Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bloody Hell

bloody-wastebasket It started with a simple runny nose.

A Claritin here, a Zyrtec there, Benadryl everywhere and all will be fine in a couple of weeks, so I thought.

Then the sneeze.

A quarter-size red bubble on the white tile floor.

Off to the doctor we went.

Not my doctor.

My dog’s.

All you need to know about a dog having blood come from its nose is this: It is never good.

“It doesn’t fit the profile for his breed or age, but it could be a nasal tumor,” said our third vet in three weeks of attempting to solve this mystery.

She obviously didn't know Murphy, our 5-year-old Labrador retriever with a heart of gold and a body made for amazing the local veterinarian world.

First dog our regular vet had seen with giardia in decade.

Only dog the animal dermatologist had seen with sterile nodular pyogranuloma syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin, since vet school.

Survivor of eating whole avocados, grapes and even rat poison, thanks to my skills at making others vomit. ‘Tis a gift.murphy-nose-couch Sedation. CAT scans. Biopsies. Tests.

They came and went. Some negative, some inconclusive. Probably not cancer. Probably.

Possibly a fungal infection. Murphy’s immune system, suppressed from his last bout with the medically unordinary, may have let common everyday spores found on grass and plants take root. Possibly.

Bring on the antibiotics. And the waiting.

Nothing is worse than the helplessness accompanying uncertainty. I know it all too well. I am a caretaker by nature whether it’s my child or my furriest friend. At least a diagnosis, even a bad one, let’s you plan and prepare and steady yourself for the inevitable.

When you don’t know, every minute is worry. Worry paralyzes me, physically and mentally. This I know is true.murphy-bloody-noseThe mucus just keep coming. Thick, sloggy oozes down his muzzle, pooling on the floor, his kennel, my office couch, his legs and paws.

Then came the blood. Lots of blood.

The worse started Christmas Eve. It kept going until the hours of the early morning. Ice packs, pressure, the drone of NPR radio hosts in the background to keep the calm, in him and me. No child should wake Christmas morning to find their dog lifeless in a crimson pool. That was my only goal for the night.

murphy-fenced-in The spills recurred off and on. My office became Ground Zero for containment, cordoned off with a dog gate, tarps and towels covering  everything.

Until blood started running out Murphy’s right eye.

I think that earned me the right to a legitimate pain in my chest.

I took Murphy on several emergency room trips to our local vet and the specialty hospital 40 minutes away over the next several weeks. I had at least two nights attempting to sleep on the couch next to Murphy’s kennel, me stirring at any sound and shining a light into the cage to see if the bleeding had worsened. On more than one occasion I considered popping one or two of the tranquilizers the vet had prescribed for Murphy because I needed them more.

So I didn’t sleep much for the most of January being knee-deep in snot, blood and fur. Fur because the stress caused Murphy to blow his winter’s coat prematurely. Mine didn’t fare too well, either.

Diagnosis: Fungal infection. A bad one. Meds, Chinese herbs and two treatments of fungicide, including one in which they drilled into his skull and shot the poison straight into his sinus cavity. “You know what bread looks like when it gets moldy, all fuzzy and such,” Vet No. 3 said to me. “That’s what his sinuses looked like.”

Murphy’s doing much better today. The blood ended a few weeks ago. The mucus disappeared briefly but in the past week an occasional string of the stuff comes wandering out of one nostril, something that might continue because of damage done. Better snot than blood, any day.

More importantly, he’s back to his harassing me regularly for snacks, belly rubs and a million trips outside. Just like before. And that — that I can take care of. murphy-couch

Murphy, last week, almost as normal as he gets.

40 comments:

  1. My god. You are a champion among men. I think this counts as Unto The Least Of These . . .

    Glad he's on the mend. Now, you. Get something for yourself. You've earned it.

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    1. For myself, a keg of beer would be nice. Good hearing from you again, Brian.

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  2. Poor pup! and poor dad. I'm so glad that they figured out what was up with the amazing wonder dog (don't you just hate that 'wow, I've never seen this...'?) and that he's back in fine form.

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    1. I've heard that "I've never seen this" a few to many times between my daughter and dog. They are definitely not average, for sure.

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  3. Poor doggie! You seem to be doing a good job taking care of him. Makes me want to hug my own puppy.

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    1. Give the pup a scratch behind the ears for me. Thanks.

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  4. I'm REALLY glad that story had a happy ending.

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  5. Wow! Hopefully past is the winter of Murph's discontent, and glorious summer is ahead for all the Uncools. Once again you have shown yourself to be a better person than I am.

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    1. I would really love a dull, boring 2012. LOVE IT!

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  6. Ugh. Why is it our dogs often give us our greatest tests? My latest adventure was a tumor removal on his back. Come home from the vet to find he blew his stitches out leaving a rather large hole. Vet told me they couldn't do anything until the next day. My house looked like a MASH unit.

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  7. Oh my dog, dude. I'm glad the doggie pulled through. Your efforts are amazing.

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  8. So glad he stopped slopping, glopping and can go back to plopping! As it should be.

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    1. The excessive plopping of giardia was nothing compared to the blood gushers.

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  9. Poor baby! Glad he's doing better!

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  10. Thank goodness for Vets!

    (Our dog had the first case of Ehrlichia our Vet had ever seen {or heard of}.)

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    1. That's a new one on me, too. Sadly one of our neighbors dogs who Murphy has played with a lot over the years just died of kidney failure related to Lyme disease. Poor border collie was only 4. Hope you pup is well.

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  11. Whew. Good on Murphy, and you. And good is better than blood or snot! Glad to hear things have improved, my friend.

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  12. Glad Murphy pulled through. What a nightmare. And I thought my anxiety-ridden, urinary-incontinent beast had problems.

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    1. I dealt with pee problems twice when Murphy was on prednisone for the skin disease. On the plus side, nose blood doesn't smell as bad as dog urine.

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  13. Really, really glad to hear he's doing better.

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  14. Awwww. Poor Murphy! And poor you. I'm glad he's back to normal.

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    Replies
    1. Well, normal is all relative for him. Thanks, Meleah.

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  15. You know exactly how I feel about this. So relieved Murp is once again on the mend from another exotic (hey, that rhymes with erotic!) disease. And happy that you're back to what passes for normal for you. How awful for all of you.

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    1. If someone deserves an erotic disease, 'tis I. Thanks, Cheryl.

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  16. You are such a fabulous daddy and doggy owner. Really. That dog was meant to be with you.
    Soooo glad he's on the mend!!

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    1. So I was meant to blow my paycheck and nerves on Murphy? Yeah, that seems about right.

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  17. Funny how the animals we chose become like us. Or do we become like them?

    Mr. Chewey's fur falls out when he gets stressed, as does my hair. He has a gluten issue, as do Youngest and myself. He also has a severe re flux issue... just like me.

    And he's fat... like Tony (not at all like me).

    Glad he's feeling better. :)

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    1. Now you mention it, Murph is developing a receding hairline and a drinking problem ...

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  18. Jeez man. That dog is lucky to have you.

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    1. Unless I'm the true cause of all his issues. Then I'm his worst nightmare. But with tasty puppy treats.

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  19. Hows your dog doing now? I think mine is going through something similar at the moment, although the vets seem a bit clueless tbh. He's had loads of tests and they are saying he has ulcerative rhinitis and although the tests came back negative for a fungal infection, after the steroids and antibiotics haven't helped he's started some anti-fungal tabs tomorrow so hopefully thats the start of him being on the mend.

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    1. Murphy's doing well these days. The fungus did damage to his nasal passages so he still has some mucus issues, which the docs told me to expect, but it is not a constant running nor it is bloody -- nothing compared to what was going on in December and January. Did they put him under and scope his nose and/or CAT scan? If he has bloody noses, you might want to ask about using Yunnan baiyao, a Chinese herb, to help with clotting. Hope he does better.

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