Archive for January, 2013

Parvovirus and Coccidiosis

January 23, 2013 2 comments
Galileo will be a shadow of his former self

Galileo will be a shadow of his former self

It would seem that poor little Galileo has both of these.

The first is a virus, obviously, which young puppies are protected against first by their mother’s antibodies, then by the vaccine which Galileo should have had between the age of one and two months.

The second is a parasite, which he would have ingested before he came to us as there is a 13 day incubation period.

He’s basically a very sick puppy.

The vet has said that we can rule out the possibility of heart failure from the fatal strain of parvovirus, but there’s still the possibility of the coccidiosis causing neurological problems so he’s not out of danger.

He’s not eating, apparently, which is very unlike him. He’s normally so hungry that he gobbles his food frenetically.

He can’t come home till he eats. The vet estimates he’ll have to stay with them another couple of days.


January 23, 2013 4 comments
Galileo looking almost as ill as he is

Galileo looking almost as ill as he is

Galileo has contracted parvovirus and we’re waiting to see if he pulls through.

His faeces has been loose for some time, but yesterday evening he started vomiting.

I phoned our local vet twice in the late evening, and again this morning. Each time I was advised to bring him to the 5.00 – 7.00 pm surgery today, and not to give him anything to eat; latterly not to let him drink either.

Galileo produced a lake of blood-stained faeces just before I took him to the surgery.

At the surgery the vet put him on an intravenous drip for a short time and injected him with an antibiotic. He sent him home with us saying that if he didn’t vomit or do diarrhoea any more, then he might make it, but implied it was touch and go.

At about 8.00 pm Galileo did projectile diarrhoea that seemed to be almost pure blood and I tried to phone this same local vet. He never picked up.

There was no way we were going to lie down under this. I phoned another vet, considerably further away but whom we’ve known for years, on his emergency number.

He met us at his surgery just before 9.00 pm, gave Galileo subcutaneous fluids and an anti-vomiting injection, and took him in for the night to be kept warm under an infra-red lamp and be checked on every hour.

Now we have to wait.

We can phone at 9.30 am tomorrow to see if he’s survived so far.

Apparently he stands a reasonable chance, being thus hydrated, PROVIDED it isn’t the strain of the virus which attacks the muscles of the heart. In that case there’s nothing we can do, or could have done.

Bag of bags

January 21, 2013 4 comments
A bag of Yorkshire tea bags

A bag of Yorkshire tea bags

We’re nearing the end of this mammoth bag of tea bags which has lasted us a couple of years.

A new bag is on its way in the company of other British foods; ‘just reached Milan’ Clive informed me today.

Italian tea bags aren’t a patch on English ones. They’re far too weak and make a cup which Clive describes as ‘dear Aunt Jane’.

Angela, our cleaning lady, told me that she often puts her nose inside the bag of tea bags to inhale the delicious aroma.

Little Mouse Valley

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment
Kepler looking like a wolf in the snow a year ago

Kepler looking like a wolf in the snow a year ago

Valtopina, the name of our small town, means ‘valley of the Topino’, which is the name of the river.

Topino itself means ‘little mouse’, being the diminutive of ‘topo’ or mouse.

The whole name can therefore be translated as ‘valley of the little mouse’ or ‘little mouse valley’.

Our dentist,  once he has my mouth locked in position, delights in regaling me with English translations of local town names.

Apart from valley of the little mouse there’s ‘flowery hill’ (Colfiorito), ‘singing wolf’ (Cantalupo), ‘falcon’s mount’ (Montefalco), etc.

Starting 2nd March 2012 when Clive was in Germany, I’ve been writing a novel called ‘The Wolves of Little Mouse Valley’. Today I got to the end (which doesn’t mean I’ve finished it).

It’s set locally, and has an element of the supernatural.

I told our dentist about it last time I saw him and he was very amused. I said I’d put in an acknowledgment to him!


January 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Galileo under my desk. I try always to keep an eye on him.

Galileo under my desk. I try always to keep an eye on him.

This term basically means ‘eating one’s own stools’ and I’m afraid that Galileo does it.

Apparently it’s very common in puppies of his age – we’ve experienced it with other dogs – and it  usually resolves itself.

It can represent an attempt at cleanliness on the part of the puppy, or it can derive from dietary deficiency.

The best way of dealing with it is to remove  the stools immediately.

With the cold and the lack of a fence, Galileo isn’t playing outside very much. He’s identified our bathrooms as the place indoors where evacuation of the bowels should occur, but to clean up  before he does means being on perpetual, nerve-wracking vigil since he goes frequently and at no particular stage of the proceedings.

He’s also had a tummy upset since the day after he arrived, probably due to a change of diet and general environment – and it doesn’t help!

I’ve read that adding pineapple to food makes the stools unpalatable, but we’ve just been to the supermarket and I didn’t know so that experiment will have to wait.

I have to be careful with Galileo at certain stages (and not let him lick me) but I can take this sort of thing in my stride. I wish I could say the same about other areas of my life!

Freeze and melt

January 18, 2013 Leave a comment
Frosty trees and lavender

Frosty trees and lavender

Every spike of plant life was coated with frost last night, shining under the drive lights.

But in the morning the ice was slushy and this little light had a slipping cap of melting snow.

A cap of melting snow

A cap of melting snow

House arrest

January 17, 2013 Leave a comment
Galileo in a patch of sun

Galileo in a patch of sun

Galileo spent the last 9 years of his life under house arrest at the decree of the Inquisition.

All in all, I don’t think house arrest can have been that terrible, particularly if there were 360 degree views from the house and he was allowed to sit in the garden.

He would almost certainly have been excused from going shopping which, if he’d been anything like me, would have been a great boon.

Our little Galileo Galilei (to accord him the full name of the famous scientist) is finding the house gives him ample scope for exploring.

He has truffle-hunting in his ancestry, apparently, and often seems to be looking for truffles in the most unlikely places, working his way over the floor like Dougall from ‘The Magic Roundabout’.

In the photo, he’s found himself a nice little spot in the sun.