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Need Positive Thoughts/Prayers for Ben

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Ben's been under the weather the last couple days and I thought I recognized the signs of yet another bout of tick borne disease. He was very ill this morning and so I rushed him to the vet. My instincts were right. Ben has Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever. He had a 107 degree fever this morning! The vet almost dropped the thermometer when he read it. "I don't know why this dog isn't seizing," he said. Maybe because God knows I would die on the spot if that happened? Especially after Kris . . .


The good news is, Ben doesn't have anything WORSE - bloodwork looks excellent considering, and as soon as he got some antibiotics on board and had a nice cool bath, his temp went down and within a couple hours stayed down. In six hours the doxycycline will have kicked in completely and I can give him another dose, too, and he should be out of danger entirely.


This was really weird. He was fine Sunday - we had a really nice day of walking, playing ball, and putzing around the farm. He was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Then he woke up Monday looking like death warmed over and progressed to death not-so-warmed over this morning. But the vet said that's typical of RMSF - it comes on really hard and fast.


RMSF is a new one for us - Ben's had Lyme once - it took eighteen months for us to completely get rid of it - Ehrlichia canis twice, and Neorickettsia risticii once a couple years ago. The vet stared at me when I rattled off the last one. "Wow, you sent away for that test!" Actually, my former vet happens to be quite friendly with Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt at NC State, who happens to be a leading authority on the rickettsials and ehrlichia in particular. Thankfully for us! N. risticiii isn't even a tick vectored bug - Ben probably picked it up drinking from a puddle.


The other odd thing is that with Ben's history, he's on double protection for ticks - he is on both the collar and Frontline this time of year. Watch out - there are some determined ticks out there!


Well, give a little thought to Ben tonight and for the next few weeks while he has to take the nasty doxy again. I hate that stuff but I love the magic it performs on these diseases.


Oh, and the good news is that I found a great new vet into the bargain! Today's little adventure only cost us . . .drumroll please . . .$32! And he's nice and very knowlegeable - tick disease still isn't something all GP type vets know a lot about right off the top of their heads.


But he was well-versed, gave me the right dose of meds, and even told me something about doxycyline I didn't know - it makes you sensitive to the sun. Not that I really wanted to add more to my ever-increasing body of knowledge about TBDs. Between Ben and rescues I know way too much already. :rolleyes:

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You and Ben and all at the farm have our very good wishes. Fergus and Kirra say they're glad they live in cool temperate Tasmania, where thankfully we don't have so many nasties to worry about. Hope Ben feels a lot better really soon.


So, Becca, do the humans have to take precaustions against things like Rocky Mountains Spotted Fever?

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even though Cousin Ben kicked his ass once.


OK, he wasn't feeling well then either. :rolleyes:


He's been grumpy again and I was wondering whether I needed to up his thyroid again - or maybe put him back on selegiline (ouch, $$$$!). Well, duh to me.


Cousin Ben sends grumpy growls back but I know in his heart he's grateful. He's very pathetic right now - he's a Flat Dog. He's never a Flat Dog unless he's miserable - he's got his dignity, you know.


Only four and a half hours - his temp is up but not as bad as this morning. I might need to put him in the tub, though. I'm weighing the potential stress versus his need to keep cool.


I can give him more meds in two and a half hours. That should help too.


Hey, this is how way cool this doctor is - even though Ben's fever was so dangerously high, he said he didn't want to give him anything to lower his temp as everything he had there was pretty hard on the stomach. He said he hates to double up side effects like that (since the doxy is so nasty too). He preferred going with a more natural - and free - treatment. And it worked.


If I had gone to the vet in Roxboro it would have cost close to $1000. I took a dog there last summer with severe low thyroid and pancreatitis, and TOLD her that's what it was, and she ran zillions of tests anyway, treated him with tons of expensive meds, and then figured out he had - surprise - severe low thyroid and pancreatitis. Both of which are not that expensive to treat, though the pancreatitis can be somewhat labor intensive - but his wasn't too bad yet. The bill was $600!


I am so thankful for how this turned out - I was really discouraged this morning, thinking I was going to have to cancel our trip, etc - not that I would have regretted that for a second, but it seemed like we just couldn't catch a break. And as it turned out, this will actually SAVE us money since half our dogs need their annuals in the next couple months! Yay for Ben!

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Best to you and Ben--I have dealt with TBDs and know how terrible they can be! Here's hoping the doxy stays down just fine, and to a speedy recovery! Do you have him on the higher dosage?


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OK, he wasn't feeling well then either. :rolleyes:


Well, Solo did start it.


I remember they were in the yard, cruising around, looking like black and red copies of each other. (For those of you who don't know them, Solo and Ben are somewhat related and physically resemble each other in some ways.) Solo of course was mooning after Maggie, and Ben was doing his own thing, and I was standing there thinking how nice it was that they were all getting along, when suddenly Solo turned and jumped Ben for no reason than I could see other than Ben is (1) male, (2) large, and (3) clearly the king of the house who needed to be deposed if Solo was ever going to become King Solo and take Queen Maggie's hand in marriage.


I was a little bit embarrassed for Solo when Ben beat him up, but Solo deserved it.

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Ben's got one of the suckiest immune systems on the planet. He's got food allergies, too, and hypothyroidism (probably an underlying cause of the lousy immunity).


As I was saying to the vet this morning, if he were my only dog, I'd wonder about a management issue. But literally not one of my other dogs has ever gotten a TBD. I had an old rescue who came to me with E. canis, many years ago, but that certainly couldn't be attributed to anything I do here.


Ben's remarkably healthy and vigorous for what he's been through. Apart from the TBD adventures, he's only had a couple of accidents and the thyroid and food allergy stuff and that's pretty much under control now.


When I started rattling off Ben's medical history to the vet, he made a comment about my "trainwreck" dog. With Ben looking like he was about to expire on the table, that certainly seemed applicable - but in between the huge crises, Ben's doing really well to be 11 and half years old. Great teeth, great joints, bloodwork very nice - he's got a bit of mystery fluid buildup in his chest but at the rate that's going he'll be in his twenties before that's a serious problem.


I :rolleyes: Ben and he knows it. I let him work the sheep even though he still feels the need to dive and grab wool periodically - and he works for me even though I am almost completely helpless to make his job easier for him. We make a good team. :D

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Oh man. I'm so sorry Ben is sick again. My thoughts and prayers and good vibes are with you.


How ironic with so much tick protection too.


But congrats on finding a new and better vet.

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I'm laughing at remembering the Solo/Ben match. Solo really is a big geek. Almost all dogs look at Ben and say, "He is way out of my league." That's why it's so easy for me to add even the most aggressive dogs here - as long as they aren't nuts they stay humble.


Solo was like, "Yeah, I can take him."


When Ben's not grumpy and sick he can finish a faceoff in mere seconds. That's what most dogs can sense before it gets to that point even, I guess.


That day, Ben got mad and kept going even when Solo was on the ground going, "Ack, didn't mean it. My bad." That's what I've been dealing with the last week or so - Ben put a pretty nasty bite on Eddie for no real reason.


Wasn't it about the same time that Ben did the same thing to Michelle's dog?


Then we fixed his thyroid levels and Ben was back to his old stable self. Better life through chemistry.


I think Ben is feeling some better. He's still really lethargic and that pesky fever keeps coming back. If he's still warm in the morning I'll have to call back. The doctor mentioned lepto as another possibility if he didn't respond, but Ben's not got any of the symptoms other than the fever. Nice clear urine, no vomiting or eye gunk, and though he's uncoordinated or weak, he's not in pain.


What I read said the neurological symptoms can be the last to go - I'm just worried about the fever now.

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Sorry to hear Ben is sick again. That stuff is never fun to deal with. I'm glad he's going to get better.


That's pretty scary stuff, we have had four cases of RMSF around us so far this year.

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