Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Bingley on the mend

A very big thank you to everyone who’s been asking about Bingley. When he returned home from his last visit to the vet he seemed to be in a very sorry state and he stayed strangely quiet for…well, at least a day!

But pups bounce back, apparently; and Jane and I seem to have been more affected by all this than Bing himself.

The medication has made a huge difference and although the signs of itchiness are still there, he has at least stopped rubbing his head. Even better, the perplexing lumps on his muzzle have disappeared. We should have been visiting the vet again on Tuesday in order to have his stitches removed and to collect the results of his biopsy, but we had to reschedule his appointment for later in the week. As it turns out that isn’t a problem though because stitches are best left in for longer than a week if possible.

Yesterday however, Rachel, his vet, phoned with the results of the biopsy anyway. I must admit that I got a bit of a shock when she said that she was calling with the results and for a moment feared the worst, but thankfully she was simply being conscientious and there’s nothing worrying about the biopsy report: the swellings were just the consequence of an infection which he’d picked up, probably by pushing his muzzle into places where muzzles shouldn’t be pushed.

I’ve often wondered about that: when he’s off-lead Bing doesn’t usually go that far away, and his recall is pretty good. Unless he’s been distracted by fresh horse manure, that is – he then goes completely deaf and quickly consumes as much as he can before one of us can get to him to pull him away. We’re going to have to work on that one. But besides that he does like to explore and he’s always shoving his head into the most unappealing places. We’re going to have to work on that one too.

Meanwhile though, thanks to a good vet practice, Bingley is on the mend. Of course the allergy issue is still there, and it may take a while to figure out just what might be causing the itchiness. But at least we now feel more optimistic about getting to the bottom of this eventually.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Bingley woes

When I last took Bingley to the vet I was shocked to find myself left behind as he was led away for his very own private consultation. It really was an unsettling experience, but it didn’t prepare me for what was going to happen on our next visit.

Now that we’ve decided to not move house we knew that it was time to knuckle down and find out just what Bingley is allergic to. We hadn’t forgotten about this, but it was easy to put that issue on hold because his allergic reaction seemed so mild. However, over the course of the past week things suddenly became much worse and addressing this condition quickly turned into a priority. He’d begun to shake and scratch his head constantly, frequently enough in fact to start leaving bare patches below his eyes. More perplexing were the lumps that had begun to appear on his muzzle. It was definitely time to go back to the vet.

So Tuesday morning found us all sitting in the consulting room once again; a different room this time, and a different vet. But it was another good examination which seemed to confirm that Bing is definitely allergic to something. Finding out what that might be may take a while though and will likely require him to spend a day with a dermatologist.

That’s the next stage however. On Tuesday the vet went on to suggest eliminating some of the obvious candidates (such as Demodex, little mites that live deep in the hair follicles) and recommended that we leave Bing with her while she did some tests. She’d sedate him, take some skin scrapes from the patches near his eyes and have a good look at the lumps on his muzzle. It would take a couple of hours though, so it would be best for us to go home & she’d give us a call when Bingley was ready to be collected.

Bing of course was happy to bound off with a new friend (though I’m not certain if his new companion was quite as happy at being enthusiastically pulled down the corridor!).

But Jane & I felt bereft and wandered home in a daze. No dog pulling & tugging on the lead as we walked, no insistent muzzle pushing against our legs as we ate lunch. In fact the house felt quiet and horribly empty.

As soon as the phone rang we both leapt up to answer it. The vet explained that the skin scrapes had returned a negative for Demodox, but the lumps on his muzzle had caused enough concern for her to do a biopsy and she’d had to put in a couple of stitches as a consequence. Thankfully the lumps seem to be nothing more than a severe infection resulting from all the scratching, but the definitive results won’t be here until next week.

Jane and I returned to the vets at warp speed! But despite the warning that he now looked worse than he did when we brought him in, it was still a shock to see him. Poor little lad looked like he’d been in a bar fight.

Once home he went straight to bed and slept solidly the whole evening, getting up only to eat his meal – which is good sign, I suppose.

For the next week he’s on a course of antibiotics and steroids. Yesterday I had to add his quarterly worming tablet to the cocktail of medication I seem to be feeding him at the moment.

Not surprisingly he’s been very quiet today, which gives me time to type this. Bonny Bing isn’t that bonny at the moment, so no new photos just yet – I’ll let Jane pick something from the archive. But Bing & I have just been out for a short mid-afternoon walk and as we passed a couple of the local kids one of them exclaimed ‘What a gorgeous dog!’ So, despite the stitches and scrapes Bing’s obviously still an absolute charmer.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


By now many of you know that the house move hasn’t happened and that we’ve decided to stay put for a while longer. That’s not all bad news: we miss the notion of being right by the sea, but it’s also nice not to have to go through the upheaval of packing up and moving.

Bingley of course has been oblivious to all these deliberations. Actually, oblivious may not entirely accurate: during some of the more stressful moments he would come and sit quietly at our feet in a most sympathetic and understanding way. And he wasn’t remotely oblivious to the people who recently called round to quote us on the removal costs! That was a bit disappointing because I thought that he might be getting better at resisting the temptation to transform himself into a barking frenzy of jaw frothing embarrassment every time someone visits us.

He does calm down again very quickly once first contact has been made. Unfortunately most people value their lives and are very reluctant to even contemplate allowing first contact to get anywhere near taking place.

During the plans for the move only one visitor recognised that this barking 36 kilo beast was actually just a puppy who wanted to say hello. He was a dog owner himself and wanted to meet Bingley up close and personal. Brave man! Interestingly once Bing had introduced himself with his usual overwhelming vigour he went on to quickly settle down and play with his toys. Brilliant! But as I’m quickly learning, one breakthrough moment does not a well trained puppy make.

In fact training is obviously going to be a lifelong process with all the usual ups and downs. Stay, which until recently was a command which Bingley was really good at following, has now been completely forgotten. At the moment he won’t let me get too far away and won’t wait to be called before enthusiastically running over; and actually going out of sight before calling him is impossible.

Could it be that he wasn’t at all oblivious about our plans to change house after all, and that he’s worried that he might get left behind? It certainly seems that he’s not going to let us out of his sight until he’s convinced himself that we’re the ones who are going to stay!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Wednesday, 2 April 2008