Keeping a journal:
It is suggested not only when your dog is first diagnosed with ME to write down what you are trying, but may be a good idea during their lives. Changes can happen quickly and we need to be able to adjust and try to keep our dogs on track so they remain as healthy as possible…meaning holding weight, not aspirating, and being stable all round. Any part of their full protocol (food, food consistency, food amount, wearing a neck hug, how they are positioned to eat, hydration method, etc) may need to be “tweaked” so it is much easier to look back at what was tried and worked / or didn’t work versus attempting to remember when and what exactly was done.
You can do this whatever way is best and easiest for you including but not limited to writing it down in sentences in a book or keeping notes on cell phone or computer. Whatever you use, try to include as much detail with notes of what was done and worked / didn’t work and why as possible.
Here are some ideas to include if you set this up as a spreadsheet of topics (add your own pending what you are doing):
Food brand (name of food)
Food type (canned, kibble, raw)
Food consistency (blended, slurry, meatballs, soaked)
What is added to food (if anything)
Wear a neck hug (when, how ,long)
Exercise (low, moderate, high)
Time of year and weather conditions
Has dog been sick (what was it, dates, what was done, meds taken)
What prescription meds being taken (if any)
What other meds needed (Heartworm, Flea & Tick, antacid)
Required vaccinations (rabies, puppy series)
SPECIAL NOTE: Track weather and what happens after getting any shots and meds. This became critical for us with Gretyl as could not figure out why she would regurg so much more during certain times. Two things happened after tracking this about 4 months. We could see when barometric pressure changed drastically, she would have flare ups of regurg. There is nothing we can do to change that due to where we live except to be aware and prepared. Then, since we also live in an area requiring Heartworm, Flea & Tick meds, we had to experiment over about 6 months to first find which caused her least amount of regurg, but then ready again. Between 36-48 hours after receiving her topical…what our veterinarian finally said we would have to use…she has another flareup. We were very experienced when we adopted her as owner surrender, but we also used notes on computer over months to get her best managed possible which led us to seeing new causes along her journey.
Here are two specific uses by ME dog owners:
1. “One thing you can do is to keep a journal. Write down everything you do and how your dog responds. This way as you change things either meds or type of food you do not have to remember what you did. I kept a daily journal and even made a copy for my DVM. That way we could adjust meds and know right away if we were on the right track.”
2. “I would suggest writing down the symptoms your dog had BEFORE you began the meds (for example, Amber had LIGHT drooling; hard time walking on wood or tile surfaces; had a hard time getting up). Start with a small dose – over the next 24 hours see if any of the symptoms improve or even vanish. Keep a journal – how were they acting prior to giving the dose, how did they act 1 hour after (the meds should kick in by then); how did they act just prior to the next dose (were they already weak, or beginning to show symptoms). If your dog is not back to 75%-80% with the low dose then increase it the next day. Make notes in your journal. IF AT ANY TIME you notice that your dog begins to remit (begins to exessively drool, when he was not drooling with the lower dose; begins to act lethargic; etc) then lower the dose. THis happened with Amber – she was showing great improvement with the meds and we increased her dose slightly and she began to drool exessively (long stringy thick drool) and she seemed very week. She also lost her appetite somewhat. We immediately cut back on her dose and after 24 hours she was fine.”