spiceofbroadway: (Bella on Couch)
2009-09-25 11:56 am
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I spoke to the vet yesterday, and Bella doesn't have lepto. Again. So, again, we still don't know what made her sick. ::sigh:: The vet spoke to another vet who specializes in pathology, and this vet didn't think the cause was likely to be a TBD. If she'd had Lyme either time, it would have been taken care of by the antibiotics, but in any case, her Lyme test has been negative three times. So has Erlichia. It could still be some untestable form of Rickettsia, but Bella's current doxy regime should take care of it. I had asked about doing titers for TBDs, but they're very expensive (about $100 for each one). The doxy should be taking care of them too, if they're there, so I think I'll pass on them for now.

The other possibilities are low-grade metritis and some kind of low-grade autoimmune disorder. Since whatever it is is only expressing itself in with fever and stiffness and then disappearing after a few days, there's no obvious way to test for whatever it is at the moment. The only thing to do at the moment is finish the course of doxy, wait for Bella to come into heat again, and see what happens.
spiceofbroadway: (Bella at Orono)
2009-09-17 03:23 pm

(no subject)

Bella continues to act as if she were never sick, and I expect that's the way it will go until next time, if there is a next time. The nine-TBD DNA panel came back with everything negative, of course. ::sigh:: I joined Tick-L and put the mystery before them. One person suggested doing a a Protatek titer panel because it may be better than DNA tests for picking up low-grade or chronic infections. Another person from Toller-L suggested doing the ANA test because it's not expensive and it might yield a positive result. It's also been suggested that Bella's current dose of doxy is not aggressive enough: she needs more and to take it for longer than two weeks to blast anything that might be lurking in her system. I'm taking Bella and Nick into the vet's tomorrow to be microchipped (Bella doesn't have one, and Nick's chip isn't CKC-approved) and to have blood drawn from Bella for her second lepto titer, so I'll talk to the vet about those ideas then. The younger of the two vets is pretty open to taking suggestions from me because she knows I'm in touch with a lot of Toller breeders and owners.

I'm starting to feel really poor!

I'm also feeling a bit overextended at the moment. I have to readjust my schedule so that I can do the things I most want to do with both Bella and Nick. I think there's only one more agility lesson after this week, and I'm not going to continue over the winter. I like it, but I'm more interested in obedience and retrieving at the moment, plus I now have two dogs to show (or at least I will once Nick is registered with the CKC), and there's only so much time and money to go around. Nick has PADOC obedience classes on Monday nights, followed by a handling class if enough people show up (Bella will go to that too). Wednesday is members' night, which is Bella's night because Nick isn't really trained enough to do much there. I need to spend time training both dogs on other evenings--Nick has a lot to learn, period, and Bella needs remedial work on heeling. I also want to continue to do what retrieving I can while the warmth and light last. I'm going to thaw a duck out this weekend for the two of them.

I've entered Bella in the Port Hope show on October 2 and 3. She still has her coat, but she's starting to shed, so I hope she hangs onto it for a little while longer. I was kind of hoping for a small entry (say, Bella and Riley :-), but it turns out that quite a few people are going. One of them is Kim--her first show with Hazyl! We're going to drive down together. So it may be a wash, points-wise, for Bella, but it'll be fun seeing lots of different folks.

The Ontario Club is holding a fun field day on October 4, so I'll take both Bella and Nick to that (another reason to get a duck out this weekend!). I'm really looking forward to that--it should be good fun.
spiceofbroadway: (Dogmom - eyesthatslay)
2009-09-14 05:23 pm
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Bella's nine-TBD panel came back last week--everything was negative. We're still waiting for confirmation on the lepto test, but I just can't imagine that she caught lepto two years in a row. Yes, it's endemic here, but it's not THAT common.

There are some TBDs that haven't been identified, so it's possible that she has some weird strain of Rickettsia that doesn't show up on the tests. I'm keeping her on doxy for at least another week in case that's what's going on.

So we're no further ahead in figuring out what's making her sick. The only link between the two illnesses at the moment is that she was having a false pregnancy both times.

Argh! I was hoping that something would come back positive so that it could be definitively treated and forgotten.
spiceofbroadway: (Bella on Couch)
2009-09-08 01:50 pm
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(no subject)

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.
spiceofbroadway: (Dogmom - eyesthatslay)
2009-09-03 06:10 pm
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Click on the "illness" tag to the left and read the entries about Bella's mystery fever last summer.

She's doing it again.

I got up last night around 4 am and noticed that she didn't seem like her usual self. I took her temperature and it was higher than normal. By this morning, it was 40.1C, so I took her into the vet as soon as the office opened. Everything is the same as last year: fever, lethargy, stiffness, slight anaemia, white blood cell count normal, liver and kidney function normal. No sign of pyometra. No other symptoms.

The vet started her on amoxycillin again, sent blood off to test for lepto, and ran a Snap 4DX for TBD. The lepto test takes a couple of weeks, but the Snap test was negative for everything. I thought the fever was vaccinosis last year because she'd had a parvo/distemper booster several days earlier, but she hasn't had any vaccinations since then. She's having another false pregnancy like she also did last year, but false pregnancies shouldn't cause a fever.

I stayed home to watch her today. She seems slightly more bright eyed now than this morning, but she's stiffer and her fever is higher (40.4C). Last year, she started getting better about 24 hours after going on the antibiotics. I hope the same is true for this year.

I hate this.
spiceofbroadway: (Bella - All About Pets)
2008-09-23 11:36 am

Jean Dodds Seminar, Part II

It's going to be a bit of a challenge to write up my notes--the seminar tended to jump from topic to topic, especially when people were asking a lot of questions--but I'll give it my best shot.

According to Dr. Dodds, yearly vaccinations were originally recommended for dogs and cats not because there was evidence that they needed them that often, but because it was a mechanism to get pets into the vet's office for an annual check-up. When you compare the number of vaccinations that a dog typically gets in its relatively short lifetime to the number of vaccinations that a person gets in their much longer lifetime--well, it's a bit ridiculous, really. The core vaccinations for dogs (the ones every dog should have) are distemper, adenovirus 2, parvovirus, and rabies. The core vaccinations for cats are feline parvovirus, herpes virus, calicvirus, and rabies. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not sure what adenovirus is, never mind the what the difference is between adenovirus 1 and 2. I know that Lucy was vaccinated for feline leukemia when she went from being an indoor to an outdoor cat, but I don't know why that's not one of the core vaccinations.

For dogs, parvovirus is the most serious and common disease right now. There have been a number of parvo outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years. There's not much distemper around in the pet population anymore, because of vaccination programs, but it still exists in wildlife and feral dogs and can enter the pet population through contact with those animals. As I mentioned yesterday, there's very little rabies in Ontario. There's no difference between the one-year and three-year rabies vaccine except for the label on the bottle, so dogs don't need to be vaccinated for rabies annually. The goal of Dr. Dodds' rabies challenge study is to evaulate the duration of rabies immunity conferred by the vaccine. She thinks it lasts for seven years or more, perhaps even the lifetime of the dog. When vaccinating your dog for rabies, ask for a vaccine that doesn't have mercury or thimerosal in it (Imrab makes this kind of vaccine).

Another serious illness that dogs can contract is canine influenza, and there is no vaccine for it. Its symptoms look a lot like kennel cough, which isn't life threatening. The difference is that canine influenza comes with a fever, while kennel cough doesn't. If your dog starts to cough and is running a fever, it should be taken to the vet and started on a course of antibiotics immediately as the risk of pneumonia is very high.

The optimal age for vaccinating is 12+ weeks for puppies and 10 weeks for kittens. The earliest safe age to vaccinate puppies and kittens is six weeks, but Dr. Dodds said that vaccinations really shouldn't be given before eight weeks. The age at which vaccinations are effective depends on when the maternal antibodies wear off--if maternal antibodies are still present when a puppy is vaccinated, the antibodies will neutralize the vaccine. This is why puppies get a series of vaccinations: because it's difficult to predict when the maternal antibodies will wear off, and there may be differences between individual dogs and between breeds. Dr. Dodds prefers single vaccinations to combinations, and she recommends giving them 3-4 weeks apart. Again, the most important one is parvo, so it should be given first. Females shouldn't be vaccinated just before becoming pregnant in order to increase antibodies in the pups, because their hormones are out of whack when they're in season, and this raises the risk of adverse reactions. Dogs shouldn't be vaccinated at all after 10 years of age.

It's considered safe to take puppies out into the world three days after their second vaccination. The problem, of course, is how to socialize a puppy while not exposing it to life-threatening viruses when it's still vulnerable, particularly if you're spacing individual vaccines 3-4 weeks apart. Dr. Dodds suggested taking puppies to public places where dogs aren't common, such as parking lots outside of stores and malls, or inviting healthy dogs to your home. Carrying the puppy and having people play with it in your (or their) arms instead of letting it touch the ground in public places will also reduce the risk of exposure. Puppies can attend puppy obedience classes after their first round of shots because owners who take their puppies to classes are generally a clean and responsible lot, so the risk of infection is relatively low. However, there is still a risk, because nothing is risk free, so puppy owners should have this explained to them.

The only vaccination required by law in Ontario is rabies--everything else is a recommendation and is optional. Vets incur no legal liability by not recommending vaccinations, except for rabies, because everything on the label is a recommendation. Ontario law doesn't clearly specify a minimum age at which puppies should be vaccinated for rabies--it says something like "three months or older," which may be interpreted by individual public health officers either as "it must be given at three months of age" or "it must be given sometime after three months of age."

A titre measures the immunity conferred by vaccinations and by natural exposure. Because of the lower limits of lab tests, any measurable titre is considered protective--a measurable level = committed immune memory cells. The number provided on a titre test (e.g., 1:256) refers to the number of dilutions it took before antibodies could no longer be detected. A higher second number in the ratio (1:1024) is better than a lower number (1:16), but any measurable titre is a good titre. However, in Ontario, public health officers will not accept titres as evidence of vaccination.

After vaccination, a dog's titre will rise for about three months, after which time it will stabilize and return to the dog's basal level. Once the animal has stabilized, its titre should stay at its basal level and not decrease with time. This is only true for virus vaccinations, not bacteria vaccinations (such as lepto), but I don't know why. This is why Dr. Dodds doesn't think that dogs need to be repeatedly vaccinated against viral diseases. You can't boost an immune system that is already on guard for a specific disease, and over-vaccination can backfire and weaken a dog's immune system. [On a human note, annual flu shots are recommended for susceptible individuals because cold and flu viruses mutate quickly--this year's flu is not the same as last year's flu, and immunity to one doesn't provide immunity to another. That's why you can catch colds and the flu throughout your life. I don't know why these viruses mutate quickly while other don't.] Titres should be done several months after vaccinating (so that you're not measuring the temporary spike) and then again in several years.

Inoculated dogs will shed virus, so dogs that come into contact with them may show a measurable titre even if they haven't been vaccinated themselves. Dogs can also be exposed to a virus in the environment without necessarily becoming sick, so they can produce positive titres that way too. Rabies is always fatal, however, so a dog can only produce a measurable rabies titre through vaccination. I'm a little fuzzy on why rabies virus can't be shed by vaccinated dogs--I'm guessing it's because the the rabies vaccine is a killed virus rather than a modified live virus. A modified live virus will reproduce in the dog's body, but a killed one won't. In any event, Dr. Dodds was quite clear on this point: positive rabies titres can only be gained by vaccination. She has had the occasional positive titre from an unvaccinated dog come up, but it's always been a false positive as a result of a clerical error.

The rabies vaccination is the strongest vaccination given to dogs, and it's one of the ones most likely to cause adverse effects. Rabies vaccinations should be given separately (i.e., 3-4 weeks before or after) from other vaccinations when the dog is healthy, not in heat, etc. Dogs with chronic conditions (e.g., hypothyroidism) shouldn't be vaccinated at all. A letter of exemption from a vet is acceptable in lieu of a rabies vaccination in Ontario, so owners of geriatric dogs (> 10 years old) or dogs with chronic health problems should get one of these from their vet. Adverse reactions from the rabies vaccination can include changes in temperament.

To be continued...

~*~

Bella's right eye was kind of runny yesterday evening, and the white part of her eye was an interesting shade of pink. I made an appointment with the vet for this afternoon. The vet examined Bella's eye, said her cornea appeared to be clear and unscratched, noted that the accumulated goop (which I hadn't wiped off because I wanted her to see it) was slightly green and the tissues around her eye were a little swollen, and concluded that it was conjunctivitis. I have cream to put in both eyes to clear it up/prevent the other one from becoming infected. Bella's eye looks a little more gooey than usual, but it doesn't seem to be causing her any discomfort and she's not squinting or blinking any more than normal. She sure doesn't like having the cream put in, though. But, then, neither would I. And she can't go to doggy daycare tomorrow because she might be contagious. :-(

While I was at the vet's, I also had a Lyme test done to see if that's what made her sick in July. It came back negative (she was also negative for heartworm--they do both at once). I talked to the vet about whether her illness could have been a reaction to the vaccination, but she was inclined to say no until I mentioned that Bella had been having a false pregnancy at the time of the vaccination (it was a different vet than the one who told me about the false pregnancy). Then she conceded that it might have been. Since parvo is an immunosuppressive virus, it might also have been the start of an opportunistic infection that moved in while her immune system was below par after the parvo vaccination. There's no way to know. I think I'll bring Bella in for titres--including a rabies titre--after her next heat. If the rabies titre comes back positive, then I'll ask if they'll sign a waiver for rabies shots on the condition that I have rabies titres done every three years. I'm also going to email Jean Dodds and ask her opinion. Mairon has emailed her a few times, and she said that she's always gotten an answer.
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-15 08:54 pm
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Here on a quick trip back from the cottage for MiddleJim's soccer game. Bella's doing great and she loves the cottage. She and Katie have been playing tag with each other and jumping off the dock to retrieve sticks. Bella hasn't quite figured out that she's supposed to bring the stick back to me and drops them all in a particularly inaccessible place on shore as soon as she stops to shake.

Bella also got to go on her first motor boat ride yesterday. She was a little alarmed at first, but settled in as soon as she saw that Katie didn't mind the noisy engine. The boys like to go across the lake to the "jumping rocks," where they can jump anywhere from a couple of feet to about 30 feet into a deep part of the lake. There's not much of a shoreline there, so people have to climb back into the boat using the prop of the motor as a step. Everyone laughed at the bright orange lifejacket that Bella was wearing, but its usefulness became apparent when it was time to haul the dogs back into the boat: it has two handles on the back (which was partly why I bought it). Getting Bella in the boat was easy; getting Katie, who weighs more, especially when she's wet (she's an unusually furry border collie), was a lot harder. Score one for the funny-looking lifejacket!

There was a message waiting for me from the vet: the urine culture came back negative, and the lepto DNA test was also negative. So, it wasn't a kidney or bladder infection, and it wasn't lepto. I'll bring her back in a couple of weeks for a repeat Lyme test. If that's negative, well, we may never know what kind of infection she had. The important thing is that she's back to her normal, bouncy, happy self.
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-13 12:26 pm
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Bella jumped up on the bed this morning and also ran up and down the stairs to the basement. I'd say she's pretty much back to normal. :-)

11 am: 38.0C
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-12 08:11 pm
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Bella just keeps doing better and better as the day goes on. I took her out for a second walk this afternoon, and she trotted along beside me almost the entire time. Towards the end, she even broke out into a run.

We left her in the backyard with the boys to go grocery shopping, and when we got home she greeted us with a big smile. She ran in circles around us and jumped off and back on to the front porch a couple of times. Considering that she was having trouble even walking up a single step yesterday, that's pretty good. She still has a little residual stiffness, but she looks like Bella again. Thank GOD. I will sleep better tonight, I can tell you.

8:15 pm: 38.4C Even lower!
spiceofbroadway: (Dogmom - eyesthatslay)
2008-07-12 03:18 pm
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Jim and I just took Bella out for a short walk to the park and back. She's not her normally bouncy self yet, but she's moving much better. She can make it up a few stairs without any help, and she doesn't struggle to get up after she's been lying down and asleep for a while. Yesterday, she was quite stiff, and just standing for any length of time was an effort.

She's also much more interested in what's going on around her. While on the walk, she wandered into a neighbour's open garage to look around and then came trotting (trotting!) back to me when I called her. Things are looking up.

Jim and the boys are going up to the cottage tomorrow. I think I'll stay here with Bella for another day and see how she does, and then maybe drive up with her on Monday. The hill from the cottage down to the lake is quite steep in places, so I want her to be mobile enough to tackle it and pain-free enough to be carried up if she gets tired. I'll also bring her lifejacket so that she can go swimming without over-exerting herself.
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-12 09:28 am
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Bella looks a little bit perkier this morning. I got her up and took her out for a pee around 4 am--I've been mixing quite a bit of water into her food, so I figured she might need to go. Also, she's stiff, so once she lies down, she tends not to move much. After four hours lying on one side, I thought it would be good to rotate her.

When we went out this morning, she perked up when she saw the cat and a bird. Then Belle next door came out (Bella could see her through the fence), and Bella started moving towards her like she wanted to go and play. There's life in the old girl yet.

She still grunts when going up stairs, but she's walking faster. She even managed a trot a couple of times. And she snarfed back a watered-down patty for breakfast--there's definitely nothing wrong with her appetite.

9:30 am: 39.3C

1:30 pm: 38.9C Yay! That puts her in the range of "normal."

The vet clinic called this morning to see how she was, and I asked about metacam. The vet I spoke to was a different one (I think she's an older woman who owns the business), and she seems to think that the underlying cause of all this is pyometra, a uterine infection. She didn't want Bella to have metacam because it might mask some symptoms. Oddly, she simultaneously implied that keeping Bella intact was a bad thing to do because it increased the risk of pyometra and that the most important thing to protect was not Bella but the viability of her uterus so that she could be bred in the future. O_o

Ooookay.

The vet that actually saw Bella was of the opinion that pyometra was unlikely in a such young dog and that it was more or less ruled out by the x-ray and lack of discharge.

The vet I talked to today was going through her chart and told me that Bella had been tested for Lyme disease when she went in last week for her vaccination. It came back negative, but she'd put a note in saying that she should have a snap test in three weeks' time to make sure. I don't think Lyme is particularly common around here--I've only seen a tick once or twice in my life--but it would be good to make sure.

So one vet thinks it's pyometra, the other vet thinks it's lepto, Liz thinks it's a passing virus like Bounty seemed to have, and Carolee--who is PADOC's equivalent of Toller-L's Deena Mottola--thinks it's all the fault of the vaccination. That's a lot of opinions, and any one of them could be right. I'm just glad that, whatever it is, Bella seems to be getting better.
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-11 08:47 pm
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More Bella Watch

Her temperature at this afternoon was 40.1C.

8:45 pm: 39.9C.

At least it's going in the right direction.

Liz just called me--I sent her an email telling her about Bella this afternoon. Bounty spiked a fever last week for a day, and then it went away on its own. She suggested getting some Metacam from the vet if Bella is still feverish and sore tomorrow--it'll make her feel better, if nothing else.

I'm quite touched that she phoned me. Liz is really, really nice. :-)

11 pm: 40.2C ::sigh::

She ate lots of dinner, so that's gotta be a good thing. She's walking a little better, but stairs are a challenge.

I hate this.
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-11 06:39 pm
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Bella's home. She had a shot of amoxicillin around 1 pm, and I have a three-week supply of pills to give her. Her temperature is about the same, but the vet said that she looked perkier at the end of the day than in the morning. She was "vocalizing" at the cat in the kennel above her. :-) Hopefully, the amoxicillin will do what needs to be done.

She's still very lethargic, and she needed help getting into the car. I think her joints are sore because when I bumped against her elbow, she gave a little yelp. When we got home, she made a beeline for the back door--she really had to pee. Now she's lying on her pillow by the couch and moving as little as possible. In a little while, I'll mix her dinner with some water (to keep her fluids up).

I'll be taking her temperature several times a day for the next few days and keeping track of pees and poops. The vet is going to send a urine sample off for culture and DNA analysis to test for lepto. If it comes back positive, it means that there's lepto in her system, but it won't prove that that's what made her sick. For that, you need to do two blood titres two weeks apart. The vet saved some serum from today for the first sample and will collect a second one if we need to. Analysis of the blood titres is really expensive, but if the urine analysis indicates lepto, I want to know for sure. It'll be useful information for me and for other people in the area who struggle with the question of whether to vaccinate for lepto or not.

Poor Boo. She was happy to see me, and I think she's glad to be home, but between feeling sick and losing a lot of her coat lately, she looks rather woebegone.
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-11 01:14 pm
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I'm sitting here at work and getting NOTHING done. Except fretting. Oh yes, lots of fretting is being accomplished.

The vet just called. Bella's RBC count has actually gone up slightly since last night, so that rules out internal bleeding or anything chewing up her red blood cells (such as an autoimmune reaction to last week's vaccine). The x-ray didn't show anything, and there's still no vaginal discharge, so her uterus is probably fine. Her white blood cell count has increased since last night, which suggests that her body is mounting a defense against some kind of inflammation or infection. Her temperature is 40.1°C.

She fed Bella a soupy mixture of tinned food and lots of water, so she's gotten fluids into her that way. She obtained a urine sample and said that there are more casts in it than she would have expected. A "cast" is apparently kidney cellular debris. Some dogs naturally have more in their urine than others, but Bella had enough that there might be something going on with her kidneys.

The most likely cause is some kind of infection, so she's going to start Bella on amoxicillin. Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is effective against Lyme disease and, yes, leptospirosis. I haven't seen any ticks on Bella, but I suppose she could have picked one up on a pack walk, and we were up at Jim's cottage for an hour two weekends ago. There's a plastic kiddy pool there that had a puddle of leaves and muck from over the winter. I caught Bella drinking from it, pulled her away, and showed her where her water dish was. The vet is going to initiate tests for Lyme and lepto, but it takes a couple of weeks to get the results back. I gather that lepto is hard to diagnose definitively anyway.

Linus was at Jim's cottage several times and never got sick. Katie has been going there regularly for years (Doug owns one-third of it) and hasn't gotten sick. Bella's been up twice and was there for less than a hour the second time. After all my agonizing, if it turns out to be lepto...

::headdesk::

At least it's doesn't look like an autoimmune issue. If it is Lyme or lepto, it can be cured, and I whisked her into the vet within an hour of getting home and discovering that she wasn't well. Jim thought I was overreacting a little, but he knows how attached I am to her: she's my best girl ever...

Anyway, the vet said that Bella is comfortable and alert, she still has an appetite, and hopefully she'll respond to the amoxicillin. Barring any unforeseen complications, I'll pick her up at 5:30 tonight and hear what else the vet has learned by then.
spiceofbroadway: (Dogmom - eyesthatslay)
2008-07-11 09:22 am
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(no subject)

I just talked to the vet again, and I'm going to bring Bella in for some more tests. She's going to repeat the bloodwork, see if she can get a urine sample, and maybe take an x-ray to see if her uterus is swollen. Bella's not drinking, so she may put her on an IV to keep her hydrated. She may also put her on a broad-spectrum antibiotic and see if that helps.

Bella's not vomiting, she doesn't have diarrhea, and there's no discharge from her vulva. I offered her a liver treat this morning, and she ate it. I was going to lift her up on the bed, and she whimpered a little, so I left her on her pillow. She might be sore from the fever (my joints always hurt when I have a fever), or something inside might hurt. She's quite reluctant to move.

I called doggy daycare, and no other owners have reported sick dogs. So at the moment, Bella has a "fever of unknown origin."

::frets::
spiceofbroadway: (Dogmom - eyesthatslay)
2008-07-11 07:51 am
Entry tags:

Bella Watch Continued

7:45 am: 40.2 °C

She's even more lethargic this morning. Urine looked normal, as far as I could tell. I'll be calling the vet as soon at the office opens.
spiceofbroadway: (Dogmom - eyesthatslay)
2008-07-10 09:32 pm
Entry tags:

Bella Watch

The normal temperature for a dog is 37.2°C–39.2°C.

9:30 pm: 39.6°C

10 pm: Followed her outside with a flashlight when she went for a whiz. Urine looked normal, what I could see of it in the dark. Gave her a liver treat, which she snarfed back happily. Definitely nothing wrong with her appetite.

10:30 pm: 39.8°C. ::sigh::

Kristina (holding Vaselined thermometer): Come here, BellaBoo!

Bella (looking apprehensive): I already feel icky! Why do you keep shoving that thing up my butt???

Bed now.
spiceofbroadway: (Default)
2008-07-10 08:07 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

When I come home after work, I can usually hear Bella whining softly in her crate as I walk up the hall towards my room. After I open the door, she explodes into a frenzy of delight and careens around the house, sliding on the hardwood floors and bouncing (literally) off the walls because she can't put the brakes on. Eventually, she pinballs herself to the back door and runs and jumps and spins like a happy crazed thing in the backyard for another several minutes.

Tonight, though, there wasn't a sound as I walked down the hall. She was sitting up and waiting for me, but it looked like she'd just woken up. She bounced for a few seconds after I let her out of her crate, but then followed me out into the backyard at quite a sedate pace. She ate her dinner without any hesitation, but she's been very quiet and lethargic all evening, and she seems just a little shaky when she walks.

The last time a dog of mine did this was when Linus's hemangiosarcoma tumour started bleeding out. Twenty-four hours later, he was gone.

I'm pretty sure Bella doesn't have hemangiosarcoma (she's not old enough, for one thing), but after watching her acting just not Bella-like for an hour, I called the vet and took her in. Her nose is running a little--just clear fluid--and she's on the brink of having a fever. The vet listened to her heart and lungs (both normal), and checked her lymph glands (normal) and her vulva (also normal) in case she had a uterine infection related to her false pregnancy. Her muscous membranes are a normal colour (unlike Linus's; his were a very pale pink from the internal bleeding). The vet took some blood and is going to do several tests, like red and white blood cell counts.

Jim and I stopped by the drugstore on the way home and picked up a thermometer. We're on Bella watch now and will take her temperature in a while to see if it's gone up.

The vet's best guess was that she has the start of a doggy cold, possibly picked up at daycare yesterday.

***


Ooops, the phone just rang--it was the vet with the results of the blood tests. Most of the parameters, including her electrolytes, platelets, and white blood cell count, were normal. The only ones that were off were one of the proteins, and her red blood cell count is at the low end of normal, meaning she's very slightly anemic. I have to keep an eye on her urine and feces in case there's any blood in them. The vet doesn't think the low RBC count is a bone marrow problem because other cells (like white blood cells) would be affected by that too, and they're fine. So I'm going to take her temperature a few times tonight and tomorrow morning, and if she's not better tomorrow, bring her back in the afternoon for a repeat blood test to see if anything's changed.

Amazingly enough, I emailed myself a copy of the report I'm editing to my home account, so I can work at home tomorrow. Technically, tomorrow is my day off anyway, although I was going to go in and finish this thing before leaving for the cottage. But I can do that here, so I can stay home tomorrow if I have to.

Bella doesn't seem uncomfortable or anything--she just doesn't have much energy. She's alert and interested in what's going on around her, but she's lying down and watching instead of getting up to investigate things. She still follows me when I get up and move around, though.



Don't be sick, Boo. Please just have a doggy cold, and have it go away really soon.