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Bodhi Blog - Blind Dogs


Welcome to Bodhi Blog - Information About Blind Dogs, Canine Hydrocephalus, Mentally Disabled, and Paralyzed Dogs

Blog content is focused on my experiences caring for:
  • Bodhi - a mentally disabled blind brindle Boxer dog with congenital hydrocephalus
  • Mia - a blind and deaf fawn boxer
  • Caly - a mentally disabled blind white boxer with unknown neurological issues
  • Holly - a paralyzed American Bulldog mix
Bodhi, Mia, and Caly originate from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bodhi was adopted as a four-month old puppy in 2004 through Boxer Rescue of Albuquerque. Bodhi's hydrocephalus caused blindness, neurological dysfunction, and seizures. He was a very special boy who had a tough beginning, but a longer life than most veterinarians expected he would have. This site was created to help provide information to others who have special needs dogs. Bodhi and Caly both died in 2014. Mia continues to do fairly well, considering her age. Holly originates from Mexico, where she was found dragging herself on the ground. I adopted Holly on December 21, 2014. Her adventures can be followed on Hot Wheels Holly's Facebook page.

Bodhi Mia Caly Hot Wheels Holly
Bodhi
Adopted October 30, 2004
June 29, 2004 - May 16, 2014
Mia
Adopted October 29, 2007
Died January 10, 2017
~15 years old
Caly
Adopted May 27, 2012
Died September 16, 2014
~11-12 years old
Holly
Adopted December 21, 2014
~4 years old

Rescue a Blind Dog

Bodhi Blog - Blind Dogs
Archives: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
2014
  • September 16, 2014 - Caly finally lost her battle with cancer overnight. She was the sweetest and most gentle dog I have ever have gotten to know. I wish more people could have met her to see how amazing she was. While she was only in my life a little over 2 years, I will never forget this gentle soul. She had developed problems with her throat and possibly a heart issue during the cancer treatment. She appears to have simply fallen asleep and stopped breathing overnight. I am so thankful she is at peace and her struggle is over. I will miss her so very much.
  • May 23, 2014 - Caly's cancer has spread. The oncologist is concerned it is now in her blood stream and could be the cause of the seizures.
  • May 22, 2014 - Mia and Caly had appointments with their oncologist today. Mia is doing well. Caly has a new tumor. After putting the dogs in the car, Caly had a seizure while I gave her water to drink. She had been very stressed from the drive to Seattle, but also began gagging while drinking water.
  • May 16, 2014 - Bodhi died today at 12:40 p.m..
  • May 15, 2014 - Bodhi still did not wake up today. Took him to the vet. They did x-rays and cannot find any physical reason for him being all but unconscious since Tuesday evening. He is staying overnight while blood work is done, but it appears his central nervous system is shutting down and nothing else can be done. Unless the blood work shows something unexpected, Bodhi will likely be euthanized tomorrow.
  • May 14, 2014 - Bodhi has been asleep for nearly 24 hours after last taking the Cerenia. He also appears to have a bleeding stomach ulcer caused from a combination of prednisone and rimadyl, which was discovered due to charcoal black poop yesterday. He is no longer getting rimadyl and has a new medication to help his stomach.
  • May 13, 2014 - Bodhi has had a worse day today. He missed 2 of his meds this morning, but not sure which ones. I had trouble getting him to eat. He never finished his meal and by the time he was done, the 2 meds that were inside small bits of bread had deteriorated enough that I was unsure which ones he did not get. Possibly he did not get prednisone or Tramadol, 2 of the more important meds. I had to dissolve his evening meds in water and inject them into his mouth with a syringe. I gave him some honey afterwards to easy the bitter taste from the meds. He peed and then laid down without eating and only drinking a little bit of water. His fluoxetine was cut in half, he was given about 40mg of cerenia with his meds. His leg appears to be much closer to normal size and he is not limping at all.

    Bodhi was doing much worse in the evening. He was groaning and barking/yelping shortly after he had woken up and giving him his meds. About an hour after his meds, they seemed to help knock him out some. He is resting better after falling asleep (passing out). Hoping the meds kick in by morning and his suffering stops, otherwise I may have to take him to the vet in the morning.

    Caly appeared to have a petite mal seizure at 10:29 p.m. I was petting her just after she woke up. She started whining, stretched out both front legs and pulled her head back. It lasted only a few seconds and then she appeared normal. I first thought she was just stretching after waking, but she has never whined like that before.
  • May 12, 2014 - Bodhi suddenly began acting much better yesterday evening at 7:30 p.m.. It was like a switch was flipped. He had not been doing well since Friday and then he was eating and active. His leg is still swollen from his injury, but his pain meds seem to help. He is walking better and not circling as much. He was more mellow during the day, but I am not sure if that is the fluoxetine lowering his anxiety or not.
  • May 10, 2014 - I gave Bodhi 80mg of Cerenia last night to see if he had any improvement if he has any nausea issues. Unfortunately, the Phenobarbital brought out side effects of the Cerenia. Bodhi slept for over 14 hours after giving him the Cerenia. Then, he somehow hurt his front left leg overnight and is currently having difficulty walking. He also had blood coming out of his left nostril, which the vet thinks is due to high blood pressure - not sure if Cerenia led to that or not. I have never seen blood in Bodhi's nostrils before.
  • May 9, 2014 - Bodhi has been doing better and worse from day to day. He is on an appetite stimulant to help him eat. However, this morning he did not eat. He woke up at 4:15 a.m. and began circling and walking around. He finally settled down around 1:00 p.m. Today is one of his worse days. I spoke with one of his vets today and he said this is fairly normal with dogs with neurological problems when they start to go downhill. Bodhi is going to have good and bad days. He is beginning Cerenia this evening to see if his problem with eating could be related to nausea. He has been on tramadol for about a week now since he keeps hitting his head above his eyes, causing swelling and pain. He is also going to start fluoxetine (prozac) tomorrow to help reduce his anxiety. Bodhi and I had the most amazing 10 minutes last night. Bodhi let me snuggle with him (previously that was extremely rare). I rubbed his ears and he rolled on his back some. He was acting nearly like a normal dog for over 10 minutes. He was happy and calm during that time. That memory will stick with me for a long time.
  • April 26, 2014 - Bodhi has shown some signs of improvement. Not a huge change, but he drank water, is able to walk, and even pooped for the first time since Tuesday. He is still not eating, but my vet says that will come. I was able to give him his meds this morning.
  • April 25, 2014 - Bodhi was doing so much better first thing this morning. He even stuck his tongue in his food bowl twice and flicked some food around, getting closer to eating. Then he was outside on the front porch and stumbled into a spot with stuff covered by a tarp. Water had pooled into an area on the tarp and Bodhi appears to have fallen head first into the water. His anxiety increased significantly and he has gone downhill again. Then while I was at the vet with Caly, Bodhi broke through a barrier I had put up to keep him in the kitchen. I found him in a corner where he had somersaulted into the corner. When I found him, his head was on the floor with his body bent over on top of him. I got him back into the kitchen. He was able to walk, but clearly distraught. Looks like we have 2 more days before recovery can be expected. I just need to keep him from experiencing any more anxiety inducing situations. Once he recovers, he will begin fluoxetine to help reduce anxiety in the long-term and hopefully prevent these downhill periods of high anxiety.

    I have been told by a few people that a dog like Bodhi would have been euthanized by any other person. I never believed that until this week. Even people involved in some rescue groups do not understand why I keep Bodhi alive or what sacrifices are required to provide a dog like Bodhi with a safe and happy home for over 9 years. I did not adopt Bodhi knowing what would happen over time, but as his needs evolved, I adapted his environment to meet those needs. He has gone through some bad periods since 2012, but he has always recovered and has a good quality of life outside those episodes. He is having his worst episode ever this week and may not survive. The next few days will let me know. I have learned so much from taking care of this amazing boy and I have learned a lot about other people. Those who understand what I do for Bodhi have become people I trust. Only those who know the details of Bodhi’s 9+ years are worthy of commenting on his quality of life, and I can count those people on one hand. I am so thankful to have the support of an amazing veterinarian who has the compassion required to provide Bodhi with the level of care that he needs and let me know that Bodhi's time is not yet ready to end.
  • April 24, 2014 - Bodhi shows signs of improvement this morning. He is walking better but still a little wobbly. He finally drank water for the first time since Tuesday. He still has no appetite. I gave him 10 mg of prednisone and his regular dose of phenobarbital in the morning. He began circling a lot about mid morning and fell a few times, so I gave him close to 5 mg or diazepam (he spit out some). He was circling a lot in the evening. I was able to give him his meds between 8-8:30 p.m., including his regular dose of phenobarbital, 12.5 mg prednisone, 50 mg tramadol, 5 mg diazepam, soloxine, and acid reducer. He still has not eaten as of this evening. His veterinarian feels that his hunger will arrive soon. Last time in 2012 when he was this bad, it took 2+ days for him to begin acting more like his usual self. By 8:30 p.m., I heard a thump and saw he was lying down on a dog bed. Think he was exhausted and/or the diazepam helped calm him down. Just hoping he gets a good night's sleep while the meds do their magic to help decrease the swelling on his brain.
  • April 23, 2014 - Bodhi has had his worse day since March 2012. He did not get all of his meds yesterday due to lowered appetite. He would not eat this morning. He circled and bumped into walls from 7:00 a.m. until about noon. He slept for 3 and a half hours. Then he was not able to stand up on his own. He is barely able to walk without falling down or tumbling forward over his head. I was able to give him 10 mg of prednisone by dissolving it in water and injecting it into his mouth with a syringe around 4:00 p.m.. He did not respond at all when I put the prednisone in his mouth and his breathing seems shallow. Bodhi got up and wanted to wonder around at 6:30 p.m. He had too much trouble walking and kept falling down. His walking improved a little 20 minutes later. I gave him an additional 2.5 mg prednisone, full pill of phenobarbital, and 2.5 mg of diazepam orally.
  • April 10, 2014 - Bodhi's behavior has changed in the past 2 days. He wags his tail more. He was whining some before feeding this morning. Oddly enough, these are behaviors he had in the past (prior to October 2013 for some and more than a year for others). Not sure how to interpret the changes. I like seeing him act closer to how he used to act, but any change in his behavior likely means something has changed in his brain. Since his brain is not going to heal, a change is likely continued degradation of brain cells.
  • April 9, 2014 - Bodhi barked 3 times this morning. That is the first time he has barked in about 6 months or more. His tail was also wagging some, which has not been common since last October. Not sure if he is having a good day or if this is just a fluke.
  • April 5, 2014 - Caly unexpectedly had a seizure. I think it was a grand mal seizure. It lasted less than 30 seconds, but I have never seen this before with her. She had something a year or so ago where her head wobbled around for about 30 seconds, but that is the only thing similar to what just happened.
  • March 23, 2014 - Bodhi woke me up around 3:00 a.m. He had jumped up and was lurching forward. He seemed to be trying to get something off his face. I had assumed maybe a spider crawled on him or something similar. However, at 5:40 a.m. Bodhi had a grand mal seizure that lasted less than 30 seconds. This is the first grand mal seizure I have witnessed in at least a couple years. Bodhi had another seizure at 10:58 a.m.
  • March 21, 2014 - Bodhi has had some minor behavior changes over the past 2 weeks, but nothing alarming. Today things have been suddenly worse. He began circling around 5:30am. I had to let him outside several times to go to the bathroom during the day, but he still circled a lot inside and peed on the floor 3-4 times (so far). I also noticed he now has a second wound above his left eye. I am adding more bubble wrap to porch railings since that appears to be where he his hitting his head when circling a lot. Overall, he seems to have suddenly gone downhill today. I gave him a full pill of diazapam about 30 minutes ago hoping he can calm down and relax (he finally laid down at 7:35pm). I may have to increase his prednisone if tomorrow is similar to today.
  • March 19, 2014 - Caly's growth had to be further checked through a stain analysis. Turns out she has a form of mammary carcinoma. She had her first chemo treatment today. She cannot have surgery since she would not likely survive a 2-3 hour surgery removed mammary glands.
  • March 8, 2014 - I got the results from Caly's tumor. She has a form of anaplastic lymphoma. Her oncologist believes it is limited to the cutaneous form, but I will know more next week when she has her first visit with the oncologist.
  • March 6, 2014 - Caly had surgery yesterday to remove the growth/tumor. She is recovering, but obviously not feeling well right now. Her appetite is very good.
  • February 28, 2014 - I noticed an inflamed area the size of 2 quarters on Caly's stomach area yesterday. Took her to the vet. A sample was taken and she appears to have lymphoma. She is going to have the tumor removed next week and it will be analyzed to know exactly which type of lymphoma, but the outlook is not good.
  • February 25, 2014 - Bodhi's initial reaction to the foster dog has subsided mostly. He is back to how he was acting prior to bringing the foster dog into the house. He does more pacing/circling on some days while other days he seems to be able to mellow out and relax. I had kept Bodhi separated from the foster dog for the first 5 days. Finally took down the barrier 2 days ago and things are going well. The foster dog does not pester or bother Bodhi, so that is good.
  • February 20, 2014 - Bodhi has been doing better since the foster dog has been in the house (wagged his tail yesterday for the first time since late November), except for last night, when he did not like the tone of voice I used to stop the foster dog from interfering with feeding Bodhi. Bodhi got scared and started running around, bouncing off walls and cabinets. He then was pacing/circling a lot in the evening. He was better in the morning, but not up to the level I have noticed earlier in the week when the foster dog first came into the house.
  • February 17, 2014 - Bodhi has an appointment later this week. A wound on his head will not heal. I put bubble wrap on corners in my house, but he is hitting the same spot above his right eye somewhere. I also began fostering a 4-5 year old "normal" boxer today. Keeping Bodhi separated from the foster for now since the hair on Bodhi's back went up and he haunched over (is that the right phrase?) just with smelling the foster afterwards. Going to try to let them interact more in a day or 2 to see Bodhi will be okay with a foster dog in the house.
  • February 13, 2014 - Just got back from Seattle for a followup with Mia's oncologist. Everything is still looking good. Nice to have some good news with one of my dogs. She did get diagnosed with a UTI last Tuesday. She is on 400mg of amoxicillin twice a day for 10 days.
  • February 12, 2014 - Bodhi was acting strangely yesterday evening. He was walking around in circles for nearly 2 hours, bumping into things, urinated on the floor 3-4 times in about an hour and a half. I noticed the spot above his right eye that he keeps hitting had caused some swelling around his eye. I finally decided to give him some diazepam and tramadol at 10pm to help calm him down and relive pain from his eye. Within 30 minutes, he calmed down and slept through the night peacefully. In the morning, he was acting much better and was able to walk in straight lines again. I noticed some of the pacing/circling again this evening, but preemptively gave him diazepam with his meal at 5 pm. Now, just before 8pm, he has calmed down and nearing sleep. He seems to have a new cycle of acting well in the morning and during the day, but doing a lot of pacing and urinating in the evening. Reminds me of my first dog when she had cancer - on good days you think they will live much longer and on bad days you think the end is near.
  • February 9, 2014 - Bodhi is doing the same. I have been going back through photos of him since I adopted him and realized he has shown signs of very slow brain degradation for a couple years. Whatever is going on with his brain, it has accelerated since October 2013. Although, there were changes over the summer of 2013 that were so small that I was not paying enough attention to realize his mental capabilities were declining. His veterinarian said at 10mg per day of prednisone, he should not experience side effects affecting internal organs for about a year. I hope he can make it that long, but seeing how he behaves, I doubt he will make it to the end of the year and am thankful for every day he has a decent quality of life.
  • February 2, 2014 - Bodhi is not doing well. Prior to last October he was on 2.5mg of prednisone 2 out of 4 days. He is now on 10mg per day to keep him alive. His brain is deteriorating, apparently this happens with older dogs with hydrocephalus. He has more difficulty navigating, coordination, and getting stuck under furniture and occasionally hurting himself when I am not at home. The 10mg of prednisone is keeping him acting nearly "normal" for his condition. The only positive that has occurred is that all of his aggression has disappeared. He used to attack my other dogs when they bumped into him (since they are all blind and sometimes my house appears to be a pinball machine with dogs bouncing off each other). He would get scared and act out when bumped into and try to bite the other dog, but usually missing with being blind. His estimated time remaining is up in the air, depending upon how fast his brain deteriorates, but it appears to be advancing fairly quickly since last October - so it is possible he has weeks or months remaining. I have been told he is lucky to have made it to 9 and a half years with his neurological condition, but I still hope he can live longer but not overly optimistic.
2013
  • December 24, 2013 - Bodhi has been doing a little worse today. His lower eyelids have been drooping more. He is mellow and appeared to get a little disoriented in the yard this morning. I am taking him back to 5mg of prednisone starting today and will schedule an appointment with his regular vet.
  • December 22, 2013 - Trying to get Bodhi feeling better - he just finished a cycle of prednisone where he was on 20mg per day for 4 days, 10mg for 4 days, 5mg for 4 days. The last two days I have had him back on his old dose of 2.5mg 2 out of 4 days. He was doing amazing during the high dosage days, but he is now showing signs of going downhill. He has been circling and pacing more as well as having more difficulty navigating. I also noticed nystagmus today (not sure if it was there at the higher prednisone doses). I expect I will need to take him back to the vet to discuss how to go forward.
  • November 30, 2013 - Bodhi is not doing well. He was taken off the diazepam last week since he appeared to not be reacting well on it. He is continuing to go down hill. He did not eat yesterday evening and is circling a lot. He seems more mellow and confused. He also gets stuck in areas of the yard needing my help for him to come back inside. He is supposed to see his neurologist in Lynnwood, WA on December 12, but I am trying to get a sooner appointment since I am not sure he will make it that long without treatment.
  • November 11, 2013 - Bodhi is already exhibiting a radical change in behavior with the diazepam. For the first time, since I got him 9 years ago, he did not act aggressively when I gave him his food. He is acting far happier compared to the past several weeks. I don't remember seeing any petit mal seizures over the weekend or this morning. He typically experiences small seizures a couple hundred times per day. The vet said to give up to 2 months to determine if diazepam (aka valium) would help him, but so far the signs are good in such a short period of time. Hoping the trend continues.
  • November 9, 2013 - Bodhi had a stressful day on Thursday just with someone else being in the house for 5 hours. He barked and howled the full 5 hours. He stopped eating or drinking water so I took him to the veterinarian today since Bodhi has never stopped drinking water in the past. He got a steroid injection and we are trying him on 5mg diazepam (1-2 per day for the next 2 months) to see if his anxiety level reduces so he does not react so negatively to changes in his environment. A couple hours after the steroid injection, he ate and drank like his usual self.
  • November 8, 2013 - My regular veterinarian and an oncologist have advised not removing Bodhi's cancer. His neurological issues put him at too great of a risk for surgery. The oncologist feels that since the tumor has been on his side for quite a while, that it is unlikely to be malignant.
  • November 5, 2013 - Still waiting to here on the next step with Bodhi's cancer. Something is going on with his neurology. The circling has continued. He seems to be having a little more difficulty walking in straight lines and today I realized I don't remember the last time I heard him bark. He used to bark outside to let me know when he was ready to come back in. It has been at least a few weeks since he has done that. Even in rainy weather, he comes onto the porch and just circles instead of barking.
  • October 30, 2013 - X-rays indicate that Bodhi's cancer has not spread. He has a Stage I mast cell tumor (mastocytoma). Consultation with an oncologist will occur to determine whether chemotherapy will occur prior to surgery. Potential malignancy cannot be determined without surgical removal of the tumor. The x-rays did indicate that Bodhi has significant arthritis in both elbows on his front legs as well as in the posterior of his spine.
  • October 23, 2013 - Bodhi has been diagnosed with cancer.
  • October 19, 2013 - I have noticed Bodhi circling more over the past few weeks. Not sure if his cognitive functions are decreasing or if something else is going on. His behavior is otherwise good. He is happy as usual, just walking around in circles more so than normal. I will be taking him to the vet in the coming week to do blood tests for med level checks. His medication(s) might need minor adjustments.
  • October 7, 2013 - All of the dogs are doing reasonably well, after a few health scares this year. Mia had a multiple mastectomy in July to remove her tumors. She continues to do well but she still has calcinosis cutis causing parts of her skin to feel "alligator-like" from persistent calcium deposits in the skin, likely from Cushing's syndrome. She will be seeing a dermatologist in Tacoma, WA to see if there is another treatment option beyond the DMSO that I currently apply to her skin daily. Mia's deafness has worsened to the point that communication with her has become difficult. Caly developed pneumonia in August and spent over a week in veterinary care locally and in Lynnwood, WA before finally showing signs of recovery. Bodhi is the same happy dog and has been doing very well this year.
  • March 28, 2013 - Took Mia to the oncologist in Seattle again today. She is still stable, which is very good news. Her skin condition is improving since eliminating prednisone. Her liver numbers have also returned to normal and she no longer needs Denamarin. She is now getting Pepcid every day since nausea appeared within the past couple of weeks. She is sleeping so much better. I wish I had noticed her discomfort from the nausea sooner. (Bodhi and Caly continue to do well.)
  • February 5, 2013 - Mia is still holding on. She is on chemotherapy (satraplatin), DMSO (for her skin issue), Tramadol (for any pain), Denamarin (for her liver), and prednisone. She has been to the oncologist in Seattle twice with a third trip this week. She has lost about 5-10% of her hair from the skin issue that is causing bumps on the skin , which leads to loss of hair. Her prednisone is down to 5mg per day. Considering she was given 6-8 weeks of life expectancy last July, I am lucky to still have her around.
Copyright 2005-2019, Greg Hurley, Ferndale, WA