Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Hope you are all getting into the summer swing. If it would stop raining in NYC, we might. Actually, there have been a few nice days, but far too many rainy ones.
My life update in a nutshell: Louie still doing wonderfully, he is considered in full remission and he's back to his old/young playful self. More on the topic of vaccines and greedy vets another day. He still is recuperating from odd little side effects that have sprung from the original problem, but comparatively speaking, he is doing wonderfully, especially in light of the fact that we were in danger of losing him...I shudder to think.
Kids are done with school and in day camp for July. Tali increasingly surly and impatient with my questions over her daily activities. Similar to jail, I am allowed one question to her daily activities. The natural order of things I suppose. So I fixed her...I peppered Julian with questions instead and before you knew it, the three of us were cracking up as I lobbed question after question, not coming up for air. I am so happy to have the breather from school. Tali did have a nice honor this past year in Math. Each state has their own Math League and Tali finished first student in NY State/6th graders for their annual competition. Yet she doesn't like Math - it figures (har har).
Scissors is still kvetching and clipping. And that's us in a custom made nutshell.
Summer is here, the living is easy. I hope you all have a great one.
Above print from Etsy Seller, DudaDaze (kind of fitting for summer).
Friday, May 08, 2009
Everything about Louie's brush with IMHA has been against odds. This is mainly seen in "middle aged" female dogs. Louie's a boy, albeit neutered. This fungal infection he contracted is rarely seen in the NYC area. Well, Louie must have gotten a good whiff of an easterly wind from the Midwest where it's mainly seen (it's an airborne fungus). When the doctor asked us if we'd been upstate (New York, that is), I had responded in the negative. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! Mr. Banana had recently come back from a trip upstate "on a construction job." There was plenty of dirt on the bottom of his shoes mixed with some red paint - "from the job," which had Louie sniffing around him like mad!
Louie 's nosing about had made Mr. Banana seemingly uncomfortable and he had let Louie know that his interest was not welcomed. I entered the room to hear the tail end of Mr. B's veiled threat to "scram before I take you for a ride upstate!"
Mr. Banana made haste to go back to his lookout at the downstairs window at this point. I never connected it all until the doctor asked about trips upstate. A chill went down my spine as I recalled Weirsdo's comment when I first wrote of Louie's malady, "Did Louie chew on, or show disrespect for Mr. Banana in any way prior to this mysterious illness?"
I have emailed Louie's doctor to let her in on my latest suspicion. I'll keep you posted!
On the extreme upside - Louie's turnaround this past week has been amazing which is why I can even write with such levity. He actually played with his little dog toy for the first time since he's gotten ill which is just about three months now. When we get his leash, he trots to the door vs. lying on the floor looking up with woeful eyes. He actually barked at some chi-chi little Pomeranian passing by this evening. All signs that Louie is not so quick to be counted out.
We still have an uphill battle as the steroids have wreaked havoc in the form of a bleeding ulcer which is being treated, along with the fungal infection and a urinary tract infection (also not seen often in male dogs). Oy Louie, do you have to be so special? He's being tapered off the steroids and is just taking the meds for the above ailments. Poor Louie, in his immune-compromised state is susceptible to anything and everything.
More on the good news front, along with the wonderful specialist in Manhattan who is treating the more difficult aspects of Louie's disease, we've found what appears to be a good veterinary practice in Queens for his everyday care and weekly bloodwork. They are more aligned with our way of thinking in terms of vaccinating (which Louie can't and won't ever have again) and seem more proactive in terms of treating the whole problem. They recommended a great natural diet and a B complex supplement which is more than the despicable practice who shot Louie up like a pin cushion with vaccines ever did for us.
So we remain cautiously optimistic! What better gift for Mother's Day?
Happy Mother's Day and have a wonderful weekend!
Friday, May 01, 2009
It's been a tough road that we've been travelling with Louie in his battle against IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia) with many ups and downs.
He has not responded to steroid treatment alone and other medications have been added along the way. The anemia seems to have stagnated in a not too terrible area of the PCV (red blood cell count) of 24-25, until this week. We had various bloodwork done, one of which was to check if Louie had a tick parasite, Bebesia, which he doesn't. His PCV has dropped down to 17.5, his lowest yet. I'm waiting to speak to the doctor in the am to see where we go from here. The results just came back this afternoon and we tried discussing it while I was at work - not a good idea.
It's been a tough almost three months - hopes rising and dashed. I still hold out hope that we get Louie through whatever lies ahead but we have some tough issues to confront. There may be internal GI bleeding, caused in large part by the meds needed to keep him alive quite possibly. All you can feel on his little body is skin and bones caused by the muscle waste that Prednisone (steroid) therapy causes. He has little or no energy and many times, he can make it just about one block for a walk before he demands to go home, often falling along the way.
So for today, Rabbit, rabbit, let's hope for some good luck for Louie in May. Good luck to you all too. Hope you're well. I'll try to be back with more news after I speak to the doctor. Thanks for your comments/emails along the way - it's meant a lot to me.
UPDATE: Louie is in the hospital for a blood transfusion(s) - hopefully only one is needed. I'll know in the morning how that went. I brought him in this afternoon about 1:00. He does have an ulcer which is causing the gi bleeding so we'll be treating that aggressively. The good news is that his body is still producing red blood cells and his bone marrow is in good working order so if the blood transfusion goes well, we can get him on a little better footing. I spoke to the doctor this evening. We love Louie's new doctor. He is in the very good hands of a specialist at Animal Medical Center in NYC. Keep good thoughts rolling his way and I promise to keep you updated.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The following day, I called in for the results and was told that the vet was in with eight dogs and the other vet was only there for "exotics" which Louie having neither scales nor feathers, qualified as. I waited anxiously and finally got a call in the afternoon from the vet saying that Louie's immune system had gone askew and was essentially destroying its own red blood cells and the count was low. The good news was that he was still producing them. Essentially he had something called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) which though the doctors can't confirm but certainly won't deny was brought on by the vaccines administered on his visit the week prior as a healthy dog in for a routine checkup and vaccinations. Apparently, in a very small number, vaccines have been linked to AIHA (something like 4 in 10,000). Maybe Louie and I should play the lottery.
His red blood cell count was 20.5 and when we tested it the following night it had just dropped to 20. Louie was again tested last night after five days on steroids and antibiotics, and the numbers are encouragingly going up, now 24. The normal range is reportedly somewhere between 40-59 so we're not out of the woods yet. He is getting a little color back in his gums and his appetite is back. I was never so happy as to see him begging for food again. His energy level is still understandably low and we are being quite ginger with him.
We were rather devastated when the doctor first told me as she was sprinkling terms such as "can be fatal" into the diagnosis delivery. I pressed her for stats from the practice which seemed a bit more encouraging. The young vet that we saw last night had personal experience as her dog has AIHA and did have two relapses but is alive and doing well otherwise. We have every belief that Louie will recuperate and beat this into remission.
We are upset that doctors don't (and I did let the head vet called in to discuss last night know) tell owners of dogs about this possible link. Although sympathetic to my feelings on the matter, they tried to explain with the usual scientific lack of evidence argument but I won't be swayed on this. Of course being a hindsight holistic myself, I should never have given Louie all the vaccinations on one day. In fact when I went home, Scissors was more than upset that Louie did have all of his vaccinations and felt that it was too many for our little pup. Who knows if it was numbers, or a certain combo, or if Louie's system was a little askew and this just threw him. Now we probably won't have him vaccinated or have to take extreme caution before doing so in the future. Some vaccines last three years in the system even though vets administer them annually. That's something they didn't tell me before this. Again the argument being that the titer test to find out if it's necessary is about $65 while the vaccine itself is $15. I'd like to have made that decision myself. Thank you. Caveat emptor.
It has been a roller coaster of a week but we're hoping that Louie's future (and gums) will turn a rosy shade. But please, if you have dogs (and cats which seem to be prone to a lesser degree to AIHA) reconsider how your beloved pets are vaccinated and how many of them are really necessary. Louie thinks it important and I'm sure your furry family will too.
PS: Ethical question: Scissors is upset and doesn't think that we should go back to the same veterinary practice. I am upset too and although not thrilled with the lack of caution on vaccines (which we of course know stems quite a bit from the monetary as well as scientific standpoint), feel that it could have happened at any practice that administers the vaccines all at once. In truth, I can't help but hold it against the practice a bit myself but you know that's the mother in me talking. What do you think?
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I'm sitting here with Tali providing moral support while she completes a project for school. I miss my blog. I miss writing. I can't get out of the habit of writing everyday events into posts in my mind. Maybe it's time to put a few to paper. Miss you all. Have been hopping about, trying to catch up. I really miss each of your blogs and the individual perspective that they provide. Often times I come for a visit while I'm at work and can't really get into "comment mode."
I'll be around soon. That's both a promise and a threat.
On the collage above: Just some random photos that were saved as catching my eye. Wish that I had the proper info. to credit them. Go ahead, click on it and have a good look.
Also on the collage: When Tali asked what I was doing, I told her that I was just making a collage for a blog post. Her reply, "that's like something 70 year olds would do." I was both offended and amused all at once. "Well, I'm preparing myself" was my more terse than I planned to let on reply.
PS: I'm also terribly sorry about not returning comments on my previous posts. I've read and appreciated them all.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Here's to a happy and healthy new year and best to everyone in 2009. I have been recovering from the Duck for President campaign. We are disappointed that he was not even offered a cabinet position but have thrown our full support behind President Elect Obama.
Above print is entitled Dancing Rabbits and is from the Etsy shop of Blue Dog Rose.