Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Boo-Bear Update

Bug has more nicknames than Paris Hilton has shoes. My current favorite is, the Boo-Bear.

Things have been quiet on the blog front because life has been busy and I have been stressing a bit about Bug.

About a week and a half ago Bug started acting stiff in his front.

Stiff in his front! This after a weekend of doing NOTHING!

I became fairly stressed about it and then I remembered the boy is Lyme positive.

Last year Bug tested positive on his Snap test and I ran a C6. He had a high antibody titer of 325 (IDEXX suggests treating if the titer is >30). After much soul searching I opted to treat him homeopathically/holistically because he was asymptomatic. I conferred with my vet and he agreed since Bug was asymptomatic there was no reason not to try that route.

I worked with my then chiropractor/homeopath and she prescribed Bioactive Homeopathic Lym D (a nosode), Solid Gold Life Exxtension (Colostrum), and Standard Process’ Immune Support. Shortly afterward Bug sprouted two very lovely CPVs (warts) and we added Cats Claw to the mix.

My vet said not to bother running a second C6 until at least 6 – 8 months have passed. I didn’t get around to it in the timeliest manner, but Bug was due for his annual and I figured we would test then as he was still asymptomatic in my mind. Once the boy started acting stiff I immediately scheduled an appointment.

We saw our vet last Wednesday and it was a frustrating appointment. My vet felt that if he had to choose, he felt Bug’s right elbow was the source of the pain. i.e. nothing was leaping out to him but Bug expressed a bit of discomfort (lip-licking) when he flexed that leg. To follow up that statement he said he felt like it was part and parcel of Bug being a corgi; they are structured funny, essentially. He went on to say elbow dysplasia is common in the breed and I could expect that Bug would probably develop arthritis in his elbows, especially his right given it has more turn-out, and I should limit his high-impact behaviors (amongst which he included stairs and jumping off of furniture). He did NOT think it was Lyme.

We drew blood for the C6 and I started worrying I have a dog that is structurally incapable of doing what I’d like to do.

Bug saw Cheryl (our chiropractor) on Friday and she felt his pectoral muscle and the muscle surrounding his scapula were tight. She did NOT think it was his elbow. She worked on him and he was moving MUCH better after she was done. I started stretching and massaging him daily. I feel like he is much less stiff, although he still looks off to me.

I also had Cheryl test Bug to see if he is allergic to chicken. I have been noticing some staining on his muzzle and I have been relying heavily on chicken lately. Yup, Bug has developed a sensitivity to chicken. Katrin commented that it is not surprising – most dogs who have had a parvo or distemper vaccine are allergic to chicken because chicken is frequently utilized to create the vaccine (I have to look into this further – I recently heard this from someone else too and had never realized it). Anyway, that knocks chicken and turkey of the list of proteins for Bug. It sounds like I might be placing an order with Hare Today soon!

My vet called Monday with the results of Bug’s C6. His antibody titer is now 404. So, either treating him homeopathically/holistically last year did not work or the boy became re-infected.

At this point, because I truly hope the stiffness he is experiencing is Lyme related I am treating with doxycycline (10 mg/kg/daily and my vet rounds up). We are treating for 4 weeks. I have heard from multiple people online (via Tick-L) and online articles to treat for 6 – 8 weeks. However, aside from personal recommendations I cannot find any research to support the statement/suggestion. I discussed it with my vet and he said all of the research is done at a 3 week daily dose of 5 – 10 mg/kg/daily. 4 weeks in the research is actually the upper end, once again.

It was also strongly suggested (online) that I run a CBC since Lyme can cause Lyme nephritis in dogs. My vet asked if Bug was drinking or urinating more frequently. I said no. He said if not, then at this point he doesn’t see any reason to run a CBC.

Yesterday Bug started his dose of doxy. I am hopefully we seen a change soon. My vet said we should see a change within 4 days if he has been symptomatic. We already know he is fighting a very active Lyme infection, it is just whether or not the stiffness is a symptom of it or not.

In addition to the doxy, I will be giving Bug probiotics 2 hours after his meal and milk thistle (to help his liver process the doxy).

Cross your paws we see an improvement!


manymuddypaws said...

poor bug!

i sympathise with your frustration at your vets. it is hard to be told one thing, and then something completely different by another.

i'm thinkin' of you guys!!!

Dawn said...

I wonder if most of his issues havent been related to the lyme? Maybe the joint pain is making him move poorly, which in turn causes the tightness and alignment issues? Poor guy. Hopefully you can get this gone and he will feel much better. Sending healing wishes your way.

Jules said...

Thanks, Amanda. I might switch to a vet that has more experience with "performance" dogs after this is cleared up. Or I am thinking about it hard.

Dawn: That is exactly what I wonder. I find it odd to hope it is the case, but I am!

Thank you for the healing thoughts!

penni said...

Statistically, Cardis do not have elbow dysplasia. I am sick of vets coming up with statements like, Corgis have unpredictable temperaments, they get elbow dysplasia, they are more prone to eye problems, etc. Those are not facts and are statistically unsupported.

I would check with some of the other corgi people around your area and see who they use for vet care. I think your guy is shooting from the hip!

Jules said...

Ah, Penni! That is even more reason to switch to a performance vet who has experience with corgis then. I have two possibilities in mind, so at least I have some options.

Joanna said...

Holy cow, he's had Lyme that long? Yeah, I would strongly suspect that that's been his problem all along.

I think the conventional wisdom that has governed Lyme for the last few years (only a few dogs are symptomatic and so we don't have to treat everyone) is TOTALLY WRONG. I think we've been seeing ouchy dogs who are just stoic.

I've treated six or eight dogs for Lyme and/or anaplasmosis and/or ehrlichia over the last ten years (I live an hour north of you) and only one of them had shown "sympoms" before treatment. Every single one of them IMPROVED, dramatically, with treatment. I had never labeled what they had been doing as symptoms, so I didn't know that they were until they disappeared.

Across the board, dogs that I thought were just "old" didn't act old anymore. Dogs I thought were grumpy became much happier. A dog who I had thought was lazy and wanted to be picked up and put in the car suddenly jumped without even being asked.

Seriously, every single dog, EVERY dog, showed improvement.

Diana said...

I hope it works and Bug feels better soon. Always something to worry about. Diana

Jules said...

Joanna, I *SO* hope that is the case with Bug. I find it REALLY frustrating how ambiguous the protocol for WHEN to treat with Lyme is. My vet felt completely comfortable endorsing the approach I took last year - even knowing Bug's antibodies where that high. We talked about it at length. And of course, now I am second-guessing myself like mad. Hopefully the doxy will kick it to the curb and Bug will feel great.

Diana, It truly is always something! I feel more mum-like than ever with my worrying!

Kris said...

His big brother, Ransom's nickname is Boo as well....and his great grandfather was also called it runs in the family.

Jules said...

Kris, That's so cool!!

dreameyce said...

Hehe, Boo Bear is my daughters nickname!

I really hope the lyme works its self out, and he makes a total recovery. It's a SCARY disease! I'm lucky in Oregon it's rare in these parts. VERY lucky. I hope it never comes out this way!

We're only just starting to see heartworm cases, mostly thanks to idiots shipping up strays after hurricane Katrina untested, and untreated w/o any quarantine.