UPDATE 5/16/12 1:28 PM
Roxy is doing as well as we could have dreamed. She now has to go for IV treatments every other day and she takes some very expensive medicine on a daily basis, but it is working. Her cough is much improved and she has a spring in her step and a twinkle in her eye. She is still running a fever which is our biggest battle, but we have that under control for the most part. Her worst problem, though, is an inability to nurse her puppies so her poor boobs are swollen and miserable. Because I am a dedicated foster, I milked this poor baby for a couple of days to get some of the pressure off of her, followed by cool, wet compresses which she loves:
For now, the routine is every other day to the vet for IV Amphotericin B and daily oral Sporanox (not generic). Each day in the hospital costs about $200 and each pill costs about $16. The vet was kind enough to donate some old meds she had to save us some money, but her first week of care ran almost $1800. Had we not taken her home every night it would have been around four times that much. We are still fundraising for her because she may go down as the single most expensive dog EVER to grace our doors and that is saying something. Anyone who wants to donate can do so here: http://www.bigfluffydogs.com/pay-online.php (just be sure to note it’s for Roxy in either the company name line for credit cards or notes on paypal). She will be on the Sporanox for another month before we are able to switch her to generic itraconazole at a big savings cost wise. Overall, we expect the treatment to take a minimum of four months.
Today is bittersweet for me because we are sending her puppies away to a foster home. This will definitely upset Roxy, but it is for the best as the risk of an inadvertent nursing could be disastrous as the drugs she takes concentrate in breast milk and could cause kidney failure in the puppies. We want the very best for them and for Roxy. Thanks to everyone for the prayers, good wishes and donations. We would not be where we are without all of that.
Finally, after days of treatment and sleepless nights, we know for sure Roxy has blastomycosis. This is a very serious, very dangerous and frequently fatal fungal infection which, in Roxy’s case, has caused extreme pneumonia. This afternoon, we treated her with the Amphotericin B and started the Sporanox. Amphotericin B is a dangerous drug and sadly, Roxy’s nursing days are done as the drug concentrates in breast milk and would likely be toxic to the puppies. This is making the puppies quite angry and Roxy is very confused as to why she isn’t allowed to see her puppies. However, we cannot keep them from trying to nurse and Roxy from trying to nurse her puppies. She is an awesome Mom and she has done well by them, but they must be separated immediately to save them all. Tomorrow, since they will not be getting any breast milk, we will have to give the puppies their first set of shots to protect them from disease. At almost four weeks, we are feeding puppy milk replacement, baby food and baby cereal, and they are doing OK, but I think they would be better in smaller numbers with more attention from the foster. We need local fosters in the Nashville area who can take these youngsters on ASAP, which frankly breaks my heart as I am totally attached to the little creatures. This is not what I had planned for them.
Roxy is holding her own. Her lung x-rays showed some improvement and she is resting a little more comfortably. She has a very long way to go and remains in danger. We are guardedly optimistic. I would like to give a huge shout out to Dr. Herd who has taken phone calls at all hours of the day and night and tolerated extreme instances of foster Mom stalking. Without her help, Roxy would have died this week. We would also like to thank everyone who has kept Roxy in their prayers and/or donated for her care. We have raised about $1200 which has covered most of her costs and we will continue to fundraise for her as the medication costs will exceed $2000 most likely. Sporanox is incredibly expensive and she will be on it for many months. If you would like to donate to Roxy’s care, you can do so here: http://bigfluffydogs.com/pay-online.php. Just be sure to note in the company line that it’s for Roxy so we can thank you properly (or if on Paypal – in the notes section). As always, thanks to everyone for their support. Roxy could not do this without all of you.
For those who would like to foster, and who are in the Nashville area, please email email@example.com for information on fostering.
UPDATE 5/8/12 AT 12:04 PM
Roxy came home last night and we mastered the art of running an IV. She fed her puppies just before midnight and then we brought her into our room to rest. Around 3:30 a.m., after a very fitful night, Roxy began hacking and could not seem to catch her breath. Off we went to the ER. Her oxygen rate was around 92% which is not awful considering how badly her lungs are functioning, and it appears she had a mucus plug she could not expel which caused her problems with her breathing and scared her. (For local readers, this is a huge shout out to the nice people at Nashville Veterinary Specialists on Sidco – they are wonderful and very reasonable). Some time with some oxygen, a nebulizing treatment, and another IV with some antibiotics and we went home around 6:45 a.m. and she seemed much better. I am, of course, half-crazed from lack of sleep, but she was resting much more comfortably on our return. She is now back with the vet for the day getting IV antibiotics and oxygen and we will bring her home again tonight. We are waiting on the lab results to determine conclusively whether this is blastomycosis or a bacterial pneumonia gone wild. The puppies are doing fine. More to follow.
UPDATE 5/7/12 AT 7:20 PM
The vet has had a slight change of plans. She will not start Roxy on the Amphotericin B until urine tests come back from the lab tomorrow to confirm the diagnosis of blastomycosis. This is a seriously dangerous drug and one not taken lightly. She was allowed to come home to us with IV in tow with the strict promise that the slightest hint of respiratory distress will result in an immediate trip to the ER for more oxygen. She is currently resting comfortably and frankly, her breathing scares me as she sounds as if she is choking which of course she is. She is far more comfortable here than she would be in a hospital. It appears we have made it through the first twelve hours of crisis. We have a very long way to go. I have not calculated how many donations have been made nor are we up to date on thank yous, but we want everyone to know we appreciate your prayers, donations and offers of help. The puppies are safe and not at risk and they are currently quite angry that their Mom was gone all day. Let’s just say the supplemental bottle feeding was somewhat of a challenge. To provide some cheer, here she is laying at my feet:
UPDATE 5/7/12 AT 2:22 PM
Roxy has started intraveneous injections with Amphotericin B, which is a very strong, potent and at $500 a bottle, expensive, drug. This is the best hope to save her life and if there is any justice in this world at all, she should show improvement within a few days. She will be coming home with me this evening as I think she will be more comfortable with us than in a hospital. Should there be any signs of acute distress, we will take her to the ER. Many of you have asked about the puppies who got bottle fed for the first time today. They are not at risk and they are fat, healthy and frankly angry at their lack of Mom. The vet is checking and hopes to allow her to nurse them tonight a little bit for her benefit. Their first bottle feeding went somewhat badly, but we are working to get the hang of it. Thanks to everyone for their donations and prayers. Both are definitely going to be needed.
This Monday is not a good day and I post with very sad news. Roxy who is our star Mom of eight three-week-old puppies took a serious turn for the worse on Sunday. Roxy came in to rescue as a very pregnant and emaciated Mom with what we thought was a standard case of kennel cough. On arrival, we began treating her with powerful antibiotics and trying to put weight on her to help her safely deliver her puppies
Roxy had eight very adorable puppies – 4 boys and 4 girls on April 15, just in time for the IRS. Her cough continued and we tried different antibiotics, but with an eye to the puppies’ needs as well. Yesterday, Roxy became very ill and the coughing spiked out of control and she developed a very high fever.
Roxy is in the hospital now fighting for her life with an extreme case of pneumonia. It is suspected that she has blastomycosis which is a very serious and extremely dangerous fungal disease caused by inhaling a spore and which in her case has landed in her lungs and spread exponentially. Under the best of circumstances, this disease kills a third of the dogs that develop it and Roxy is very critically ill.
Roxy is being treated with drugs that cost a small fortune so we will be fundraising for her care. Her puppies are now three weeks old and they are healthy and happy and she has been an outstanding mother to them. We will care for them and have already begun bottle feeding today. A local dog day care – Dogtopia – has offered to help bottle feed during the day for us so we can manage in the nighttime hours. Please say a prayer for Roxy. Modern medicine has its limits and it is up to the universe and Roxy herself as to whether she will recover.