Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Extreme Women "Lite" event Feb. 2nd

Hi ladies! Sorry I'm so late getting this info to you all, but Extreme Women will now be offering a "not-so-extreme" event each month! Dana Biles has asked if she could put together some "stop and smell the roses" kind of outings--which is a wonderful idea! She'd liked to invite all ladies who don't feel inclined to go snow shoeing to join her on a hike:
We thought we would hike at Tryon Creek State Park over by Lewis and Clark College. We will take the 4 mile loop around the park and stop for lunch along the way. We will meet at the church at 9:00 am on Saturday, Feb 2. Dogs on leashes are allowed and there are no fees.
If you'd like more info about this trail, here's a link: http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/index.shtml
Dana's contact info is:

(503) 667-3661 home
(503) 449-4540 cell

Scout Update 1/29/08 Second Opinion

I took Scout to a different vet yesterday, someone who was highly recommended to me by another Sheltie lover. I was hoping that Dr. Andrews would have experience with treating immune-mediated disorders and be able shed a little more light on Scout's illness.
Unfortunately, he hadn't. IN fact, Dr. Andrews said that in all his years of practice, he'd only seen one other case similar to Scout's. According to him, her condition is kind of rare. After looking over Scout's chart (a small book by now), he did agree with the diagnosis and treatment plan she's on: Polyarthritis and/or immune mediated meningitis, treated by prednisone.
He also said that he'd love to do some research on the illness--talk to specialists in the area--and see what they thought. That made me happy--someone who was interested in finding out more about Scout's conditions and not just content to give her meds and hope for the best.
He called me last night and said the two vets he talked to agreed with the diagnosis and the treatment plan as well, although they suggested we put Scout on Antibiotic therapy for 30 days just in case there is an underlying bacterial infection, like Lyme disease.
It was also nice to be reassured that many of the symptoms Scout is experiencing are just side effects of the prednisone--lethargy, muscle weakness, panting, crabbiness, excessive eating and drinking. And incontinence . . .
Prednisone is nasty stuff! But hopefully Scout will only be on it for another month or so. Dr. Andrews said the specialists told him the main reason for relapse for these conditions is not giving the animals enough prednisone and not giving it long enough . . . so I guess we can put up with a few side effects for now.
So, Scout won't be joining us on the snowshoe, but Dr. Andrews felt faily certain she might be joining us on less strenuous hikes this spring!
Again, thanks for all the prayers! Scout says thanks, too!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Scout update 1/23/08

Scout is doing so much better!!!! I saw glimpses of her spazzy little personality yesterday! She had two really rough days--Sunday and Monday--it seemed liked the prednisone was no longer working. Her neck was hurting her terrible, she'd walk around with her head crooked awkwardly toward her left side. She'd cry in pain if you petted her too forcefully . . .

But the coolest thing happened Monday night. Our friends Kay and Roger came over for dinner. Kay knows Scout, we've taken walks with our dogs a few times--and she was so moved to compassion by Scout's pain that she did an amazing thing:

Kay got on her knees, bent over Scout's hurting little body, cupped Scout's head in her hands and prayed the sweetest, most heartfelt prayer I've heard in a very long time. It brought tears to my eyes and great comfort to my heart--and the next day (yesterday) Scout was a different dog! She showed signs of wanting to play, she's not tilting her head as much and doesn't seem to be in as much pain . . . very encouraging.

So, this is quite the up and down battle. Sometimes it feels like Scout takes two strides forward and then a huge step back. But I really have seen her funny little spirit emerge since Kay prayed for her. Yeah for God and faithful friends and the awesome power of prayer!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Trillium Lake Snow Shoe Feb 2nd

So, I thought it was about time I blogged about our next Extreme Women's event!
We will do another snow shoe on Mt. Hood. Trillium Lake (on snow shoes) is a five mile loop and a good workout. From the parking lot, we trek down to the lake, wander around it, and then hike back up to the vehicles. There are picnic tables we can dig out to sit on for lunch, but be prepared to eat as we go.

You can rent equipment at Joe's, Sports Authority, any ski shop. Please have your stuff rented before meeting at the church. Bring money for gas and sno park pass, plus treats on the way home.

During the last outing, several gals got blisters. I can't stress enough that it's really importand to wear boots with a tight fit, especially around the heel area. Multiple socks should do the trick, as long as the toes don't get too restricted--that can make them really cold! Any hiking boot, as long as it's waterproof will work. I scotchguard my uggs and wear them :)

Again. layers are a necessity. You can work up a good sweat in a jiffy, then get chilled quickly.

Dogs are welcome, but you might want to outfit them with sweaters and booties. Scout will let a smallish dog borrow hers, because I just don't think it's a good idea to take her out until she's fully recovered. I read that usually dogs with meningitis are treated for 2 months with steroids and gradually weaned off. Scout is so much better each day--thank You, Lord!--but, man, I can tell when the prednisone wears off! Then I remember how sick she really was--and still is without the medication. We are taking her for short walks now (down our sidewalk and back) and she's eating like a pig. She climbed our stairs by herself last night. She's kind of crabby with Pilgrim, but I guess I wouldn't enjoy a little critter jumping on my aching head! It will just take time for them to be tearing around the house like banshees again . . .

Let's meet at church that Saturday at 9 sharp. Sno Park passes are needed for each vehicle.

Call if you have any questions: 503-415-0206

Friday, January 18, 2008

Scout update 1/18/08 Turnaround????

I see glimpses of my old spazzy Scout today! Prednisone (and prayer, of course) has worked wonders in my little dog. She's eating, we took a short walk today, no fever in 48 hours. If all goes well, she doesn't have to go back to the clinic for a week, when they'll do a blood test to see how her white blood cell count is.

Diagnosis? Well, certainly an auto-immune response condition. The vet couldn't decide between polyarthritis or steroid-responsive meningitis. Her neck has been very tender since yesterday--she woke me up in the night crying with pain because she'd changed positions--which could signify meningitis. But the neck joint pain could just be part of the polyarthritis. She's not limping at all today, however, so I'm kind of leaning toward the diagnosis of meningitis. According the Dr. McNabb (and all the reading I did on the internet when I couldn't sleep last night), the treatment and prognosis is pretty much the same. INitial aggressive prednisone doses, with a gradual weaning off the steroid.

I don't know that she's out of the woods yet--but Scout is definitely up and moving! It would be a miracle for her to be healthy enough to join us on our snow shoe in two weeks--but I guess that's another miracle we can pray for!

Again, your prayers and encouragement carried us through this very tough time. The vet tech told me today that they were sure Scout would have to be put down at one point . . . but she's a fighter! And the Lord must not be through with her yet!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Scout update 1/17/08

(This picture was taken before Scout got sick. She's wearing the sweater I bought her to wear when we go snowshoeing).

Scout didn't rally like the vet had hoped on the prednisone. She was on IV fluids for most of the day and the vet added vitamin B12 to the fluids to increase her appetite. I was really encouraged by the fact that she ate canned dog food--without me having to force it down her throat--when we got home last night. (she hadn't voluntarily eaten anything for over a week). She wasn't feverish or sick to her stomach and seemed more responsive to her surroundings.

But she still won't move. She's very flaccid, like a rag doll. Just kind of flops down wherever you put her and never changes positions. She's walking around a bit faster and smoother today (when we make her stand up to go out and go potty), but really doesn't care to move at all. So unlike the Scout we know and love!

She goes back for another round of IV fluids and prednisone today, we may start her back on the docycycline since her tummy has had a chance to rest. Dr. McNabb keeps going back to tick-borne diseases as he puts all of her symptoms together. All the antibiotics we've given Scout so far seem to really make her nauseaous, I'm not sure how much of the doxycycline she was able to keep down.

My friend, Tobi, from Wyoming, keeps sending me fun dog quotes. Thought I'd share a few with you all . . .

Dog Logic

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue. -Anonymous

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
-Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
-Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. -Andy Rooney

Dogs love their friends & bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love & always have to mix love & hate. -Anonymous

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.
-Franklin P. Jones

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise. -Unknown

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money. -Joe Weinstein

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. -Robert A. Heinlein

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. -Mark Twain

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. -Roger Caras

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them. -Phil Pastoret

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Scout update for 1/15/08

Scout is hanging in there. My vet (Dr. McNabb, the senior vet at the clinic I've been taking Scout to, who just today became acquainted with Scout's case. Dr. Angie apparently moved to Bend over the weekend!) thinks he might have a clue what's wrong with her. Since she first went in with a lame leg, he wonders if a localized injury to her joint didn't cause systemic infection. The problem is, figuring out if it's a bacterial infection or an autoimmune response. If she's not a lot better tomorrow on the new antibiotic, I'll take her in and we'll explore the auto-immune response option. Both are very treatable.

She threw up lots yesterday and ran a pretty high fever, but we switched her antibiotics last night and she seems better today(although she's running a fever now at 5 p.m.) She still won't eat, drink or move on her own accord, but she's kept down the liquids I've given her.

I did talk to Kris last night, who urged me to go see a vet friend of hers at an animal hospital across town. But icy roads made the trip impossible this morning (Greg left me with the Miata) and then I heard back from Dr. McNabb (who seemed to have a reasonable plan), so I'm just staying the course with East Hills Veterinary clinic for now.

So, I'd hoped to join Greg at Cannon Beach tomorrow, but who knows?

Someone--obviously not an animal person--said to me today: "I just don't understand why this has affected you so deeply . . . I could give you a suggestion as to what to do with your dog, but I'm sure you don't want to hear it . . ."

He's right, I didn't. And I want to thank you all again for the comfort and encouragement you've shown me and my poor pooch. I can feel the prayers!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Scout update 1/14/08

Well, Scout survived the weekend. In fact, yesterday she actually barked when she heard us come in from church. Greg said she sounded more like a chihuahua than a sheltie, but we hadn't heard any sound from her for a very long time so we were encouraged. She shuffled around the house for a bit and even tried (unsuccessfully) to follow me up the stairs. I got her to swallow 1/2 jar of baby food, some yogurt and lots of liquids.
But last night, the fever came back with a vengeance. I don't have a thermometer, but she was shaking so violently I gave her some baby aspirin (if you recall, the vet wanted to avoid anti-inflamatories and let the "fever do its work"). She just seemed so worn out.
I faxed all her records to Kris B.,another vet last night (she goes to our church and 3 people in two days told me to contact her, so I figured it must be a god thing). Praying that she can piece together the lab work results and get a clear picture of what's going on with Scout.
Scout is very weak and lethargic this morning, like she has been for the past week, but definitely not dehydrated. I was supposed to leave for Cannon Beach today with Greg--to go and work on the couples' retreat we are doing the end of this month--but Scout is too sick to leave and we can't take her. So, I'll just keep nursing her as best I can and pray that Kris can make sense of the lab work.
Sometimes I wonder if the humane thing to do would be to have Scout put out of her misery . . . but as long as she's not in pain and taking food and liquids, I feel like I'm supposed to keep hanging in there with her. What if it's just the "dog flu" and it's just taking her body a while to recover? Who knew it would be such a lengthy battle . . .
Thanks again, my friends, for all your prayers and comfort and support.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Scout Update 1/13/08

Brought Scout home from the vet clinic yesterday afternoon--they are closed Sat. eve and Sunday. Dr. Angie still seems distraught about Scout's condition, although her fever did drop from 104.5 when I brought her in to 102.3 when I picked her up. Just in response to the new antibiotic, which is a good sign. But she stil has no clue as to what's ailing my pup. Today she tossed out the dog flu or Nile virus, but she wasn't at all convinced. Personally, I think it's Lyme disease. If that's true, she should eventually respond to the antibiotics she's taking.

She's just worried about Scout getting dehydrated over the weekend, because she's still refusing to eat or drink and the fever dries her up so quickly.

"But don't give up on her," Dr. Angie tells me with a look of desperation in her eyes. "Stay the course, stick with her . . . you are doing a good job nursing her at home."

She explains how to put baby food on the roof of Scout's mouth so she'll swallow it. Advises me to squirt 16 to 20 ounces of fluid down her a day (that's a lot of work, by the way!).

So today is going to be a rough day for Scout. No IV rehydration, antibiotics crammed down her throat 2x a day, making her even more naseous. And I will be forcing food and drink down my sad little pup every time I walk by her. I'm determined to "stay the course," but Scout just seems so very tired. She's been fighting whatever this is for 10 days now, with little relief.

Thanks for your continued prayers on our behalf!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Scout Update 1/12/08

I dropped Scout off at 8 a.m. yesterday and picked her up at 5:30. They gave her IV fluids to rehydrate all day, plus a new antiobiotic. They ran a CBC blood panel to see if there were changes from Monday.
There were. Scout's white blood cell count had increased significantly. During our consult with the vet, she admitted that the original antibiotic had obviously not been working--and probably contributing to Scout's nausea--and should have been changed days ago.
She'd called the lab and had a consult with the technicians there, asking what they made of Scout's condition. Lyme disease was first on the list, although the test came back negative. The vet said sometimes it takes months for there to be a postive reading even if the disease is present. One of the new antibiotics the vet switched her to is the one they use to treat Lyme's. Just in case.
Other conditions mentioned were: spinal meningitis, cancer, lupus . . . none of them good.
I felt sorry for Dr. Angie. She has 3 dogs, loves them like her children, and is very upset over Scout's mysterious deterioration. She said our next step is to see a specialist, but as I've mentioned before, I don't think we will go there. The tests are all so expensive and there's no guarantee they'll even find anything . . .
Scout seemed perkier when we brought her home last night--probably just really glad to be home. She wagged her tail a bit and even made a circle or two (slowly) around the kitchen. She wasn't drooling-the sign of nausea--but still wouldn't eat, but I forced her to eat a bit of yogurt and broth. The vet said I had to force feed her because her blood sugar was getting low. I hate that because I feel like I'm torturing Scout instead of comforting her. It's tough love, I suppose.
I'm taking her back in today for more IV fluids and meds. We are supposed to go to Cannon Beach on Monday to plan for the marriage retreat but I told Greg I can't go if Scout isn't greatly improved by Monday.
I"m just praying her immune system kicks in and kicks out the bug. That we'll be able to keep her hydrated and enough food in her so she has the strength to fight whatever this is.
I want to share a precious prayer that a very small boy prayed for Scout last night:
"Dear Jesus, umm just please help that dog Scout feel better. Amen." Then he said, "Mommy, when that dog Scout feels better, can we go pet her?"
Amen . . .