Friday, May 08, 2009

An Update (with some sneaking suspicions...)

Where last we left off, Louie was about to undergo a blood transfusion. He did and it was successful as he only needed one and his red blood cell count showed a nice spike upward. That was last weekend and we were all set to go pick him up on Saturday when the Dr. called to say that they had found a fungal infection on one of Louie's paws which was also in his bloodstream. As such, they needed to keep him another day for observation, but we were welcome to come visit which we of course, did.

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

Rabbit, rabbit!

Rabbit, rabbit! Good luck in May. As you can see by the date on the picture, good intentions have been in place...

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.