Gidget has suffered a few of these - usually after water got into her ear during a bath.  This latest (August 2011) I think is related to a periodic issue around her lips, corner of her eyes and anus that the vet believes is allergy-based - food or inhalant (mold, I suspect).  This ear infection presented with Gidget holding her left ear low, shaking her head and then I noticed the skin inside seemed inflamed and smelled a bit.  Today (vet day) the ear is quite smelly.  Lots of bacteria present, according to her vet, who prescribed:  1)  Tresaderm drops ($39 - 15ml) - 10-12 drops in the ear canal, twice daily for ten days, and;  2)  Temaril-P tablets ($41 - 3 tablets every 12 hours for 3 days then every 24 hours and then every other day until gone (36 tablets).  Pays to always have on hand an “Elizabethan collar” in situations like this where your pup may be agitated to the point of scratching.  Gidget’s so used to her’s that all I have to do is hold it up and she walks her head right into it.  Total bill, so far = $196.49 

Ear infections can be very painful, so don’t dither on getting them treated.



Upon the recommendation of her veterinarian, GidgMom keeps Gold’s Medicated Powder in a dog first aid kit (actually an LL Bean soft-sided lunch box).  Samoyeds and other thick-coated dogs are especially prone to “hot spots” if they’ve gotten wet and not been completely dried (another reason to spring for a groomer dryer).  If you see your dog excessively licking or chewing on a spot, keep a close eye on it.  It only takes a determined dog with an itch a few minutes to create a bald spot and break the skin, leaving it vulnerable to infection.  If you see a hot spot forming, you want to dry the area out and that’s where the Gold’s Medicated Powder comes in.  Neosporin and other such creams are not the best choice in this instance (that’s the advice she has received).  Again, as with everything else on this website, do your own research, too.  And take advantage of any visit with your veterinarian to ask about situations like this which may arise.  Ask them what you should have in a Dog First Aid kit (in your car and at home) and what home remedies for things like hot spots could save your pup from suffering and save you a vet visit.     

Gidgmom chuckles whenever someone asks how much Gidget cost, because the truth of any dog -- purebred or mutt - is that the purchase price is just a down payment on what you’re in for if your dog lives long.  For SamoyedMoms‘ reference going forward, she is going to log notes of Gidget’s vet visits.  To aid in diagnoses, she recommends keeping a separate “Health Journal” for each of your pups, to record:  1) vaccinations and weight;  2) symptoms - as they occur - this could greatly aid your veterinarian in diagnosis, and;  3) treatment (include details of any drugs and dosages -- prescription and non-prescription -- and the attending veterinarian). 

It is important that the dates and times for all these data entries be detailed and contemporaneous.

Some things - like ear infections - tend to recur.  So give yourself a head-start on the next thing by keeping a detailed health history of all that has happened before. 



One day when Gidget was three years old she stopped eating breakfast -- until after she’d “dry-heaved” bile, twice.  Had to be twice.   GidgMom didn’t know what the heck was going on so she got her to the vet, ASAP.  The vet quickly diagnosed “acid reflux” and recommended administering -- just before going to sleep at night --Pepcid AC.  Plain ‘ol over-the-counter Pepcid AC.  One tablet (Gidget weighs 50 pounds).

She also advised withholding some of her dinner until just before bedtime.  

Insta-cure!  GidgMom still keeps Pepcid AC around but hasn’t given any to Gidget in years.  Instead, she got into the habit of holding back some of Gidget’s dinner until just before bedtime and she hasn’t had a recurrence. 



When Gidget was four months old in 2002, GidgMom took her outside to potty and next thing she knew Gidget was squatting repeatedly and tiny droplets of blood were visible in her fur.  GidgMom immediately put her in the car and rushed to the veterinarian.  Turned out Gidget had “struvite crystals” in her bladder.  She also had a “recessed vulva” which was causing urine to pool and be a breeding ground for germs.  Two weeks of an antibiotic and - presto - she was cured.  But for just 24 hours.  A series of bladder infections ensued, as did a visit to a referral-only internal specialist and test results processed at Cornel.  GidgMom had contacted Gidget’s breeder, who in turn contacted all her Samoyed friends out west and got back to GidgMom the night she and Gidget were at the specialist.  The breeder said she’d heard back that letting the female puppy go through a heat cycle would often prompt the vulva to fully develop.  The specialist agreed and if that did not work there was a surgical option (ouch!).  So instead of having Gidget, a “pet puppy,” spade soon GidgMom waited until after one heat cycle.  And that was the cure.  Gidget’s nine years old now and has never had another bladder infection.  She was spade after that first heat cycle.   



This is a symptom to be up to speed on in advance of ever seeing it.  It is not an automatic death sentence and can mean a lot of things orders of magnitude less serious than cancer.  Gidget is my third Samoyed and this morning was the first time I ever was confronted with bloody diarrhea -- during our otherwise routine morning walk.  A flurry of phone calls and e-mails ensued and I am thankful for SamoyedMoms (one of them an RN) who talked me through my worry (not hysteria, but decidedly frantic worry).  Turns out Gidget’s ear infection medication can have a number of side effects:  including bloody diarrhea.  So I dropped the stool (more like a puddle) sample off at the vet to be checked for parasites.  And then we waited a day for her already scheduled follow-up appointment in regard to her ear infection.  The stool sample came back negative for parasites and Gidget is now on Flagyl for the diarrhea.  The vet also has me feeding Gidget boiled chicken and white rice instead of kibble for a few days.  If she shows any other symptoms -- especially vomiting or lethargy -- then I am to take her back in.  Meanwhile I have learned that in regard to bloody diarrhea, don’t panic.  Instead, calmly call your vet (or a veterinary hospital) and recount any possible pertinent facts (such as current prescriptions, changes in diet or behavior - such as vomiting or lethargy - and Gidget’s having just gotten back from a weekend at the beach with eleven other dogs).