Poor Dexter has not had an easy time in the health department.
Back in August of last year, we took Dexter in for a general checkup a few days after bringing him home and the vet found that he had worms. A lot of worms. Roundworms, Hookworms and Whipworms. We were given a three day course of Panacur for treatment. A couple of days later, I went to get Dexter out of his crate after a nap and he was completely covered in drool. He came out of his crate drooling and walking sideways. Since things like this never happen during “normal business hours,” off we went to the emergency vet. They did blood work and X-rays and his gastrointestinal tract was a complete mess. On one angle, the vet thought it looked like a possible obstruction, but every other angle looked like no obstruction. He was also severely dehydrated. They kept him over night, did fluids and re x-rayed him around 5am. The overnight vet called around 5:30am and let me know that he was doing better, but still hadn't pooped. They had done the next round of x-rays and said they are 99% sure that what appeared to be an obstruction is just a massive amount of dead worms and poop. They eventually gave him an enema to get him to go, and said a ton of worms came out in his poop. We were given another three day course of Panacur. He did well with that treatment and when he was finally free of worms, we were able to enroll him in classes. He was a very skinny guy for a while, but we were also able to finally get some weight on him and have him looking like a healthy pup again.
Fast forward now to this last week – we were at the vet on both Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, he was kind of lethargic, wasn't drinking and was drooling more than normal. Went to the vet, and we thought it was another allergic reaction to a bee sting (he had similar symptoms just over a month ago, so it seemed that’s what was going on). They did sub-q fluids and suggested I give him Benadryl every 8 hours for 5-7 days, but to call them if things change, get worse, etc.
On Friday, he was still pretty low energy (I assumed that was the Benadryl) and wasn't drinking (which I assumed was the sub-q fluids). When giving him the afternoon Benadryl dose, he spit out the treat and would only eat the peanut butter and the pills. My husband and I started talking and thinking about all the little things we'd noticed about Dex over the last week. Individually, none seemed *that* odd, but all put together, we knew something wasn't right with him. We started offering all of his favorite toys to him – baseballs, Jolly Ball, bully sticks, and he would kind of nose them and start pacing, or pick them up very delicately, move them across the room, and then start pacing. We then inspected him again and his eyes were still super red and his lower eyelids were raised up quite a bit. I tried to open his mouth and he wouldn't let me. I usually inspect his mouth every week or so, and he's never had a problem with me opening it or feeling around in his mouth. I tried again, and he got up and ran away from me and was very hesitant to come back to me. Our regular vet had closed (of course!), so off we went to the emergency vet. After examining Dexter, her initial thought was Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM). She consulted with their dental/oral specialist and we decided to go ahead and have the blood work done for the 2M antibody test. It takes 5-7 business days to get results from that test, so we likely won't know anything until this Friday at the earliest.
I’ve read every post I could find on DT pertaining to MMM and can only hope we are doing what’s right for Dexter. He’s currently taking immune system suppressive doses of Prednisone and is also on pain medicine. He’s drinking a ton, peeing a ton and acting like he’s never been fed a decent meal in his entire life. His activity seems to have improved a bit over the last couple of days. He’s now able to chew his food and carry baseballs in his mouth. He picked up his Jolly Ball for the first time last night and I actually started crying. He initiated play with Roxy this morning, so that was really nice to see as well. He still can’t yawn and when I try to open his mouth, he’s pretty resistant to it.
Please send prayers and positive thoughts our way. I can’t remember who on DT, but someone said this is one of those things were the treatment is as bad as the disease. I’m trying so hard to stay positive for Dexter, but I keep breaking down in tears when I think too much about it.
I would also appreciate any advice on dealing with a dog on such high levels of prednisone for extended periods of time. We’re watching him very closely to try to avoid accidents in the house, so far so good. Tuesday, we all go back to work. The good news is that my mom comes over mid-day to play with the dogs and get them outside, so he will only have to go 4-5 hours max without a potty break. I just know that’s a LONG time when you’re on prednisone
We love Dexter more than anything and wouldn’t trade him for anything, but holy crap, after dealing with Roxy (our little “Medical Mystery”) Dex was supposed to be our healthy dog.
Now, to reward you for reading this small novel, here are a few pics of the handsome guy:
Mat training is more fun with a friend
Good grief - I am handsome!
Was the flash really necessary?? I was SLEEPING!!!
I loves to sleep upside down!
And from the vet on Friday night.
Mom - can we please go home? I do not feel well