Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers each night
Clifford Siodamak - "The Wolfman"
It's bad. What makes it somehow worse is that it comes from a disease called Ehrlichia.
Ehrlichia canid infection in dogs is divided into 3 clinicopathologic stages:
acute phase of disease:
fever, anorexia, lethargy
This phase begins 1-3 weeks after exposure.
Most dogs recover at this point, but others progress to the subacute and chronic phases subacute phase of disease:
hypergammaglobulinemia (polyclonal or sometimes monoclonal gammopathy), thrombocytopenia and anemia usually subclinical, but can last months to years
lethargy, weight loss
PANCYTOPENIA, BONE MARROW SUPPRESSION AND HEMORRHAGE
Mortality can be high in dogs that progress to the chronic stage of disease.
Three hundred military dogs were lost to this "Tropical Canine Pancytopenia" form of ehrlichiosis during the Vietnam War. Progression to subacute and chronic disease is generally attributed to an ineffective immune response on the part of the dog. German Shepherd dogs appear to be predisposed to the severe, chronic form of disease.
It kind of sucks to be my puppy right now. If nothing else, I love her. I can only hope that means something to her. I think it does. It could just be my massive ego but she still wants to keep me in eyesight.
My puppy has even figured out new paths and methods to keep me in sight which reduce the stress on her little body. When we walk up the hill to the street for our walks she insists on coming along on all three trips. Instead of bouncing up the hill and vaulting the retaining walls like usual she's figured out a path that she can make in her own plodding style.
When I walk the other dogs she lets me go to where she knows I'll have to turn around. She will stand there and wait for me to come back. If I move five feet further away than normal she adjusts and waits.
So the flesh is weak but her mind is strong.
Her initial blood test showed her with a 12% blood count. It should be around 36%. My own blood count once fell to 5%meds but and they were writing me off then. I know how uncomfortable a 12% can be.
We started her on a massive program of antibiotics and steroids. My puppy showed all the side effects of the meds but no real improvements. In fact she seemed to be going downhill.
I took her to work with me to monitor her. She watched me closer than I monitored her! If I left my office door open she'd very slowly follow me out and just trudge along until she found me. When she did find me she would just laugh at me.
I took my puppy back in Friday for another blood test. This time the blood count was 14% but her protein count was down from 6.7 to 6.
Those 2 points caused my heart to flutter. It could be a false hope due to the various testing methods used. But they can't take way that she at least is not getting worse.
Ehrlichia is a tick born disease. Like lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever it comes from being bitten by a tick.
I'm still trying to figure out what purpose ticks serve in ecology. I wonder about that a lot less then I wonder how to get revenge on a phylum.
Most of you know that my big prayer has always been for me to live one day longer than my puppy. Even though she showed that she can survive far better without me than I can without her.
I wish I'd never offered that prayer. I'm wondering now if she's just trying to keep pace with me; as if I'd given her a command to go first.
I've been having a lot of warning sign, signs I'm constantly on alert for: Constantly dropping things - explained away as a side effect to the frozen right shoulder and football neck injury
Thinning hair - I'm getting older aren't I?
Odd wounds that don't heal - I have a few in my scalp. My wife examined them and said they looked like bug bites.
Fatigue - I've got a burdensome loathsome job and five dogs to care for.
They did a blood work on me a couple of weeks ago. I got the call yesterday that I need to go in for some more blood tests.
Lost 25 lbs since November - My wife moved in. New living arrangement and eating habits change. And there's been a lot of stress with her family, house and friends. It all effects me. Four pounds a month is not what anyone would call a massive weightless now, is it?
I sort of blew it off. I was feeling okay and had a good explanation for what was going on in me, but last night it was an herculean task to lift a dog bowl of food and stir it up. I wrote it off as using my bad right hand but it was just as impossible with my left.
I got it done because me and my puppy do share that. We just keep on going till we get there.
I might be coming out of remission, but then again, I might not.
If you check the podcast button at the top of the menu you'll find the latest. I'll have another one up this week.
After that will come the tribute to summer and then the tribute to dogs, with every dog song I could find that is cool and or crazy.