Puppy Update

All three boys had hydrotherapy today. I put them in water almost high enough to swim in.

  • Light Blue did great and showed significant improvement in hind limb movement and is partially weight bearing but still will not stand. Our feeling is that he will, soon. Considering that three days ago he was in so much pain he could not be picked up I'm calling this an improvement. A big one.

  • Neo is also showing some improvement and is able to move his hind limbs, but is also not weight bearing and still somewhat painful, but also much less than a few days ago.

  • Ash is showing no pain at all, but has not improved and is completely non-weight bearing. He showed very little hind limb movement, but there is some. He is not paralyzed, his nerves all work, the muscles are there. I ascribe this to reluctance arising from joint pain. He is NOT paralyzed. I am seriously concerned about his lack of progress, and yet a few days ago he stood on his own, briefly. He may be the next puppy to see the neurologist next week.

  • Tali has improved greatly; she now has almost no limp, but will show an occasional odd gait. Out of all the puppies she has recovered the fastest and most completely. I remain totally comfortable letting her go home.

  • Mini has not improved at all from yesterday. She is walking and bearing weight but still has an abnormal gait. No pain.

  • Lani is slightly better than yesterday and is able to bear weight but is reluctant to do so. She is weaker in the back end, but this has been consistent with her.

  • Mari continues to show no clinical signs at all. I feel that if this were indeed genetic, she would. I spoke again with the neurologist today. CSF analysis showed a high content of a cell type called neutrophils, which is consistent with her diagnosis. Infectious causes test is still pending but is highly unlikely to be positive. All other test results still pending and are also highly unlikely to be informative except to rule out other causes for all this. So far it's all vaccine, with no genetically carried weirdness

The diagnosis has been updated to immune mediated meningitis and polyarthritis. When you see "-itis" at the end of a word in medicine, it means "inflamed". Poly means "many", and arthro means "joint". So, many swollen joints; arthritis arising from a vaccine reaction. It's vital to keep in mind that this too is not permanent. This is not the same as the arthritis you'd see in an older dog or person. I have also written Jean Dodds for help in finding similar cases, which will help me to direct treatment and formulate a more accurate prognosis. I have also engaged a small animal internal medicine vet to assist in the treatment and recovery process. I may use her facilities for professional hydrotherapy session for the puppies. We are doubling the steroid dose for 3 days for everyone but Mari in the hopes that we can beat this immune reaction back into its box. Persistence of signs calls for increasing the aggression of treatment. More bathtub time tomorrow for everyone. I love watching Ash and Light Blue still stoically as I attempt to drown them, but Neo screams his head off like a little girl. I'm so proud. I have video clips of their movement in the tub; tomorrow I will shoot this underwater so we can all see the same thing.

Got the big kids outside to run for a short time. I am simply accepting that my ability to train and groom them these days is severely limited but I feel pretty horrible about it regardless.
Patrice has been cranking out puppy food. The spoon is for scale.
A worried mom standing vigil.

The vaccine manufacturer sent a rep today to talk to my vet. I'm both deeply offended and furious that no attempt has been hade to contact me and that absolutely no help has been forthcoming. On the other hand, if I met the rep in person I might slam them onto a stainless steel exam room table and repeatedly vaccinate them in the neck (because it hurts more in people) until I had exhausted the entire tray of vaccine vials, and then asked them to call me in 10 days to let me know how they're doing, because I really do care how they are. I do. You'll know what's up if you ever see a post called "Blogging From Prison". Yep, I have a lot of rage about this that I am not expressing save for this teenly little example. A LOT. I don't care that this nightmare has now cost over $6,000. I really don't. What I care about are these puppies and the lives they will weave into and I want them better instantly, and I can't do it.

Let's pray that the new steroid blast works. Keep those thoughts and payers cooking, folks. We need all the help we can get. I will, as always, post more as it happens. If you need to call me, call me. If this new treatment is not productive I am returning to see the neurologist next week. I am also now on a first name basis with her and can reach her over the weekend if I need to. I mention this because it does impact the case, but positively. -mico

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