Friday, June 1, 2012

The Snow Dog

Several have asked about The Snow Dog....

This is for those several and anyone else who cares to read along.

If you're not familiar with the story, The Snow Dog is our 2-1/2 year old Siberian Husky.  About a  year ago, he became very lethargic, coughed persistently, gagged, and sneezed.  Initially we were told he had acid reflux and, much to his delight, he was given mega-doses of Pepcid AC Extra Strength mixed with canned dog or cat food.  But, alas, he did not improve.  Ultimately, I demanded he be tested for blastomycosis, and the test confirmed my suspicion.  Blasto is a fungal disease caused by inhaling the spores produced by a fungus that grows as a mold in soils near waterways such as lakes, streams, creeks, beaver homes, and high-risk endemic areas (such as Nod).  When the ground soil where the organism lives is disturbed, the infectious spores are released into the air.  The dog breathes it in and it then travels to the lungs and the infection begins.  From there it travels to the vascular system, lymph nodes, and lungs.  Treatment involves a (very long) course of (very expensive) medication.  Unfortunately, even then, many cases are fatal.

The Snow Dog had been treated with the (very expensive) meds for 4 months, but not getting any better; in fact, he was getting worse.  We were told he needed to be tested again, and that involved a urine sample.  Now this was no easy feat since he was wise to that little urine collector machine after being frightened surprised by the the sound of his tinkle in the little plastic collector for the initial testing.  After several months of running around our yard in my no-longer-fluffy, faded-hot-pink, bathrobe, dress-for-success polka-dot socks, and clogs (are you visualizing?) at strange hours of the morning with the infamous pee catcher in hand, I gave up for fear that I would be committed, and we simply continued the medication for two more months.  Still no improvement.  So, back to the urine sample.  I once again donned my no-longer-fluffy, faded-hot-pink, bathrobe, dress-for-success polka-dot socks, and clogs, and took up the pee catcher.  After several weeks of this, I surrendered the pee catcher contraption, opted for a dixie cup, and success!

The vet informed us that our liquid treasure tested negative for blasto this time.  YEA!! But why, then, wasn't The Snow Dog any better?  Well, I'll spare you the rather lengthy version and summarize by it by saying that after MANY vet appointments (to which we had to literally DRAG a 70# dog), and many vet bills later, we received no less than 5 different the following order:

(1) Laryngeal paralysis (no cure, just costly surgery that has more risks than benefits);
(2)  Bronchial infection (for which The Snow Dog was treated to mega doses of Benadryl - YIPPEE! More canned cat/dog food for TSD!!);
(3) Congestive heart failure due to damage to The Snow Dog's heart and lungs caused by the blasto. This diagnosis was accompanied by a prognosis of 2-3 months life expectancy and fits of hysteria and tears on my part.  Subsequent x-rays, however revealed scarring, but that TSD's heart was not enlarged; in fact, it was abnormally small, leading to diagnosis number:
(4) Addison's Disease (or hypoadrenocorticism, in which there is a decreased production of two hormones from the adrenal gland).  This was treated with steroids (Woo Hoo! Even more canned cat/dog food for TSD!!) and resulted in a panel of  blood and other testings.....leading guessed once again running around our yard in my no-longer-fluffy, faded-hot-pink, bathrobe, dress-for-success polka-dot socks, and clogs at strange hours of the morning trying to trick this now-very-wise-to-me Siberian Husky into a poop sample, and diagnosis number:
(5)  A pancreatic disorder of some sort, making TSD unable to digest his food properly and necessitating yet another medication that I have to mix with his food 20 minutes before he eats (like I really know when he's going to be hungry and eat?????)

So there you have it.
For all of you who extended well wishes or sent up prayers, The Snow Dog and I thank you.  Oh, and The Snow Dog sends wet, sloppy, kisses.


TheRustyThimble said...

Oh my word, ok first off sending by those slobbery kissed to TSD

and by the way does TSD have a formal name LOL
he is Beautiful

and OMG lmbo at the hot pink faded robe and professional footware, your crack me up!!!!!

Hope he surprises everyone and gets well quick, poor fella. He is Beautiful Robin, my step daughter has two of them. I had two years ago and someone stole them from my yard!! when they were pups


Shirlee said...

He is a beautiful dog & I do hope this all ends happily & he will soon be scampering around like a pup again. Poor fella ... many hugs coming to him from the devil's playground. Hugs coming to you as well sweetie : )

Deppen homestead 1862 said...

Crow ~ now that you have scared me about to death,with all the details~ and please we need photos of you running around the yard!!!I can visualize it all, but pics would be better~

but Seriously~ my heart is saddened for your beautiful Snow Pooch~wish I could take it all away~ sending Prayers, Hugs & of course Pooch Kisses~

Raggedy Creations said...

Oh Robin I'm so sorry TSD is not any better. I thought of him at times too. However I would too like to see pics of you running around the yard in your snow gear.


Raggedy Creations said...

Oh Robin I'm so sorry TSD is not any better. I thought of him at times too. However I would too like to see pics of you running around the yard in your snow gear.


Anonymous said...

oh my flipping gosh, this is more than one can bare, I feel so bad for you, how frightening, not knowing whats going to happen, poor you poor dog,
you made me laugh, you made me cry, I hope to heck he just magically gets well and he can thumb his nose at the vets, I'm so so sorry you have had this terrrible problem, I know you love snow dog so much, he is lucky to have you,

~Sara said...

Oh no! So sorry! How frustrating.Sending hugs~ Sara

Sherry Sutherby said...

Having many "Snow Dogs" over the years, (we now are holding at 21...) I can relate. We had the same situation several years ago...and played the diagnosis game, never quite landing on the right one. We summed it up to Asthma and began a treatment of Depo Medrol injections, once per month (that we administer). That seemed to work and bring relief. We finally said farewell to that dog this past Christmas Eve, (at age 13) but now have another Siberian who also has the same symptoms. (Exactly what you described...) He is now on Depo also, and while it isn't a cure, it is doable, and it does provide him with relief. He's 10. Blessings to you, and good luck as you try to narrow down the culprit. (You might mention Depo to your vet...) Not fun...guessing at this mystery. I can attest to that fact.

Kim said...

Oh the poor baby. (the dog) but I really feel bad for your poor neighbors witnessing your pee-catching ensemble! LOL OK, kidding - you know I love you.
I can relate to the whole ordeal of trying (and failing) to diagnose a pet. I have spent several thousand dollars and umpteen tests on Millie and we are still nowhere.
Big sloppy kisses to TSD

frontporchprims said...

Oh my heck. The love we have for our pets has no boundaries:) What a beautiful dog. I do hope that the vet can figure this out before yet another diagnosis will be given. Poor thing.....and you. -Steph-

BumbleBeeLane said...

Hmmmm we must be twins I have that exact fun trying to figure out whats wrong with dogs.I have a vet appointment for my Boo wednesday and will probly switch vets.Looong story.They are are babies.I've been praying for your son,I'll send up a prayer for TSD that they find out what's wrong.Hugs!~Amy

Mugwump Woolies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Woman Seeking Center said...

Dearest worried Crow, I hope with heart and soul that SD improves. If only love alone could cure....

In an attempt-to-distract-you :-) I confess when I arrived at this descriptor:

~no-longer-fluffy, faded-hot-pink, bathrobe, dress-for-success polka-dot socks, and clogs~

I felt an overwhelming compulsion to send you my 'boots' (you know the ones, lol) ~ just sayin' (lol)

*After all clogs ARE harder to run in, yes?*

(signing off now before you cyber-slap me, roflmao)

Keeping you & SD close in my heart.

Issy Faye


I am so sorry that he isn't better, hopefully he will be on the mend again. I had never thought of it before, but now I will that animals need to have urine tests too and the collection of said urine. Take care, Cyndy

Me and My Stitches said...

Holy crow - wouldn't you think somebody should be able to figure it out? I would not be a happy camper right now if I were in your shoes, or should I say...your no-longer-fluffy, faded-hot-pink, bathrobe, dress-for-success polka-dot socks and clogs.

Barbara Shores ~ Village Folk Art said...

Oooooh Robin, we will definitely keep you all in our prayers. You have no idea how attached we are to snow dogs as we are currently the proud parents of our 4th Alaskan Malamute, Kodiak. He too was finally taken to a Holistic Veterinarian only to find out that he had allergies to most all of the common dog foods including 'lamb and rice' which the vet at that time was prescribing with NO positive results nor any improvement. He now eats Dick Van Patten's 'Duck and Potato' or 'Venison & sweet potato'. Your symptoms were not the same as ours. But we finally solved the problem. I hope you get some answers. Kody actually eats healthier than we do with broccoli and cauliflower added to each nights feeding PLUS the contents of Glucosamine Chondroiten with MSM from capsules. Our Kody bear weighs in at 114 as of last weeks exam and will be 10 years old this November. Believe it or not he prefers the indoors and is pretty much a 'lap dog' ... I love it and I refer to him as my 'Puppy Love'. They are awesome and beautiful dogs.
Much Peace, Love and Joy,
Barb and Kody too

Sassafras and Winterberry said...

Poor little Snow Dog Baby. I can so relate to the crazy vet thing. Last year when Gus was so sick, they couldn't decide what ailment he actually had. We went through two different vets...who did blood test, shaved his belly and did ultra sounds (the belly fur still won't grow back), put him on 3 different drugs...blah, blah, blah. Long story short, he now takes pain pills for his joint pain and is much better. I hope that you find some answers. He is one handsome boy. Gus and I send our love!

prims by olde lady morgan said...

Robin, your gift for making a very sad time somewhat funny... I have you running around the yard, and today of all days, I needed that visual humor... BUT I feel your pain, and snow dog is one very loved dog and so glad he is with you. many would not of ran around the yard trying to get sample.. These wonderful animals are family.. as sir. knuckles had a biopsy yesterday, though, thankfully for him, all is well. Sending many hugs and scratches for snowdog! OLM

marly said...

I've been wondering about him but very afraid to ask. Glad to hear he recovered from the Blasto, but with being no better, you gotta wonder if the original test was correct! I hope for both of you that they decide on a diagnosis and it is CORRECT. Such a handsome fellow.

My Primitive Creations by Tonya said...

Oh Robin.. I am really sorry that Snow Dog is having such a hard time..You do know that cats and Dogs get athsma & allergies just like people so that could also be playing a role in his sickness..

Well Like everyone else you are going to have to hav esomeone get a picture of you in the Faded Pink Robe and the unky socks for our viewing pleasure. I mean really we have all visualized it wo now e gotta see the real thing.. & just think of all the endorphens you releasing in all your Blog friends..We'd all be healthier for a god month from all the giggling..So no stalling or making excuses make us all giggle with you..

I pray that Snow Dog gets better..


Prims By The Water said...

So even though you made me smile visualizing you outside in your fabulous wardrobe, I know the seiousness of what you are going through with both your snow dog and your son. Sending good vibes and prayers to you from the land of the mitten. Take care my friend, Janice

renee said...

I think he is GORGEOUS! I also hope that he will get better soon! I can, in fact, visualize your fluffy robe! LOL! The things we go through for our pets.
I hope that otherwise, things are going alright. I have some catching up to do. The story of my life.

Vicki said...

My goodness! I sure hope he gets better soon and whatever it is goes away! He is a beautiful dog and I know he is worth it all. I can just see you chasing him around in your night clothes! So funny!Give him a kiss for me and I send my best.

Trace4J said...

Sending you and your handsome Snow Dog giant hugs!
It is so hard when our furry loves are sick and we don't know what wrongs.

Rugs and Pugs said...

Robin ~
Isn't it a hoot trying to catch a dog's urine? There MUST be a better way. Been there, done that!
I guess that's why in the medical field they call it a "practice". Makes you wonder :)
Annie sends wet, sloppy kisses back atcha!
Hugs :)

The Moonlit Stitch said...

God bless your snow dog Robin. Was hoping he had recovered. He's a lucky puppy to have you for a mom ~*~Lisa

Lois--Huckleberry Lady said...

Another frustrating health issue!! Wishes he gets better.
Yes, picturing you in that high fashion outfit and LMBO!!!!
Take care,

Rhissanna said...

Thank you for letting us know about TSD and thank you (Oh thank you!) for the mental image of you in the clogs and the bathrobe. Do you have this on YouTube?

Just one accurate diagnosis would be nice, right? It's times like this we realise Medicine is an art as much as a science. Hugs to TSD and I truly admire you for your dedication. And the bathrobe, socks and clogs.

bettyj said...

I am so sorry about TSD. M sister in law has a white siberian huskey and she is so sweet I too have done the fun job of collecting urine. I had a vet student tell me later to tape a small jar or container to a yard stick and it was easier. I sure hope he gets better. It breaks our heart for him to be sick. I will pray for him to recover quickly. Please keep us posted. Dasko sends his best.

Kimberly said...

So sorry to hear about all the frustration you are going through with Snow Dogs health. It doesn't seem right that Vets can't pin point it! My heart feels for you! My prayers are with you & beautiful Snow Dog to have better days ahead. On a lighter note, don't you love what we'll do for our wonderful furry family members! Enjoy your day! Warm hugs to you & Snow Dog! All My Best ~Kimberly

Barb said...

Poor Robin and the pee catcher!
Sorry that you had to try that-got to love the dixie cups!!
Hoping that Snow Dog starts feeling better soon. With all the dx you think you and the dog would feel better not confused.
Good luck, health and kiss to both of you.

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

This is beyond belief isn't it, all those vet visits and they can't tell you what's wrong with him?

Poor baby.

Boo has something wrong with his lungs, and other then doing a transplant, [as if] they can't tell us. Sometimes he just gets really sick, and almost's heartbreaking. Meanwhile we over feed him a little to make his life balance out in our minds...

It's so hard when they are sick, hope your Snow dog improves soon.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

A Primitive Homestead said...

I can tell snow dog has a mama who really loves her. Only a mamas love has no limits. She might be hoping they come & put a straightjacket on you after all that following during her tinkle tinker time. She is a beauty. My daughter bought one & traveled to pick her up recently. I had one for a short time years ago. He got sick. Vet treated him for pargo. High vet bill & three day stay. Brought him home & he was taken from the yard food bowls chain & all. They sure can touch your life. Topaz has been keeping me busy these days. Prayer lifted. Blessings!

Karen/My Colonial Home said...

Hi Robin...I am a lot late commenting here - as you probably can tell I have been MIA for awhile and will be again but needed to catch up on my wonderful friends blogs - and you are at the top.
I pray TSD gets better and i can not believe all the diagnosis's - is TSD doing now?