Thursday, April 13, 2006
A woman scorned
Okay, so I am in a huff. Ruby had a vet appointment this morning. Ruby has a weight problem. No matter how little we feed her, she doesn't lose any pounds. In fact, even though she is eating less than half what is recommended for her DESIRED weight, she has gained four pounds since her last checkup. She is now 24 pounds, about 6 pounds heaver than the top of the range for her breed. She eats a measured amount of dry kibble only, and gets a counted number of low fat low cal treats for going outside. We exercise her for 30 minutes each day (hard running up and down stairs to fetch a toy, she thinks we are playing and nearly passes out after but loves it) plus add short walks when we can. Basically, the vet I am sure thinks I am lying and that we do nothing but force food down her throat every chance we get. She does not get "people food" normally. I am very strict about that (ask the KT'ers that came to my house). She might get one or two pieces of popcorn per month (when I miss my mouth), the odd cheerio or grain of rice or noodle dropped by dd. But that is all. No extra biscuits, no toast crusts, nothin'. And still she is a hunk of butter. It doesn't help that we have a cat named Jasmine that is also a bowling ball for no good reason. She as well eats only a measured amount of prescription cat food, and wouldn't eat people food normally if we did give it to her. She snubs cat treats of all kinds, although she will accept a shred of chicken or a bit of canned tuna now and again. Less than an ounce every six months, I would guess. Jasmine won't lose weight either (18 pounds). Xena lives in the same house, eats the same food, and is a trim 7 pounds. In fact, Jasmine and Xena eat the same amount from their own dish. There is no "food sharing" going on either, they eat from their own dishes. I did a LOT of research, and developed a recipe for my own home cooked food. Part of this visit was to discuss this new diet and have him review it. I figure, it gives her more bulk for fewer calories and doesn't rely on corn fillers and preservatives so it HAS to be better for her. Many pug owners believe that it is the grain fillers in commercial dog food that cause them to overeat, smell funny, get itchy skin, and have gunky ears. Diet food is typically low in fat, but pugs may need their fat in order to keep their skin and eyes healthy. Commercial kibble is high in carbs, and is very calorie dense for the volume of food. She wants to eat more, but then she gets more calories than she needs. Sure, we can get diet food that provides more bulk because they have added fiber (but in what form? I mean come on, I can feed her burlap if I wanted her to have more bulk but it isn't going to be very satisfying to eat is it?). But I think she will just poop more and we will still be in the same rapidly sinking boat. Plus I can guarantee the lower fat formula will cause her skin problems. He wouldn't even LOOK at the diet plan. He just said that only dogs that eat commercial dog food lead happy and balanced lives, and that was all. No discussion, no nothing. "If you want to change to a diet food, we can do that". When I suggested that a low fat diet might not be best for pugs, he said that it is "stupid to think that different dogs need different treatment. A dog is a dog is a dog". PARDON ME? That is just so not right. If a dog was a dog was a dog, then why are certain diseases or problems only seen in certain breeds? Some breeds have problems with hips, so we feed them a hip diet with added calcium and glucosamine in it. Some breeds are more prone to allergies so they are fed special hypoallergenic diets of lamb and rice. Other breeds have been known to have sensitive stomachs so there are special diets for that. Selective breeding is what allowed all those different kinds of dogs, how can it be foreign to think that along with the genes for curly hair or short noses, there isn't other coding for how dogs digest or use food? Basically, I lost faith in our vet today. When we first starting going there, while I didn't agree with everything he said and found he tried to oversell things (even when I agreed to something he still would go on for 20 minutes about why it is a good thing to do. Yeah, I get it. Fine. Do it. Shut up, lol). He did a remarkable surgery on Jasmine's ear and as far as those ear surgeries go he did a beautiful job. Then we got Ruby. At first he seemed to like her and would act like a crazy dog lover when we came in. But gradually, the shine wore off. He started making comments like pugs were an abhoration of nature. Or that short nosed dogs were defective and I should feel ashamed for having one, thus perpetuating the need to breed more. He started harping on her weight, saying she couldn't breath because she was panting. Ruby pants when she is happy or excited. She doesn't always walk around sounding like she is sucking air! Cut back the food cut back the food cut back the food - she isn't really hungry she is just being piggy. It reached the point where I would give her the half cup of food, and go cry for an hour because I knew she was starving. For heaven's sake, she was getting into the garbage. Constantly scavenging for food. EATING DIRT. Then, one day I dropped a piece of ham while making dinner. When I reached down to pick it up, she snarled and almost bit me! She was immediately ashamed and drooped all over (and no, she did not get the ham). I started thinking about it. More than once she had snapped at DD trying to get food from her or off her lap. At the time I figured it was a dominance issue and started having DD practice giving her commands like sit and stay (to show Ruby that DD was higher in the pecking order). But for her to snap at ME? Food agression. So the next morning, after giving her that paltry half cup, I waited for her to start to eat. And I put my hand on her back - nothing. Put my hand on her head - nothing. Put my hand in her bowl - other than changing spots to get a better reach at the bowl - nothing. I got a piece of ham out of the fridge and put it on the floor. When she came to investigate it, I reached down and touched it - nothing, she just sniffed around my finger. I let her pick it up, then took it out of her mouth - nothing. Later in the afternoon, I tried again. She was more excited about the ham than before, but didn't try to bite or snap it back after I took it. After dinner I tried again. She bit me, and I mean bit me one good. Don't tell me that dog isn't fricken hungry! I tried dividing that half cup so she had two "meals" for a few days, then tried the ham trick again. Guess who got bit first thing in the morning? She isn't getting enough food. And to make sure she just wan't acting out because I was basically teasing her with ham, I upped the food back to half cup at once, and tried it again. No bite. Extra weight or not, what she eats is not what she needs apparently. I tried to explain this, he just said we should bring her for obedience training. He is not seeing my bigger picture here, folks. And when Dances thinks that people are not seeing her bigger picture, she is not a happy camper. So today's visit was a bust. He wouldn't look at the diet, and I had to POINT OUT the pigmentary keratitis (sp, that laziness again) starting in her left eye. How could he have missed it? What am I paying for exactly, in that "exam" fee? Immediately he said it would be expensive surgery (to correct the rolling inward of her lower eyelid in the corner) and suggested he might cut off her nose roll at the same time. NO FREAKEN WAY. Her nose roll isn't touching anything, and nobody is cutting it off. Want to make me huffy? Suggest hacking up the face of one of my loved ones with painful surgery for no reason. The only good part of the visit was she got her shots, but really, for the price he charges I could have gone elsewhere. And I do believe I shall! I wonder of the emergency vet has a private practice and is taking patients? At least he didn't call her an abhorration of nature and actually seemed to care how she was feeling. And I am still going to change to the home cooked diet. In my heart I feel it is the right thing to do for Ruby so I am going to do it. I will add a vitamin/mineral supplement from the pet store though, just in case. And look into some chewy toys for her teeth. As for her eyes, I will let my fingers do the walking and find a second opinion. Who could hack up that face?????