Wednesday, January 4, 2012

not even close to wordless wednesday

We took Molly and Graham to the vet a few weeks ago for their yearly round of pokes and prods.  They each got a handful of vaccinations, plus some tests done.
A few days later, I noticed that Molly was doing this weird thing when she yawned - she couldn't open her mouth all the way, and she was twisting her head to one side.  I didn't really think much of it the first time I saw it, but after a couple of days went by and she was still doing it, I started to worry.  I figured she probably just had an ear infection and scheduled an appointment with our vet.


I got out of the pool a few afternoons later to some pretty terrifying text messages from the poet, who took her into her appointment, mentioning things like sedation and x-rays and biopsies, so I zipped over myself to talk to the vet.  Essentially, she seemed fairly convinced from Molly's symptoms that she has a disease called masticatory myositis, which is an auto-immune disease not uncommon in large breed dogs.  It means that her immune system is attacking the muscles of her jaw, which is why she was unable to open her mouth.  There was a whole menu of ways to diagnose the condition, most of which are not even close to definitive.  We decided on one of the complicated blood tests that would both hopefully point to a yes or no and rule out some other scary things.  Her blood work came back the next day, and it wasn't positive for MMM, but it was "almost positive" (elevated proteins and the like).  We decided that instead of continuing to test, we would begin treatment with steroids because that wouldn't harm her, and just watch and see what happened.  If she got better on the medicine, that we confirmed the disease by process of elimination, and if she got worse, then we had a BFN, which could actually be a positive thing because than it might just be an infection.


Both the good and bad news was that she responded immediately.  After only two doses, she was able to open her mouth much further.  It's been almost a week now, and she seems to be steadily improving.  We decided to try her on a diminishing round of steroids, in the hopes that she won't need to be on them her entire life.  The problem with this disease and the treatment is two-fold: first, the steroids depress her immune system, so she's vulnerable while on them, and some dogs catch some pretty scary diseases during treatment, and secondly, she won't ever be "cured," but instead, we'll spend her life watching her carefully and managing flare-ups as they occur.  It also means that we'll be managing her vaccinations differently, because vaccinations poke the immune system with a sharp stick, and while they didn't cause this, the shots she got a few weeks ago are what made it flare-up for the first time. 


She seems to be generally happy and waggy, although a little more tired than usual.  We're a bit concerned that she'll fly into a 'roid rage and chew the house down, but so far, so good.  Graham has for the most part been extra attentive and snuggly (except for last night, when he bit her on the leg because she didn't want to play).
So that's been the cause of extra-strong stress in our house over the past week.  Now that we have a better understanding of what's going on, I'm much less worried because I truly believe that it is managable, but I spent a few days bawling my cranky little eyes out.  I've actually come to love this little wrist-chewing butt-sniffing waggy tail quite a bit, and it would be awful if she got taken from us this young.  We've also confirmed that the disease is not genetic, so we won't have to go through all of this after bringing her long-lost separated-at-birth twin sister this weekend.

21 comments:

  1. That is good news that it is not genetic! Hopefully by this time next week you will have three healthy, happy, furry bundles of love (not) eating your house.

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  2. Poor Molly. I'm glad she is feeling better and that you have it figured out. Hopefully the meds will work the way you want them to and she won't need to be on them for the rest of her life.

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  3. oh no! so glad to hear that Molly is doing well. such a sweet pic of the 2 pups cuddling :)

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  4. There is seriously nothing worse than a sick dog...they can't tell you what is wrong and at least I feel so helpless. But it sounds like you are taking very good care of her and she is back to her normal self. It also sound like you had a hell of a week and should treat yourself to happy hour asap.

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  5. Yay! I'm glad to hear she's responding to treatment and feeling better! Can't wait to see pictures of Sophie!

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  6. I have been so worried about Molly! I'm so glad you posted about everything and I will continue to keep you guys in my thoughts and hope you can figure something out!!!! Big hugs to that waggy tail!

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  7. I was wondering if it was genetic, that's good news. Super good news Molly's responding well, I hope you can get her off the steroids with positive results as well!

    Good luck this weekend welcoming Sophie into your home!

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  8. Glad she is doing better! And even better that you are bringing home puppy #3!

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  9. I'm so glad that Molly is feeling better! I just went through a similar scare with one of my dogs. I understand how it feels to be so helpless. Give her some hugs from me!

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  10. Great news that it is not genetic. Excellent news that she is feeling better too.

    I get so torn up inside when I hear about pets and these types of things. I had a cat that I had to have surgery for and it was awful. Having Ginga around all the time (I work from home like you) and they are your office mates and you talk to them all the time and they are your buddies.

    I'm sorry that you and the Poet had to go through this.

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  11. Molly on meds + Sofie being new to the house = everything is definitely getting chewed down.

    Kidding, mostly. Molly and Graham have Sofie's education totally under control.

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  12. Glad to know your dog is doing a bit better. Wow-my dog actually just passed away this weekend so I understand girl. Goldens are my favorites!

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  13. I'm glad that Molly is feeling better. And that it's not genetic so that you won't have to worry about Sofie have it too.

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  14. So glad that Molly is feeling better and you know what to look for going forward. Its so hard when they're sick.

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  15. Hi Katie! I've been reading your blog for awhile (I'm a friend of Lauren's from Failed Muffins) I'm never good about commenting but I love your blog and get a kick out of your down to earth keepin' it real-ness. ; ) Anyway, had to comment this post because I have a dog who is like one of my kids and we went through a scary thing with him last year when he had an allergic reaction to a vaccine. The injection site swelled up to the size of a golf ball and was hard as a rock. He limped around and could barely move it was so sad. : ( Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I have been there and now how stressful it is to deal with that kind of stuff. Hope she doesn't have any more flare ups and you're able to keep it under control without too much trouble. She is a sweet little thing : )

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  16. your family is in my prayers. and yes, the furry ones are family to me too. i thank god every day for lloyd b/c he brings me so much joy. i hope molly starts feeling ever better and is around for a long, long, long time. :)

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  17. You sound so, so much better in this post. This will be manageable, and we're in for helping in anyway we can. Abe and Nigel say so too.

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  18. I hope she keeps improving! It's hard hard hard when our pets are hurt in any way.

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  19. Glad to things are improving! If only these dogs would learn how to talk and tell us what actually hurts. Hopefully it remains an easily manageable issue.

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  20. It is so sad when animals are sick - it seems like they're so helpless, but it's also amazing to watch their intuition kick in (ahem, Graham's snuggly-ness). I'm soooo happy to hear she's doing better, but was so sad for you guys to have to go through this!

    Can't wait to see those three pups together :)

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  21. Ok so those are probably the cutest pics I have ever seen. I dont think I can handle that much cuteness <3

    Glad Molly is doing better, I HATE it when the pups are sick :( hopefully it doesn't come back too frequently.

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