This is an unusual post for this site, but justified by unusual circumstances. Very personal. But it could be your puppy tomorrow. Or your adult dog. So, better read this today!
Very few of you know that my new puppy has been sick. As time passed by, very sick. Finally, sicker than sick. Not himself anymore. Not a different dog either, because he wasn't even a dog anymore. Totally lethargic, listless, the walking dead - only, he wasn't even walking anymore either.
In the end stage, my new puppy vomited all food back out until his stomach was empty, and Diarrhea emptied his bowel. After that, only blood came out - because nothing else was left and his intestines were bleeding. I recorded cyclic fever that reached 40.6 C / 105.1 F.
His limbs in pain, he didn't want to walk. His abdomen in pain, he didn't want to be carried either. He no longer made any sounds. No barking, no whining, not the slightest noise. As quiet as if he wasn't there. His eyes - lifeless too.
He no longer was cheerful when I cooked him his fresh homemade diet. Not even when I placed the bowl in front of him. We put him on fluids per catheter, to support his life. Play had ended too. Playing together, with his favourite tug toy, and playing alone, with his tug rope or his favorite squirrel - all had ended. He had no interest anymore. No strength. No stamina to stand, but also no stamina to play while lying down. Nothing.
As if Harry Potter's dementors had sucked life out of my new puppy!
It was heart-breaking. Producing tears. In me, not in him. Losing a puppy this way is tougher than in an accident, because in the latter case, he is gone, out of sight. While here, he was still there. But also he wasn't.
I could write more about his misery, while for my own misery I don't have words. So let's stop this now. Enough is enough.
You may be wondering: What was the diagnosis? Did you not see a veterinarian??
Of course I did. Several. To make it short, I summarize them here as THREE - the others only duplicated two of these three.
The first vet did bloodwork, stool analysis, and virus tests. He did find some problems (symptoms, like anemia), but he didn't find the cause. He then concluded: "Feed him spinach and liver." Upon the next visit, when my new puppy was in pain, had bloody Diarrhea, and vomited all food back out, he revised this to: "I don't know what your puppy has. It could be a virus, it could be a bacterial infection, it could be parasites, I don't know. Put him on antibiotics."
I paid him nonetheless. 290 Euros / 315 USD.
The second vet did more bloodwork, more stool analysis, and more virus tests. In short, he didn't find the cause either! This didn't hold him back to suggest treatment nonetheless. Urgent treatment: "Your puppy has hepatitis, I believe he has adenovirus. He should be hospitalized immediately, and be put on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. We can't do that here, he needs round-the-clock support."
Hepatitis is a symptom, not the cause. I paid him nonetheless. 245 Euros / 266 USD.
What was still missing is the CAUSE. I said: "I want to know what my new puppy has! WHAT is causing his misery??"
The two veterinarians, and two more with the same views, none of them know. BECAUSE they don't know, they ALL say: "Put him on antibiotics." That's the standard blanket treatment plan of ordinary/average veterinarians who don't know what causes your dog's illness! As in: "We don't know the cause, but antibiotics deal with anything, no matter what your dog has".
No, they don't! The majority of today's antibiotics are ineffective from the start for many diseases, as the bacteria have become resistant - BECAUSE of the foolish blanket treatment with antibiotics over the past decades! Also note that antibiotics do NOTHING for viral infections, fungal infections, and protozoan infections - if at all, they can only help with bacterial infections.
In every of my books, and in countless Periodicals, even in public articles here on the site, I write why the allopathic standard blanket treatment is WRONG. Useless. HARMFUL.
To stick to a summary of three veterinarians, here is the final part of my story:
When I received the third(!) set of blood results today, I did take my new puppy immediately to a veterinary hospital. Because pretty much all blood values have deteriorated dramatically. Without round-the-clock professional care this puppy will die within days! Maybe two, possibly three. Or maybe tomorrow. No one can know for sure when, but surely he would die VERY SOON.
The important bit for you to understand is: He would die within a mere days even with professional care, if he's put on broad-spectrum antibiotics and steroids like all the other vets have suggested! Read on to understand why.
It was taking action, and luck, that I may title this post "Celebrating Puppy Life". Only the action to go to a "third" veterinarian, in the veterinary hospital, and the luck to have been served by a veterinary doctor with the right experience - and the interest to search for the CAUSE! - have saved my new puppy's life!
This veterinarian looked at the blood results (like all other veterinarians did earlier), and suggested a cause for my new puppy's misery that none of the other vets even only mentioned. To gain more confidence in her finding, she then performed a simple blood smear - which again, none of the other vets even considered - and when I came back to the hospital two hours later (with fresh homemade food for my pup, hoping he would eat), she communicated high confidence in her findings because all results - everything the other vets had done with my pup, and the behavioral symptoms that I had reported - support her diagnosis.
Within a mere two hours the right veterinarian had found the CAUSE of my puppy's misery! And only NOW treatment can begin.
My new puppy has had a tick bite (all shown in My New Puppy Diary for site members after login), and I had removed the tick successfully as per our Periodical on ticks. This tick however did transmit a disease to my puppy before I burnt the tick (I did indeed). The lab results will still have to confirm it, but this one-of-a-kind fantastic hospital veterinarian is sure enough that we started treatment immediately tonight, Friday. The lab will only look at the blood sample on Monday, and frankly, by that time my new puppy may well be dead.
According to this prolific hospital veterinarian, my new puppy is suffering from autoimmune hemolytic anemia, the CAUSE of which is an earlier tick bite that transmitted the disease Rickettsia, Babesiosis, or Mycoplasma Hominis to my puppy (which of these three, we will know next week when we get the results for this specific blood test, but I suspect it is Rickettsia because its incubation period matches our case). All three diseases destroy the dog's red blood cells - this is why he has anemia! He is basically being eaten up from the inside.
The culprit of all three diseases is a unique class of bacteria that can only survive inside the cells of a host (normally, bacteria live outside the cells). And thus all three diseases can only be cured with ONE very specific tetracycline antibiotic (Doxycycline) - while broad-spectrum antibiotics do NOTHING to fight these diseases, they do only harm to the dog's body (like all antibiotics do - "anti" is Latin and means against, "bio" means life, thus antibiotic means against life)!
Had my puppy been "put on antibiotics" as the other veterinarians called for, they would after a while have concluded: "These antibiotics don't work, let's try another strain". And then another. And another. None of which would help. If at all, they would be palliation of symptoms, placebo. My new puppy would die despite treatment! This is the crucial bit you need to understand.
Instead, this experienced veterinarian in the animal hospital focused on analyzing first the CAUSE of the dog's misery, such that she could then immediately start with treatment to cure, not with treatment to palliate or suppress symptoms - because then you no longer can find the CAUSE! Now that she knows the CAUSE, this veterinarian can treat my puppy with a single antibiotic, and the right one. The ONLY ONE known to help with the identified disease.
Now I can only hope that all the prior vets' incompetence didn't waste too much time. That my new puppy still has enough blood cells for a recovery. That he will live when I go back to the hospital in the morning, and that he will prosper and develop normally going forward.
So that we can always be celebrating puppy life.
Update: What complicates treatment is that the antibiotic Doxycycline tablets cannot be given as long as the dog is vomiting, therefore he is now first getting an injection of Cerenia (maropitant citrate) to suppress the vomiting. The vet is telling me that the injectable Doxycycline has been forbidden 9 years ago: All dogs who got that, died from it.
Further, the investigative hospital veterinarian has also discovered a protozoan infection in my puppy (Giardia), and a tapeworm infection (Dipylidium caninum). Thus he is now being treated for those as well. Since both of these are zoonotic, she advised me to see my own doctor as our dogs may transmit both of these parasites to ourselves.