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Hazel is sick :(
  • HazelHazel
    Posts: 28
    Hi everyone,

    It's been a while since I posted on here but recently things have been so bad with Hazel I thought I would see if anyone has experienced something similar. This has been a medical mystery and very sad and frustrating for both me and Hazel.

    Hazel is 3 years old and in short, the best dog anyone could ask for. She is gentle, mellow, and loving with all.

    About one month ago I moved from a suburban environment to a much more urban (but very dog-friendly) environment. Shortly before I left, I had Hazel taken to the vet (vet #1) and given her bordatella booster in case I wanted to put her in day care or any kind of multiple-dog environment while working. The very same day she developed a hacking cough. I thought there was no way she had a reaction (since she had bordatella shots before) and perhaps she had inhaled some grass. Vet #1 said it was likely a little allergy to something, and not to worry.

    I moved to the urban area about 5 weeks ago. Hazel started to slowly get worse. At this point she began to wake me up coughing in the middle of the night. She was producing foamy phlegm. I took her to a local vet (vet #2) who said it was kennel cough and gave me doxycycline and a cough suppressant.

    This made it worse. She began vomiting in addition to the coughing, and the suppressant was no help. I took her to a very prestigious and expensive emergency vet (vet #3). Without running any diagnostics, the vet said it was also kennel cough with a bad reaction to doxycycline. He prescribed a second antibiotic. I already forget the name. And hydrocodone to help her sleep. Of all the medicines, the hydrocodone helped her the most. But when it ran out I was back to square one.

    Finally, in desperation, I took her back to the vet (vet #4) that spayed her as a puppy in New York. I carried her on a train and took her there. They took xrays and saw fluid in the lungs and diagnosed pneumonia. They recommended a third course of antibiotics (Clavamox) + a fourth course (Zeniquin) + a steroid (Temaril P). She took all of those and seemed to improve a bit on her next xray, but not fully recover. They put her on a fifth course (Clavamox only), and she got worse.

    Currently poor Hazel is on her sixth course of antibiotics (chloramphenicol) prescribed by another vet (vet #5) from the same practice as vet #4 under the assumption that her cough is antibiotic-resistant. It is causing a scabby, bumpy rash on her cheeks and belly. She was also on a bronchodilator which she reacted poorly to (Theophylline) and caused her to become extremely agitated.

    Tonight I woke up again at 1am to the worst cough imaginable and phlegm all over my bed (she has been clinging to my side). I woke up again at 2am to discover she had urinated on my bed (you Shiba owners know how out of character this is!!!!) and on my bathmat. I am so worried about her and also personally exhausted. I haven't slept in weeks, have spent thousands of $$$$, and this is not getting resolved. I just have a dog that is sicker than ever and a phlegm/pee-soaked mattress to speak for it.

    They want to do a bronchoscopy/tracheal wash on her in 5 days if this course of antibiotics doesn't work (it isn't.)

    Has anyone experienced something like this? I tried looking through the forums and only noticed posts on chylothorax, which my vet has already ruled out.

    Post edited by Hazel at 2016-10-16 07:36:53
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Just in case, were they able to rule out Blastomycosis? I remember there were a few cases last fall, there was a discussion on reddit here.

    I do know that the steroids can lead to incontinence.

    And the intranasal Bordetella vaccine can cause some mild kennel cough symptoms -
  • HazelHazel
    Posts: 28

    They have not ruled out Blastomycosis, but I will check with the vet. They can probably test for it during her bronchoscopy. However, we do not live in an area with high prevalence of this disease.

    As for the vaccine causing mild symptoms, these symptoms have gone far beyond mild at this point. She is severely ill, coughing all night, vomiting food, and urinating in the bed.
  • HazelHazel
    Posts: 28
    @zandrame Also she has been off the steroids for two weeks now... :( I am so worried about her.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 361
    Two thoughts on reading this:

    First to add on to what @zandrame shared with you, blastomycosis is sometimes referred to as fungal pneumonia (as they present similar symptoms), but you should be aware that there are other fungi that can cause it as well and while you may be in an area with low incidence of blastomyces there are mould from the aspergillus species virtually everywhere in the world.

    Here's a link for fungal pneumonia results:

    Second, have they done any tests or looked in to the possibility that this is not pneumonia? This was my first thought reading your symptoms as I recently went through this diagnoses with our cat. One of the first signs of congestive heart failure in cats and dogs is fluid in the lungs & coughing. And she responded really well to the Hydrocodone (a cough suppressant) but NOT to any antibiotics (and those are some really really strong antibiotics she's been put on).

    Here's a link to a search term about fluid in dogs lungs, specifically excluding results that focus on pneumonia. If you rule out pneumonia the top responses are all heart failure.

    I would urge you to go back to whichever vet you trust the most, as soon as you can, and push these issues with them and hope like mad that it's CHF rather than a fungal infection, because heart failure is way easier to treat and her chances of survival and having quite a few great years of life are really high. Don't lose hope, and PLEASE go back to the vet!

  • RussSRussS
    Posts: 3
    Hello, so sorry to hear of Hazel's health problem. Two months ago our Shiba Inu puppy, Mika, developed what was diagnosed as kennel cough. She had a horrible hacking cough, some time coughed up phlegm. The vet placed gave her an antibiotic, Cephalexin and she was was given a steroid shot, and prednisone. She finished the medication and did not get much better.

    We returned to the vet and an X Ray showed fluid on her lungs and a diagnosis of pneumonia was made. Mika was given another steroid shot and another round of antibiotics, and more prednisone. It took her one month of horrible coughing and sleepless nights before she turned the corner. She had the same exact accidents you discribed. I was averaging about 5 hours of sleep per night.

    Long story short, with medication, and much prayer, Mika recovered. I pray your Hazel responds to the medication very soon. I can tell you it took at least a month before she was better. I hope this helps in some small way.
  • @Hazel-I have no experience in this but wanted to let you know that Quakey and I are sending prayers and healing. We hope that Hazel gets better very soon. Hugs.
  • RussSRussS
    Posts: 3
    Hoping your dog is improving with her health problems.
  • Please let us know how Hazel is doing. I am hoping that she is doing much better.
  • HazelHazel
    Posts: 28
    Hello- sorry I have not replied to this thread earlier. I read all the responses and was so grateful to have this community.

    Hazel went through a long ordeal with her health, but finally did get better. They tested her for most of the conditions above, and she went through 5 different antibiotics to no avail. The antibiotics started having some horrid side effects (peeling patches of skin, dry paws, fatigue) and I took her to a third specialty vet at my wits end.

    This vet was truly an amazing individual and took the case seriously. Hazel was admitted and went under general anesthesia to have a lung sample taken.

    She tested negative for lung worms, but the vet had a strong hunch and said there were many false negatives. She put Hazel on the lung worm medicine (a powder added to food, and very cheap compared to some of the antibiotics).

    Within 2 to 3 days, Hazel experienced a fantastic turnaround. Her mood improved and she stopped the horrible coughing.

    Lung worms, unlike heartworms, are contracted from mollusks. When I had gone to visit an elderly neighbor, I tied Hazel to her porch (still in my line of sight) but later found out there were slugs on that porch. So she must have eaten and gotten the worms from a slug.

    It was a rare condition, but definitely one to watch for if you have slugs in the backyard!

    It took her a full 2-3 months to completely recover from the antibiotic ordeal. I had to cook her higher calorie meals and feed her twice a day, but now she is 100% back to herself. What a relief,

    Thank you all for your support and ongoing concern ... It means a lot.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    So glad she's doing better now! I've thought of you guys and been wondering how she was. So glad to hear she's alright and that you've finally found a solution! <3
  • HazelHazel
    Posts: 28
    Thank you for thinking of us @Lilikoi @Antoinette @RussS @spacedogs
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 361
    I'm so glad to hear that Hazel is doing better! So good that you kept pushing the Vets, you're a wonderful pawrent and advocate for Hazel, she's very lucky to have you. :)
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    I am so happy to hear that Hazel is better and that you found the source of the issue along with a fabulous specialty vet!!! Hugs from Quakey and me!
  • plasmodiumplasmodium
    Posts: 130
    Wow, glad that she's doing better. It seems like it was quite a scary ordeal.

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