Vestibular Disease

Question? So suddenly your senior K9 starts to tilt their head and then moments later they are stumbling around and going in circles. The behavior has come out of nowhere and the symptoms continue to add up rapidly right before your eyes. There is a look of confusion on their face as their eyes start to shift. See tell me which direction does your mind go? Seizure? We dealt with that with Daisy. Stroke? I have never experienced that with a dog and it seems frightening!
This is where we were with Jedi in September. I wasn’t ready for her decline although I know that is always a possibility with our Laber of Love fosters. So off to Stonyridge we go. No call just an early morning visit and we got right in. Dr. Young was quick to assure me that she quite possibly has Vestibular Disease which is common in senior dogs and is treatable. After Jedi’s blood work came back looking good, we were sent home with meds.
Jedi started improving almost right away and has no symptoms remaining. So, our girl is back to her ornery self that makes us smile every day!
Thank you all for your continued support. For more info and treatment options, click this link. 
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Differently Abled Pets – Blind or Deaf

Have you ever thought about adopting a blind or deaf dog and thought “that would just be too hard” or “I just don’t have it in me to take care of a disabled pet”? Or maybe you thought about it but just didn’t know enough to make an informed decision. Well, I didn’t know much either when I met an old, blind Shih-Tzu at the Shelter. The poor girl was terrified and completely shut down so I couldn’t leave her there (the dog warden knew me well and knew I wouldn’t after hearing about her either so she made sure I knew the little dog was there). All I had experience with was a one-eyed Shih-Tzu. And let me tell you, having only one eye definitely doesn’t slow a dog down!
We learned about blind dogs quickly after bringing Sweetie Pie home (and yes, the name fit her completely). I searched the internet and read as much as I could on how to help a blind dog acclimate to her surroundings. Keeping things all in the same place and not leaving things laying around was key for us. Thankfully we didn’t have stairs in the living space, and we were able to carry her down the steps into the yard. Most of the time she waited at the bottom of the steps for us to come get her when she was done with her business, but occasionally she would find her way up to them all on her own. Blind dogs learn their environment by smell and touch and they do great once they learn. Little Sweetie really didn’t run into very much when she was learning either. And that girl made the couch her throne. She only got up to use the potty or to get a drink. She may have been a little spoiled since I fed her on her throne. Having the pleasure of having Sweetie as a part of our family was a rewarding experience that was well worth the small sacrifices we made to keep her safe and secure.
Deaf dogs are just as resilient. I have met several and they are amazing too. Hand signals are lifesavers, and establishing a bond with the dog so that it keeps looking to you for direction is key.
There are many great articles online that can help you learn about blind or deaf dogs or dogs that are both blind and deaf – I recently met the sweetest little Shih-Tzu who was both deaf and blind; I was in love and would have brought her home if we didn’t already have a house full and foster even more. Here are just a couple that I found that explain things very well. Don’t be afraid or overwhelmed if you are thinking of adopting a differently-abled dog. Or if your beloved pet becomes deaf or blind later in life, don’t give up on them. There are many ways that you can help them make the transition with less stress on both of you!
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer 

Seasonal Allergies

August in Ohio. What a wonderful time for warm summer days, county fairs, bountiful harvests, and….allergies? Yep, you read that right: allergies. It is ragweed season, my friends! For some, that means runny noses, itchy eyes, and lots of sneezing. Guess what? If you’ve ever experienced seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. It turns out, seasonal allergies can also affect your pets.

When dogs experience these allergic reactions, you may notice them scratching between their legs, biting and licking their paws, and rubbing their face more frequently than normal. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to bacterial and yeast infections, so it is important to get your pet into the Vet to diagnose the problem and learn how to provide relief for them. After all, we all want our fur babies to be as happy and as comfortable as possible!

For more information on seasonal allergies, check out the articles below.

Cortney Ley, Fospice Mom and Board Secretary

Preventing Skin Issues

Many of the dogs that enter the Laber of Love Pet Rescue come into our homes with different skin conditions. These conditions leave our precious pets with itchiness, pain, and general discomfort. We do our best to alleviate that discomfort with better diets, ointments, special shampoos, and supplements. With my fospice dog, Patrick, I liked to use coconut oil for his dry skin. It provided moisture and relief for him while also giving me the chance to massage his arthritic back and legs (for our article on arthritis, click the link below).

One of the difficulties with skin problems is that they can emerge because of several different factors. Some of the most common causes include:

• Allergies
• Bacterial / Yeast infections
• Fleas & Ticks
• Mange
• Seborrheic dermatitis
• Dandruff

With so many potential causes, it is important that you consult your vet to help diagnose skin conditions that emerge with your pets. While the treatments discussed above are excellent for providing some comfort, occasionally medication is required to help clear up more serious cases. We all want the best for our furry friends and treating skin conditions will ensure that your pet lives a long, comfortable, happy life.  For a guide on the causes, symptoms, and treatments of skin conditions in dogs, check out the article below!

Cortney Ley, Fospice Mom and Board Secretary

Preventing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Just in the past year, I have seen 2 Chihuahuas come into our home with canine cognitive dysfunction, CCD. And we have had 2 of our personal dogs have CCD issues as well. CCD is an invisible but devastating disease that affects the minds of older dogs, similar to dementia in humans. It is heartbreaking to know that we can heal a dog’s body, but not their mind. While there are things that we can do as owners & fospice parents to help dogs we love to live with CCD, it is not something we can cure. There are both environmental and medicinal therapies that can help as I have discussed in an earlier blog post if you want to check it out on our website, But we can’t make it go away, and it will continue to worsen as the dog ages.
I have been thinking quite a bit lately about how we can prevent this terrible disease; is there something that we could do to stop it or slow it down from happening in the first place? Nothing has been proven to stop this disease from happening, but there has been some research into ways that may help to delay the devastating effects and give us longer with our beloved pets. I have started to incorporate some of the suggestions in this article already with our personal dogs and with our fospice dog, Chance.
Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Crate Training

To crate train or not to crate train is a personal preference. The attached article states some benefits of crating your dog at any age. As a pet owner of 4 dogs and a constant foster, I could not imagine managing our k9’s without a crate set up in the house. Our household’s current dog’s ages are 14 yrs to 3 months and they are all crate trained. So, do they all use a crate? No. Each dog uses the crate according to its needs. Whether it is learning to be a calm, appropriate member of our household (puppy) or to help introduce and acclimate a new dog to our current pack(fosters). Also, a medical issue that requires a few days of rest and restrictions. These are just a few ways the crate helps create smooth transitions and comfort in a house (not quite) full of dogs.
I sometimes feel like a broken record when it comes to the benefits of crate training. This is a process that can produce calm, manageable dogs within a few months and will last a lifetime. I have explained it like this before, teaching a dog to relax on their own offers them the gift of being able to live a calm, enjoyable life. And isn’t that what we envy most about our dogs, napping when they feel like it and watching the world go by without a care in the world?
It is never too late to crate train a dog.
Some things to remember are:
*Crate training is not only putting your dog in a crate when you leave the house. This is a big reason dogs do not accept the crate when being introduced to this form of training.
*Using a crate for a reset or time out before you are fed up with a certain behavior is not a punishment, it is part of the training. Make it short and remember to redirect the correct choice when you let them out.
*Your dog will more likely have to be crated at some point in their life so why not set them up for a stress-free experience. This will also relieve some stress for you when having to leave your pet behind.
As always Laber of Love Pet Rescue thanks everyone for their continued support. Loving our furry family members is one of the greatest blessings we are given. Thank you LOL family for doing your part in saving lives and making a difference!

Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Protect Your Pet From Ticks

Enjoying the outdoors with your pet comes with taking some precautions and giving your pet some extra attention.
It seems like every year I am surprised by how early I experience my 1st tick. The reality of it is that tick season starts in the early spring. It is important to take the precautions necessary to ensure your pets’ safety as well as your own. I know those pesky parasites are not going to keep our pack from exploring so we will have to stay alert with our precautions and checking our pets over daily. Jedi loves to go for long walks sniffing and romping in the woods. So, I imagine we will be going out frequently to do just that.
This is another way to care for and support our animals to ensure they live a long happy, healthy life. As always, check with your Veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding what is best for you and your pet.
Chastity Crowder, Fospice Mom and Board President

Planning For Your Pet Without You

What will happen to your pets if you unexpectedly become ill or pass away? Will a family member take them in? Will they be taken to the local animal shelter? Does anyone know that you have them and that they will need taken care of? These are questions that most people have never thought about or considered the answers to. Even though few pet owners have considered these questions, this is a very important topic for responsible pet owners to think about and plan for.
Unfortunately, there are many pets each year that are left alone with no plan. The owner either didn’t think anything would happen or the people they thought would step in don’t for one reason or another. These pets are left with no other option than to end up in a shelter where hopefully someone else will step in to adopt them. Unfortunately, whatever happens, the pet is scared and alone. Being with someone that the pet knows can ease that transition.
Please consider reading this article and taking some time to make a plan for your pets. Hopefully, nothing will happen and you and your pet will never need to rely on this plan, but won’t you rest easier knowing your beloved pet will be taken care of if the unthinkable does happen? I know I will!

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer

Urinary Tract Infection & Incontinence

When you think of the issues senior dogs typically face, urinary incontinence is likely one of the first that comes to mind. There are a variety of reasons a senior dog can start having accidents in the house, and it is best to work with your Veterinarian to make sure you determine the cause and treat it accordingly.
My dachshund, Annabelle, is nearly 17 and has had incontinence issues for several years. As a spayed, senior female, she is more prone to urinary tract infections – and as a dachshund, she is even more prone to them due to nerve issues in her back that sometimes prevent her from fully emptying her bladder. She has even had one drug-resistant UTI! Since she has experienced recurrent UTIs, whenever her Vet suspects she has one, they culture her urine sample and then send it off for a sensitivity panel to determine what antibiotics will best treat the infection. I personally feel this is worth the added expense because it eliminates the trial & error of different medications and allows us to accurately treat her quickly!
UTIs are not the only incontinence issue Annabelle has faced. A few years ago, she began leaking small amounts of urine when she sat, and sometimes in her sleep! The Vet ruled out infection and other causes, and it was determined she was experiencing age-related incontinence. They prescribed a daily hormone (Incurin) – starting at a higher dose and tapering down until we found the lowest possible effective dose. I’m happy to report it’s worked perfectly and stopped her leaking!
If your senior pet is experiencing incontinence issues, check out the article below for more information, and schedule a Vet visit to determine the cause and treatment options! And I can personally recommend Amazon as an excellent source of both disposable and reusable pee pads and doggy diapers to save your floors, furniture, and sanity while you wait for your dog’s treatment to take effect! (Be sure to use Amazon Smile and choose Laber of Love as your preferred charity as an easy way to benefit fospice pets while you shop!)

Jennifer Studebaker, Board Member


We hear the phrase “please spay or neuter your pets” frequently. But often the time isn’t taken to explain why that phrase is so important. The article included below does a wonderful job of pointing out the many benefits of spaying or neutering so I won’t go into those. Please take a moment to read it, it won’t take long.
As senior pet lovers, we have seen first-hand the devastating health effects of not spaying or neutering. Mammary tumors can quickly metastasize and cause cancer in other areas of the body and become fatal. A pyometra (infected uterus) can be life-threatening and require emergency surgery. Testicular cancer is also fatal in most cases. All of these things can be avoided by spaying or neutering your pet. Shouldn’t we do all we can to help our beloved pets avoid these awful diseases if we can?
Not only can we help our pets lead healthier lives, but we can all be happier too. As the article notes, unwanted behaviors can be helped by spaying or neutering too! One procedure that can do all this? Yes, please!
Even adult and senior pets can have these procedures performed if they are otherwise healthy. If you adopt a pet or already have one that isn’t already spayed or neutered, talk to your vet. They can advise you on the potential risks for your individual pet if they foresee any. We brought Chance into the Laber of Love family at the ripe old age of 13, and he wasn’t neutered yet. He had some of the issues described in the article, in particular marking his territory inside the house. We were concerned about the possible health effects of him not being neutered, but we were also concerned about possible complications due to his age and long term exposure to smoke. We talked to our amazing vet and did a full blood work-up. She didn’t foresee any extra complications with putting him under anesthesia so the little guy was neutered right away. Chance did great through the procedure and healed very quickly. Both he and his fospice family are definitely happier since we made that decision!
If you haven’t already, please consider spaying or neutering your pets. And if you have already, thank you for helping control the overpopulation and for helping to keep your pet healthy and happy!                                                 

Nicole Laber, Fospice Mom and Board Treasurer