I suppose you are wondering where the Lady I rescued and I have been so far this year. We’ve found that January and February are not good months for us, mostly because of the weather. We hibernated all through the gloomy January days and despite the stretch of warm days in February, we still found it difficult to get motivated. But, there is another reason for our absence. Taffy is sick with chronic bronchitis, keeping the Lady very busy since taking her to the vet on January 6th for a cough.
Taffy not looking well after starting her second round of antibiotics.
It’s been a long and bumpy road since that first trip to the vet. Finally the Lady is ready to tell the story of Taffy’s illness, our experience and expectation for recovery.
In early January Taffy started coughing, not so much as a cough, but more wheezy or huffy. The Lady took her to the vet promptly as the dog flu is very prevalent in our area, even though we aren’t really around other dogs much. After our first visit, yes I always go with Taffy to the vet, we went home with the antibiotic Di-Trim and Torbutrol for her cough. She didn’t have any other symptoms at the time but she wasn’t to socialize with other dogs or go to the groomers. After taking the meds for 10 days Taffy’s symptoms improved, but as soon as she stopped taking the meds her cough returned. After putting a call into the vet exactly two weeks after our first visit, they put her back on the same meds as she showed signs of improvement. This time the Lady gave her the full dose of Torbutrol, prescribed as needed, every day as an extra precaution. A week later, while taking the meds, Taffy’s cough worsened and it was back to the vet. But, I had no symptoms so we were confident now that she wasn’t contagious.
At this vet visit on January 27th, Taffy had a fever of 103 degrees (101 – 102.5 is normal). The vet also took two chest x-rays which showed her bronchial tubes filled with fluid. So now instead of having a cough, Taffy has bronchitis. The vet switched her antibiotic to Zeniquin and added the steroid Prednisolone 5mg to her meds, while continuing on the Torbutrol.
The scariest, and most expensive visit of all took place on February 11th when Taffy’s condition worsened. Seeing our beloved Dr. D., the vet we’ve trusted our pets with for over 20 years, this visit took a different turn. First, he wanted to retake the x-rays to see if there was any change from the ones taken January 27th. Looking at the x-rays he began suggesting scary possibilities because of some dark areas on her lungs, and mentioning a possible illness called blastomycosis. When explaining the reasons for testing for blastomycosis, the Lady had to look at environmental factors in our lives where Taffy could contact a fungal infection. Because of the recent large amounts of rain our park actually smelled from the ground not drying out. This fungus thrives in wet areas. The Lady agreed to the expensive test ($250) in order for the vet to eliminate other possible diagnosis or complications. To take the test he needed to draw blood from Taffy and collect some urine. To avoid him having to take the urine from her bladder with a needle, a vet assistant and the Lady ran outside with Taffy where she willingly urinated on command into a dish. The Lady left the vet this time more concerned than ever for Taffy getting better while having to wait a week for the test results. Taffy’s meds were continued, the steroid, Torbutrol and this time a stronger antibiotic with an anti-inflammatory, Doxycycline.
On February 17th the Lady called our vet for Taffy’s blastomycosis test results, which were negative. But, blastomycosis is easily treated and cured with anti-fungal medication. We refilled all of her meds, Taffy hardly coughed or wheezed since taking the Doxycycline, but on February 21st we were back at the vet as Taffy’s wheezing started up again as soon as we cut back on the steroids. All of this time Taffy is the usual happy dog, her appetite is good and she has no trouble going on walks. But running up the stairs or chasing a ball, any type of excitement causes her to wheeze or huff. The result of this visit is to continue the full dose, 5mg of steroids per day, again.
Six days later, on Monday, February 27th, we are back at the vet. The Friday before Taffy’s cough worsened. She sounded like a human does with a chest cold coughing up phelgm. It’s worse at night, waking up the Lady several times, who is now becoming more worried about her. A very frustrated Lady arrived at the vet, it was time to try something else.
The Lady tried to capture the sound Taffy makes, this short video just caught the end of one of her coughs, you can just hear the wheezy sound she makes.
Our options were limited because now Taffy’s diagnosis is chronic bronchitis, meaning she can’t be cured, only manage the symptoms. A higher dose of Prednisolone was discussed but by now the Lady wanted Taffy off the steroids and antibiotics, taken now for over six weeks, with no improvement. The vet suggested taking another x-ray to make sure there were no changes and the Lady agreed as the cost for that is reasonable enough for peace of mind. But, unfortunately they showed no changes, all three sets were the same. Our only choice now was to take Taffy to see a specialist.
We were referred to the Premier Veterinary Group in our area, it’s a 24-hour emergency hospital we’ve used before, but didn’t know they had veterinary specialists there that you could make appointments to see. After telling the person on the phone Taffy’s symptoms we had an appointment on Wednesday with a veterinary specialist in internal medicine.
Taffy’s story is almost up to date, but we want to save writing about the visit with the specialist and what followed for another time so we can give it our full attention. We’ll also provide more detail about her condition and the costs incurred. By now the Lady is regretting some of her decisions while wondering if Taffy would be better if not for some of those decisions. Time will only tell.