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 Created: 05/19/03


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Gaysie Mae

May 19, 2003 – This week's DaDane features the outspoken Gaysie Mae, who lives in southern Indiana with her very cool mom, Ana Greavu. Gaysie Mae has an important message she wants to share with other Great Danes, so round up your dogs, bring them over to the computer and let's listen to what Gaysie has to say.

DaDane's Bloat Series
  Gaysie Mae Speaks
Installment #2:   Gambler's Journey
Installment #3:
  What is GDV?
Installment #4:   Overcoming the Odds

BLOAT. It’s a nasty-ugly word for a nasty-ugly medical condition, technically known as gastric dilatation and volvulus. (Yuck!) Great Dane Princesses, such as myself, do not bloat. It would be unladylike. A Princess might, perhaps, have her Royal Tummy dilatate. It could, perhaps, subsequently volvulize. But a Princess would never do something so unattractive as to BLOAT!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself...

A Princess is Born
My name is Grindstone’s We Be Flamin’ CGC. Usually I’m known as Her Royal Highness the Princess Gaysie Mae. (My friends are permitted to call me just plain Gaysie Mae in casual social settings, although I prefer Your Highness when we’re in public.) I was born July 23, 1997, at Grindstone Danes, in southern Illinois. Because I am a beautiful boston merle, my breeder, Gay Hughes, explained that I, and several of my littermates, were “pet-quality.” We would be placed in our new homes with limited registration (that means that if we have puppies, those puppies cannot be registered), and a spay/neuter contract (that means that we never have to have puppies, registered or otherwise!) A pet Dane, huh? Sounded like an easy life to me!

Charm School (as if I needed it)
I quickly discovered that this whole laid-back, relaxed “pet Dane” thing was NOT what my new mother had in mind. She took me to school. A LOT. Puppy kindergarten. Basic Obedience. (Okay…I had to take Basic Obedience TWICE.) Intermediate Obedience. Competitive Obedience. I finally figured out a good way to get out of all that icky ‘bedience stuff. Here’s my secret. If you just don’t do the stuff they tell you to do, they assume you don’t know it, and so they teach you again, over and over and over. So refusing to do the stuff doesn’t work. What does work is to lower your head, roach up your back, and do all the stuff, acting the whole while as though you were trained with a baseball bat, instead of with cheese and weenies. That way, they don’t feel compelled to teach you the stuff again, but they’re also too embarrassed to make you do the stuff in public. Works like a charm!

Getting out of agility was even easier. I accomplished that at the tender age of 16 weeks, when I sat upon our instructor. On her head. From on top of the dog walk. I sat myself right down on top of her head. And screamed. And refused to move. Eventually they just had to lift me off of her head and set me down on the ground. They quit making me even try to do ‘gility after that!

Great Dane Rescue
Of course, getting out of ‘bedience and ‘gility doesn’t mean I don’t have a job. In fact, I ended up with an even better job, one with lots of responsibility. I do Great Dane Rescue! Mom handles feeding and grooming and cleanup and the day-to-day management and training. I handle the socialization, and do PR work for Rescue at events and anytime I’m out and about. In my spare time, I write an advice column for other Great Danes. Let me tell you, my Rescue work keeps me extremely busy. You can learn more about Great Dane Rescue, and read my advice column, at

Just a Normal Day
The afternoon of Tuesday, April 22, 2003, started off as a fairly normal afternoon. Mom was off running an errand in Indianapolis, so she left me here in charge, to make sure none of the foster Danes got into any trouble. I decided I could do this job best from the sofa here upstairs. Really, it's just too loud to concentrate on anything down in the basement where the foster Danes live, you know? Things were going well, I was doing my job, when I started to feel a little funny. I thought maybe I just needed a bit more peace and quiet, so I went up to the second floor to rest for a bit. Dad stopped by the house at about 2:00, and said, "Hey, Gaysie Mae! Whatcha doing up there?" I came down and tried to tell him I didn't feel good, by blatting up a big globber of foamy stuff at his feet, but he didn't understand, and he went away. Well, I guess he had listened to me after all, 'cause when Mom got home at about 4:00, she came in the door calling for me, saying that Dad had called her and told her I didn't feel good. By that time, I was camped out underneath mom and dad's bed where I'd made a nice dark cave for myself.

As I crawled out from under the bed, mom said, "Oh No!" and squirted the insides of some green pills she called "simethicone" down my throat and took me outside. While she was making room for me in the van, I blatted up some more of the foamy stuff to show her. Four times. But she barely glanced at my nice foamy puddles, just abruptly (and, quite rudely, I might add!) put me into the van, and started driving. I heard her yelling to someone on her cell phone, saying "Gay's bloating and we're on our way there right now!!"

A Royal Emergency
Bloating? Me? NO WAY! Bloat is for nervous, high-strung dogs. Bloat is for dogs that run and zoom and boing too much after they eat or drink a lot. Bloat is NOT for healthy, fit, well-adjusted, spend-the-afternoon-on- the-sofa Princesses like ME! Yeah, my tummy felt kinda funny, but mom had squeezed my abdomen and it was mushy, not hard and tight. I did notice in the mirror on the way out that my ribcage looked kinda funny, pushed-out-like. But bloat? Huh-uh. I tried to tell mom it was just a tummy ache, and I showed her some more of my amazing foamy gunk when we got to the parking lot at Dr. Denise's office.

Mom dragged me inside anyway, and Dr. Denise didn't say anything but "'re taking her to Indi, I assume?" as she stuck a big, horrible, awful, ouchy needle into my leg! They attached some tubey stuff to the ouchy needle, and attached something that sorta looked like a poopy- bag full of water to the end of it, and they they poked the poopy-bag with a big ouchy needle too – better it than me! They said stuff about "lactated ringers with lidocaine" and then Dr. Denise said something about "a safe kitty-dose of bute" and stuck me with ANOTHER ouchy needle, right in my lovely buttocks. About that time, Dad arrived.

I See Stars...
After that, things all get a little blurry. There was the long drive to Indianapolis with Dad driving and mom talking to me and petting me. There was getting hauled into a fear-smelling place and hearing mom yelling, "I understand exactly what is going on with my Dane. Quit explaining and start treating her!" There was some business with the whirry-click machine that I'm told shows the doctors what's on your insides. Hello! We know what's on my insides. Foamy stuff! Couldn't mom just have gotten some out of the van and showed them?? There were more ouchy needles stuck into two more of my legs. And then, the gigantic-huge-scary-incredibly-ouchy needle they stabbed my side with. Several times. (That's when I bit them, and they put the humiliating muzzle on me.) Mom and Dad appeared then, while they were shaving all the furs off my tummy. By then, I hurt sooooo bad that I could hardly even acknowledge that they were there. I did hear Dad say, "Gay, if you make it through this, I promise you can lie on the gray sofa anytime you want to." Really? That's supposedly the people-sofa. Mom doesn't let me get on it, and if I do anyway, she makes me get off again right away. Dad tries to make me get off when mom's not around, but I never listen to him. So, this means I can lie on the gray sofa, even when mom's home? Cool!

I went to sleep, I woke up, I hurt a LOT, but everything was kinda blurry still. There were still tubes sticking out of two of my legs, and machines that I guess it was all day the next day and that night, and then in the morning (I think that would be Thursday), mom and Aunt Frankie came to see me, and I was soooo happy to see both of them, but they just LEFT ME THERE and it made me cross. Then, later that night, mom and Aunt Frankie came back, and I got to ride in the super-duper-extra-cushy back of Aunt Frankie's car. I was sooo exhausted, I slept the entire drive home.
When it was all said and done, I had 26 staples in the incision on my lovely, spotty tummy. They'd put my insides back where they belonged. There was no damage to my spleen or my intestines, although they did have to take out some damaged tissue on my stomach itself. I've had a gastropexy done – a "tack" – and I'll tell you more about that in a minute. My surgery and hospitalization came to almost $4000 – I am now worth more than mom's SUV (I knew that already, but now mom knows it too!)

About Gastropexy
A quick note on this gastropexy thing. It is possible to have a prophylactic gastropexy. When you’re all well and healthy, they can go in and tack your stomach to help prevent it from ever twisting, even if you do later bloat. Statistics indicate that a preventative gastropexy is about 95% effective in preventing torsion. There are a few different methods of anchoring the stomach, and these days you can have it done as regular surgery, or as laparoscopic surgery, where you just have two itty-bitty holes poked into you. The laparoscopic procedure is about $1500 or so, and the regular kind is less expensive. In many cases, a gastropexy can be done at the same time that you are spayed or neutered, so you only have to go through the anesthesia and surgery one time, and get both procedures done. A gastropexy done in combination with a spay only adds a few hundred dollars to the operation, and can give your owner the peace of mind to know that you’ve got a much better chance of surviving a bloat episode because the twisting is less likely to happen. When I was a babypuppy, the vets would only do a gastropexy on a totally full-grown dog. Because of my exposure to intact males through my Rescue work, my mom didn’t want to wait until I was two years old to have me spayed, so I just had the regular spay without the tack. These days, they’ve come up with some procedures that allow them to safely perform a gastropexy on even a young Dane, so now you can have them both done before your first heat. This is wonderful news for all you younger Danes out there, and you should have your moms and dads discuss with your veterinarian the option of having a gastropexy done when you’re spayed or neutered.

Bloat Information
There's more information about bloat available at my web site and at Ginnie's Great Dane Links. Learn the symptoms – if you seem "off" and are trying to hide, have an extra-firm abdomen or "expanded" looking ribcage, unproductive vomiting (or just foamy stuff coming up), thick foamy drool – HAVE YOUR PARENTS GET YOU TO THE VET AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! Even if your parents cannot afford the surgery (not all bloat surgeries are as expensive as mine, but many are), dying of bloat is an incredibly, excruciatingly painful way to go! If the surgery is far beyond your parents’ means, the kindest thing they can do for you is to let you go quietly and painlessly.

— Gaysie Mae, CGC

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