Monday, November 10, 2008

The Gang's All There

Yes, you read the title correctly.

All nine pups are now at the vet hospital in their own little isolation ward -- just our nine puppies and nobody else; they're getting the royal treatment.

Here's what it looks like (double-decker pens, the plastic boxes hanging on the outside of the pens are for their charts; the plastic bags contain their IV fluids):

The short version of events is this:
  • Wednesday late afternoon/evening: Miss Sky starts symptoms (vomiting, loose stool)
  • Thursday, 7 a.m.: Miss Sky is admitted for support care for gastroenteritis (stomach/GI bug)
  • Thursday, 5 p.m.: Mr. Green starts symptoms (vomiting, loose stool)
  • Thursday, 7 p.m.: Mr. Green is admitted for same as Sky; we see Sky when we take Green, and she looks great and is rebounding well!
  • Friday, both Sky and Green stay at vet's; rest of litter is fine
  • Saturday mid-day: Mr. Green and Miss Sky are doing so well, the vet decides they can come home: Mr. Green is just fine (barking, romping, ravenously hungry); Miss Sky is okay, but not quite herself and not thrilled about eating). Rest of the litter is fine.
  • Saturday evening: Miss Sky starts vomiting, isn't drinking, etc.; we give her sub-cu fluids. Mr. Green is still fine.
  • Sunday morning early: Mr. Green starts vomiting again, Miss Sky is still not eating or drinking.
  • Sunday 9:30 a.m.: Miss Sky and Mr. Green go back to vet hospital and are readmitted with more aggressive treatment.
  • Sunday afternoon: Mr. Blue starts vomiting. Mr Yellow has loose stool. Both go to vet hospital and are admitted.
  • Sunday evening: While we're taking Mr. Blue and Mr. Yellow to vet's, Mr. Black starts symptoms; as soon as we get home, we turn around and take him to vet hospital where he's admitted, too. The rest of the litter is fine all evening (eating, pooing fine, playing, etc.).
  • Monday morning: 4 a.m., the remaining four (Pink, Lime, Red, and White start symptoms (vomiting, looser stools). We give each 50 cc of subcu fluids to tide them over 'til hospital opens
  • Monday morning: 7:30 a.m. four remaining pups go to vet hospital and are admitted.
That's where they all are now and will be for at least another two days (could be longer depending on the course of the virus and each individual pup).

The docs are treating their symptoms aggressively. All pups are now...
  • on IV catheters for fluid/electrolyte replacement (IV's attached to their front legs as opposed to injected fluids)
  • wearing protective collars (the royal blue collars in the pictures) to keep them from pulling out or chewing through their IVs (Mr. Blue and Mr. Lime had done so already when we visited today)
  • receiving ammoxicillin in their IV drips (for potential secondary infections)
  • receiving anti-inflammatories for their GI tracts
  • receiving anti-nausea medication
  • receiving TamaFlu (a prescription medication for human viral flu symptoms that in recent studies shows promise in relieving and shortening viruses and viral symptoms in puppies)
  • in isolation (to protect them since their resistances are down, and to protect other dogs in case this is infectious)
  • getting blood work regularly to track their white blood cell counts

We still do not know to what this is. They've done at least five fecal studies now (all negative for the gazillion things they normally test for). This morning they sent fecal samples and blood samples to a more extensive lab at a veterinary med school in the region for further testing. We should have those results tonight or tomorrow morning.

We do know it's not a parasitic issue (they are all parasite-free, which we expected, but wanted double-checked to be sure), not protozoan, not Distemper, not corona virus or toxidia or giardia or salmonella and a host of other things. We also know that it is not food-based (Tucker and Elsie have been eating the very same food from the same bag stored in the very same bin, and they're both just fine) nor is it mold/fungus-based (not presenting as it would if this were the case), nor do they suspect anything environmental (not presenting as a toxin, ingested or otherwise).

We just don't have a firm diagnosis yet, but whatever the cause, the treatment for viral gastroenteritis is the same: aggressive support-care for symptoms and preventive-care for the risk of secondary infection. That's what all the pups are receiving and will continue to receive until we're well out of the woods.

Here are the four pups who were admitted this morning (all were sleeping soundly -- a good thing -- when we visited, and we did not wake them):

Mr. Lime:

Miss Pink:

Mr. White:

Mr. Red:

Here are the three that went in late yesterday afternoon:

Mr. Blue: I'm so sorry, but I think we were so busy petting Mr. Blue (who was barking at us and eager to get out of his crate and howling and such), that I may not have gotten a picture of him (the doc walked in to meet with us just then, too). I'll be sure to get one tomorrow when we visit, but rest assured that he's doing really well (especially since he just started symptoms yesterday, and his white cell count is only slightly elevated today, and he's doing so well).

Mr. Yellow (not feeling great, but interactive and happy to see us):

Mr. Black (who was very alert and responsive when we arrived, then got sleepy):

Mr. Green (barking and eager to get out of his crate - doing really well):

Miss Sky (the most feisty of all, but also the one who's been receiving treatment the longest -- she SO wanted to get out of her crate):
Miss Sky barking to get out:

We had to be gloved and gowned to see them, but the pups still responded to us and our touch. They know our voices well and seemed really excited about our being there (the ones who were awake -- the other pups slept soundly). Of course, we will return tomorrow afternoon to sit with them awhile and every day from here on out as long as they're there.

It's all we can do at this point (well, and pray, of course).

The prognosis is still very good. The vets expect the pups to get through this with treatment and support (especially with how well Sky, Green, and Blue have responded so far) and also expects that there will be no long-term implications or complications.

We're trying to stay in regular contact with all the families, and so far (without exception), they've all said they want to hang in there with us and their pups. They know that we won't release the pups until we know they're fully recovered and soundly healthy. The earliest that we expect that might be is not until at least the middle of next week, but we'll have to wait and see.

The one GOOD NEWS out of all this is that Miss Pink's heart murmur is gone (discovered this morning when she was being examined before admission). :o)

I have to tell you, though I'll admit to have some really difficult moments over the last 48 hours (it was tough at the vet's this morning turning over the last four of the litter), I do see countless mercies in the midst. I'll write about them separately, but for now just know that the pups are all hanging in there, doing as well as (if not better than) can be expected, and that they're in excellent hands receiving excellent care and support. And their prognosis is still good.

Elsie, of course, is depressed, but I'll write about her separately, too.

I'll keep you posted as I can.

'Til next time,


kayceebeebee said...

Poor Elsie! I don't even know what to say. Hugs to all of you there. Such a time you are having! The pups are so cute. I wish all this didn't happen but on the other hand its good it happened while you still had them and the vet who was familiar with them.

I hope you all are doing alright. Tough times....hang in there.

L^2 said...

Good grief! I hope all the pups are feeling better soon. *hugs*

My computer has been having issues, so I haven't been able to keep up very well on blog-reading. And by the looks of it, I've missed so much!

Viewer said...

Hi Joan, I can undeerstand the tention and pressure you are goingthrough. I had a similar situation with the pups of my Mandy too... It really breaks ones heart to see such tiny lively tots being poked with needles. Hang in there.... i am praying for you and that pups.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! It is absolutely heart-wrenching to see these pups who we've all been following ALL in hospital. Know that you have a whole community behind you as you go through this. Please give Elsie lots of hugs from her friends in Connecticut.

Cheryl said...

I hope you guys find out what's causing this soon and that everyone has a speedy recovery. Good thoughts and prayers to you and your gang!

Meesh said...

SO, so, sad to see all your pups in separate cages and not being the bouncing bundles of joy that we've been watching. My prayers are that this "bug" will leave them soon!! I feel bad for their soon to be families too! Hang in there everybody-they are where they need to be and soon enough you will be knee-deep in puppyhood! Chester's Mom

Thoughts said...

OH no. I wish there was something I could say to make you and ALL the pups AND Elsie feel better. At least you are getting them the best care possible and they dont think its anything serious.

Joan this has to be breaking your heart. Hang in there. Good to know the families are also 100% behind you still as well.


JuliaR said...

Dog, what a nightmare. I hope you can get a proper diagnosis soon! Fingers still crossed.