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This Week on the Farm 12/5
It doesn’t seem like December. We have only had one snow fall here on the farm, and that was several weeks ago. The weather has been dreary, cold, and brown. We spent the last couple of weeks indoors working on paperwork and planning for next season. Thankfully most of the boring and painful paperwork is done for the year. We came up with a budget for next year, a process that took several agonizing days, and we have our seed order calculated and ready to place as of the first of the year. Check out our 2012 crop list on the Misc. page to see what we hope to plant this spring. We also have spent time trying to brainstorm improvements in land and labor efficiency.
We are waiting to hear back from/meet with several people about pick-up locations for next season. So far we have four confirmed pick-up locations. One in Appleton at 1309 E Keystone Lane, one at the farm in Rio, and two in Madison, our original location at 719 W Main and our new location at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner on Atwood. We are thrilled to be able to have a pick-up at Monty’s. They have been so supportive of us from the beginning and it is awesome to be able to work with such a great group of people. We hope to have one to three more pick-up locations set by the end of December. Check back soon for more information.
In other news, it has been a very long week for our dog Wash. Last Monday morning he came into our bedroom with a swollen face. We thought at first it was allergies to food or a sting and we tried Benadryl. That helped at first, but on Thursday morning it was getting worse and he looked like he was so itchy that he rubbed a spot near his left eye raw. We called the vet right away that morning and got an appointment for the afternoon.
By the time his appointment rolled around he also had a spot on the bridge of his nose that looked raw. The vet said he thought he knew what it might be and he took a scraping to look for confirmation. He thinks that it is an autoimmune disorder known as Pemphigus, but what type (which tells how severe it is) he doesn’t know. The scraping would tell us if it was Pemphigus if certain cells were found and if it didn’t show anything than he would need to take samples using a punch and biopsy the results. He sent us home with some antibiotics and said he would call.
In layman’s terms, Pemphigus is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the molecules that hold the skin cells together. Without the molecules the skin cells come apart and lesions form. It also creates a lot of pus and grossness, that left untreated can become susceptible to secondary infection. Be prepared if you google pictures, it can be stomach turning. Depending on which of the four types of Pemphigus one has (dogs, cats, and people can have this disease) these lesions can form just on the head and ears, or on the head/ears/bottoms of paws, or all over the body. So far Wash only has lesions on his head and ears.
Thursday night Wash was miserable. He kept trying to rub his face with his paws and at one point in the night was whimpering pitifully. When we woke up (I should say got up since we didn’t really sleep we were so worried) that morning his face was swollen and there were pustules on his lip and across the bridge of his nose. He looked like he had gotten into a horrible fight. We took him in as soon as the vet opened. They tried to take the samples after they had given him a sedative, but being the active dog that he is, they couldn’t hold him still. They ended up having to put him under general anesthesia to take the samples.
We picked him up later that afternoon. He is on an antibiotic to prevent secondary infection and we use a cleansing spray twice a day. He is also on a steroid to try and stop his immune system from attacking his own cells. He is looking a little bit better. His face doesn’t look as angry-red as it did before and he is starting to scab over. He is wearing an Elizabethan collar or “the cone of shame” as it was called in the movie Up. He is still running into things because of the collar, but he is getting better at judging distances.
Hopefully by mid-week we should get the results of the biopsy. We hope that he has the mildest form and will only have occasional bouts where the lesions occur. He could be on steroids the rest of his life, but that is something we really don’t want him to have to go through. Like a lot of things in life, we are taking it one day at a time.