Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 4 - Side Effects

While we think Jada's paws are improving, we did hit a minor snag. During Jada's appointment, Dr. Mary did tell me about a side effect to the steroid to look out for: increase in urination. Yesterday, since the steroids seemed to be working at it's most powerful, Jada did experience this side effect when she urinated on our carpet without warning, right in front of us. It was a little shocking because she hasn't done that since she was a puppy, but we couldn't yell at her. We just cleaned it up. It happened again yesterday afternoon and only once today. Thankfully, that was on our kitchen tile floor so clean up was much easier :) We were more aware of her drinking today and took her outside about every hour and a half to two hours. Tomorrow starts the weaning off of the steroid, cutting the dosage back to just 1/2 a tablet once a day. Her body should then slowly get back to normal.

Today, Jada did have her second bath with the Duoxo shampoo. She hates baths to begin with so having to keep her in the tub 5 to 10 minutes longer to soak her paws is nearly impossible. Luckily, I have a huge soaking tub, so since I don't get to use it often, at least it's getting used somehow!! With the huge tub, it also prevents Jada from jumping out, although she's a pretty high jumper ... if I wasn't there to stop her, she could definitely get out.

Did I mention I hate baths?!!  Get me out of here!!
Thanks again to everyone for their support and prayers!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 3 - Changes?

It's only Day 3 since Jada's medical intervention with her paws, and while I don't really want to jinx anything, my husband and I have started to notice some changes ... for the positive!  I've been following the chart I made to help keep all the meds straight.

Chart for Jada's treatment
First of all, Jada has not been licking or chewing at her paws.  I was so worried the licking and chewing would be the hardest to get through. After all, I know how I am with a mosquito bite ... scratch to the point it's bleeding!!  So I think I can relate to Jada's situation.  Since we've had trouble keeping the E-collar on her, we've took risk and left it off and have just been monitoring her.  I know Dr. Mary stressed that with the E-collar it could really help in a lot of ways so I was a little hesitant at doing this, but there was no other way she could keep it on.  Well to our surprise, she hasn't been after her paws.  Maybe she knows if she does, the E-collar will go on. 

The second thing we noticed was that her paws were scabbing, a sign of healing!  Also, the swelling has gone down a lot and we can see that she does have some black color back on her paws.  Don't get me wrong they are still raw, dry and infected but at least we have some signs of hope that this may be clearing up.

Scabs and no swelling (7/30/11)

Still infected and yellowish, but are those black pads coming back? (7/30/11)
I'm starting to feel better about myself too.  I'm doing everything I can for Jada and I'm pretty sure she knows that :)

I have to say THANKS to all my friends who gave me encouraging words as well as tips for the E-collar.  Everything means a lot to me (and Jada too!) and having my fellow dog-lover friends for support, means more to me than you would ever know!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 1 - Begin the Treatment

I am going to use my blog to document Jada's progress over the next three weeks. I'm hoping this will help me feel better knowing I'm doing what I can and hopefully actually see a difference through the weeks that she IS getting better.

So here we are Day 1 of treatment and I've started Jada on the antibiotic and steroid/antihistamine with a full dose already done for the day (both meds taken twice a day).  She also took her vitamin and had a bath in her Duoxo shampoo. Whew! Now if only I can keep that E-collar on her?!!

Below are pictures I took from this morning ... viewer discretion is advised:

Infected Front Right Paw (7/28/11)

Another view of Infected Front Right Paw (7/28/11)

Front Right Paw (7/28/11)
Although these are painful to look at and for Jada, she is in great spirits and has been acting her normal self.  She puts up a fight to go outside, which I'm sure she associates with the irritation of her paws, but other than that, she plays, eats and drinks like a normal pup!  I'm just really praying this will work.  Any extra prayers, please send our way!

Allergies, Part 2 - The Intervention

So this is my follow-up to my previous post and it's not a particular happy one. I didn't realize the severity of this until after my vet had a chance to actually examine Jada. Well, here it goes ...

Jada paws are extremely infected, irritated, raw and dry. My vet, (her name is Dr. Mary Lombardo, V.M.D. and she has been wonderful with the treatment of Jada with all her issues.  Actually the entire staff at the Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital has been nothing but helpful to us!  I don't know what I would do without them!!), indicated she has never seen paws like this and that a major intervention was needed. She advised me that if this regimen of medications does not give Jada any relief, she may want to biopsy her pads to see if there is an immune system issue.  Dr. Mary also mentioned about a possible Zinc deficiency; however she should be getting that all in her prescription food.  As of right now, she is unsure of a definite diagnosis. Jada's condition will be treated several ways and each way is needed in her situation: 
  1. Clavamox, an antibiotic for the infection;
  2. Temaril-P, a steroid/antihistemine for the itching;
  3. Sogelval Duoxo shampoo and spot-on droplets;
  4. Derma-strength vitamins (probably will keep her on for life) for her skin; and,
  5. E-collar to be worn 24/7.
The treatments numbered accordingly.
After Dr. Mary explained everything to me, I was a bit overwhelmed and upset.  I felt as if I had let Jada down by ignorning the issue and just continuing to do what I had done before.  Dr. Mary assured me that Jada is loved and cared for by me and that we can work with getting her better, it's just going to take some time.  I felt a little better but still worried.  Jada will go back for a check up in 3 weeks.

As soon as we had gotten home from the vet, I put the E-collar on Jada.  Less than a minute later and thinking she's Houdini, Jada had it off and carrying it around in her mouth.  I knew this was going to be challenging but only an hour after seeing the vet and I was already feeling defeated.  I'm open for tips on keeping an E-collar on a defiant dog! 

After a sleepless night of worrying and making sure Jada wasn't hiding to lick/chew at her paws, I was up at the crack of dawn determined to do what I can for Jada.  She is depending on me!  I sorted out her medications and I made a chart of what she gets daily.  It gets kind of confusing with her being on the different meds along with the shampoo and droplets being on on certain days of the cycle.  Plus with the steroids she will have to gradually weaned off so I want to make sure I don't miss a dose or over/under medicate.

I've been through so much with Jada, this is just another mountain to climb.  This time is seems a lot more challenging but I will do what I can for Jada.  I will take the 110% initiative to get her through this and get her back to healthy.  I made a promise to Jada and I won't let her down!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Allergies, Part 1

Every summer, like clockwork, Jada experiences allergies in her paws. This is due to allergens in the grass, such as pollen. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe it was the second year we had her that I started to notice this. She began to lick and chew on her paws and every year it seems to have gotten worse. Two years ago, she licked her paws so much that her paw pads turned white.  Last year she licked and chewed her paws until they were raw and hairless.  Now this year her paws are so raw it is affecting her walking and she is refusing to go out to the bathroom. I also can't cut her nails, or even touch her paws. She has them that raw and extremely sensitive to the touch.

After mentioning this to the vet and her pawdicurist, I was told to wash her paws after every time we came in from being outside to even giving her an over-the-counter antihistamine (i.e. Benadryl). It seemed to work for previous years but this year, things just seem to have spiraled out of control. Since we now live in the woods, our house is surrounded by grass, leaving Jada no choice but to have to walk through it and get whatever kind of allergen(s) on her paws.

I telephoned my vet this morning and she would like to see Jada today.  I made an appointment for her at 7:30 p.m.  The vet mentioned about possibly doing blood work and checking for lyme disease, something that has me worried. Of course I Goggled "lyme disease in dogs" and have gone into a major panic attack.  It mentioned it could lead to kidney/heart problems and possibly death.  I'm really hoping it isn't that serious.

Lately, I feel like a bad dog mom because I have been putting this problem off for a while now, just dealing with it like I had before :( I feel bad for yelling at Jada to stop licking her paws but I know they are really irritated.  I know she hides and licks them where I can't see. I just hope after this appointment we can get her better!

Here are some pictures of Jada so you can see how bad things are (NOTE: The pictures were taken on my Blackberry, so I apologize for the blurriness). I know other dogs suffer through allergies. Anyone else going through this with their dog?

Back Left Paw

Back Right Paw
Front Right Paw, raw and sore (this is the one she holds up when she limps)

I'm going to make this a two-part post. I will follow up with what my vet has to say after the appointment.  Say a prayer for Jada!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday to Jada!!

NOTE: Friday, July 1st was Jada's actual birthday but I must not have schedule my blog to post right for that date that I accidently deleted it.  I had to redo it :(  I wish it would have posted on her actual birthday.  

Today is Little Miss Jada Kiss' 5th birthday!! I can't believe it's been 5 years of being blessed with my first furbaby! Let's all sing Happy Birthday to this special little girl ...

The Birthday Girl!

Must ... take ... hat ... off!!

One more picture with the hat!

Enjoying her birthday cake!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Jada,

Happy Birthday to you!

She got lots of treats (holistic and good for her belly!), Dingo bones and Dingo rings as a present.  I love you so much Jada and no matter how old you are, you will always be my little puppy girl!!