Of art, and science.

The learning and healing journey continues with Hazel.

The title to today’s post came from Dr. Jim Goodbrod, DVM. When he and I were taking a walk yesterday Jim mentioned that diagnosing exactly what an animal is suffering from is as much an art as it is a science.

Jim and Janet are close friends and neighbours who live a couple of roads away. Jim also attends the Lincoln Road Vet Clinic on a part-time basis. Off his own volition he has been speaking with Dr. Codd (Russ) about the situation with Hazel and the pair of them are showing incredible devotion to getting to the bottom of what is happening.

So, like yesterday’s post, today is being offered to you in the spirit of information. Forgive me if I repeat the caution from yesterday. (This is being written at 4pm on April 19th, 2016.)

CAUTION: The following is offered by way of information reaching out to other loving dog owners. Please do not assume I have any specialist veterinarian knowledge and please do not take the following as a replacement for seeing your own vet.

Late on Sunday afternoon Hazel was becoming so weak and lethargic that Jean and I feared that she wouldn’t make it through the night. So it was wonderful to see that she was alive and still connected to the world at 6am yesterday; Monday. Nonetheless, Hazel had not eaten since Saturday afternoon and was only drinking very small amounts of water. We made the decision to ring the Clinic as soon as they opened on Monday at 8am. They recommended that Hazel be brought in to go on to an IV drip to boost her anti-fungal intake and also to receive an anti-nausea intake to help her regain an appetite. But there was the question hanging over everyone that if this was a fungal infection, as in Coccidioidomycosis, that is not present in the Oregonian soil but is found in the drier parts of the USA and Mexico then why had it been such a long time before it brought Hazel down?

Jean also had this suspicion that Hazel might be suffering from a form of ‘Tick Fever’ that is very common in Mexico.

So off we went to the Clinic again. There were discussions about the whole situation.

Dr. Codd (RHS) speaking with Jean at the Clinic.
Dr. Codd (RHS) speaking with Jean at the Clinic.

Dr. Codd took a quick blood test and, bingo, it revealed that Hazel was showing that she had, or had had in the past, an Ehrlichia Infection; a tick-borne infection.

The lower of the left-hand spots is the indicator of a past or present Ehrlichia Infection.

The cure for that was a course of Doxycycline.

So now we are looking at battling two separate diseases.

The blood that was taken from Hazel last Friday, when she also had radiographs taken of her lungs, had been sent for a ‘titre’ that would confirm one way or another if her lungs were suffering from a fungal infection. Those results will be available on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

One of the radiographs taken of Hazel.
One of the radiographs taken of Hazel.

Back to Hazel’s lack of appetite. One of the side-effects of Fluconazole is that it depresses appetite. Getting Hazel eating again was becoming a priority. It seemed to make sense that until we had confirmation of whether or not Hazel had a lung fungal infection, for which taking Fluconazole would be an excellent course of action, we should pause in her dose until the results were in. To speed up the return of an appetite Dr. Jim prescribed a short course of Mirtazipine.

So that’s about it for the time being. Except for Jean and me to say how much we appreciate the art and the science that is being so skillfully offered by the Clinic. (As of 19:00 PDT yesterday Hazel was eating again! 🙂 )

Great team effort!
Great team effort!

Their “Special Love of Animals” comes over in spades!

18 thoughts on “Of art, and science.

  1. Well you’re getting there, half the battle is diagnosis with dogs because they can’t actually tell us how they feel. Fingers crossed that the lovely Hazel can be treated and back bouncing about soon. Eating is great news.

    – Esme upon the Cloud

  2. Yes, but does the clinic give IV’s of Vit. C especially (God’s panacea) and of vitamins and minerals needed for healing? These are especially lacking in humans in hospitals and yet are not given and something given to me by my blessed homeopath when I was acutely ill. It seems that vets are like M.D.;s now and know only drugs, not how a body heals, animal or human.

  3. You know Paul, when I read this yesterday, it reminded me of Pippa’s erlichiosis but I thought it wasn’t relevant given the emphasis on the evil spores. Save repeating it all here, I’ll add the link. Doxycyclin really does the trick though. Pippa went on to live another four and a half years. Our paws are all still firmly crossed for Hazel.

    https://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/canine-erlichiosis-tick-disease/

    If you read the link, what’s interesting is that our vet guessed (art not science?) the problem pretty much straight away, but had to wait for the erlichia blood tests for it to be confirmed. However, he sent us off with Doxy anyway.

    1. What a fabulous article that you wrote, the one linked to above. Very informative and an example of how to really inform one’s readers. Brilliant! Another huge thank you.

  4. Great news! It’s not her time. Not yet. Ticks Disease is everywhere here (last summer we had a tick infestation across the city) and we get our dogs checked every year.

    1. Maybe not such a bad idea, John. Merlin, where we live, seems especially prone to ticks. Jim and I went walking yesterday and Jim said that from time to time he found ticks on his own body. Onwards and upwards!

      1. It was terrible here last year. Something out of a nightmare. We had fat pregnant females climbing the walls. Every day we had to comb the house, the poison bottle ever-present. Lasted for months, but everyone in the area was experiencing the same thing. We actually had to give Boris (our biggest) a tick treatment used for horses because nothing for dogs was working.

        Here’s hoping Hazel rebounds quickly.

      2. That does sound awful! With such a wet winter here and living as we are surrounded by forest I’m fearing a bad few months for ticks. Life always has its ups, and downs!

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