It’s been a few weeks since our last update on Taffy’s chronic bronchitis diagnosis. The Lady I rescued and I now have a pretty good understanding of what our day-to-day life is like living with Taffy’s chronic bronchitis. It began as an uphill battle but now things are leveling off to a somewhat normal state.
On March 14th, the day of our late winter snowstorm, the Lady and Taffy returned to Premier Veterinary Group for their two-week follow-up visit with Dr. Bob, an internal medicine veterinary specialist. Luckily for the Lady the clinic is conveniently located and she had no trouble driving there in a complete whiteout. She even saw one of the Chicago PD/Med TV shows filming on a neighborhood street during it. Chicago does not close down over a few inches of snow. Luckily, Dr. Bob agreed as it took him three hours to get to the clinic. We were glad he did as the Lady I rescued had some concerns over Taffy’s current condition. I wasn’t there choosing to stay home with dog daddy Brad, after being unable to get to work because of the storm (well maybe the government closes down).
The day or so before our visit Taffy began to show some signs of reaction to her medications. The symptoms included shaking and panting but at the time the Lady wasn’t sure it was the medications. On March 10th she filled the prescription for the hydrocodone as she felt Taffy’s symptoms were not improving on just the inhaler (after 12 days) and the theophylline. After the exam he noticed she was over excited and panting heavily, causing an elevated temperature, 103.3 degrees. He felt that the previous symptoms were due to the theophylline, she was also still on the prednisone in low dose.
Taffy’s treatment plan after the follow-up visit included discontinuing the theophylline as it can occasionally lead to excitement or shaking, the prednisone for seven more days and use the hydrocodone as needed. Then call in one week with an update on her condition. With a new prescription in hand for more hydrocodone the Lady drove Taffy home to drop her off at the house with Brad, continuing on to Target to get the prescription filled. With clear skies, the snow coming to an end after leaving at least eight inches, she headed to Target, just over five miles away, as it’s the one with Taffy’s record and where we always shop, although there are others closer.
On the way the whiteout started up again. Safely inside at the pharmacy the real nightmare began. They did not have any hydrocodone in stock, after checking other stores within four miles, no stock there either. It would take a week to get it in stock. The Lady felt it was urgent to get the prescription filled as she had to stop the theophylline, not wanting to treat Taffy with just the inhaler. She left extremely angry, claiming to never do business at Target/CVS pharmacy again. She headed home, still in whiteout conditions, to the Walgreen’s we use just two blocks from our house. No luck there either, but she got more information. Evidently hydrocodone isn’t prescribed much any more but they could have it in two to three days. The Lady left there somewhat more satisfied knowing she could at least get the prescription filled soon.
But, the Lady made a risky decision while waiting for the hydrocodone, she kept Taffy on the theophylline as she no longer showed symptoms from the drug, and not wanting to leave Taffy on just the inhaler. A few days later she started Taffy on the hydrocodone, stopping the theophylline. Then it was time to call the vet with an update, which was good because Taffy was now not feeling well.
Not sure exactly when it happened but a few days later Taffy began vomiting with no other symptoms. The Lady called Premier where they said if she isn’t better to please bring her in. Which the Lady did, taking Taffy in on an emergency visit as the specialist she sees is only in on Tuesday. After hours and hours of waiting, the vet she saw seemed to think the vomiting could possibly be caused by the hydrocodone. She even had to go in the back (where the computers are) to double-check. After over two hours the Lady left with no idea what was wrong with Taffy, only relieved that they did not charge her for the visit. On Tuesday the 21st she put in a call to the specialist about Taffy. He doubted the hydrocodone caused her vomiting and seemed upset that the Lady kept Taffy on the theophylline after his orders to stop. He offered to prescribe Cerenia for her nausea if she wanted to come and pick up the script. Well, the Lady was on her way to Orlando that day and had to hand over Taffy’s care to dog daddy Brad.
The next day he took Taffy to our own vet who prescribed Cerenia and otherwise thought she was okay. Meaning Taffy ate something again, which she shouldn’t have, making her sick. By the time the Lady returned from Orlando Taffy was fine — and there was no cough at all! Taffy did not cough for at least a week, which means she could stop the hydrocodone.
This is how things stand now. Taffy doesn’t cough for periods of time for a day or two up to a week. As soon as she starts huffing or sounding wheezy the Lady starts her on the hydrocodone. She’s considering keeping her on the hydrocodone at all times but the vet said “as needed” so that’s what she does. Meanwhile Brad set up Taffy on his Universal Drugstore account to get her inhaler Flovent from Canada. While waiting for the refill to arrive from Canada in two to three weeks her current inhaler ran out. So the Lady returned to our Target to get her prescription refilled, for the last time, at a cost of $374. The Canadian price is $69! No wonder Americans are outraged at the cost of drugs in our country.
So that’s where things are now. The Lady trying desperately to keep Taffy from eating anything outdoors, giving her two puffs of the inhaler two times a day, and the hydrocodone as needed. When that runs out she’ll need to get a new script from Premier as it’s a controlled substance, but that’s not a problem. Taffy has no issues with the inhaler as she knows she can get treats, but it’s a bit hard to get the inhaler on her because she’s looking for more treats. Not to mention the Lady gets really sneaky sometimes so that I don’t hear her opening the treats and get left out. Which is totally unfair as I only want to offer Taffy my support.
Thanks for all the helpful comments and tips on Taffy’s condition and following along on this challenging journey.