April 1st, 2005


Puppy Pain....

I found out last night that Sophie hurt her back somehow and isn't feeling like her usual perky self. Of course, when I got the email at work, I panicked and immediately called Steve. (Steve and Sharon are her caretakers since I'm not able to keep a pup happy and content with my 11-hour work week schedule and such). This is the email that Steve sent me:
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Sophie Update

I just found out from Steve that Sophie may have dog tetanus....
this is NOT GOOD. The vet said that it's rare but he's seen a few cases that it's happened.
She's now on antibiotics and he said that most dogs/humans get back to normal, with some rare cases that it can get bad if it spreads. But they caught it early.

She had the same symptoms: buggy eyes, ears laid back on her head, tightness of limbs.
The poor thing.

The more I read about tetanus though, the more I'm really REALLY freaking out:
"Signs of the illness can take up to three weeks to develop after exposure has occurred. Paralysis can be localized, affecting only one limb (the one nearest the offending wound), or generalized, affecting all four legs. Death can follow due to respiratory arrest, and only occurs in those cases that go undiagnosed."

and this:
"NURSING CARE: While in the recovery stage, your pet should be kept in a dark, quiet area with as little excitement as possible. She will be bedridden for a while, and will need a very soft bed so she doesn't get sores from laying on a hard surface for a long period. Your pet may have muscular spasms of the jaw--commonly called lockjaw--so it's a good idea to make her food into a gruel and feed her small amounts slowly. The muscles used for swallowing may also have spasms, so go slowly to avoid choking. If your pet does not have regular elimination, both urine and feces, touch base with your veterinarian to see if a catheter is necessary."

and this:
"The muscle rigidity that the neurotoxin causes results in a stiff gait and often the tail is carried outstretched pointing backwards or curled up dorsally. The animal finds it difficult to stand or lie down. Ears are held pricked up, the third eyelid protrudes, the lips are drawn back and other facial muscles may go into spasm. The animal may have difficulty opening it's mouth because of involvement of the masticatory muscles ("lock-jaw"), and this causes difficulty eating (dysphagia).. There is increased salivation, increased heart rate and respiratory rate, and sometimes laryngeal spasm. Eventually the animal dies from respiratory arrest. Severely affected animals require long, intensive treatment which may not be rewarding as many will die despite the care and attention."

Steve says the vet told them to make sure she's getting plenty of food and water and taking her meds and that she should probably be fine. But I can't help but worry about the worst.
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