Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cole's health saga continues...

First of all, we are well aware how ridiculous all of Cole's health issues are. We lovingly refer to him as our "defective dog", our "investment", and nicknamed him "Murphy" after Murphy's Law. Is he worth it? Simply put, yes. He is our loyal friend, constant companion, and devoted protector. We will do as much for him as we can to ensure he has a good quality of life...he is only 5 years old. The fact we have dog insurance for him helps with unexpected vet bills.

Early last week, Cole was put on a very low dose of a steroid to help him get some relief from allergies while we waited for the testing results. We requested this low dose b/c a regular dose for him causes him to lose bladder control, and with a dog his size, that's a LOT of potty on our carpet!! So, after being on this a couple days, one evening I noticed his hair was ruffled and funny looking. I called him over and started to stroke his hair and realized he had lumps under his skin! ALL OVER! He had hives. Later that night, he started having tremors...at times they were so bad, I could feel them through the floor from across the room. I called the emergency vet office and they disregarded my theory that it was related to the steroid, and told me it was probably neurological and would have to wait and see what happens.

Over the next 24 hours, we watched him deteriorate (as we anxiously waited for our apt with the vet) His eyes were bloodshot, more tremors, hives, and now vomiting and diarrhea. He couldn't even keep very small amounts of water down. He avoided us and laid in the dark bathroom, and sometimes in the tub behind the shower curtain. When his breathing became labored, I realized this is probably "it" and spent much of the day sitting with him.

Mike took him to the vet that afternoon, and called me as soon as he knew what was going on. I was ready to come over to say "goodbye" and wondered how we should handle it with Natalie. Mike told me that Cole had an allergic reaction to the prednisone (steroid) and the vet had never seen such a reaction (b/c it's practically unheard of...steroids are what you use to control allergic reactions!) but that Cole would recover!

Then Mike said the blood test results for the allergies were back, and I would NEVER guess what Cole is so allergic to. Ready for this??

Seasonal allergies--practically none
Dust mites (a common animal allergy)--somewhat allergic
Food allergies--Cole is HIGHLY allergic to EVERY single food tested, except milk. He is allergic to beef, chicken, pork, lamb, rice, corn, and almost every other filler in dog food.

Good news? No allergy shots needed. Bad news? He is now on expensive hypoallergenic dog food. It's about $100 a bag, and that will last a little less than a month. The past 4 days, we have been so happy to watch our dog return to normal, no, BETTER than normal!! His is now weaned off the steroids, and transitioned onto his hypoallergenic dog food. We have noticed a HUGE improvement in his health. He has been an attention HOG lately, b/c he now wants us to pet him constantly (something that he didn't like before b/c it would send him into an itching fit) and we are happy to oblige.

Our happy dog:

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