spiceofbroadway: (Bella on Couch)
[personal profile] spiceofbroadway
Bella's mystery illness has run its course. Thursday and Friday were pretty rough for her--she was stiff and sore, and once lying down, couldn't get up by herself. She couldn't walk up even one stair, and she tiptoed around like an old woman. The intial bloodwork at the vet's showed that she was slightly anaemic, her WBCs were normal, and her liver and kidney function were normal. Her fever peaked at 40.6C on Thursday by my thermometer and started slowly going down on Friday about 24 hours after she was started on amoxycillin.

After a discussion with other Toller folks on Facebook, I took Bella into the vet again on Friday for repeat bloodwork and to draw blood for the most comprehensive TBD panel the vet could find. Friday's bloodwork showed that the anaemia had corrected itself (just like last year) and that her WBC count was now slightly elevated (also just like last year). Her fever slowly decreased on Friday throughout the day, but she still had trouble moving. I had to hand-feed her both days because she couldn't reach down to the floor to eat, and she also had problems even bending her neck enough to take food from her bowl. She was briefly uninterested in food on Friday afternoon, but otherwise never lost her appetite. The vet gave me two weeks' worth of doxycillin in case she does have a TBD.

Bella managed a short walk down to the park on Friday evening and sat on the hill watching Nick chase tennis balls, and we headed up to the cottage with Jim and my parents early Saturday afternoon. She was still running a low fever, but she was moving much better and made it up and down the hill to the lake without much difficulty. She retrieved bumpers from the lake quite enthusiastically for a little while until she started to shiver. I put her lifejacket on to give her some insulation and then swaddled her in a blanket back up in the cottage. It took at least an hour for her to throw off the chill. She only went in the water once on Sunday--I expect she remembered that it made her feel worse the day before. She didn't get any more chills and was fine swimming on Monday when her temperature was back down to normal. By Monday evening, you'd never have known she'd been sick, although she did look rather tired.

This episode mimicked last year's almost exactly. Bella's fever went a little higher this time, and she took a little longer to recover, but everything else was the same. Her only symptoms were the sudden onset of a high fever, stiffness, and joint/muscle pain. She had no swelling, no vaginal discharge, and nothing in her bloodwork suggested anything more than that she was fighting some sort of infection and inflammation. She was happy to eat as long as I hand-fed her. The only link between the two episodes is that she was having and is having a false pregnancy. False pregnancies don't cause sudden high fevers, but if she's a TBD carrier, the hormone wackiness may have supressed her immune system enough to let the bug get a foothold.

The nine-disease tick panel and lepto test are pending. I expect the lepto test to be negative, just like last year, and I'm rather hoping that something comes back positive on the tick panel. Then at least I'd have a cause and a cure for this mystery ailment. Nothing else really fits: pyometra wouldn't have been cured by amoxycillin, her symptoms don't fit Addison's, and the lack of joint swelling or unusual bloodwork results don't suggest any autoimmune disorders. She seemed to respond to the antibiotics in about the time frame that you'd expect antibiotics to take effect. I had her on both amoxycillin and doxy on Friday and Saturday, but she lost her breakfast two days in a row, so now I'm just giving her the doxy. The vet said that the doxy might upset her stomach and that the amoxycillin wasn't really needed if she's also on doxy, so I thought that getting just one antibiotic might make her less nauseous. She kept all her meals down yesterday and on Sunday, so hopefully that'll continue.

[Truth be told, she's a teeny bit heavier than she ought to be, so missing a few meals won't hurt her. I'm cutting back her food until she loses two pounds and regains her girlish figure.]

A few people suggested that I spay her so that she won't have any more false pregnancies to trigger whatever this is. I'll wait until the results of the TBD panel comes back before I consider that. I'd like to find out what's actually making her sick--it'd suck if I spayed her and she got sick again anyway. Also, I'm a bit paranoid about anaesthetics after what happened to Lyza. I don't really care if she ever has puppies or not, but I'd kind of like to try to finish her championship. Of course, if I have to choose between a healthy Bella and champion sick Bella, it's a no-brainer. Ideally, a cause for the two episodes will present itself, be treated and cured, and then we can go on as usual.

At the moment, I'm just glad that my girl is back to her old self again. I hate seeing her sick.
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