Category Archives: health

Pablo’s Dental Woes

rudolph-red-nosed-reindeer bumble toothless rankin bass version

Pablo has a new nickname. It’s Bumble, after the Yeti-like beast in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. That’s Bumble after his tooth extraction by Herbie. Unlike Bumble, however, Pablo still has a few teeth in his head, but not many.

The saga started right before the holidays when we took him to a new vet for a check-up. Since Pablo wasn’t experiencing any problems, I was expecting a short meet-and-greet and then a few shots to bring him up to date on his vaccines. When the vet showed us a mysterious bump/lump/growth on his upper jaw, my heart began to thump. She said that it could be a number of things, but we should get it checked out, the sooner the better, and gave us a referral to a dental surgeon. Trouble was, we were leaving right after the holidays to Utah to visit K’s family. No way could we safely squeeze in surgery.  So we spent a very anxious Christmas and New Year worrying what that mysterious bump/lump/growth could be.

Last week Pablo finally had his appointment. He knew things were not going well when we couldn’t feed him breakfast. He looked at us with eyes that said, “Ya gotta be kidding me.” At the hospital, the vet took a look and didn’t seem too concerned about the bump/lump/growth. He focused instead on Pablo’s teeth, saying that most of them were in terrible shape and could cause him serious problems down the road–the worst case scenario, a broken jaw. (Our last vet’s attitude had been, “It’s pug teeth; what can you do?”) We left Pablo in the arms of a nurse and spent an agonizing day waiting for the phone to ring.

In the end, almost all of his teeth had to come out. The vet took a biopsy of the bump/lump/growth but didn’t think it was cancerous, although he did send it out to be tested. We’re waiting to hear the results. Meanwhile, we took the patient home, still groggy from anesthesia. After a rough couple of days, he was on the mend. Today, almost a week later, he’s back to his old self.  (Except he’s still on meds and has to eat soft food.) Next Thursday he goes back to the vet for a check-up and hopefully it’s clear sailing from there. Yes, we could have taken the money it cost us and gone on a trip to Europe. But then he smiles at us with that goofy, toothless grin. Priceless.

UPDATE: This just in. I heard back from the vet right after I posted. Good news. The biopsy showed that the bump/lump/growth isn’t cancerous. It’s probably just residual tissue that built up after a previous extraction. So relieved!



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Pimple Puss

Pablo is way past adolescence, yet lately he’s been plagued by unsightly zits. How do I get rid of them? Clearasil?


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Downward Pug

I started yoga a few months ago, and one of the standard poses, as many of you might already know, is Downward Dog. In the pose your body forms an inverted V, with hands and feet on the floor and hips thrust up. If you’re curious how the pose got its name, click on the video.

Pablo usually starts his day with a similar stretch. Next time I’ll have my camera ready so I can capture it.

Downward Dog Pose from Wikipedia

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We’ve Been Wormed!

Note to the Squeamish: If things like poop and the like turn your stomach, I advise you to read no further.

On Thursday I walked Pablo as usual and, like a responsible dog owner should, when he finished his business, I picked up after him. Good thing I looked down, for there squirming among the turds was a tiny white worm. I had a haircut appointment near the vet’s, so I packed up a sample and brought it along, meaning to drop it off first. I was running late, however, so Pablo’s poop came along with me to the salon. I had sealed it in a plastic baggie, yet I kept imagining I could smell it and was self-conscious whenever the stylist was in the vicinity of my bag. Finally, I made it to the vet’s. They tested it then and there. The verdict? Tapeworms.

The assistant explained that tapeworms come from fleas. The flea-ridden dog licks its fur, ingests both flea and the tapeworm egg it carries. The egg then hatches inside the dog and takes up residence. Pablo went through a terrible bout with fleas after Thanksgiving when we traveled to NC to see relatives and returned with the pesky parasites (the fleas, not the family). According to the vet, the timing is perfect to see the tapeworms right about now. Damn those NC fleas!

Luckily, only one treatment is needed to kill the tapeworms. Pablo got his and I’m hoping that’s the last of it. I’m glad I spotted the worm when I did or we may not have known of their existence for a long time. One of the signs for tapeworms is an increased appetite. With Pablo, would we have ever noticed?


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Photo from About Small Dog Breeds

Oops! Forgot to say in my last post that while we did get a clean bill of health for Pablo, he did tip the scales at 24 pounds. The vet strongly advised he lose two to three of them. Guess we know what Pablo’s New Year’s resolution will be.

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A Clean Bill of Health

Last week we took Pablo to the vet for his annual wellness exam. We had two concerns–the dreaded fleas, which were still making their presence felt, and a small lump on his upper left leg that I discovered while giving him a bath. As you can imagine, the lump was by far the more important of the two, especially since two years ago Pablo had a mass cell tumor removed from his chest. As those who know me can attest, I tend to panic when a health issue raises its ugly head. This time, I tried to remain calm. It helped that the lump felt different from the first one, not attached to muscle and not as solid.

Our vet examined Pablo–always a model, if perhaps, hyper patient–and told us the lump was a cyst. She drained it; it’s gone; major relief! And the fleas? They have been vanquished as well. Our vet medicated Pablo and gave us instructions on how to deflea the house. The approach must be working because Pablo is once again itch-free and sleeping through the night.

So we have the best Christmas present of all–a healthy and happy pug!


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My Dog Has Fleas!

It turns out Pablo was not suffering from a sprain a few weeks back. When we returned from NC, he kept trying to get at his rear paw (we thought). His suffering became worse at night (the first clue, as fleas are more active at night). It did cross my mind that he might have picked up a flea or two in NC and I checked him out, looking specifically for those telltale dots of dried blood aka flea poop. He came up clean, but perhaps the infestation was in its early days. To play it safe, I gave him his monthly dose of Frontline.

Gradually the issue with his paw resolved itself and I forgot about it–until yesterday when I was getting him ready for a bath and discovered a colony of wingless intruders at the base of his corkscrew tail. We are now on full flea patrol.


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