So here we are, one year later dealing with Lances immune issues. It is amazing how fast one year disappears, and seems that each year goes faster than the last. Lance has been on three meds, one being predisone. The predisone is one of the stronger meds he is on, and over the year have gradually lowered the dose. When the vet first tried lowering it, Lances body didn't like how fast it was lowered, therefore, the vet now is slowly but surely lowering it. Lance went to the vet today and now is down to 1/4 of predisone, every five days, azathiaprine every three days and pentoxfylline is every day, three times a day equally 2 whole pills.
We have been holding off on immunizations over the last year while dealing with the issues. Our vet wants to test his immunization levels with titers within the next month or so. The titers will let us know if he is adequately protected from diseases or if he needs to be immunized. Heres the catch though, if we find out he is not adequately protected and the immunizations casue a flare up of his auto immune issues, then what!?! We haven't done immunizations in the last year because of what Lance is going through. We have had to change our routines with Lance such as not taking him on hikes, pet stores and other places he could be vulnerable to diseases. No play dates unless dogs are fully vaccinated.
The other fact we need to take into consideration about immunizations, is that it could potentially cause a flare up of the conditions. The last thing we want to go through and Im pretty sure Lance wold like to avoid flare ups as well.
Lances ears are looking good medically speaking, the vet was pleased with the appearance. I was a bit nervous as his ear had been a bit sensitive over the last couple days, I thought it may have been from forgotten doses of his meds. :( Last night I cleaned his ears with ear cleaner, and he was more than happy to lay and have them cleaned, he actually seems like he enjoys it. I am thinking that the ear cleaning may have been the issue, seeing he was due for an ear cleaning as well, phew! This every five day and three day schedule is a tough one to remember.
We took both Lance and Tucker in for vet visits today, Tucker was due for immunizations, so why not get it all done at once. Lance had his blood drawn for his heartworm test as well as Tucker. Tucker is one squirmy worm when trying to get blood drawn. He turns into a flying corgi!!! The more you try and constrict him, the harder it is. Thankfully he did very well getting his immunizations, he stood on the table and didn't even flinch when he got stuck with the needle, of course with distractions and a muzzle. Not really sure the muzzle is necessary, but I rather play safe than sorry, I am sure the vet would too.
We have had Tucker for a year and almost 4 months!! Lances energy level is definitely much better than it was, yay!! In fact, when Lances energy started coming back, Tucker would walk away from Lance, and not play!! Of course, Lance eventually got Tucker to play. I have observed over the last couple months that Lance will now initiate play and Tucker may or may not be receptive right away, but when he is receptive, Lance will play for a short time, and then be done playing. Tucker tends to get a bit rambunctious and doesn't know when to stop at times. I will step in and stop Tucker and let him know enough is enough and he does listen. :)
I am trying not to let my guard down too much as I am getting more and more comfortable with Lance and Tucker. We play fetch with them together and they will steal the balls from one another, I will not let them steal it out of each others mouths though. Tucker is getting brave and has once or twice, but I really try and not let it happen. If the ball is on the floor, fine. They are so entertaining to watch, both such characters. It seems as if Tucker has always been with us even though it hasn't even been a full two years yet! Tucker got to sleep upstairs with my daughter the other night as a treat and has as few other times, but not often. He gets confused at first, why am I not in the kitchen but he settles down and goes to sleep. We gate him in the kitchen at night out of habit, like we have since we got him. He doesn't seem to mind at all, we give him a comfy blanket to lay on, and off he goes to dream land.
PLEASE PLEASE!!! Do not get Lance his immunizations until he can handle them. Rugby had the same thing Lance does and we were always told not to get any kind of shot except rabies. Well there was a new vet at the place we always took him and he gave Rugby his immunizations even though I questioned him because of what the other vets had said. Well, Rugby had a major flare up! His levels dropped so low that even after two blood tranfusions and a course of predisone he never got better and we had to put him down! So please always think twice and question the vet when Lance's shots are due.
Thanks Tim!! Definitely do not want to rush any immunizations if his system is not ready to handle them, thats for sure! Our vet has been good about not immunizing him this past year, but he seems to be a bit antsy lately. He wants us to do the titer tests to see how his immunity is, and my husband questioned him about that. What would the exact point be, if his immunity is low and he can't handle the immunizations, then what?
The only immunization I do not wan't to skip is the rabies for sure. Luckily he just got his rabie shot right before he was diagnosed with this disease, hope that was not a coincidence. We have two years until we have to worry about him needing a rabies shot.
WOW, a whole year....doesn't seem that long ago. I am glad that Lance and Tucker have each other to hang out with:)
We went through the same thing with Algy and his immunizations. I think after a few years he got his rabies renewed, but that was it, becuase the vet wanted to be cautious. He did fine without everything, since he wasn't an 'outside' dog. He was only ever out with us and too much of a home body. He was also fantastic about getting his blood drawn at the vet. He would actailly run into the back lab and lift his little neck for them to take the blood. He liked getting the treats and he liked the girls fussing over him. Keeping all the pills straight was a task! We bought one of those pill boxes for like, a two week period, and used that so we wouldn't miss doses. If you haven't already tried that, it is worth the two dollars.
Your two boys are so cute. Keep enjoying them for all they are worth. Because they are worth the world. :)
What a wonderful update and we're so happy to hear Lance is doing well. Smooches to both Lance and Tucker!
So happy to hear Lance is doing so much better. It has been a year since Tenby had his problem also. But luckly he has been fine after only 2 doses of predisone. I wish my boys would lay next to each other on the couch. Just love that picture.
Glad to hear Lance is doing better, it's good to have a pal :)
Titers are definitely the way to go for now... he should still be immune, hopefully! I think in VA we have a law that says we can waive the rabies shot if the immunity is still present and the dog's health is at risk by getting the shot. That may be something you'll want to look into for when he needs his shots again in 2 years.
I'm so glad he's doing better and hope things only continue to look up!
Titers are a great way to go. A lot of vets around here will even waive rabies if a dog has an auto-immune issue. Honestly the chance of a dog getting rabies is much less than the chance of a dog getting parvo so waiving rabies here and writing a letter is preferred by the vets I work for and UC Davis' Vet Hospital. At least with titers you will know how protected he is and if you even need to talk about, or consider vaccines. Some studies show that the rabies and DAPP vaccines are actually good for closer to 7 years, so at least you will have an idea of if he is safe to go out and about where there may be distempter or parvo lurking.
If sometime in the next year or two you are able to wean him off of immune suppressant drugs, then MAYBE vaccines would be ok, but really if he is on medications to supress the immune response vaccinating isn't really going to do a bit of good anyway since you are stimulating the immune system with vaccines. This may be a question for a specialist, many teaching hospitals are more than happy to consult with vets regarding these issues.