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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.
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 www.greatdanerescueinc.com.
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.
Mom dragged me inside anyway, and Dr. Denise didn't
say anything but "Yup...you'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
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!)
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.
There's more information about bloat available at my
web site and at Ginnie's Great
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
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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