Health and Wellness, Sickness

More bumps and Giardia again

April 29, 2015
We’ve had a couple minor health problems since spring rolled around. We’ve had a couple bumps crop up and are currently finishing up another case of Giardia (Giardiasis) so I thought it might be of interest to keep a diary of small problems should they crop up again.

Bumps

I self-diagnosed these as hives which was caused by an allergic reaction to physical contact (in this case) with something in the environment (a vet would later confirm, but was unable to see the bumps). A couple small bumps would come after a walk in the park and last several hours only appearing on her lower muzzle. I was pretty sure it wasn’t food since I hadn’t been introducing anything new to her diet and it was a specific area (the part she shoves into everything interesting on the ground). Her appetite didn’t change but because she was a little swollen she looked miserable. They were slightly itchy but otherwise didn’t seem to bother her. The bumps appeared on and off for about a week and even her worse case of it had the swelling go down quite fast.

the worst case she had that lasted just hours

Bumps on ear- bumps all over just one ear after a play at the park. Gave her a ear mite treatment just in case, but they disappeared and never came back.

Treatment

I boosted her immune system by cutting out the kibble entirely (she only has at most a cup a day) and giving her a spoonful of local honey every night. Honey has been my go-to when Whiskey has a problem. It’s great for infection and wound healing (applied to the skin) and in this case local honey helps both humans and canines for allergies. I also sprayed on some Burts Bees Anti Itch Soothing Spray because it seemed like she had a mild itch. We also washed all bedding just in case and gave her extra cuddles.

Giardia

A week after the bumps went away completely, there was one evening when I noticed she was less energetic at the park (walking to retrieve the ball, not running). I kept an eye on her and she happily ate dinner and but then was super sleepy. An hour later I noticed her tummy gurgling more than usual (I was lying down with her because I felt something was off) and she didn’t even seem interested in some cantaloupe which she normally loves. Overall it wasn’t a huge change in temperament, because even my partner thought she was just tired from her hike that day. That night she woke us up whining and when we took her out, she pooped twice (soft) and went back to sleep for the rest of the night.

My sleepy girl with gurgles in her tummy

The next day her energy level seemed better but she vomited during a car ride. In the evening again she seemed ok, but in the middle of the night woke us for another poop. After that she was fine with no symptoms since I changed her food back to home cooked and added extra probiotics. We weren’t too concerned at this point because everything went back to normal and we had assumed that she just ate something bad at the park.

energy level is quite normal

Then several days later the wake-up calls to soft poops started again. After a couple days of getting progressively worse it got to the point she was straining to go but couldn’t and would try over and over again. She would also wake us up 3 times at night to go out. At this point we took her to the vet.

waiting at the new vet

During the wait for the vet, she tried to go poop 5 times in an hour. Because it was last minute, we tried out a new vet closer to home that was available (her normal vet was booked up that day). This one was much more thorough in the examination, but asked to do more expensive (and maybe unnecessary) tests. He noticed her heartbeat was slower than normal and did an EKG (she’s just really fit). We also ordered a very comprehensive parasite panel and diarrhea panel, but needed to wait a couple days to hear back. That night I went to Costco and bought a ton of ground chicken and sweet potato so I could start her on a bland diet.

during the day she is normal

We went back to the vet the next morning after 2 rounds of vomiting (mostly bile) and waking up 4-5 times at night for poops. Strangely she was eating fine and her energy was good at the park, but more subdued at home. This time they did a full blood test, gave her extra electrolytes, a subcutaneous fluid injection (fluids injected under her skin) to help elevate any dehydration, and got her started on antibiotics and some special super canine probiotics. Her blood test came back with everything normal, which was a relief because with home-feeding it’s good to have the feedback she’s doing well. Within an hour Whiskey had perked up again has been getting better ever since. Eventually a couple days later we got a call about the poop results and confirmed she had Giardia and I could come pick up more medication.

the lump is the fluid injection, disappears over the day

Whiskey’s had Giardia before as a puppy but this time didn’t present the same as last. As a puppy it came on very fast and was obviously a problem. This time the illness was non-continuous and harder to tell it wasn’t just something she ate in the park.

a bit skinny, needs more food!

Treatment

Vet bills were over $900 so it’s good we were insured!!! If we weren’t insured, we wouldn’t have agreed to all the tests and treatments. So Whiskey had a heart test (EKG), bloodwork, poop test, electrolytes, a subcutaneous fluid injection, probiotics, prescription probiotics, antibiotics, and a small change of diet. The last time we had Giardia we only had a poop test, with quick feedback (40 mins vs 4 days) and antibiotics so the price to treat and diagnose this can vary like crazy depending on the vet!

extra velcro these days

Lessons Learned

-Insurance pays off, especially moments where you don’t want to make decisions based on money
-Even though we spent more at this vet and did more tests, it took longer to get a diagnoses because the fecal test was sent to another lab. Our other vet would have been quicker because they can do it immediately, even though we would have had to wait an extra day to get an appointment.
-A sick dog plus two working parents make for a very hectic week and lots of worrying

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