The Heart of the Matter

It started a few weeks ago with a cough. The local V-E-T suggested it could be kennel cough or bronchitis. It is hard to say if the medication they prescribed worked so today, we pursued the next step: a chest x-ray.

For the most part, everything looked good. There was only one potential problem area. The V-E-T showed us one picture, taken while Mr. K was on his right side. It was marked with a big "X" and had the number 11.23 written next to it. The V-E-T explained this was his vertebral heart score - a method V-E-T-S use to measure heart sizes across breeds and assess for cardiac enlargement. He said it could be normal for the Scottish Terrier breed or it could be indicative of heart disease. "Doctor Google" told me the normal vertebral heart score for dogs of any breed is between 8.4 and naturally, I was very worried.

The V-E-T sent the pictures to a board certified radiologist who could better assess the x-rays on hand. Luckily, the radiologist believes Mr. K's heart looks fine and is normal for the breed. Still, we have a small, yet persistent cough problem to resolve so the V-E-T came up with another potential remedy: Zyrtec. Yes, you read that right! 

Allergies can be a source of inflammation and therefore, a reason for Mr. K's coughing. So, for the next two weeks, he will take 10mg of Zyrtec and we will evaluate for effectiveness or next courses of action then. I have never heard of a dog taking Zyrtec, have you? All I know is that, as a chronic allergy sufferer for the last 22 years, I have used Zyrtec and it never fails to knock both me and my symptoms out every time. The down side? I'm seldom awake to reap the rewards of a good antihistamine. I am curious to see how Zyrtec affects Mr. K and can only hope it brings him relief. Fingers and paws crossed for continued good results, please!

Harnessing the Power of Walkies

Heather and Mr. K love walks. What doggie doesn't? Until recently, we used a double leash attached to their collars on walks. But with Mr. K's coughing episodes as of late, I wondered if the strain of a collar around his neck was making things more difficult for him and whether swapping the collar for a harness would help. So, we headed to a few local pet stores to pick up some swanky harnesses. 

It took a while to find one that fit. Heather and Mr. K were mostly patient throughout the process. Heather was her usual charming self, tricking an employee at unleashed by Petco into giving her an all-access pass to the pouch of treats attached to the employee's waist. How? By wagging that happy tail and burrowing her way into the employee's lap while she tried to fasten the harness on Heather. We wondered why Heather was staying so still and being so cooperative when it hit us: she had her nose buried in the employee's treat pouch and was happily snacking the whole time! 

At the end of the day, Heather and Mr. K walked away with more than a few treats. They also went home with these dashing harnesses. As you can see from the photos above, neither Heather or Mr. K was interested in keeping the harness on for long once we got them home. They spent more time trying to wiggle them off with the help of the grass below than they did walking on those first few outings. Our hope is that they will get used to them in time. Tell us: does your pup use a harness or a collar for walkies? Feel free to share the kind of harness or collar your dog uses in the comment section below if you would recommend others look into it.

Scottish Terriers of Instagram

We know you just can't wait another day for #TooCuteTuesday so we'd introduce you to this week's #ScottishTerriersofInstagram. Aren't they adorable? If you'd like to share your Scotties' Instagram photos with us, upload your photos to Instagram using #ScottishTerriersofInstagram or tag @TheScottieMom. Oh, and be sure to follow us and this week's featured Scottie dogs! 

Still looking for more Scottie Love? Check out other Scottish Terriers of Instagram on Pinterest!

Raining on Sunday

They say a little rain never hurt anyone but Heather and Mr. K aren't particular fans of it. Still, nature calls and every once in a while, they are forced to venture out in the rain to take care of business. Fortunately, there was just a light drizzle today. Heather and Mr. K donned their rain gear anyway and "braved" the weather long enough to catch these cute shots! Had it rained any more than it was, there is no doubt Heather would have walked right back into the Scottie House. Why is it that some pups refuse to pee in the rain? Heather offered this explanation in her last Scottie manifesto

Celebrating Independence Day - Scottie Style!

Today, Heather and Mr. K are showing off their patriotism in style! How will you and your pups be celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend? Don't tell Heather and Mr. K...but they're about to be surprised with festive, star-shaped doggie treats in commemoration of Independence Day holiday. Yum! Be safe, have fun and watch out for those fireworks, friends. Much love, The Scottie Mom.

Visit with the V-E-T

Two nights ago, I woke up to the sound of what I can only describe as persistent coughing. I got up, looked around and saw it was Mr. K. He appeared to be struggling - whether it was to get air or get something out of his throat, I can't be sure. After about 30 seconds, it was over and Mr. K was fast asleep and snoring as usual in no time. Still, I stayed awake fearing it would happen again. 

Yesterday, we took a trip to a local pet store and amid all the excitement, Mr. K started the same coughing fit when we got back in the car. This time, I was especially alarmed. The noises Mr. K made sounded exactly like the coughs dear Cousin Snackle made as his heart condition grew worse. Then, it dawned on me: Mr. K had been panting much more than usual and even cut play time short to catch his breath. Could it be more than the summer heat catching up with Mr. K?

Morning came and the two of us took a special trip to the V-E-T. We had just visited in May for annual checkups and everything was fine for Mr. K. (Heather showed rather low blood sugar levels...more on that to come.) Because of his symptoms and the canine influenza scare going around, the V-E-T asked us to come in through the back and be seated in a special exam room. There, Mr. K and I waited to talk to the V-E-T about these unusual symptoms that have recently presented.

While there appears to be no fluid in his lungs and his heart has no arrhythmia, the V-E-T could not rule out an enlarged heart. But first, we are treating for kennel cough and bronchitis with Doxycycline. If there is no improvement of symptoms by Monday, we will likely pay a visit to a cardiologist or get an X-ray to take a closer look at Mr. K's heart in the coming weeks. Paws crossed for good results, please!