RSS Feed

A Beamer Update and Fall Pumpkin Bites for the Holidays

Posted on

Beamer eating

With Christmas just around the corner and the end of the year fast approaching, we are looking forward to celebrating Beamer’s 14th birthday.  Just a few years ago we never would have believed that he would have made it to this age.  Beamer is a dog of many lives and much love!

Read the rest of this entry


Homemade Soft Pumpkin Treats for Dogs

Posted on

Beamer, pumpkin dog treats, homemade dog treats

I posted this photo of homemade pumpkin doggie treats that I made for Beamer on Facebook yesterday and then had a number of requests for the recipe.  Rather than send them all by email or private messages on Facebook, I have posted the recipe here.

I adapted the recipe for these treats from this site.  I did not think pumpkin seeds would be a good thing for Beamer right now, so I left them out.  I mixed this dough by hand, so I used less flour than the original recipe called for. If you use a stand or hand mixer and add more flour, you will have a stiffer dough. I think the way I made them keeps them a bit softer, which is best for Beamer’s situation.

I’ve made them twice since finding the recipe, one time making smaller sized treats and then yesterday, I made them much larger.  Beamer was eating two at a time, so why not give the boy what he wants…a bigger treat?! 🙂

Make these the preferred size for your pup.  The first time I made them, they were smaller (slightly larger than a quarter), but Beamer wanted them a bit bigger, so this time I made them more like the size of a cookie.  You will just need to adapt the baking times depending on the size of the treat.  BTW, you might find yourself craving them since they smell so good when baking.

Soft Pumpkin Dog Treats

1 1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cups rolled oats (I used organic) *Note – see below
2 1/2 cups (or more) organic whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you may need 2 sheet pans depending on the size of your treats). Place the pumpkin in a medium sized bowl. Beat the eggs slightly and add them to the pumpkin. Combine well. Add the dry ingredients. Shape into desired size treats. You may need to flour your hands to shape the treats if the batter is sticky.  I rolled them into a ball and then flattened them slightly.

Place the shaped treats on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through. Time will depend on the size of your treats. 15 minutes worked well for quarter size treats and it took about 25-30 minutes for the larger ones (about twice the size).

Once the treats are done, remove them from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator for about a week. You can freeze them for longer storage (no more than a few months).

* Note – The first time I made these, I added twice as many rolled oats in place of the sunflower seeds that were called for in the original recipe.  That would mean you would add 1 cup (instead of 1/2 cup as stated above) to the recipe.  The dough took slightly less flour and I do think I liked the final outcome a bit better.  I don’t think Beamer knows the difference, but the cookies were a bit softer with more rolled oats.

I hope your pup enjoys them!

Post Mandibular Surgery Recap

Posted on

Beamer jaw
October 24, 2013

We are posting this information to share with others who may be experiencing the same type of cancer and surgery options for their dogs as well as to share Beamer’s status with his many friends.

It was a little over a week ago (October 15th) when Beamer had part of his lower jaw surgically removed to excise a Hemangiopericytoma (Soft Tissue Sarcoma) located on his lower gum.  The surgery was done at the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital.  We took Beamer home the very next day with instructions to give him 75mg of Tramadol every eight hours for pain.

We have to admit that seeing Beamer after surgery with part of his jaw removed was startling.  We only had two choices in this situation: leave the cancer to grow and spread until such time as it was too painful and then put Beamer down; or surgically remove the section of the jaw and take as much of the jaw as necessary to assure “clean margins,” meaning that they believe they cut out all remnants of the cancer.  Now, after seeing the affects of the surgery, it caused us to question, did we do the right thing?

We did our homework prior to making this decision.  Around the world various dog owners online spoke of the fact that their dog did well after the surgery.  The vets and surgeon assured us of the same thing.  They adjust.  The question was more about us adjusting than Beamer, or so it seemed.

At home, Beamer was obviously in pain.  He was withdrawn and you felt as though he was asking, “What happened and why did this happen?”  He looked depressed, and he wouldn’t raise his head or look at us.

The first day we hand fed Beamer.  Small bites.  He was hungry.  We felt that his appetite was a good sign.  He struggled with drinking water from his bowl, but we held his bowl up to his mouth to make it easier.

The second day home the effects of the anesthesia from surgery, shock of the situation, and pain meds really kicked in.  He was very lethargic and withdrawn. His eyes were sunken and hollow.  It was if the life had been taken out of him.  His face was obviously very tender.  We accidentally brushed it as we dried his face to keep his sutures dry and he yelped in pain.  What was even more concerning is that he refused food and water.  Despite trying many times, and cutting his food in to very small bites, he refused everything we gave him.  We thought baby food might be the answer, given his sore jaw, but he would have no part of that either.

The third day was more of the same.  No food, no water. We were becoming very concerned.  It looked as if he was saying, “I’ve had enough.”  We began to think that he was telling us that he wanted to go.  Dogs have a way of telling you their ultimate decision.  The trouble was, we weren’t ready.  So, with consultation from our vets we continued to try to feed him and give him water off our fingers to keep him going.  We did manage to feed him small pieces of dehydrated chicken breast that was purchased at the local pet store.  We rehydrated the pieces to make them moist and shredded them so he could manipulate them with his tongue to swallow.  He refused everything else.  Most of all, we showered him with love and affection.

On day four there was only a modest improvement.  He began to drink a little water out of a bowl and we were able to get him to eat a few bites of cut-up meat (bison is his favorite).  We supplemented with fresh cooked salmon.  At this point, it was five days since he last had a bowel movement.  His urine was very concentrated and had a strong odor.  He was obviously not getting enough water or food.  The anesthesia and meds had constipated him as well.  We had thought of returning to the veterinary hospital but decided to wait another day.  We knew the trauma of traveling an hour and a half away and seeing the hospital could be even more distressing to him.

Day 5.  Beamer woke up after a very long night’s sleep.  Sleep heals, so we let him sleep as long as possible.  To be honest, it was hard to watch him while awake.  For four days he hung his head, wanted to be left alone and hid in very unusual spots in the house (corners, behind doors, etc.).  But today, when he woke up, he was different.  He began to follow more of his old routine.  He asked for a treat, went outdoors, went to the bathroom, and came back inside asking for more treats.  He even ran and jumped while outside.  It seemed as if he had turned the corner.

It was nice to see a full belly and the TT pose

It was nice to see a full belly and the TT pose

With encouragement and persistence, he began drinking water out of his bowl and is now actively looking for food (and treats).  It’s almost fair to say, Beamer lives for his treats.  Unfortunately, his normal treats are very hard and he cannot possibly chew them with his jaw.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want them.  We have substituted very soft treats (Buddy Biscuits and some homemade pumpkin cookies).  We have also been soaking the harder biscuits in water and broth and breaking them into tiny pieces so he can basically swallow them once they’re softened.

So, at just a little over one week after surgery, Beamer is beginning to return to normal.  He enjoys lying out on the deck or sitting in the grass at night and smelling the fall air.  He is alert and is somewhat back on his schedule.

His hair was shaved from his neck and chin for the surgery.  It will take some time for his long locks to return, but we have a feeling that with a little more time we will hardly notice the reconstructed jaw and he will learn to eat without his lower front teeth and canines.

We want to thank Dr. Amy Mathews at Village Vets in Buckhead for her constant support and concern throughout this ordeal.  She has been extraordinary.  Her care and guidance was as much for us at it was for Beamer.  Also, thanks goes out to the doctors and interns at the University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital.  Lastly, to Dr. Susan Wynn for her assistance on a second opinion for the surgery and help with Beamer’s diet once he’s able to eat more normally.

We will keep you posted as we now expect a full recovery and many more years with our sweet and truly remarkable boy, Beamer.

Lots of sleep and time heal almost anything

Lots of sleep and time heal almost anything

A Beamer Update and Diagnosis of a Cancerous Tumor

Posted on

Beamer at home

October 18, 2013

It has been almost two years since our Tibetan Terrier, Beamer, went through the trials and challenges of recovery from paralysis brought on by a rabies vaccine, Vaccinosis.  Beamer recovered well but was left with permanent nerve damage that shows up as a tremor in his muscles when he stands.  Beyond that, he is strong and happy.  He runs, leaps, and plays.  He is now almost twelve years old.

Two months ago (August, 2013) we noticed a sore in Beamer’s mouth on the lower gum line.    We had the sore aspirated by the veterinarian, but it was non-conclusive.  We went home with instructions to keep an eye on it to see if it changed.  A few weeks later, after returning from a two-week trip, we noticed that the sore was much larger.  We decided to take him to University of Georgia Veterinary Hospital for evaluation.  A biopsy confirmed that it was a Soft Tissue Sarcoma (Hemangiopericytoma), a cancer that is slow-growing and it did not appear to have metastasized to other organs or body parts based on further scans and tests.

We went back to the UGA Vet Hospital to discuss our options with the head of the soft tissue surgical department.  We were left with only two choices.  Leave it alone and let it grow, which would eventually lead to death in what would probably be a six to twelve month period (and very painful for Beamer as the tumor grew into the jaw bone) or we could remove it.  The decision to remove it meant that Beamer should live out his life without worrying about this tumor and cancer from the Sarcoma.  However, removing it meant taking a major part of the lower jaw bone, not just tissue.  It meant that Beamer would lose his lower front teeth to the canines.  This was not an easy decision.

The tumor was to the right side of his gum line

The tumor was to the right side of his gum line

We worked with several other vets to gain their perspective and advice.  It became clear that this surgery was the best decision, but we knew it was going to be very hard, on us as much as Beamer.

Prior to surgery, Beamer received a CT scan to verify how deep the tumor had grown.  They also x-rayed his organs.  He already had an ultrasound of his abdomen to ensure there were no other growths or problems that might compromise his recovery or future health.  He passed all tests and we were told that he is in really good shape for a twelve-year-old dog.

It was also confirmed that the tumor was in the soft tissue and not in the bone.  This was good news, but it didn’t change the need to remove the lower jaw to the canines in order to properly close the wound and assure that it wouldn’t return (clean margins).

The operation and tests prior to the surgery had him sedated for about 3 hours.  We didn’t get to see Beamer until the next day as they kept him quiet and medicated to keep him as comfortable as possible.  We hated to leave him overnight but we knew this was best.

The next day we went to visit Beamer and learned that he could go home with us that day, to our surprise and delight.  But, going home doesn’t mean that he is well as we have learned.

We will follow-up with another post after Beamer has been home with us for several days.

Beamer’s Update – Week 5

Posted on

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Beamer!

In last week’s update we mentioned that Beamer had stop eating and drinking and had lost a lot of weight.  We made several trips back and forth to the University of Georgia Veterinary Hospital trying to understand why Beamer was refusing food.  We sought medications to stimulate his appetite because we knew that if Beamer didn’t start eating we would lose him as his strength was failing fast.

Last week we made a decision to try appetite stimulant drugs but they did nothing.  We were down to the Hail Mary pass and put Beamer on Prednisone.  Initially, we gave him 20 mg twice a day.  The second day we tapered it to 10 mg twice a day.  We were beginning to see results.  Beamer’s appetite came back and he was eating roasted chicken, seared bison and cooked salmon.  That brings us to this week’s update.

Read the rest of this entry

Beamer’s Update – Week 4

Posted on

I want to thank all of you for your comments, well wishes and prayers.  I apologize for not being able to respond to comments and putting out an update sooner.  I hope you will understand once you read the following update.  It has been an incredibly stressful time at our home over the past week and a half.

Beamer was in a fight with a raccoon in our backyard on January 21, 2012.  He was given a rabies booster the same day.  Nineteen days later his hind end collapsed and showed partial paralysis.  This is Beamer’s story.

This is the update from week four since first showing signs of paralysis.  You can read the prior weekly updates on this website as well as an overview in the About page.

This has been a roller coaster week for Beamer and an incredibly emotional one for us.  Two weekends ago, (February 25 and 26), Beamer seemed to be making some real progress.  His strength in walking seemed to improve.  He almost had a little bounce in his step.  Though he could not walk far, maybe 400 feet before he was too tired to go on, he moved with purpose.  His back legs somewhat out of sync with his front legs but still moving forward.

Read the rest of this entry

Week Three of Beamer’s Diagnosis of Vaccinosis (Coonhound Paralysis)

Posted on

As many of you know, Beamer was diagnosed with Coonhound Paralysis (CHP) Vaccinosis almost three weeks ago (February 16, 2012) following a rabies booster from a raccoon attack.  The other term for this reaction is Vaccinosis, which is a bad reaction to a vaccination.  For those of you who are not familiar with our situation, you can read about what happened to Beamer and why he has come down with this paralysis by reading these two posts:

I started this blog as a way to updated those concerned about Beamer and his recovery process from this debilitating and frightening disease.  I plan to keep writing updates until Beamer has recovered from CHP.

Waiting on the vet at Georgia Veterinary Rehabilitation

Last week was an incredibly difficult time for us and for Beamer.  We started the week off with a visit on Monday to begin Beamer’s rehab.  We met with Dr. Evelyn Orenbuch.  Like most vets, Dr. Orenbuch was not very familiar with Coonhound Paralysis.  Since this condition is rare, it is difficult to find someone that has experience dealing with it beyond textbooks or case studies.

Beamer was examined for neurological and muscle reflexes which were found to be weak.  Many neurological disorders are treated with a combination of acupuncture and laser heat therapy in conjunction with hydrotherapy and physical therapy.  We came up with a plan to do this with Beamer over the course of the next several weeks and had Dr. Orenbuch perform acupuncture and the heat therapy procedure that day.

Acupuncture therapy with Dr. Orenbuch

She said that Beamer could be sleepier and may possibly be sore or stiff for 24 to 48 hours afterward.  Of course, Beamer was already sleepy and lethargic due to the paralysis, so we were not sure if this would be noticeable or not.  Beamer was fine during the procedure and looked rather cool in his shades.  He did not seem to mind the needles or the fuss.

We all had to wear these goggles for the laser heat treatment

Since the fist signs of paralysis, Beamer has not been eating well.   He turns away from food and is not interested in anything we try to feed him.  The treats and foods he used to love do not tempt him and it has been a real struggle to get him to eat.  Obviously, we need to force the issue to keep his strength up, but it has not been easy.

In addition, he has been depressed.  He cannot get up and do his usual activities.  He can’t run and play or come and sit beside us.  He is totally dependent on us to pick him up and get him where he needs to be.  Once standing, he can walk a short distance, but tires very easily.

By this past Wednesday, Beamer was in pretty rough shape.  I think it was the combination of the acupuncture treatment, lack of food and depression that set in and really had us worried.  He seemed to be giving up Wednesday night and we felt like we were going to lose our dog, so we called UGA Veterinary Hospital and drove 1 1/2 hours that night to Athens, Georgia.

Downtown Athens, GA

The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon

Redbud trees in bloom

The emergency vet on duty immediately took Beamer to the back and returned to get more information from us.  While we were waiting, I heard Beamer crying and yelping and was certain I could not leave him that night.  I was fearful we would not have a dog to come back to in the morning.

They drew blood and ran a few tests.  The blood work came back normal.  I insisted that we take him with us for the rest of the night.  We were already scheduled for a follow-up visit with his neurologist, Dr. Simon Platt, the next morning.  We found a hotel that would take pets at 2 am in the morning and curled up with Beamer on the bed and slept as best as we could.

The daffodils greeted us at UGA

It was like spring in Athens in February

We went in early for our visit and left Beamer at UGA for the vets to take a look at him.  More blood work was run and he was examined by an orthopedic vet to be sure nothing had been missed initially.  In our prior visit to UGA Veterinary Hospital, Beamer was quarantined for rabies precautions, so it limited the vets in their ability to fully examine him.   After the vets conferred this visit, the diagnosis was the same, Coonhound Paralysis.  They had now completely ruled out rabies (due to the amount of time from onset of the symptoms) and Myasthenia Gravis (that blood test was negative).

Dr. Platt believed that Beamer was suffering from the stress of the whole situation and all of the doctor’s visits.  He told us that some dogs respond very well to acupuncture, but that it can cause others to get worse.  He told us the best medicine right now for him was to do nothing and rest at home.  No therapy and no more specialists.

Dr.Simon Platt and Jordan send Beamer back home with us until his check-up in 2 weeks

That is where we are right now.  Beamer is home with us and we are massaging his nerves and muscles every day and and getting him up to take shorts walks and drink water.  It is a challenge and a full-time job.  We have to carry him up and down the stairs whenever we change locations because he will cry out for us.

We are trying to feed him small bites of food and keep him at least somewhat interested in eating.  He seems to like bison chunks that we have prepared from a roast.  He will barely touch chicken and has totally turned against eggs and rice and veggies, all the things he used to love.  He is not even interested in any of his once loved treats.

We have tried various foods with him that others have suggested, like honey or honey and bread.  He spits it out.  He also seems to have a real aversion to the spoon, which was never a problem before.  I gave him baby food and that had less than stellar results.  He has never been a kibble or canned food eater, so finding food he will eat under the best of conditions is tough.  We would appreciate any suggestions you might have for foods to try with him.  We need to keep up his strength to aid in the recovery process.

The good news is that he is alert and he is still with us.  As you may know, CHP can last as little as 4-6 weeks and as long as 6 months.  Please keep us in you thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

Beamer thanks everyone for all of their well wishes

Welcome to Beamer’s Corner!

Posted on

This is Beamer’s blog where we are going to share our experience in dealing with his Coonhound Paralysis from it’s onset through the recovery process. We hope that it will be a way to keep you up to date with his progress as well as be a resource for other families and their pets that are having to deal with a similar situation.

%d bloggers like this: