Sick dog in the house.Prayers needed.
It appears that we have a pretty good handle on the entire story.
Jessie ,who we lost, appears to have been a "carrier" of the Neospora caninum parasite, and probably had been for most of her life. We rescued her from the show circuit / breeders and traced her past back to a cattle ranch in Texas. Cattle are the intermediate host of the parasite and the most likely infectious source to canines. She contracted another virus that was causing diarrhea and was diagnosed with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease). They prescribed prednisone to treat her, that reduced her immune system and made her immunocompromised which evidently activated the parasite and the downward spiral that she experienced in a short period of time. Had they known that she was a carrier the Neospora caninum parasite they would have treated things differently, but it still might not have had a different outcome. Sad.
The other two dogs evidently did contract what ever virus she had that gave her diarrhea, but the normal treatments that the vets gave them allowed them to recover quickly. We are happy that the other two are clear and healthy now.
Apparently Jessie had four litters while at the Texas ranch (breeder / show person), we contacted them, since it is very likely that she contracted and picked up the parasite there, and extremely likely that she passed it to all, or most of the puppies she had. They seemed less than concerned, which is bothersome.
Hard to believe that there is all this bad stuff out there that we, and the medical professionals know little about. As I said, Sadly, it has been an educational experience.
I got prayers out and fingers crossed for you Dave. Been there and I know that it's stressful.
Your story kinda reminds me of when my last dog had a serious back injury at age 8. Pressure on his spine was causing him to periodically lose feeling and use of his left front leg and the condition was worsening with time. The vets wanted to do an MRI and spinal surgery that only had about a 60-70% success rate. Total costs were going to be about $6K. As much as I loved that dog, I was faced with putting him down because I couldn't carry a 100 lb dog out to go potty and I simply didn't have the money to spare. Before I made the decision to put him down, I asked if there was anything else that could be done. It was then that I was informed that we could try round of Prednisone to see if it would reduce the inflammation in his spinal cord. Prescription cost $20. That and an occasional NSAID got him to 14.
Our two remaining dogs, that now appear to be stable, they went up to CSU earlier this week to be tested for the Neospora caninum protozoa parasite. It takes several days to a week to get the results back, so now the waiting game. I had to scratch my head, we subjected them to the test and the Doctors said we had to wait. I asked what the treatment was if they test positive to which they answered a regiment of the drug Clindamycin. I asked what the side effects are of Clindamycin and if they were minimal why wouldn't we start it right away rather than waiting, and just stop if they test negative? The Doctor said, well you would have to pay for the drugs. I kindly looked at him puzzled and said we are already into all of this saga to a tune of $12K, why would I balk a a $40 prescription? Also, the sooner the infection of the parasite is addressed the better as once they form cysts it is considered a chronic infection and does re-reparable damage.
This has all been sadly educational...
Just talked to the head Veterinarian (Doctor) at Colorado State University. Jessie's blood and (organs; lungs, liver, etc) tissue tested positive for the Neospora caninum protozoa parasite. It is a common parasite found in Dairy cattle and Beef cattle. It would be considered very (if not extremely) rare in the mountains of Colorado. Dogs (and other canids: wolves and coyotes) are definitive hosts so they can spread the parasite (capable of shedding oocysts in feces). She didn't show any of the typical symptoms of the infection until right before She passed. It seems that horizontal transmission is possible, how She picked it up I have no idea. Possibly from coyote poop or from a dog at a show that picked it up from a cattle farm. It seems like a freak transmission as far as I can tell. My wife is pretty frantic, with the other two dogs getting so sick with in the last week, it makes one concerned and also makes you wonder. She has to take the two other dogs, now home and doing fine up to CSU tomorrow to have them tested for Neospora, or the resulting Neosprosis..
Fingers crossed neither of them has it.
Completely crazy situation.. ongoing...