Thursday, June 23, 2016

Stella's Story Week 3 with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

I am writing this for other dog owners so that they can see how Stella's Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) played out.  I have read a few blogs that have been very helpful to me about RMSF, and I am hoping this will do the same for others. If you would like to read about the first two weeks of this horrible disease, please check out this blog post.

I wanted to add a note here because I have been repeatedly asked on FB.  I did not have Stella on preventative.  Here is my take on this and this is totally my own opinion.  You have a right to do whatever you want with your dog, and I will not judge you.  I do not fill my dogs with medicine/preventatives, unless absolutely needed.  We do not do year round heartworm meds, we do a month before it gets hot or best guess, all of the summer months, and one month past the last time we see mosquitos AND it is no longer hot at night (our rule is 50 F for three nights in a row).  We do three year vaccinations, unless it is lepto, which we do every year.  I do not do year around flea or tick meds, we use them as needed.  I am pretty sure that is why most fleas and ticks in our area are immune to front line now as it is (overuse of topicals and evolution of the fleas and ticks that do survive exposure).  This is totally my choice, and I do strongly advocate you listening to your vet and making your own choices.  There is research out there that shows all ways being good or bad, so you have to make your own decisions.  I will never judge another pet owner, and I appreciate the same.  Most people have been super civil in discussions of this, but I have had a few nasty notes privately.  Preventative is not an absolute way to prevent these diseases, but it does help.  The tick only needs to be on the dog for 5 hours to transmit the disease, and if you do the ingestibles, the tick has to bite your dog and start feeding to ingest the poison that kills it.  Topicals are a little better, because the tick does not have to bite to get the poisons to die, but topicals are not suggested if you have younger children in the home as we do.

June 15th:  After a rough afternoon of the 14th, we had a pretty good night of sleep.  Stella woke up with much less pain.  She made it up and down the steps, and ate a huge breakfast.  Poop and pee like normal with a little bit of wobbly.  She even barked at me when I came back from my run!  Naughty girly!!!!  I dropped her off at the vet's office for observation and new x-rays.
The bottle cap is still in her tummy, which is good.  We will try and make her vomit it up when this is closer to being done.  I am not sure if it was the new doxy or if we were just at a point where she was making an improvement but we did NOT see the horrible coming down off the pred that we had been seeing at night.  When I picked her up from my vet's office, she was perky and asking for pets from people.  She was not having any issues breathing and no nasal discharge. She was still obviously sore, but her neck and shoulders didn't seem to be bothering her as much.  She ate a full dinner and continued to be active all night till we went to bed.  She brought her cuz ball to me and wanted to tug.  We tried a modified version of tug because she tugged so hard once her back end gave out!  Tonight is the last night of the double pred dose every 24 hours, as we are going to go to 1 tablet every 12 hours.  I am amazed at how all of the sudden she is bouncing back, especially after the way she was the 14th.

June 16th.  Had a great night's sleep.  No stress panting or mouth breathing.  She ate her breakfast and even pushed one of the boys out of the way this morning.  Normal poop and pee.  Today we will have another full day of the new doxy, as well as a split dose of the pred.  I was with her much of the day, as I had my 6 month follow up mammogram from my breast cancer scare, and the appointment was in Wamego.
She started out the day great, but by the time i got back from my mammogram, she was swollen in a front and back leg pretty bad.  She still was in good spirits, with no breathing problems or fever.  I think faith in the fact that there will be good times is helping me be positive now, even when we do have a dip back into old symptoms.  

June 17th:  Good night, no stress panting or mouth breathing. I think her being able to rest at night and breath is helping her heal. I know it helps me heal to get a good night's sleep.  She still seems to be favoring that same front and back leg.  Doesn't seem as swollen this morning, but she was holding up the back leg as she was eating.  She got to see both of her favorite people in the whole wide world, Mel and Robin this morning.  They were both blown away at her progress, even with her limping.  While she didn't jump up like her normal self,  but she did seek out pets and cuddles.
 June 18th.  Swelling down even more.  The back leg seems to be the most painful.  When she lays down, she will tuck it under her or lick it or hold it out straight and it shakes.  I am not sure if the pain is in her hock or lower down.  I have been doing tons of research on supplements and what we can use for rehab.  Still debating.  Getting so much good information.  Got our final vet bill.  Well, we didn't break a thousand but we got pretty close :)
June 19th: I don't see any swelling left in any leg now, but the back leg still seems to hurt.  She also seems to be pretty weak in her hind end.  She was asking to come up on the bed and her hind end just can't  give her the power.  That's okay because I can lift her.  I notice when she wants to get up, she has to go from a down, to a sit, and then up, and it usually takes her a while from the sit to go completely up.  She did jump on the bed this afternoon unassisted, and was playing pretty rough with the boys, but I think now she is paying for it.  Now she seems sore and tired.  As she feels better, it is going to get harder and harder to keep miss sassy pants quiet.

I did notice that this PM she seemed a little sore and a little more cautious about trotting/jumping.  She probably over did it playing with the boys in the morning, which I was afraid of.

June 20th: Stella has had lameness in the front and back leg that has been bothering her all day and night.  I sure hope we aren't dealing with polyarthritis, but thinking the pred should be helping with that.  We are also at the point where we need to back down the pred.  I know we need to be careful with pred, but this sure does scare me.   My vet assured me that if this doesn't work, we can bump it back up.  She still is bright eyed and full of life, but I sure am hoping this isn't going to change.  I am not prepared for a back slide.  Last night stella slept in the bed with me all cuddled up.  I have missed that so much.  I just love her to pieces.

June 21st:  First day on 1 a day pred only in the morning.  Came home to a much happier dog overall.  No swelling, but still slow and cautious.  She really has that spark back in her eyes.  Lots of accidents, but that is why we have hard wood.  I am still a little scared to start weaning her off of the pred, but I know it is necessary.

June 22nd:  Day 2 of just one pred.  Had a great day yesterday, but woke up to a super sore, super slow, and super cautious dog.  Had to help down the stairs, and she yelped loudly when deuce bumped her.  Seems the pain is back in her neck again.  Gave her a dose of pred early in the morning, so I could see if she improved by the time I left for work.  She could barely wag her nub and she seemed so sore.  Still eating and drinking and no fever.  Going to call vet and see if we can't do something for her pain.  I know that we have to wean the pred down, but I HATE seeing her in pain and will do anything for her not to be in pain.

After pretty much worrying all day about her and not being able to leave work early,  texted my hubby who gets home earlier to see how she was. Thankfully, she met him at the door wagging her nub and barking!!!!  We didn't see the huge drop off from only one dose of pred last night either.

So being a scientist, I put the call out to my friends including those who do dog sports, are practicing vets, and those who just have pets that they dearly love.  I asked what joint supplements do you use and why?  I was surprised at the responses I got.  Every person I asked had an entirely different take on what they liked and why.  Most often, as with us crazy dog people, cost was not an issue.  Most answered quality, what I researched and liked, and what my vet recommended.  All seem to be very good products.  Now for me to figure out which product I would like to try.  In the past, with Strawberry's blown knee and joint issues, I used duralactin and cosequin DS as well as some adequan.  Both worked nicely, and I used duralactin as well with Miller with his various injuries.  However, I am open to any new therapies and products out there,k and will investigate them all probably.  I have contacted a new vet in our area that does acupuncture/chinese medicine and chiropractics to get her advice on a treatment plan for moving forward using alternative therapies once we are done using traditional medicines.

 I am going to go ahead and post this week and start a new week in a new post.  This has been a roller coaster of a week!!!  What I am learning is this is a long term disease that can NOT be predicted.  There are and will be LOTS of ups and downs.  

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