This is a guest blog from a blogging friend I met online a long time ago and adore. She reached out to me about Cody and I immediately started praying for his full recovery. Karen thought her story about rocky mountain spotted fever in dogs would be a great story for dog parents and I so appreciate her documenting her experience as it was happening. Talk about a great dog mom and a great person to have in our dog community.p>
I would like to share with you about rocky mountain spotted fever in dogs and how my precious black lab, Cody became suddenly ill in July. We live in the Midwest, Missouri to be exact, in a typical subdivision. We walk our dogs daily and take as many precautions as possible, to keep them safe, after all they are our four legged kids.
The first signs…
Cody is typically a happy, three year old, mischief making young dog, who I adore. A couple of weeks ago during a hot and humid week in Missouri, Cody became lethargic, not coming when called, and moving slowly around the house. At first I attributed these signs to the heat and humidity, even though my dogs spend most of the day in the air conditioning. He was eating and drinking normally, so I wasn’t alarmed at this point at the slight changes in his behavior. I kept a close eye on him but was worried when I had to leave to pick up my family from the airport.
Cody’s behavior had changed…
When my husband and kids came in the door, they noticed that Cody didn’t greet them in his usual playful manner. He usually races to the door with toys, wagging his tail. When I touched him, he seemed uncomfortable and warm. At that point we made a quick and wise decision. We immediately took him to our local 24 hour animal hospital.
Upon examination, the vet found that Cody was dehydrated and had a temperature of 104. He was admitted and given IV fluids, blood tests were taken and our lives were suddenly turned upside down.
A spinal tap and the word “meningitis”…
After blood tests, X-rays, and careful examination, we still did not have an answer. The next day Cody was sick, not eating, and still had a fever. They continued to give him IV fluids and called in a surgeon/specialist who suggested that they do a spinal tap on Cody. Then the word “meningitis” entered the picture. What?
At this point I was practically hysterical. How could this happen to such a sweet dog, or any dog for that matter? We agreed to the procedure, and Cody was taken into surgery. The doctor came out and told me that the surgery went well and it would take a few days for the results, since this was a specialized test. Cody stayed another night at the hospital and my heart ached for him. We missed him.
Cody was put on two antibiotics and prednisone for his symptoms. By the next day his fever was coming down and I was able to take him home as long as I kept tabs on his temperature. We were so happy to have him home. At this point we still didn’t have any answers. He was still tired, walking slowly and stiffly and sleeping a lot. At least he was home with us where we could baby him.
More blood work and tests…
Several days later we got a call from the vet to inform us that the spinal tap was negative. Good news, but still no diagnosis. In the meantime the vet sent off more blood work, called titers, to test for: Toxoplasmosis, Neospora and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. I was glad to know they were covering all the bases.
When I took Cody back to the vet hospital for a check up, the vet told me that the test for rocky mountain spotted fever came back positive. Cody had been bitten by a tick. When and where, we don’t know. Cody continued to improve at home taking two antibiotics along with prednisone, and lots of TLC!
The final result came in today, August 2nd. Cody tested positive for toxoplasmosis. This is a common parasitic disease. You can read more information about toxoplasmosis on the PetMD website, a great source for information. Here is a link on PetMD about rocky mountain spotted fever in dogs.
Our family is thankful that we got Cody to the vet hospital in time. We also give a big thank you to all of the Veterinarians, Vet Techs, and all of the other support people at Midwest Veterninary Referral Center in Chesterfield, Missouri. They are a state of the art 24 hour vet hospital. You can visit their website.
I call Cody, “my handsome boy.” He is loving, funny and just plain sweet. There are many days when I ask myself this question, “Who Rescued Who?” I think we all know the answer to that!
Cody is still on antibiotics for a total of 28 days, and we are weaning him off of the prednisone. He is back to his normal diet and up to his old tricks, and for that, we are happy beyond words!
Karen’s story reminded me that our dogs rescued me too…
About Karen: Welcome to Mommies In Orbit, I’m Karen, a Midwestern, middle of the road Mom to 13-year-old twins, Ben and Jen. I’m the creator, writer, pasta-maker and photographer for Mommies In Orbit. I write about stuff I’m passionate about & things that drive me crazy. My interests change periodically, so you never know what you’re going to read about next. Photography is my hobby, and my kids are my main focus, and they aim to keep it that way. My dogs, Cody & Nikki help me find the humor in life and I absolutely cherish both of them.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my little slice of madness raising twins, smack dab in the middle of life!