"Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday," they say. Well, that depends on the kind of change, doesn't it?
It all started last Monday.
We took Jasmine to the horse farm, which made her very happy. The whole day went well and safely enough, everything was good. Later that evening Jasmine threw up and looked a bit under the weather. Mostly bile, with couple bits of undigested jerky. That was not all that strange or alarming; it happens sometimes but not often enough to truly worry about it.
After that she didn't want her dinner, which wasn't unusual either.
Jasmine would say it was unfair to have an upset belly without even getting a chance to munch on any horse poop that day. You know, like getting a hangover without the party that is supposed to come before that. Not that horse poop munching is typically behind her occasional belly upsets.
She didn't want to eat until Tuesday afternoon; still not alarming.
Then her appetite came back but the stool wasn't all that great. We figured whatever upset her stomach was making its way out. Again, nothing that hasn't happened before. Since the appetite has returned, we thought things were going to sort themselves out.
Instead, the stool got worse and then on Wednesday evening she refused food again. On top of that, this time she actually LOOKED ill.
Normally, when she gets her typical belly upsets, she still acts and looks her usual happy self.
By next day she looked better again but I called her vet anyway, because this was not following the normal pattern. We discussed it in detail and he felt that it's probably from the prednisone, and since she's being weaned off it, the symptoms should resolve along the way.
She looked OK the rest of Thursday and the stools have improved somewhat. Friday her appetite and disposition seemed normal. We were hopeful that things were sorting themselves out. We went for a walk, the stool looked quite good.
On the ride home, though, my heart jumped into my throat.
Suddenly she looked very wrong. For a moment I thought we had another relapse with the neck. She laid there, her head lowered by held couple inches from the floor, ears straight back. Something was not right at all! When we got home, she literally crashed on her bed and looked completely listless. Again, she refused food and later that night the diarrhea returned once again.
First thing in the morning on Saturday I was calling the vet to bring her in.
She still didn't want to eat but otherwise looked a bit better but was running a low fever as well. Didn't want her breakfast but accepted couple treats.
Wouldn't you know it, the vet was out some place for continuing education and wasn't coming in at all that day. I've put up the latest updates to his online messaging system, hoping he might check it through the day.
Meanwhile, we had to make some decisions.
We have a standing prescription for Metronidazole, in case her IBD flares up; though I always consult with him before starting it. This time we had to decided whether to start her on it or not ourselves.
It's always helped in the past, but these recent events were nothing like what Jasmine's had before. I was worried about the up and down pattern and particularly about the crashes. Starting the meds might interfere with diagnostics later.
We could, of course, take Jasmine to the emergency, but, while ready to do so if we had to, we would rather avoid it. Last time we took here there we spent $700 on a total misdiagnosis and recommendation to euthanize. Needles to say, we weren't eager to repeat THAT experience.
We did start her on the Metronidazole.
I spent the rest of the morning watching her like a hawk and monitoring her temperature. By noon she seemed to have bounced back (again) and started looking for her lunch. That was a good sign which would normally make me feel relieved. This time, though, twice she bounced back and twice crashed again. So her feeling better didn't mean as much as it usually would.
Holding my breath I was waiting to see what happens Sunday afternoon, which, following the pattern would mean another crash.
Thankfully, this time it didn't happen.
I was quite sure this was not her typical flare-up and we were looking at something else.
Too many things didn't fit the pattern. But what WERE we looking at? That was the question.
There are some scary conditions that come with wax and wane symptoms like this. My biggest concern was Jasmine's spleen. A splenic tumor, even if benign, could still be deadly if it ruptured. Some of the symptoms did not exactly fit in with that but some of them did. Brother in law just lost his dog to hemangiosarcoma early this year.
The other nasty thing that has symptoms that come and go is Addison's disease. The big pretender, the early symptoms can be just about anything, can even mimic neck and joint issues. It has been on the table before, but was ruled out. Did we add on the fire with the prednisone treatment?
Even though Jasmine still looked good on Monday, we went to see the vet anyway.
I didn't want to take any chances; there were things about this that really worried me.
Jasmine's vet checked her out and he's quite confident it is neither splenic tumor or Addison's, though we'll test resting cortisol once she's off the prednisone for a while. We'll run a full blood panel then too. Right now, having been on the prednisone, the blood levels wouldn't be diagnostically very useful.
He is still convinced that what's been happening IS from the prednisone treatment.
Either result of the treatment alone, or in combination with a normal flare-up. I can live with that and hope he's right. Since Jasmine had her last quarter prednisone today, I'm hoping she remains feeling well. Fingers crossed.
A change is as good as a holiday? I think not.
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