flonase.

Backstory

My allergies have been stupid and ridiculous since I moved to Maryland. It wasn’t too bad in Arizona. I would use the Neti with the salts and flush my sinuses out, and maybe take one antihistamine. I also had 4 cats, several guinea pigs, and hay in the house. Since moving to Maryland, I have had constant sniffles, congestion, and take three different antihistamines after trial and error with different single ones. I also just added Flonase 2 months ago. I wash my bedding at least twice a month, as well as pillows, and we have a HEPA running upstairs in my room as well as downstairs in the living room. The guinea pigs and hay are also gone. And still…these things with my face…oof.

My insurance said they would cover 75% of allergy testing before processing goes through. I paid $125, but I might get a partial reimbursement. You never can really tell these days. I stopped all antihistamines on a Wednesday, as my testing was the following Wednesday. Some kinds of acid reflux meds have to be discontinued as well, but not Prilosec, which I take the generic or else things get very unpleasant if discontinued. I was also told to not take any sedatives three days prior. You also have to not use hydro-cortisone.

Friday the itching was intense. I had no hives, but just ready to dig my skin out. Most noticeable areas were shoulders, near the elbow, sides of the torso, inner thighs, and my scalp. It felt like I constantly had bugs in my hair. It was terrible. However, it were to be temporary, as long as I made it to Wednesday. The entire week I felt like I could be irritating myself because I had no protection other than the Neti and Flonase, and wasn’t certain if anything could be my deodorant, or start having a severe reaction to my cats. I was washing my hands more a dozen times a day, and some days I would take two showers.

Tuesday night my eyes started itching pretty bad. Oh no.

Wednesday morning I was ready

Allergy testing is pretty cool. They put the allergen serums on pokey pokey things and press it into your skin. I remember them doing this to my back as a child. There are two controls: One is ragweed, which nearly everyone responds to, and the other is nothing. It’s a neutral.
You then wait fifteen minutes to see which serums initiate swelling (hives) and to what degree.

This is the beginning of two arms


Once your results are final, you get swabbed down with alcohol and then can slather your skin with benadryl gel.

You know what didn’t really react at all? CATS AND DOGS
Har har.
Cockroaches, mice droppings, very few trees, and loads of grasses. Rye grass was off the charts. Timothy hay did show up as a reaction, but not terribly so, and even slightly less was Orchard Grass. I guess that sort of confirms the theory with bunny and guinea pig owners that Orchard Grass may be less threatening to you than feeding/keeping Timothy hay.

My results stay on file for 1 year so that I can start allergy shots (immunotherapy) but I can’t afford it currently. The facility can bill over $5000 to my insurance, and upfront I get to pay out 25% until it processes through my insurance, gets disallowances per contract, and months down the road I might see a check to cover part of my costs. You also have to purchase a sharps container, get a prescription for your needles at the pharmacy as well as an Epi-pen. My initial responsibility is at least $1400.

I am reluctant to say that it would max out my emergency credit card, and we drive and MINI and a Volkswagen, and that would be more irresponsible than purchasing a MINI or a Volkswagen.

Just hermetically seal me in the house. I’ll be fine.

Basepaws Catkit DNA testing update #9 : Health Reports

Share Button

We received our first two Catkits in 2017 as a part of running updates and sharing what you can expect.
Our first Health Reports were assigned to Tommy Gargoyle. Princess Yue Pants has not received hers. Stewart was tested as well after he was accepted to participate in their research for his asthma, and has yet to have his Health Report.

This post is going to be IMAGE HEAVY, so we’re doing smaller images, but you can click on them to enlarge.

This is what a Tommy Gargoyle is

This is what a Princess Yue Pants looks like

Please observe:

Check out Tommy’s percentage based on a breed he most closely resembles

Compare Princess Yue Pant’s percentage to the same breed

Cat breeding is not dog breeding. Cats like to breed themselves. Cat genes are spread wide and diluted. Cat genetics are now being explored and analyzed in Basepaws’ database of exceptional cats just like yours. The information and findings are always evolving. This is why you receive lifetime updates, so when you may think you have your cat figured out, you’ll continue learning new things. Basepaws is providing great forwards through the different sections of your report. Check this out:

My bubba has A LOT of polycat. “Celebrate your mutt”

Because of Tommy’s exceptional Mutt status, his breeds he identifies with tend to be around 50% or less.

His general groupings

His summary highlights.
His Health Report is ready. What’s that about?

You receive a Health Report forward

Here’s a snip of the genes tested and result

Today, his total report is 34 pages. Certain breeds get removed and updated and consolidated at different points as they process more proven purebreds to make the database for that breed more distinct. There used to be Turkish Angora and Siamese, but those are down right now. Also, the Persian group changed.

I’ll let you know what comes up for us next.

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein canned varieties

Share Button

I love the cleanprotein concept. Cats are Obligate Carnivores, so instead of going by the simple AAFCO mandates about protein levels in cat food being met, Dr. Elsey’s uses the more digestible animal proteins to attain their protein percentage. I have seen foods use soy and other vegetation to state its a high protein food, when in reality, your cat isn’t meant to eat that.

We received our samples of the kibble in 2017, and it was widely received by our cats, even though our boys aren’t supposed to be on kibble. The girls are still eating it today. I realized that there were several new varieties of canned available now, so I requested whatever they could send me so that we can put up a new review.

He was hoping I would open them

“100% Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Fillers or Artificial Preservatives, Non-GMO, For All Life Cycles”

We have a very wet pate. They mean it when they state No Fillers. When you stir it well, you end up with a great stew consistency. Their turkey is the most favored flavor on Chewy, so that will be the one for our short video.

I fed these to my ladies, and they aren’t partial to fish. The ocean whitefish and the salmon are even a bit looser in texture, and Yue tried the ocean whitefish while Amalie tried neither. The salmon was left behind in the dish, unharmed. All other flavors did very well.

They run great sales from time to time on Chewy.com so try some with your regular order.

 

Some teeth are better than others

Share Button

I was discussing oral condition with friends last night, and one interjected that his cat is fed a great diet. I said “no, your cat benefits from being genetically superior”. I was able to satisfy his ego without getting into a big discussion. I don’t have time to argue, and you can feel that you contribute to your cat’s oral health depending on diet, whether kibble, canned, raw, dehydrated, freeze dried. I don’t really care, and I say that in jest. I know my way around a mouth.

Amalie’s teeth dissolve right out of her head. She has a disease that’s not curable, and we do cleanings and extractions. She is on the same diet as Yue. Yue does not have this condition.

Tommy and Stewart have the same diet as well. Tommy used to have me scale his teeth when he was younger with a dental tool. He just has a cruddy, sticky mouth that develops tartar easily. At ages 8, Yue and Tommy went in for a cleaning. Stewart is about to turn 8, and his mouth still looks fantastic at his age. You can see the rear teeth. Tom… *sigh*… this guy has so much tartar on this back teeth two years later, that you can’t see the tooth. He needs a dental cleaning, again. I’m going to try to stave off a visit for a few months by giving him some Zylkene tonight and try to scale his back teeth. He used to let me do it, but now it’s pretty built up, he’s uncomfortable, and we haven’t used the tool in some time.

We could have prevented this by brushing. We will be attempting to “teach an old dog new tricks” after his professional cleaning, with brushing. A proper dental cleaning requires general anesthesia and routinely includes the need for blood work. This starts out at $400. I know that the clinic we use will want to have a Senior Exam visit charge, full Senior blood work, then the dental. I’m looking at about $800, unless I go somewhere else. He hasn’t seen the vet since 2017 because that was the year he was traumatized with all the ER visits, the surgery, the follow ups. I should do the entire thing because he’s ten years old. They will likely also do x-rays to see below the gum line.

I need to find more work. It’s for the fur kids.

Bavarian Cat Toy sacks discontinued

Share Button

added/CONFIRMED WITH BAVARIAN CAT TOYS SUPPORT

If you can find these on another site (at a reasonable price), let us know!

Here’s my story:

We started using weighted blankets in our home when the tech was new. They made a ‘chhh chhh chhh’ sound when my cat, Princess Yue Pajama Pants, decided this was the most awesome thing ever, and started trying to kill the weighted blanket. Oh darn. I wanted to redirect her to a cat-appropriate option.

I messaged a few bloggers if they knew of such a toy, and Petsweekly was very familiar with one. SCORE one for the Princess. I did get full disclosure upfront that these things smell horrible for humans. How bad could it be? Yue likes to roll around in July-used undergarments, so that’s up her kink, too.

Since Petsweekly did all the writing, and I’m rusty, take two minutes to check this out:
Bavarian Cat Toys offer Catnip Alternative

We found out that the Bavarian Cat Toys website does not have an online store with stock and were referred to Jeffers
We placed an order with Jeffers two years ago, but this was a bit of a luxury item for the budget, so I had an email that indicated sale items earlier this month, and I went to see what the sacks were priced at.

Affordable. The sacks were 30% off or more.

The next week they were gone from the website. As far as I’ve heard from their customer service, is that they aren’t getting the sacks anymore, but they still have seasonable toys from Bavarian Cat Toys in their catalog.

These are pretty big, they stink, and they have spelt in them in them, so they ‘chhh chhh chhh’ with movement and play. But, if your kitty plays more conservatively, there are still a lot of options that ship free at $49+

birb update for our parrots, Jak and Koi

Share Button

We’re going to develop a habit

Share Button

It’s all on me. I know I haven’t been doing much this summer on this site, but social media accounts have been semi-active. Everything has been so much to process, and continued to amaze me about how many curves life can throw at you.

A month after Murphy was put down for her heart condition, I donated her things, tried to get on with life, and then an extremely exuberant friend of mine died in an accident. He was 45. I’d known him for about 19 years, along with his wife, and I met their son when the was 4 years old. Now, their child is 11, the wife has impaired vision, and everything hit the fan. We were working together on this new project for about a month before the funeral actually took place – Taking care of each other.

Then back to my responsibilities at home, and to this brand. We have all the canned samples that Dr. Elsey’s would send me over their Cleanprotein, and so far that’s going well. I need to write a new update for you on Basepaws genetic testing for cats.

And then there was Idris. Idris is a lovely bird. She’s been very human happy every since I met her when she was a few months old and brought her home. She fit into the flock okay, considering that Koi and Jak were bonded. Then she hit 7 this year, and her hormones ruined her groove. She tried to kill Koi and take Jak for herself. We did all the separations, reintroductions, adjusted the lighting periods, moved all their items around. Jak ended up with an injury that couldn’t be explained with forensics because we never found any. After Jak’s isolation period, Koi asked that Idris not sleep with them at night any longer, and then Idris was moved to a guinea pig cage at night. She kept coming onto Jak, so I had to focus her attention on me. Idris eventually tried to bond to me, but then the other two were upset because they felt I was part of their flock as well. Before Idris bonded too much to me, that it would really mess her up to be rehomed at a later point, she was rehomed this week. I have heard so many times about birds hitting hormonal age and then being put into another home and it ruins them. She didn’t do anything wrong. She’s still a fantastic girl. It didn’t fit the dynamic any longer and treatment wasn’t fair to her. All my photos with my conures were basically her… just her. She’s my cuddle bug.

Idris has been doing well, from what her new mommy has told me. She has a daddy, too. Still very happy to be with her humans. They did tell me that if Idris still wanted to get a bird of her own, that would be an option they would pursue for her. She’s doing well, and it breaks my heart. I tried to make it work, and I firmly believe in Forever Homes. I did this weird little dance of working to balance everything and pulling back when Idris needed to be with me at times. When her mom came to visit, I didn’t handle Iddy. I opened the cage and let her come out, and let her new mom do all the introductions. I did not want to have Idris be too stubborn hanging on me, and be a jerk hole to someone that wanted to hang with her. It’s been hard on us.

I cleaned the bird cage from top to bottom yesterday, and got permission from my partner to order a tree for Jak and Koi. We have a table top Java stand, but when I move it around, cats surprise them. By the way, Idris hated cats, and her parents have no cats! Whew.
Jak and Koi’s tree should be here this week and is about 5 foot tall without any lower branches, has a tray area underneath for mess, and casters to roll it around. My partner says they are expensive, and I said “Will you let me handle it? I need to do this. Otherwise our house is going to be full of guinea pigs again”.

I might have a permanent Empty Nest issue that’s been following me around since I was in my 20s. Instead of helping more animals, I need to help myself to learn to invest more into keeping the fids I have happy and healthy.

I knew things would change

Share Button

I didn’t realize how much. In March, Chewy.com said they were discontinuing the Influencer program. It was a positive force for me to stay connected and keeping up with content, but then things got all weird.

In May I broke my car. Since February 2006, I have always owned a silver Jetta. Twice, even. I got my first guinea pig in December of that year, and I believe I got my first vanity license plate in 2007: WHEEK. These things happen. Once I parked at Petco and found another sedan right next to mine with the license plate WHEEEK. I located the owners and they said they tried to get WHEEK, but it was unavailable. I was so dizzy with laughter. How often would this situation ever occur to another person with a personalized plate, especially when 97% of people ask me what WHEEK means?! I tried to make it easier, I surely did. My plate was also a specialty plate to support Spay and Neuter for AZ that was their pet plate.

It was time to replace the car, but my parrot needed emergency surgery, and I tossed considering another silver Jetta out with the bathwater. I also went to the MVA and gave them back my WHEEK Maryland plate. I didn’t even get a silver car this time around, which was also a huge habit of mine. Blue Anthracite Pearl. A hatchback. A crappy hatchback. But now I mostly love the car, and if I find something to nitpick from time to time, I attempt to remain humbled and know that I had the money to pay cash for my bird, so there was no hesitation to get the treatment she needed when her leg was mysteriously torn open.

I did keep my license plate frame : I’d Rather Be Playing with my Guinea Pigs
As well as contacting the artist who made my guinea pig decal in the UK. She had pulled the listings because ripoff artists, but still had the item in storage and created a new listing for me.

The car smelled bad. It’s like when you know your friend smokes weed in high school, but they keep spraying that god awful cologne over it. I bought the car fairly cheap, and I had to find out what this car was smoking. I used a Chlorine Dioxide bomb on the interior to neutralize that yucky detailer smell. I found a half a pound of leaves in the cabin air intake. I cleaned the A.C. evaporator. I am not even playing when I say – I – did the things. My partner accompanied me to the parts yard and cannibalized other mk4 Volkswagens. The arms on the hatch were failing, the floor was missing in the hatch, there was no lug wrench or jack, I didn’t like the vents on my car, and I needed to customize a set of floor mats.

I also bought lock actuators because the right passenger door was dead. My partner installed it and the door locks and unlocks.
I found a plugged sunroof drain, modified the grommets, and upgraded the hoses to the rear. My partner broke down most of the interior and put it back together, because I have a bit of a Hulk Smash issue with delicate items. Even he broke a small piece, and then recast it with industrial materials he keeps in the house. When I asked how much it ran financially, he said it was about a third the cost of ordering the replacement part. Okay, okay. I serviced the sunroof, and we assessed the condition of the gasket. It may need replacing in the future, but wasn’t brittle enough or creating leaks.

And my primary radiator fan went out 2 days before the first ugly heat wave. I took it to the shop because I’m not going to risk a migraine working in that under the given conditions. PS – my part went out 1 week after we got the exact same thing fixed on our other vehicle. I highly recommend European cars. *wink wink wink wink wink no wait that’s just my eye twitching from stress*
The other repair it needed to pass inspection was an front inner right CV boot.

Now we’re having another heat wave, and I can’t do anything to the car. It’s giving me too much time to think. Right after I started work on this car, Murphy had to be put down. I spent time working on the car, then more time working on the car. I stopped hearing random guinea pigs that would make me break down for a few minutes in a panic. I also have an Idris problem. My youngest bird is still frisky and needs a home. I’m trying to work on that. The next things to focus on for the car were making sure it was safe, ie my own head unit with bluetooth and a proper phone mount.

Somewhere in the middle of that last part, a friend I made almost 20 years ago passed away in a freak accident. I’ve been friends with his lady just as long, I met them together, and I made easy friends with their son as soon as I found a chance. We’re all working on picking each other back up and keep going forward. My partner installed the mount for my phone in my car this morning, two days after I turned 37.

Now, I’m trying to look forward by 6 weeks. The weather should drop off, and we can see if the other lock actuator fixes my driver door, as it only responds to manual locking. We also get to take apart the hatch door and figure out why the mechanism moves when you unlock it, but releases when you pull the handle unless the key is inserted to that lock and turned. Passenger seat underside needs examined to find out why it rocks about just a bit. We might even decide to reupholster the headliner.

What do you do? It’s gotten so bloody hot that everything is on pause. I liked that I had this project moving along. It helps me try not to go off about giving up guinea pig caretaking. It helps with not upsetting myself over trying to rehome Idris. It helps with chiseling away at the Writer’s Block. I do keep up with Stop and Eat the Flowers’ Facebook.

We got our Batpig

My cat wants to star in a horror movie

Jak turned 9

I got mom an art for her grandpig leaving us

And most recently we were notified from BasePaws that Stewart is a generic cat. He’s most similar to American Shorthair, and we got his CatKit by contributing to their research because he’s got asthma. You can apply here


What went wrong with my guinea pig, Murphy

Share Button

I haven’t had the focus to write anything, and while I have had downtime on this blog, I have been keeping up on our Facebook Page. If you’d like to head there, I have the accounts listed to the right side of Stop and Eat the Flowers.

Smurph had a final diagnosis of pericardial effusion. The sac around her heart was filled with fluid. It was either pus, or clear, or blood. I could have elected to have it aspirated that day, but the fact that it formed in the first place left a difficult treatment ahead. It would have given her relief that day and likely come back even a day, week, month, or year later. Based on things we had noticed with this litter of guinea pigs over the years, and with Smurph, these sisters had a genetic issue with their hearts. We never had anything close to a diagnosis up until a year and a half ago when Potsticker died at the vet of heart failure. Ever since the girls were brand new, they had coughing. It usually acted up when they were eating, after they’d been resting for a time. I was also told that Murphy honks when the household comes alive around 6:30am. It was going on for about a year, but I’d never witnessed it, until a few months ago. She was honking gently during the day.

My mistake was going to the wrong clinic. I went to the smaller one where the prices were higher because of low volume, and they wanted to run about $1000 in tests, so I opted for a short course of antibiotics. I hadn’t heard her honking after, so I let it go. Except that in June, she was taking treats from me and eating less than half of them. She wasn’t standing up on the frame of the cage anymore and asking about stuff. I took her to the big hospital in Fairfax, where they said she was having low digestion and needed to start getting fluids and motility drugs. The vet asked me about her breathing. I said that I’ve had pigs with respiratory issues before, and that this seemed to look more like pain to me. What would he suggest? We discussed doing a short course of antibiotics, but then agreed that this would be a bad idea because it would nuke her gut flora, while we’re trying to avoid G.I. Stasis. I said let’s do the x-ray.

You couldn’t even see if her heart were enlarged because the fluid around her heart was obscuring the view. The hospital could drain it, but we would have to follow up with a small animal cardiologist, with no guarantees. We had already taken her an hour from home to this facility, and frequent trips would be a strain on her. The vet said that “even if you had ‘Bill Gates’ money, it’s not a good prognosis”.

The veterinarian conference called with my partner and I so that it was all discussed again, and we euthanized her. She was the only one of her litter to make it to four years old, so she did reach a full life, just not one of the longer ones. Those honors go to her Auntie Mu-Xi (5 1/2 years old) and Chai (8 1/4 years old).

That’s it. The guinea pig pen was taken down, and her laundry washed, and the donation was made of a car load of items to the small animal rescue out here just this week.

I was with Murphy throughout the euthanasia process. I’ve been there since her first day out of the womb, and I stayed until she departed. I don’t like sending them to the back, alone.

If you enjoy nugget videos, please turn up your volume.

That’s Murphy.

And if you would like to read up on heart conditions, Guinea Lynx is a great resource:
Cardiovascular disease

Now I am retired from guinea pigs, at least until my 40s. We started December 2006 with our first guinea pig:
Her Royal Highness, Princess Cabrielle, Ruler of all She Surveys
Cabby was a twat.

Left clockwise:
Cabby, Chai, and Coco