June 21, 2015 Hopefully, this is the last post in this thread. Daegan is now off all antibiotics, her white cell level is higher than it has been since we started this process a year and a half ago. The wound has shrunk to quarter size. And, our next check up is 5 months away! My beautiful girl is on the mend. One again, thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and kind words.
Dec 22, 2015 Here we go again. Daegan was back at the emergency vet's for her, I thought, final visit and release. Her wound is closed and slowly healing. Not to be. Platelet level for this CBC was 39,000. It should be between 170,000 and 200,000. So, we are now off to an internist to see what is happening and what we have to do. I was told that Daeg may have to be on meds for life. That isn't a problem at all. I just want her well. With platelets this low, any injury could cause her to bleed out. Right now, I have a glass dog. It looks like we will be going through all the testsagain and then, who knows. My poor girl.
Dec 23, 2015 We will be going to the internist. Daegan's gums are bleeding from time to time. That is most worrisome since a big bleed could be a major problem. Appointment isn't until the 29th. Of course, we can go back to the emergency vet if she gets in real trouble before that.
Dec 29, 2015 Today was internist referral day. Spent most of the day and night going to and from and back again. The results as we have them so far... *There is a mass in one of Daegan's lungs. With the platelet problem, that will be attended to at a later date. *A bladder stone was noted. Pending urinalysis, the stone is either struvite treated with diet or calcium oxalate, non-operative due to platelet problem. May be causing bladder bleeding which may affect the platelet problem. *Possible UTI *Heart murmur, noted previously, to be attended to at a later date. *Non healing wound on hock. Appointment with surgeon next week. *Hind leg wasting, poor muscle tone, perhaps a result of tplo surgeries. *Thyroid status-pending test results. *Major concern, continued thrombocustopenia (platelet problem). Remediation as of today: Prednisone, Azathioprine, Clavamox if stone is struvite, Pepcid, vitmamin C, multivitamin, melatonin. No treats other than vegetables. Lose weight, since weight gain is inevitable with the above meds. Start stone diet if test reveals struvite stone. Follow up appointment next week with Vet and surgeon. This was a $2,000 day! Forms to Trupanion tomorrow!!
Jan 1, 2016 The pred has kicked in immediately...Daegan wants to eat everything in sight! Her pill regime is taking a bit of time before each meal. On the bright side, she is so hungry, I have been able to hide most of her pills right on top of her food with a small veggie treat. We are transitioning to Hill's c/d for the bladder stone. $$$$$ First ingredient...corn, with more corn, soy, wheat, etc. We have been grain free for almost a year, now it is back to all the stuff we eliminated. Rats! Checked Royal Canin, but that doesn't look much better. Price is interesting too. So far, I've found that PetFlow and Chewy have the best prices and possible free shipping. Right now, our little 17 pound bag will do as we do the 3-1, 2-2, 1-3 ration transition.
Jan 6, 2016 Second trip to the internist. Platelets are up a bit. Keep on keeping on. They want more radio graphs or sonogram of the stone next visit, as well as the mass in her lung for reference. Saw surgeon. He thinks we should leave the almost healed wound alone for now. Perhaps aspirate some cells once the platelets are in a better range. Daegan has been peppier this past week. Had to stop her from wrestling with Kieren a couple times. Have to watch those platelets! Poor Kier, he just wants to play. Good thing the girls are around to entertain him.
Jan 13, 2016 Week three: Holy Cow! Platelets have gone up over 130! Continuing the meds and stone diet (for now). She finishes off the antiB for UTI tomorrow. Urine is clear now. We don't have to go back until 26 Jan. They want to repeat the radio graphs then and aspirate the leg wound. I don't even want to think about the lung mass or heart murmur at this point. We will deal with them in time. I have been Googling a lot about this diet stuff. Talked with the company vet from Naturals (they make TSC's 4Health, Daegan's grain free kibble). She suggested adding homeopathic items to Daegan's current food, like cranberry, vitamin C and yogurt (already adding that). I will run this by the internist next visit. I have read a lot about not keeping dogs on stone diets for a long time. They have little protein, among other things. Anyway, things are looking up. We have been up and down so many times, I am not jumping for joy...YET, but I am happier for my girl and the progress she is making at this point.
Feb 11. 2016 Back from the vet. Another $1,000 day. They still have no idea how to get my girl well. Leg wound is worse than ever, I can see her tendon in the wound. Platelets are almost zero again. Next try, bone marrow sample and a chemo shot to induce platelet growth. Thank goodness for Trupanion insurance. But, I still might have to get out there and get a job! Feb 16, 2016 Another vet visit. Fortunately, the snow/ice was mostly melted, so we got there as scheduled. Platelets fell another 1,000. She is at 2,000 now. They are not going to do bone marrow with the platelets that low. But, they did do a round of chemo to see if they can push any remaining platelets to increase. We will see next week. We have to be really vigilant with her at this point. She is bleeding a little around her gums and more from her leg wound than before. Poor baby.
Feb 20, 2016 To look at her, you wouldn't know anything was wrong except for her ever changing colors of vet wrap. But, for the first time in the entire process, the vet has said we are losing her. If we can't build up the platelets without damaging her liver, she is in real trouble. She is also losing weight, unheard of on 4 Pred a day. Last time, she ballooned up to 200. But, we take it one day at a time. Everyone is loving on her, though keeping her quiet.
Feb 23, 2016 Some encouraging news. Vet visit today...platelets are way up. Because...probably the chemo, but possibly the increase back to 80 mg prednisone a day. Still a problem, all the pred is adversely affecting the liver. We get next week off, unless there is a drastic change. Vet dropped the antibiotic for uti. They found a bacteria that didn't respond to cephelexin(sp?) and we are now on a new one (Cefpodoxime Proxetil). Meds were $10, now a month supply will be $500! Oh joy.
Mar 7, 2016 We have an appointment tomorrow. We usually go on Tuesdays, but were given a week off last week. Her leg wound seems to be closing up again, but the foot is ballooning again too. She looks like she has a pancake foot! I am beginning to see her ribs, not happy about that. She is headed down to the 160's. Last time on prednisone, she bulked up to 200. Some concern there.
Mar 8, 2016 Long day today, but we have some results. No more stones in bladder or crystals in urine. Weaning off stone diet...yeah! Still adding cranberry and Vit C to up the acidity of the old food. Platelets are lower, around 94,000. They were 600,000 after the chemo. The drop was expected and the current number is way higher than the 3,000 was. This shows that Daegan's marrow is producing platelets, just not enough right now. Liver is still not really good but headed in a more positive direction. Barb, we are going to add the Denamarin, although it is much less expensive to give it as SamE and Milk Thistle. 1275 mg SamE a day! Whoa, Denamarin doesn't have that high an mg without the milk thistle being way out of prescription. Also adding Silver sulfadine ointment, Cyclosporine (to eventually replace the Pred), Doxycycline. $$$ Tomorrow I go on a hunt to find the best prices and still end up with something so I can start her on the new meds as soon as I can. May be able to wait to make next appt for three weeks if all goes well at home. Leg wound is healing and there is a bit of new skin growing around perimeter. We have been up and down so often, that I don't want to get too excited. Had "serious" discussion with vet today. There is no "light at the end of the tunnel",
Mar 29, 2016 We had a three week break in scheduled appointments and then saw the vet today. *Mostly good news all around. Platelets are near 300,000, down from the chemo rebound, but way up from what has become the normal too low to be good stage. *Daeg is off the stone diet, stones are gone and urine pH looks really good, continuing to add acidic items to her regular, grain-free diet now. *Leg wound continues to improve slowly. Should improve more once prednisone is lowered or stopped. We will decrease to 3 20mg pills in two weeks. *On the negative side, looks like Daegan will be on cyclosporine for the rest of her life. Just picked up a refill, $600+ per month. Insurance will cover some of that, but I am going to be googling sources to see what is out there. *We have another three week appointment. Good news to put some space between vet visits!
Apr 27, 2016 Just a quick check in. Status quo, but a few positives. Platelet count has fallen a little but still in the acceptable range. Liver function is still high but falling. No more crystals in urine but smell indicates another infection. Waiting on cultures to decide which antib would be best. Off Tomorrow to pick up another round of cyclosporine with the discount coupon to be "revealed" at purchase. We will see what happens this time! My biggest concern is the weight loss, another 5 pounds, and the continued lose of muscle tone in the hind legs. Daegan is beginning to scrape her back toenails when she steps. It isn't all the time, but I am noticing it more. All in all, we are hanging in there.
May 2, 2016 I will have to check Cornell. I am now injecting Daeg twice a day with an antibiotic. Her e-coli uti is resistant to oral meds. On the positive side, liver enzymes, platelets, urine Ph all are improving. We're hanging in there. As always, thanks for all your concern and for checking in with us. I wish Daegan could read so she would see how lucky she is to have such great friends pulling for her.
June 22, 2016 Very odd. Daegan and I were sitting in the T.V. room and I looked down to see a big spot of blood in the rug. A lesion has opened on the margin of the new skin around the leg wound and blood is just running down Daegan's leg. It wasn't pulsing, so no artery involvement. If I let it alone the blood just lay in the lesion. As soon as I moved her leg, the blood ran again. So, I have cleaned it and put a pressure bandage on it secured with vet wrap. I will check later to see if the blood has clotted on its own. If not, it is back to the vets again. What next?
June 27, 2016 Well, it's back on the roller coaster again. After several months of great platelet counts, todays' count was 2, that's TWO, down from 300000 four weeks ago. Positive...the liver enzymes that have been so high (off the scale) have finally come down to measurable since we have all but ended the Prednisone (until we start again tomorrow because of the no platelets. There go the liver enzymes again!). The UTI is again the virulent e-coli type so we are back on twice daily shots of meropenum. That should arrive from the compounding pharmacy in a couple days. Dr. is adding another antibiotic, but I don't have tht name in front of me at the moment. Something interesting. They took an X-ray (radio-graph, can't get used to that term), of Daegan's foot. There is something along the bone below the wound on her hock. A mass, an infection, who knows. Next week's visit will include the surgeon. With the no platelets, biopsy is chancy. They will decide after the next CBC. And, Daeg got another round of chemo, which helped the first time. Fingers crossed for this one. So, the beat goes on. Daegan has been bouncing, playing tug, pushing me out of the way to get to her food dish (naughty bugger!). Who would ever know she is in such dire straights. So, we play, carefully, and love on her, and scold her when she gets pushy. Live goes on in the Gerber household.
July 8, 2016 Chemo worked again, platelets up to 700,000 today. All other meds remain the same. Not real happy about the increased pred again, but whatever works. Interesting growths under her upper lips and gums. Vet says they are from the cyclosporine. Another interesting change, Daegan has a puffy, bulge on her upper chest. Confusing? Next appt on the 26th, the day before her birthday! She will be 8!!! All our other giants only made it to 7. Here is the girl with all her problems and tons of medications over the past three years and she beat them all! That's my girl.
July 27, 2016 Quick update. The birthday girl is well recovered from yesterday's sedative and hungry as a horse! At the vet visit yesterday, her platelets were still up high enough for the surgeon to incise the leg wound and do biopsies of the wound and deep tissue to see if they can identify the area that showed up on the radio-graphs below the outer wound. Results will take a week to come back. It is our hope that the biopsies will identify something that might be making the wound not heal and also cause the platelet problem. Fingers crossed. For now, we celebrate ,with all that has gone on these past three years, our girl's 8th birthday (living longer than all of our other giant breed dogs). I am amazed that she is doing as well as she is. Her heart is huge and well, and filled with all the love we can give her.
Aug 14, 2016 Daegan finally lost the battle she has been fighting the past three years. The vets never did find the cause of her immuno-supression. Oh how I do miss my beautiful girl! She was my "special girl". If I knew the day we picked her up that we would end this way, I would still do it all over again! Thank you do much for being there for us.
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