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Need advice and Good Mojo for my Kit


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My beautiful and very beloved Kit needs your good mojo sent her way. And I could use advice if anyone has any.


She started gimping around just a bit about a year ago. When I took her in, my vet said that what she was presenting did not look likely for Valley Fever to her, and suggested Dasuquin. I put her on Dasuquin, plus fish oil daily, and it got better.


Kit is nine years old now, by the way.


A month or so ago she started gimping more. She sometimes limps. She is growly with the other dogs if they brush against her or even come close....an obvious sign of being in pain. She will still run with the other dogs when a ball is being thrown, but she will sometimes flake out before play is over, which is unheard of for Kit, who has always been the energizer bunny. So, I took her in for a Valley Fever test, X-rays, and a CBC.


Turns out the x-rays show she has some arthritis in her front elbow joints, which is no surprise. But, she has had weakness in her hind legs that I have observed, and also the radiologist did not think that the arthritis he was seeing evidence of was enough to be causing her so much trouble.


The CBC did not show anything of consequence.


She tests positive for Valley Fever. But her titers are very low: 1:2. I said to my vet: Well, that's good, then, right? But doc said that the VF test does not conclusively show how badly a dog has the disease. It only tests the presence of antibodies. So, a result of 1:2 could mean a low level of VF (which is good) (not that any VF is good), but it could equally mean a very high level of VF in the body but the body's antibodies are not fighting it off, which would be very bad. So, we don't know if she has a small infestation of VF or if her whole body is full of it and it's killing her. Not good.


Then, today, she seemed a lot worse than before. She ran and played with the others early this morning, but by 9AM or so she was in a lot of pain. She could hardly get up off the floor, and it took great effort to get up. Some of the time she just lay in a curled up position and actually moaned with pain. I couldn't stand it and so when I got hold of the Doc to find out about the test results, I asked if there were anything I could give her for the pain and she suggested Prednisone. Of course, I hate steroids and don't want to use them. But I couldn't leave her in such pain, and don't know what else to give her. Doc said she would give me a very small dose pill and I could just give her a quarter of one pill twice a day to see if that helped. To see her in such pain was heartbreaking to me.


On the way to the vet I was thinking about how some people with arthritis and other body pain are helped by being on a gluten-free, or grain-free diet. I decided to put Kit on a grain-free diet, and bought a bag of TOTW ($50) and that is what she will get now. I hate to give that to her and something less good to the other 2 but feel I have no choice at that price and my income (or lack thereof). I will just have to cut back somewhere else.


Roo seems a little less in pain now this evening, at least she can get up more easily. But I don't know if that is because of the Pred. or because it is later in the day or because it was cold and rainy earlier and now it stopped raining and warmed up.........or what.


I am very worried.

And I am going to try to do some research. Valley Fever is an opportunistic disease, meaning all of us who live where the VF spores live in the dust have those spores in us just from breathing, but when the immune system (or a certain organ, perhaps, or area of the body) is weakened, then the VF has the opportunity to become active and attack. So what I would like to find out is what might be the causes of this weakness in the first place.....what might suppress the immune system.....what might boost the immune system.....what might help arthritis in dogs......what is helpful to dogs experiencing a lot of pain in moving.....etc. Of course, focusing on diet first, then herbal and other natural remedies. But not the packaged ones that claim to be so fantastic and cost $50 or more a bottle. I don't trust those. I know there are plenty of those out there but I think they are mostly scams. Of course, I also started her on Fluconazole for the VF.


And I am asking here.....does anyone know anything that might be helpful?



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I know nothing about VF but I hope your girl gets to feeling better real soon. I have had awesome success with Total Health Enhancement products on my horses and would not hesitate to call Bob and have him formulate something for my dog if needed. Since you had blood work ran, I would give Bob a call and tell him what's going on and see if he can formulate something for Kit. Sometimes he'll do it for free just to see if it works. But he does offer a 100% money back guarantee that he stands by. Good luck and keep us posted :)

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First of all prednisone is an immune SUPPRESSANT. If you're worried about her immune system, get your vet to take her off the pred and put her on an NSAID or other painkiller. I'm not sure why pred was a first choice for pain management; the anti-inflammatory effects would probably help arthritis, but it doesn't sound like arthritis is Kit's main problem.


SAM-e is supposed to be an immune booster and will also provide liver support. Fish oil and vitamin E would be helpful as well.


Have you tested her for any tick-borne diseases? If not, it might be worthwhile to contact Protatek in AZ and talk to them about what would be a suitable tick panel. Testing is relatively inexpensive, and it's possible that Kit is fighting more than one infection.


I hope she starts to feel better soon.



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Thank you, Julie.

I am not happy about the pred. either. But I visited with my vet about it for several minutes before OKing the medication. Doc said that in this tiny a quantity (1/4 of a 5mg pill, twice a day) it is not going to do any significant amount of immune suppression, and she said in her experience that the NSAIDs simply do not work as well. Because Kit was in extreme pain, I felt I needed to give her something that would work right now. I don't want to keep her on it, of course. Since today she seems significantly better in her movements and is not in as much pain, there must be inflammation of some kind going on, because the improvement can only be from the pred.


She does get fish oil daily. I can add Vit E to that. I had not thought about TBDs. We used to have a tick problem, but I managed to win the war about 2 years ago and we have not had a tick since then, so it did not occur to me.


Thanks again for your help and suggestions.


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I don't know anything about Valley Fever but I have a 12yr old border collie, Cheyenne, who started showing severe stiffness and pain a few monthes ago. She tested positive for Lyme but showed none of the clinical signs other than the arthritis, appetite was good, no fever, bloodwork was fine. We did a course of doxy and I started looking for ways to help with the arthritis, she has been raw fed but as I looked at her food it had alot of fruits and veggies in it. I am also on the Yahoo K-9 nutrition group and asked for suggestions. I found that no fruit or veggies is the way to go for arthritic dogs. I changed her diet and within 1 week she was able to get up on her own and was moving around much easier, she also lost some weight which was needed. It seems any type of carbs aggravate inflammation and make it worse. She is also on Dasuquin, fish oil, and Ligaplex. I also started her on Vaxamine which I have found to work better than anything I have ever used, and I have tried alot of products, for pain. They are re-vamping the K-9 formula but you can use the human formula as well. I first ordered it for my other dog that had ACL surgery last July since I didn't want to use the Deramaxx long term. I started using it about 2 weeks out from his surgery when he was starting re-hab and it made a huge difference. I started Cheyenne on it and have noticed a huge improvement, she actually chased her ball for the first time in a long time. The good thing is that it works fast, you do a loading dose for 2 days and then the regular dose and it is safe for long-term use. You could also try Adequan injections or acupuncture, hope Kit is feeling better soon. Cindi

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Thanks for all that information. Much appreciated. I will keep the names of those meds in mind.


Kit is doing ok. She had not been eating well....or rather, she did eat all her food, but had to be coaxed, and was not enthusiastic, which is uncharacteristic of her. Now she is eating normally, although that may be in part due to liking the new food better, who knows. And she is acting almost normal. Still showing stiffness, but that's been going on for a year now.


I went to a Valley Fever seminar last night and learned a lot. Some things I thought I knew about it were wrong. I am much better informed now.

I am taking the Pred. dosage down to 1/8 of a 5mg tablet twice a day to see how that does. If she continues to do well I will phase it out altogether, and then I may try a NSAID on her if the pain comes back. She just seems so much happier and more herself, and I am relieved.


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Kit is now taking even less prednisone. I take the 5mg tablet and cut it with a pill cutter into as many tiny pieces as I can. Usually I get 8 to 10 pieces out of one pill, just little chips. I give one of these chips to her in the AM and one PM, and she has been on TOTW dog kibble for a week now. It is as if I have my old Kit back again. She is doing things that she had not done in a few months, but I didn't realize that the behavior was missing until she started acting like herself again.


The Valley Fever seminar I went to taught me a lot. One question I asked the presenter was if there is a difference between the fluconazole you get from a compounding pharmacy and what you get at a pharmacy in a grocery store such as Fry's, which carries it at a significantly cheaper price. She said there was no difference, but she would not recommend giving fluconazole from a compounding pharmacy because the content of the capsules is not strictly regulated as it is in the commercially made capsules. She said the dosage is more accurate if you get it at the store than from a compounding pharmacy.


I relayed this to my vet, and she strongly disagreed with my decision to get the fluconazole from the grocery pharmacy, stating that she knew it was not as good, and that researchers don't know as much as practicing vets do. I checked with other people I know with VF dogs, and apparently all of their vets prescribe the capsules that come from the grocery store pharmacy. I think my vet is not very happy with me for making that switch. She's a really good vet, and I have a strong relationship with her, so that's hard for me. I normally do not go against her advice, and have been giving Jester the more expensive capsules for years now.


But now I am wondering if the dogs even need the fluconazole at all. Neither one is showing clinical symptoms of the disease. Both have titers of 1:2, which is the lowest measurable, and the seminar presenter told us that many vets don't even prescribe the drug for titers under 1:4. Kit is not getting fluconazole right now at all, and is doing so much better than she was a week ago. Of course, that's probably because of the prednisone, which I don't want to continue long term. But, would she continue to do better with just the dietary change, without the fluconazole? Can I find herbs that would help her instead of the drugs?


It's hard to get info because no one who doesn't live in the SW has ever heard of VF. There's so little information about it. The county in which I live is one of three that constitute the VF center of North America, possibly the world. But our population is small.


If this were about my own body, I would not find it so stressful. Because it is my beloved dogs, it is hard to make decisions on so little information. I am continuing to search for more info. Meantime I am not giving fluconazole to either dog while I try to figure out what to do.


I know most of you don't know anything about this disease. But I am open to all suggestions if any of you have one.


Thanks for reading this


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