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Medical Update


Medical Update
Big day out at the beach!
Reap the whirlwind!

One beat at a time



AS you may or may not know, I have recently returned from staying at the Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital, Brooklyn NY. "Oh no!" I hear you gasp in sorrow, "whatever can the matter be?" Well, it is a long story, so pull up a chair and listen to my AMAZING tale..........

Sleepy me

OK, so it is Thursday 1st March. Dad starts giving me a hard time because I have a touch of conjunctivitis (that's an eye infection to the rest of us). Big Deal! Anyway, as I had only been adopted four weeks ago mum and dad are a bit on the cautious side about my health, so we book an appointment at the Docs.
When we get there, nice Dr Gilbert gives me a once over and looks a little unhappy. Forty five minutes, one fourth year med student and an X-ray later it turns out I have a retained fetus in my womb. This is a bit more serious.
It is decided that I should be spayed (no one consults me on the matter I might point out, but under the circumstances I am willing to let it slide) Mum and dad say goodbye and I go off upstairs to sit in a cage and wait for my op. I'l let dad take over the story........

Thursday 1st March: After having left Freyja at Animal Kind we went home to await a call after the op. Instead a rather somber Dr Gilbert called us back after a couple of hours to say that he had done a few prelim blood tests before the op, and Freyja's numbers were off the charts. They were so bad, he re-did the tests just to make sure. Basically she was toxic to the 'nth degree and had acute renal failure. He was happy to go ahead with the op to remove the fetus, but Freyja might crash on the table, the fetus might not be the problem and at the end of the day, her prognosis was hours to days as opposed to days to weeks. Sandra, my wife Rachel, and I decided to have her put to sleep.

We all troop down to the clinic at about 7.30pm. Dr Gilbert had gone home (he had been on since 6.00am) and Freyja was now in the care of Dr Bierbrier. We had a chat with her and after spending some time with Freyja, and a lot of tears, Dr Bierbrier came back to say she had been brainstorming with her team, and that instead of putting Freyja down, she thought we could have a go at saving her. The problem was, what was causing her renal failure? Prime candidate was the retained fetus, but some of the numbers from her tests just didn't add up if this was the case. The two other options were: a) she had eaten something in the park that had poisoned her kidneys; or, b) she had caught a really nasty virus called Leptospirosis. This stuff is very contagious and goes for either the kidneys or the liver. If she was poisoned then there was nothing we could do. If it was Lepto, there was a chance. It was decided that we would start treating her as if she had Lepto, whilst we waited for a Lepto test to come back from Cornell. They took Freyja upstairs and put her on fluids and antibiotics. It had to be better than putting her down!

Friday 2nd March: Dr Bierbrier calls us up and says that she has changed her mind and feels that going ahead with the op would be a good idea. At least that way one of Freyja's many many problems would be out of the way. The dog looked very strong and she felt that it would be OK. We agreed.

Lets all have a doze

Nothing is ever that simple it turns out. Next thing we know the Doc is back on the phone saying that she has NOT done the op. Whilst preparing Freyja for the table, they do an ultrasound on her tummy and low and behold, the puppy is NOT DEAD!!!!!!! Freyja actually has a live pup, between 45 and 63 days old and could give birth at any moment. We could still go ahead with the op but that would kill the pup so we decided to go back to plan A. Sit and wait to find out if Freyja has Lepto, and also to wait for her to give birth. The whole story is starting to sound like an episode of "Days of our Dogs" or something. What next, amnesia?

Saturday 3rd March: No news on the puppy or anything at the moment. Had a nice visit with Freyja. She looked quite forlorn in her cage though. Just have to wait. It is odd to see your dog hooked up to an IV line, I tell you.

Sunday 4th March: Some blood test results come back and Freyja's numbers have dropped, but not nearly enough. Still, at least it is a step in the right direction. Puppy is still alive, so that's good.

Monday 5th March: Freyja looked very unwell today during our daily visit to the hospital. No news either way. Pup's heart still beating. They have put her on a second antibiotic. She is starting to look very pregnant.

I stare nobley into the distance

Tuesday 6th March: Dr Bierbrier has been looking at some more results and feels that there may be another reason for Freyja's renal failure. According to her urine tests she has high levels of E.coli bacteria. This could mean that she is suffering from pyelonephritis (a really bad kidney infection). This is good news in a way, as the treatment she has already been receiving is the same as she would get for this as well, ie: lots of fluids and antibiotics. Freyja looked a lot more perky today as well as very pregnant.

Wednesday 7th March: No real news today. Unfortunately Freyja's Lepto results have STILL not come back from Cornell. Oh well, must learn to be patient. Freyja looking very healthy despite the whole situation. As Dr Bierbrier put it "no-one has told the dog just how ill she is". Fine by us, let's just keep it that way. Freyja is beginning to look HUGE. She could give birth any time!!!

Thursday 8th March: Phone call from Dr Bierbrier this morning. Freyja gave birth at 6.30am but the pup didn't make it. They tried to revive it but no go. Feeling very sad at the moment. I hate to think how Freyja feels. Trying to look on the bright side of things, now that she has given birth things may improve with her kidneys. God, I hope so.

Had a nice long visit this afternoon with Freyja. She is looking much more spritely now. According to the nurse she is displaying a very lively personality now that she has given birth, as opposed to her rather lazy attitude before. She was very happy to see us and you could tell that she was ready to come home. Hopefully she can soon. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Friday 9th March: Dr Bierbrier phoned this morning to say that Freyja's Lepto results were in and she has tested positive. Damn! It is not quite as bad as all that, it is possible that she has shown positive because of the vacinations she received from her first vet (the same guy who failed to notice she was pregnant and vaccinated her anyway). Dr Bierbrier is going to contact him to find out exactly what he gave her. Back to waiting again.......

Well, the news is that Freyja has Lepto for sure. She was not vaccinated against it, it turns out. On the bright side, Dr Bierbrier says that if her blood test results are good, tommorrow morning we might be able to bring her home! How cool is that? As she has Lepto we will have to be careful about hygiene and stuff but she should be OK. I can't wait! Then, after a short while we will be able to give her this really potent antibiotic which will do away with the Lepto once and for all. Hurrah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Home at last!

Saturday 10th March: FREYJA CAME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Went down to the vet's this afternoon and Dr Bierbrier said that we could take her home with us. Her blood tests were in from this morning and although her numbers had gone up a little, she seems to have reached a plateau. Now, armed with a bag full of pills and potions, and a list of instructions, she is back here with us at last. She has to go back to the Doc's on Tuesday for a check up to see if her numbers have risen over the weekend. Let's hope not!

And just to keep up her reputation for keeping us all on our toes, she had a touch of diarrhea this morning. One stool analysis later it turns out she also has an infestation of whip-worms! Nice huh? Just when you think that you are out of the woods, along comes Freyja with yet another ailment. Oh well, at least this one is easy enough to treat, and it does account for her being so skinny!

Sunday 11th March: Well, Freyja has now spent a whole day back home and seems to have settled in fine. As she has not one, but two strains of Lepto, we have to be very careful about her passing it on to other dogs. For this reason we are not allowed to take her into the park. Being with other dogs is OK, but her urine is highly contagious. Therefore, we only take her for walks along the side of the park, where we are better able to spray her pee with clorox bleach. I have to tell you that I am getting quite a few odd looks from people on the street. It is not every day you see a guy bending down to take a look at where his dog just had a pee!

She is being a very good girl and taking her antibiotics, potions and anti-worming stuff, without too much fuss. Plus, a new development from Freyja that she seems to have picked up at the Doc's, she now vocalises when she wants something. She never made a peep before! Only ever heard her bark once, and that was in the park when a couple of dogs got a bit pushy. She is just as affectionate as she ever was, and has taken to sleeping at the bottom of our bed with us (yes, I know that you are not meant to let your dog sleep on the bed with you, but I don't have the heart to kick her off). We are all just so glad to have her back.

Monday 12th March: Freyja is not being quite such a good girl about her antibiotics today. After spending half an hour trying to get her to swallow them (wrapped in chicken AND bacon I might add!), I had to crush them up, add them to some broth and then squirt them into her mouth. Never a clean operation at the best of times. She has not eaten much today either. However, she has only pooped once since we brought her home, so perhaps she is just full up? She is still drinking quite a lot though, so that is good.

Tuesday 13th March: Not such a great day today. Took Freyja in to see Dr Bierbrier this afternoon. Freyja's blood levels are rising again. This is NOT good. It could be that she was just having a bad day, but then again it could be that her kidneys are just shot, and that without the IV pumping in gallons a day she will go back into renal failure. So, in an effort to stave off such an event, we are now giving Freyja a litre of water under her skin every day. This is not a job for the squeemish, as you have to pierce her skin with a HUGE needle, so as to let the saline drip in. Plus, when you have finished your dog looks like the Hunchback of Notredame. Still, if it will help her kidneys to recover, then so be it.

Other than that, things seem to be going OK. Freyja is not eating much at the moment, but we have found a treat she will ALWAYS go for. Something called "Milkbone MAR-O-SNACKS". These are the doggy equivalent of Whitecastle (except they contain more nutritional value). Sandra was feeding them to her dogs and Freyja just lit up when she tried one. You know, for a dog with so many health issues, you just wouldn't know it by looking at her, or seeing how she behaves. As Dr Bierbrier said " at some point we are just going to have to stop looking at the numbers and just go with how Freyja is acting". Works for me Doc!

Sunday 18th March: Not a lot to update you with at the moment. Things have kind of settled into a routine here in the Walker household. Freyja takes her antibiotics, Alternagel and a litre of fluid every day. She is not eating too much at the moment, but then she will suddenly binge on stuff (oh no, she can't be anorexic as well can she?). We are going back to see Dr Bierbrier on Tuesday, so perhaps we will have more to tell then. Check out the day at the beach page though, that was a lot of fun!

Tuesday 27th March: OK, it has been a while since the last update but here goes. Freyja is doing very well at the moment. She has finnished one of her antibiotic doses, but continues on with her other one, and her Alternagel and her litre of saline every day. She is A LOT perkier. She has also started to show very puppy like attitudes to us. For instance, she chewed through our phone cable a couple of days ago! She is so bouncy now that when we take her downstaires to see Cisco and Zowie, she drives them insane and they end up barking at her. She has started chasing squirels again. She now likes to play tug of war with sticks. Every time we come home we find that she has moved something of ours up on to her bed with her; a glove, a bag, one of my shoes etc. I had to get up at 4am the other night as I could hear a strange noise from the front room. It turned out to be Freyja chewing my personal stereo! We take all of these things as signs that she is well on her way to a full recovery.

On the wall.

Tuesday 1 st of May: Before you start giving me a hard time let me just apologise for not putting anything up sooner. I kow that it has been a while and I am sorry to have left things hanging for so long. Anyway, the news is that Freyja seems to be doing pretty well at the moment. Today was her last dose of antibiotics, she is now as Lepto free as she will ever be and we are allowed to take her back in the park again (thank the good Lord). This is such a blessing as she has been desperate to get back in there for SOOOOOOOO long now. Her Blood levels are not exactly great but they are at least stable, which is cool. Now all we can do is just hang around and see what happens. She will always have problems with her Kidneys but so what?! We can deal with it right? The next big thing for her will be getting her spayed. Still not sure how to aproach this for the moment, but Dr. Bierbrier is being as helpfull and informative as always, so we should be able to come up with a plan of action sometime soon. The biggest news of all has to be Freyja's new flatmate Cyclone. Go check out his page NOW!

Mum and dad will post any and all information as soon as they have it, so keep checking back for more updates!

Sandra, Rachel, James and Freyja would all like to express their heartfelt thanks to Amy Z, Abi C and Dr Lori Bierbrier and her team, for all their thought and concern over the past few days.