Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Taking A Break

Hey guys!

Today's post is about something I've been waffling back and forth on for months. I've debated, hmm'ed and haww'ed and have given myself a massive headache, and now I've reached a conclusion.

I need to take a break from blogging.

I've been hitting publish on several posts every week here for the past six years. Nola herself was just six months old when I started Dachshund Nola, and it's been an incredible experience. The growth and knowledge I've obtained from blogging is something I treasure deeply, and has helped shaped me into the person I am today. I am incredibly thankful for the community, the friendship and the opportunities that have come out of this.

But...I'm at a standstill with blogging. I'm at the point where it's becoming an extremely unpleasant task to sit and schedule the three posts a week I've scaled down to, and I breathe a sigh of relief when it's done. I don't know what to post about, and when I try to get out something of any value, absolutely nothing gets put down on paper.

The community has changed and shifted, with microblogging edging classic blogging out of its place. I'll be the first to admit that I've found a great little niche with Instagram, while plenty of others love Facebook or Twitter, Snapchat or YouTube.

I'm tired of constant sponsored posts, both reading and producing. I'm weary of reviews. I'm sick of the drama and the cliques. I'm frustrated with my numbers being high, but my engagement being low. I'm frazzled with blog upkeep.

I'm not a writer. I never have been, and I never will be. Writing does not come naturally to me, and 99% of the time I give into the frustration of it and just spam you with photos.
The last post I've been really proud of and happy with? It was "Is She a Rescue?" An Open Letter to Breeder Hate. I wrote that last July, and did it in under 30 minutes. It went wild overnight, skyrocketing to my most popular post of all time, and landed me hundreds of shares and a radio interview. While I love it and am thrilled with how it went down, it's almost more frustrating to me that no matter what I try, I can't write anything close to that again. Nothing comes out when I try, and I've tried a lot.

This is turning into a bitch fest, and while I'm definitely frustrated with blogging, I'm strangely satisfied as well. I've hit every goal I've ever wanted to with blogging. I've made friends. I've been paid. I've attended BlogPaws as a sponsored blogger. I've gotten a hell of a lot smarter. I made an impact.
My photography is now something I'm proud of, and petty as it may sound, I can look at some of the photos I admired when I first started out, and I now know I can do it better. #SorryNotSorry
Even Nola's nails have hit my goal, haha.

So...that's where I am now. I need a break. Right now, I'm aiming to take the month of May off from blogging. I may look into rebranding when I get back, and I'll likely pull back to one or two posts a week, because I don't want to lose my original core blog goal, which is tracking Miss Nola's life and adventures.
In the mean time, feel free to follow us on social media, especially on Instagram here.

I thank you all for reading, and for sticking with us.

- Amanda

Bye for now!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Checking In With Pets Deli - Final Thoughts

Hey guys!

Disclaimer: I am being compensated to share this product. I only share products and services I feel good about recommending to my readers, and all opinions are my own. 

Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about Pets Deli dog food? If not, that post is right here, but I'll share a little snippet of our previous post below.

Pets Deli is a European company that just became available in the US. They ship customizable frozen food right to your door, made with all USA sourced ingredients that are 100% human grade. They currently offer three different, single source protein meal options: chicken, turkey and beef. All are available in either with or without carb options, and chicken and beef are grain free carb options.

At this moment, Pets Deli is intended to be used as supplemental feeding only. That could be as a meal every couple days, an afternoon snack, or as a kibble topper. However, Pets Deli will be putting out a supplement powder that will ship with every box of food, and makes the food a complete and balanced diet that can be fed on its own.

The first thing I have to say about Pets Deli is how kind and caring their staff was. As you all know, Nola was sick nearly all of April, and I had to push this post back at least once because she either wasn't eating, or her stomach couldn't handle anything but the most bland of foods; not once did I ever feel irritation or pressure from the wonderful Pets Deli rep. Quite the opposite, actually! They were caring, considerate, and incredibly accommodating. They even sent Miss Nola a card! I really can't say enough good things about their customer service.

Yes, she prefers a glass bowl. Not spoiled, not at all. 

Due to the aforementioned sickness (and how long a certain vet dragged it out for....), Nola's digestive  tract took a serious beating and is still healing up. Because of that, she's been put on a kibble based diet while her system sets itself back in order. 
However, I still want to give her the benefits of raw food, and Pets Deli has been the perfect topper for her. A couple spoonfuls on top of her breakfast each morning gives her variety and flavor, and me the pleasure of knowing I'm giving her something so healthy. 

As for improvements, I'd still like to see more protein options added. I'm starting to wonder if Nola is developing an allergy to chicken, and I know a lot of dogs have allergies or sensitivities to beef or chicken, which are two Pets Deli's main meats.

I'd also like to see a smaller delivery size option. We were sent a 6 pack, which is 12lbs, and it's a lot of food for a dog as small as Nola is. My freezer is minuscule, and if there wasn't an additional one in the shed, I'd have no where to put the food, especially not at the rate she eats. That's definitely #SmallDogProblems, though!

The website is still clean and user-friendly, as is the "my account" section. I poked around in there a bit, and was able to quickly and seamlessly make adjustments and changes to my account and orders. 

Its current use as a topper. This is the turkey variety. 

Nola hasn't had any negative side effects from Pets Deli, and is always eager to eat each morning - so much so that she dances around my legs and makes navigating the kitchen each morning (without stepping on her!) quite the feat. 
Probably the best way I know of telling if a food is working for Miss Nola is whether or not her eyes start to get a little gunky. Eye funk = this isn't working. I'm happy to say her eyes are as clear and bright as ever on Pets Deli.

Overall, I'm very impressed with Pets Deli, and would definitely recommend them, especially if you have a smaller dog. You can use the code NOLA50 for 50% off your first order.

Thank you for working with us, Pets Deli!

Monday, May 1, 2017

She's Baaaaaack!

Hey guys!

Today I'm here with what I hope to be the last update on Nola's upset stomach. After her vet visit on Tuesday and five doses of whipworm dewormer, she's basically back to her normal self, and better than ever, thankfully!

Her energy is through the roof (she had the best fit of roomies and fetching last night), she's back to being a little porker around food, no nausea, no horrible stomach rumbles, and her poop is almost normal. A tiny bit softer and one additional time than her normal, but she's been sick for three weeks and had a shit ton of medications and antibiotics; it's going to take a little while for digestive tract to heal after all that.

I have to say that I'm really not happy with the experience we had with the first vet she went to. Despite them seeing evidence of whipworms in the fecal they ran, and prescribing her dewormer, they called almost immediately and told me not to give it to her, instead keeping her full of antibiotics (despite there being no signs of infection) and other medication to treat symptoms rather than the source. Never mind the whole smacking an obscure diagnosis on her and giving even more medication that they said could take an additional three weeks to clear up her supposed condition.... Oh, and don't forget $600 for something that just kept her sick.

I'm so, so glad I listened to my gut and got a second opinion, and so glad my baby's okay! Thank you all for keeping her in your thoughts!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Black and White Sunday

Nikon D3300
35mm lens
ISO 100

Join me and my co-host Angel Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge and link up!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nola's Health Update

Hey guys!

I have an update on Miss Nola's health issues. Check out this post for more info if you missed the last update!

Once again, there will be a lot of poop talk. #dogmomproblems

Okay, so Nola's poop went from pretty much every hour, to every few hours, to five times a day, and now it's 2-3x a day, just one more than her normal amount. It's gone from...well, but water and jelly to mushy and sticky. Unfortunately, there's still blood in it more often than not. 

Her appetite is almost back to where it should be (normally she's a 10 on the chow hound scale, and she's about an 8 now), and her energy is back to normal. She's drinking and eating her normal amounts, she's gained back the weight she's lost and is maintaining it. Her nausea seems to be gone, too.

The poop issue still concerned me, so yesterday we went to a different vet for a second opinion (and I have a whole rant boiling inside me about the vet "care" in this area. I'm so sick of living in an area where everything is 15+ years behind everywhere else). While I am very, very far from satisfied with the practice, they did at least give a plan of action and don't seem to think that she has what the first vet said she did. 

Since the first vet already did basic bloodwork that came up normal and a lot of antibiotics, they ran two more fecal samples and found one whipworm egg. Whipworms can cause bloody poop and a general lackluster air, and since her heartworm prevention doesn't cover them, they've decided to treat her for 5 days the get rid of anything in her system. They also gave her some DiaGel to firm up her poop. Perhaps she did have some mild infection that's going along with this whipworm.

If this doesn't clear up the issue, we're going to have to look into more serious issues. I'm hoping like crazy this is what's wrong!

My irritation with the first vet was that they found a whipworm...something (casing, maybe?) in the first fecal sample they ran, and even prescribed her the wormer to get rid of them. Then they called the next day and told me not to give her that, and instead crammed her full of antibiotics. If it winds up being whipworms, that whole situation kept her sick for nearly three weeks and pumped full of an insane amount of antibiotics, never mind costing me over $500. So frustrated right now.

So that's the update! I'd appreciate some POTP for my little beast!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Black and White Sunday

Nikon D3300
35mm lens
ISO 400

Join me and my co-host Angel Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge and link up!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

She Gave Me a Scare - Clostridial Enterotoxicosis

Hey guys!

It's been a rough week and a half around here for us. If you follow us on social media (like on Facebook or Instagram), then you may have already heard about what's been going on. If not, read on!

Oh, and warning: it'll get a little gross and gets a tad long. You all know how much dog lovers like to talk about poop. ;)

It all started on Friday, the 7th. Nola woke me up with an accident in the house, which never happens. She's fastidious and does not like making a mess. It was a little different than normal, a little mucus-y, but that was it. Later that day she had pure liquid poop, but was still acting normal.
Saturday she was pretty listless and still continued with the diarrhea and it was very frequent. I kept her hydrated and offered bland food, which she ate. I really did not want to go to the E-vet, since it's...not the best. But that's a whole different blog post, so....let's continue!

Anyway, she improved some Sunday but still had so much poop and so frequently. She had accidents every night, despite waking me up at least twice each night to take her out. Monday she was the same, so we headed to a new vet to see what was up.
She had a physical exam and a fecal done, which showed nothing amiss. She was also tested for giardia, which was negative. The vet gave her an antibiotic/anti-inflammatory shot and sent us home with anti-diarrheal medication and oral antibiotics.

Tuesday she vomited up her pills, which resulted in me splitting up her pill times, but otherwise was okay. A little listless, but better. Still a bunch of liquid poop, but not as much. And no more inside accidents!

Fast forward to Thursday and she seemed to be doing pretty well. Well, that went to hell on Friday when she woke up totally subdued and tired, refused to eat or drink, and pooped 5 times within an hour timeframe. The first two were just watery liquid poops (I told you it'd get gross!), but the rest was mucus with blood in it.

The vet could fit us back in later that morning, so off we went again. This time was more concerning, since she'd lost a pound (that's a lot when your dog is under 10lbs on a normal day) and was slightly dehydrated. They pulled blood and tested for a myriad of different things, including pancreatitis, which was negative. All her levels were either normal, or on the higher end of normal, save for her PVC which confirmed the dehydration.

After all the testing and a thorough exam, the vet thought it might be Clostridial Enterotoxicosis. I'd never heard of it, but the vet assured me that Nola was presenting textbook symptoms - she actually did let me read through the chapter on the illness from one of her medical books! -, and explained why she thought that.
From what I've understood, Clostridial Enterotoxicosis is caused by abnormally high levels of the bacteria Clostridium perfringens (CP). It's often found in decaying plants and marine sediment; for those that don't know, we live in Florida, 20 minutes from the gulf. It can also contaminate meat, and be picked up in a kennel setting, but the first two are the most common culprits. It's believed that around 20% of gastrointestinal issues are caused by CP. It can occur in both dogs and cats, but is
much more prevalent in dogs.

Nola had almost every single symptom - in fact, the only thing she wasn't presenting was a fever. Unfortunately, there isn't a hard and fast test for CP, and it's easy to get both false positives and false negatives when someone does attempt to isolate the CP. Since Nola had already been on medication for a week, her test wasn't definitive, but since everything else had been ruled out and we do live right in the CP's ideal environment, the vet decided to go ahead and treat her as if she did have the CP.

That meant she had an antibiotic injection, an antibiotic/anti-inflamatory injection, an anti-nausea injection (the vet suspected nausea was making her not want to eat), and was given sub-q (under the skin) fluids to combat her dehydration. We were sent home with another round of oral antibiotics, probiotics, and RX gastrointestinal canned food.

If you've never seen the aftereffects of sub-q fluids, consider yourself lucky. It is freaky looking!
It doesn't show too well here, but that bulge behind her elbow is the fluid. Her shoulders were also so squishy and fluid filled. Thankfully it went down in a few hours!

By Saturday, she'd started improving, and by yesterday, she's nearly back to her usual self, which confirms her CP diagnosis. She's still on the mend, but is getting there!

Currently she has 3-4 more days of the RX food, and is getting two different antibiotics, one 3x a day and one every 8 hours. For the 3x a day one, she has 18 more days left, and for the 8 hour one, a week. She's getting fed three times a day in an effort to get her weight back up where it needs to be, which she appreciates. ;)

Going forward, she'll be switched to a higher fiber diet and probiotics every day; both of those create a less welcoming environment for CP, making another episode less likely to happen.

For anyone that read through all that, you get a gold star. ;)

This time last year we were dealing with a broken tooth, and this year it's Clostridial Enterotoxicosis. This had better not become a trend, Miss Nola!