Seems that in my life, things - humans, dogs, horses - have been the impetus for research all things medical.
Bentley - my almost 3 year old great dane and heartmender (see Storm story along left side bar for that long tale) - appears to have taken up the torch.
We moved to sunny, hot, humid FL last summer. And for the most part, I have loved every day of living there - the sunshine is ALWAYS out, the rain comes and goes, and not a day goes by that I'm wearing jeans.
Two or three days after moving to FL, I took Sir Bentley outside, along the concrete walking path the circumnavigates our specific complex, and he was being him. Sniffing, peeing - you know, dog things! On one particular night, he spooked, or that is, he jumped and spun around on his leash. I wondered what spooked him as he really is "bomb" proof.
The next day, or the day after that, I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone, petting Sir B, when I noticed the below.
Yeah. Instant thought: snake bite. Have I ever mentioned on here how utterly TERRIFIED I am of snakes? I don't detest them, I like they eat mice, and keep other vermin out of my house. But I am absolutely, pass-out terrified of them... no matter how harmless.
But there on my dog's paw was what looked like to me to be a snake bite. No swelling, no bruising, no movement or discomfort from Bentley so my friend, looking at the picture via text message said not to worry. It was not e-vet time.
Months passed. The wound did not heal. I took Bentley to the vet. That vet wanted to run $1000 worth of tests. I left with a prescription of Cephalexin (broad spectrum dermatologic antibiotic) and hoped for the best.
It didn't clear up.
I called back to talk to different vet, one more pragmatic with my money. She ran a battery of tests.
Bentley came with me back to my former home state. I took him to my long time vet. She took a look, said it seemed to be a lick granuloma and prescribed a higher dose of Cephalexin. 14 days, 2500 mg, 2x / day.
It didn't clear up.
I called my vet back. What now?
Let's culture it. Let's find out what it is susceptible to. Or I can just prescribe a different antibiotic and hope for the best but the downside is that it may not cure it and then we're another 2 weeks out.
I asked, stupidly, if while culturing it if they would look for the "Really bad cells" (aka tumor cells). No, the vet said, we would not, We would have to aspirate for that. We could take a cursory look but a surface scrub for culture would most likely not produce enough cells for us to see mast cells.
I said culture it. Let's find out what it is and be done with it.
Let me say that Sir Bentley has been acting normal. Dorky, goofy, happy, waggy tail, eager to please, happy to see me, NOTHING out of the ordinary.
Today, I got the call at noon.
"Well, the good news is that it is not tumor cells. Also good news, I now understand why Cephalexin would not kill the bacteria. He has pseudomonas,betahyloticstrep,andmethicillinresistentstaph.
I purposefully did not separate those words for that's how it appeared in my thinking. Run together. Pseudomonas. I knew that word. My own father almost died having it twice. Extremely interesting little bugger if not infecting one of my loved ones.
My vet was talking. I could not remember what she said about calling Target's pharmacy to get the script in. She said something about Pepcid for his stomach so that he'd eat with the medications which would likely make him sick. There was something in there about him being in good hands (mine, I think) and something about calling her if I had any questions.
The sun was shining for once. I was dazed, confused, stunned ... and scared as I sat on the little bench outside my job.
Did she say MRSI? Isn't that methicillin resistant staph? I wondered.
Google is great... even if the information I found made my heart sink, and my eyes water.
My Sir Bentley was very sick. And here I was again... with a very sick dog, worried... how much time I have left with my beloved.
Of course, I called the vet back and left a message. "I'm a little freaked out. Can you call me when you're free? Thank you!"
About 1/2 hour later, she called. We talked. She tried to calm me down. She tried to give me hope.
"What's his prognosis?" I asked. She knew to lay it on.
"At this point, very good, you just have to stay fastidious with the meds. Ad2b, in your hands, he has a great chance of making it. You understand how serious, you understand about not missing a dose, you know how to handle these things. Have faith in yourself."
Another few questions to ease my overly worried mind:
Would the test results from a month ago have been enough to show any advanced stage of MRSI?
"Yes. If the disease had advanced beyond his skin, the tests from April would have shown signs."
A little sigh of relief.
"How much time should elapse before I see some improvement in his paw?
"48 to 72 hours. If you don't see any improvement, or marked improvement, call me back and we'll add another drug. Ad2b, we have several options to treat him, we're just starting with the most conservative and working our way to the most expensive, hoping the ones I prescribed are enough."
A little more relief.
"So if the zpac doesn't work, we'll do something else?"
"Yes. Vancomycin, gentomycin, and sporins, we have others. Some you have to be very careful because they are harmful to humans so you have to wear gloves, another is IV only which is a pain but we'll go that route if we have to."
Okay, breathing now. Watery eyes drying up. She and I will help Bentley to better health.
We have to.
He's my heartmender.