It's already Monday evening, and as expected the animal hospital staff have not called with the results of Miguel's "total stool analysis". I have noticed this so often here, from car mechanics to authorities to hospital staff: They will say "We will do this by Monday and we will call you", but more often than not, unless you stay with them right there, you will wait in vain for them to do anything. Example? Sure: I left our locally registered car with a garage to take it through the inspection process here. I still haven't gotten it back, nor have they called me. And that was over two months ago.
Miguel's stool results I want to have ASAP, so on Tuesday morning - again, on our way to the supermarket - we're stopping at the animal hospital to ask in person. Here's what they say:
No, not quite. Staff says: "We've just sent you an email, we got back the results from the lab only this morning."
"So, what are the results please?"
"If you can wait a minute, the vet will be back."
Indeed, the vet calls me into an exam room, and she says: "No other parasites were found, only the Toxocara eggs. But the lab analyst believes Miguel may have intestinal bacterial overgrowth."
I ask: "Of good gut bacteria or bad gut bacteria?" - because every healthy GI tract has more bacteria than there are body cells! - The vet replies: "That's what we need to find out. Could you bring three fresh stool samples? They don't keep well for long, we couldn't reuse the last samples to grow a bacteria culture. And the next three samples you really need to keep in the fridge." I say: "There's no way I keep those smelly poop bags in our fridge!"
There's always a solution for everything. Really, always. I've made this a principle to live by, from early on in my life. It trains our problem-solving skill, and we learn to see everything as a challenge only, not as a problem. Every challenge can be overcome. Nothing can stop your investigative quest once you have it. The only chance not to find a solution to your current challenge is that you stop thinking about it and stop all action to overcome it.
Here, I am getting three tiny sealable plastic containers from the hospital, with "spoon" inside the lid to scoop up a bit of poop. The lids are of latex rubber (important), and so they do seal off the poop indeed. You can keep these poop containers in your own fridge, and your fridge won't smell of poop at all. Once you have collected the third poop sample, you can take all three containers to the hospital for analysis, and they will be happy to analyze the chilled poop.
So this is what we are doing. Today is Thursday, and as you see from the fridge photo, two stool samples I have already collected, one from each day. Tomorrow, Miguel's 30 weeks birthday already(!), I will scoop up one more poop early morning, and then we'll take these cute little poop containers back to the hospital.
I'll miss them, they lend style to any fridge content.
Speaking of food, next you see both how much a German Shepherd puppy at this growth stage eats (he is always hungry still, yes) and how much more efficient I am at preparing a LOT of food at a time (in the steamer this is no trouble), and then freezing and chilling most of it:
The mountain of chicken on the left photo was 3.83 kg / 8.44 lb purchase weight (raw), which leaves about 2.76 kg / 6.1 lb to be eaten after steaming. About because it depends on how long you steam it. I simply turn the dial to 60 minutes, but I have the feeling that this amount of chicken in three baskets is cooked through after 50 minutes - in which case it would retain a bit more weight than 72%, maybe 75%.
So, how long do the 2.76 kg / 6.1 lb of chicken last?
I have a feeling that my new puppy could eat this mountain of chicken in one day - without feeling full. But you know that he gets a lot of vegetables too, as well as fruit, rice, and fermented and cultured dairies. - Mark this, he doesn't get raw milk or pasteurized milk, but he does get fermented and cultured dairies. That's a big difference for dogs digestion-wise (and for people too).
Unlike what we can read elsewhere, fermented and cultured is not the same. A dairy product may be fermented thanks to adding any type of lactic acid bacteria, but that doesn't mean it is cultured (contains probiotic cultures, the main ones are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium). Only few fermented dairy products are cultured dairy products, but all cultured dairies are fermented dairies. The dairies Miguel gets (in the order of frequency):
- cottage cheese (cultured)
- unsweetened natural yoghurt (fermented, sometimes cultured)
- kefir (fermented)
- various hard cheeses (both fermented and cultured ones)
- rarely curd (fermented) - too thick/sticky; but he does get the "curdy" water that sets overnight (milk is 87% water)
- the collected drops of a buttermilk pot (fermented)
Absolutely no milk.
Back to the mountain of chicken: This lasts much longer than a day. Although this puppy is getting a LOT of meat (in my view) - not only in meals but also as treats and in treasure hunts throughout the day - this amount lasts at least 4 days. And in addition he's getting his favorite ham leg sausage, about a package in 4 days: 150 g / 5.3 oz, plus a bit of chorizo salami or such. This means, currently Miguel is getting way over 700 g / 1.55 lb of different meats each day (turkey and pork chunks as well, and sometimes beef liver). So much real meat does cost quite a bit, but we know this before we get a German Shepherd, right?
Why so much real meat?
Because the puppy is growing. And like our expert in the first Dog Expert Interview says:
Speaking of the Dog Expert Interviews: About every second dog owner who invested in this insight missed out on the second half, the REVIEWS. I wonder: If they think so little of my ability to review and compare all experts, what do they think why I've put so much effort into that?
Though, I don't think they thought about it at all. Well, if it wasn't for the Reviews, I could let you have a Dog Expert Interview every month, and ongoing. It's the REVIEWS that make this series invaluable, and why it is limited to just four. Because the Reviews critically analyze what individual experts say, thus only the REVIEWS can provide the helicopter view of all the experts, including those who didn't even make it into this series.
Speaking of doing things only partway: Yesterday Miguel got this pictured dog toy from the China shop when I came past it and bought it on a whim (€5.90 / $6.60).
Was it worth the small investment?
Sure, he played with it the whole day.
Now look at its state today. Just ONE DAY LATER.
I won't let the puppy play with a disintegrating toy. I am sure the individual parts are not meant to be swallowed, and certainly not healthy when swallowed! Likewise, I am sure that my puppy would still love to play with this toy, and he would gain value from having something to play with.
But that's not what I got it for, in this state it doesn't provide the value that I intend to provide to the puppy. Only my review of the toy revealed its flaws.
Same with what the experts say in the Dog Expert Interviews. Without the REVIEWS one cannot get the helicopter view of all the dog experts. The quality of content that I intend to provide.
So yeah, I'll have to add this toy to the list of destruction.