Pennsylvania 5

April 2015: His symptoms were becoming more frequent and exacerbated, so I took him to see an internal medicine specialist. They performed a CT scan and a rhinoscopy, and it turns out he has moderate inflammation of the soft palate (upper rear portion of the mouth) and moderate inflammation of the nose (rhinitis). That would seem to explain the excessive sneezing, gagging every single time he eats (even small treats), regurgitating, head shaking, reverse sneezing, and occasional vomiting. The vet wants to treat him with steroids to reduce the inflammation. There is no telling what the root cause of the inflammation is – it could be bacterial, viral, auto-immune, allergies, etc., but he did not respond much to previous treatments with antibiotics, antihistamines, or Pepcid, so a low dose of Prednisone is the next step. We’ll see how he responds, and go from there. The vet did not seem to think that the Neospora was a concern in his case. His ears were clean, and they flushed his nose.

I am so relieved that they found no signs of tumors or cancer!! I hope the steroids will help him feel better. I imagine a perpetual post-nasal drip that makes you gag, regurgitate, and sneeze all of the time is not a pleasant thing to have to live with!

January 2015: PA-5 is the 3rd PA/DE dog to test positive for the parasite Neospora caninum. Like DE-1, he originally tested negative for Neospora caninum back in 2013 (when we first learned that DE-14 was diagnosed with it), but he is now testing positive. His symptoms are different, in that he is not exhibiting rear end weakness like the other two. His major symptoms are difficulty swallowing and occasional “effortless” regurgitation. Please note that N. caninum infection can lead to the development of neosporosis, the medical term for a diseased state that has been caused by the death of cells and living tissue (an incident known as necrosis) in response to the invasion of N. caninum. It affects a dog’s neurological and muscular system, and the signs develop gradually.

According to PetMD:
In dogs less than six months of age, symptoms usually include stiffness of the pelvic limbs (back legs), paralysis distinguished by gradual muscle atrophy (in which the muscles seize up and cannot move), progressing to rigid contracting of the limbs. But, in older dogs, the central nervous system is more likely to be involved, leading to symptoms such as seizures, tremors, behavioral changes, and blindness. Other symptoms that may develop include weakness of the cervical muscles (near to the neck) and difficulty swallowing, a condition known as dysphagia. These signs develop gradually. The eventual paralysis of the muscles involved in respiration can lead to death. In many cases, the infection spreads throughout the body, affecting most of the organs, including the skin. Dermatitis is another common symptom of neosporosis, particularly in older dogs.

In PA-5’s case, his symptoms developed gradually, and they still seem relatively mild, so I’m hoping that treatment with the appropriate antibiotic will help and his symptoms will not progress if we continue to monitor and treat him. Paws crossed! His initial symptoms included some difficulty swallowing, some gagging right after he eats, and occasionally licking the roof of his mouth. He also sneezes a lot, although I don’t know if this is related. The vet did some basic tests and thought he might have laryngitis or rhinitis or a foreign body in his throat (e.g., hair). We tried a variety of different noninvasive treatments such as Zyrtec, Pepcid AC, an antihistamine, but nothing helped. His blood work (including tests for tick-borne diseases) has always been normal. When he started regurgitating “effortlessly,” the vet decided to do x-rays and then an endoscope to rule out a foreign body, megaesophogus, and other possible conditions. His stomach, esophagus, larynx, etc all looked normal via the endoscope. They didn’t find anything abnormal, other than confirming that his “gag reflex” was not normal. But, they ruled out laryngeal paralysis. The vet concluded that it was a “neurological condition” and decided to test him for a Myasthenia Gravis, which he also tested negative for. When she mentioned that she thought it was “neurological” in nature, I told her to retest him for Neospora caninum, even though he had tested negative in 2013. I found out today that he tested positive for it this time. Technically speaking, his titer results were low enough to indicate only that he has been “exposed” to Neospora caninum , but since he is exhibiting symptoms that are correlated with active infection, the vet is going to treat him with the appropriate antibiotic as if he has “active infection.” My mother’s dogs will have to be tested as well, although neither is currently exhibiting any symptoms.

PA-5 is otherwise acting normally and is a very happy dog. And I love him to pieces. I will keep you posted on his condition. I encourage all PA/DE owners to google Neospora caninum so that you can become educated and to discuss it with your vet.   

8/11/13: Bunky continues to thrive, and he truly is a perfect fit for me! Thanks MASR for all three of my amazing rescues. Below are some new photos of Bunky.
* Bunky celebrating his one year anniversary post seizure and into rescue!
* Bunky hanging out with Mom & Dad’s dogs, i.e., the terrorist twins who keep him in line whenever we visit, even though they are only 13 pounds each!
* Bunky chillin’ in his favorite position, i.e., upside down.
* Yes, that’s a Samoyed with poodle paws!! It’s worth mentioning that although Bunky appeared completely “healthy” when I adopted him, some routine blood/urine tests and some keen intuition on my part revealed that he actually had numerous mild bacterial infections, including a skin infection in between the toes of one of his paws, a UTI, an inner ear infection, and an eye infection. They were all cleared up with antibiotics, but the skin infection between his toes has reoccurred on different paws two times already, so I find that keeping the “poodle paws” is the best way of identifying a new infection and keeping the area clean.
Good photo ops around my neighborhood.

I should also mention that Bunky punctured two small batteries and somehow miraculously escaped any oral/esophageal/stomach ulcers from the battery acid! He rarely chews anything and the ER vet told me that he’s actually seen this happen many a time before, so be sure to keep batteries out of your pet’s reach, as dogs seem to be attracted to them for whatever reason!

1/22/13 An update from Bunky: My mom says I’m absolutely perfect… nuf said! Check out the photos of me in my new digs! (Lots of pictures below) The last picture is Bunky with a new dish that slows down his eating.
1/19/13: Another update from Bunky’s family: How cool and amazing is this?!? My camera video recorded Bunky for 27.5 min before going into auto shut-off mode this morning after I left for work. I put the puzzle toy down right before I departed. He was so interested in retreiving the treats from his puzzle toy that he didn’t even look up (much less go to the front door) when I walked out and locked the front door! Then… after 26 min of slow-motion pacing (by that I mean, he did more standing and staring in one place (mostly staring at the front door) than walking to the next, so not really pacing any more), he layed down, licked himself, and then put his head down to rest.. and then the camera shut off. This is MAJOR progress!!
He also had his 2nd visit inside mom & dad’s house (he’s been in their backyard more often). He mark-peed and left a big pile within like 3 min (but all on kitchen tile so easy to clean up), BUT he deferred to the girls so well that they only barked/growled at him a handful of times. He literally looked the other way and hid behind my chair, so the girls didn’t feel particularly threatened. The vibe was very little tension btwn the dogs. And, dad didn’t feed any of the dogs from the table! He just gave each dog a piece of crust after we finished eating and away from the table. More major progress…

1/9/13 An update from Bunky’s family: Bunky is a total love! The thing I like the most about him is his disposition. He is so incredibly gentle, trusting, and laid back; I think he’d make a fabulous therapy dog!! Although he’s the one easing into a new, “scary” environment, he still brings such tranquility to it. He’s still unsure, as should be expected, but I already caught him sleeping on his back with all fours sticking straight up once, and he rolled over onto his back for me to rub his belly today.
We walked around the lake (about 2 miles) yesterday. I learned a lot about him from that walk. He did pretty well on the leash; he showed interest in squirrels, birds, even a pelican, but did not lunge or bark at any of them; he was friendly to another male dog; he was very friendly with an older couple; he walked by some kids and a bicyclist without showing any signs of aggression or nervousness. He peed on every 10th tree we passed!!! He was more cautious/nervous when we took him to Petco later that day, but no fear-peeing or pooping. We kept the visit short, and he allowed two kids to pet him, so he appears to be kid friendly.. another plus. He sleeps like a log on the floor next to me during the day, but paces all night in the crate. Fortunately, I probably won’t need to use it for very long. He only peed 1.5 times in the house (caught him in the act the 2nd time), but that was within the first couple of hours I brought him home and it was my bad for not being 100% prepared. He is starting to show a little interest in his toys, but he seems to prefer my shoes, so I’ll have to keep those in the closet.
He has clearly never been an indoor dog… he doesn’t know how to do stairs or what to do with a dog bed, but that will come. He’s shown a great interest/fascination with the TV and speaker phone, although I think his love affair with the speaker phone will end after my 4 hour conference call tomorrow! His appetite is very good. He has shown some interest in the newer version of the Kong toy I bought, a Starmark treat ball.
I just love him to death!! Mom & Dad love him as well (and vice-versa)… we’ll see what happens when he meets “the scrappers” this weekend…. p.s. He is catching on to the dog bed.. he just rested his head on it for the first time!

12/9/12: New pictures from 12/7 added.
12/7/12: A new video of Bunky is HERE.