On Friday, June 28th, my 10 year old malamute/shepherd/husky mix Indy did not eat his breakfast. Anyone who has a dog knows a dog with no interest in eating has something wrong with him. I figured he had some mild indigestion and went to work. I come home and my friend currently staying with me reports that Indy did not move all day, not even when she ate. I took him outside for a walk, he wanted to go home after half a block, but otherwise seemed fine. No problems with urination or defecation. Did not eat his dinner of course.
On Saturday evening, Indy will not move. He cannot rise to his feet or even hold his weight once placed there. We must carry him outside, but he can urinate on his own. He is too weak to hold his weight with hind limbs, so he cannot defecate. 24 hours previously he could walk/move just fine, and 48 hours previously, he was happy, jumping around, playing, running. So, I am incredibly worried, but he will eat chicken and sweet potato, and will drink water. His nose is dry, his ears and eyes are hot. I check his heart and lungs, he has no problems breathing, his heart sounds are normal, but his abdomen is very tense. Neuro signs are normal, so I rule out a stroke and consider an intestinal blockage or even a perforation, but I'm doubtful. With the time course and severity, I'm considering an infectious process. I am resolved to take him straight to the vet the next morning, and spend the night researching canine diseases.
Sunday morning, Indy still must be carried outside, but he has minimally improved to the point where he walk, although VERY unsteadily. We take him to the emergency vet, where they want a whole SLEW of tests performed. Now, I'm all for treating animals with human compassion and as IF they were human, but I am a poor graduate student and Indy has no insurance. I allow an abdominal and spinal x-ray, and I ask for a test for lyme disease. While the majority of dogs test positive for lyme anyway, Indy is an indoor, pampered pooch who recently had 12 ticks pulled off of him when we last went on a hike, but only after I learned my lesson 8 weeks previously when I was picking engorged ticks off my floor after a hike in Massachusetts. His timecourse fit, and he had 4/4 symptoms of lyme when only 2 is required for empirical treatment.
24 hours later after starting doxycyline, he's got his appetite back, his legs are steady, he's 90% better. 72 hours later, 100% better.
In conclusion, I have no idea if I'm right about him having lyme disease (the vet was doubtful but let me do what I wanted), but he tested positive and he's just fine now. I was pretty sure he was going to die on me Saturday night before we could get to the vet on the next morning, so giant bill aside, I'm just glad he's still with me.
I am also glad for the meager medical training I've had, as I felt confident turning down some tests I considered important, but utterly useless in a 10 year old, large breed dog when I would be entirely unable to afford any treatment the results would have called for. If the tests came back to show liver failure, would I do anything different than if they showed nothing? No. I would only make him as comfortable as possible.
And that's the update. On behalf of Indy, I thank you all for your support and will try darndest to get a BUNCH of updates out in the next 2 weeks. 3x a week I mean. Going to try. You deserve it.
An aside, fan art from March/April has been moved to the gallery, thank you everyone who sent in things! I'm going to let the fanfic remain in the archive for awhile until I can think of a good way to add it elsewhere. :)