Thursday, August 2, 2012

Heartache and Fear

Saturday, July 28th, all was right with the world, Bandit had been microchipped and a small portion of the burden of fear of him being lost without meds was lifted.

On August 1st, our beautiful, wonderful gentle giant Bandit passed away.  Somehow, unknown to us, he was exposed to the Parvovirus and his compromised immune system could not cope. 

On the 30th he didn't eat all of his fish at first, laid down for a couple of hours, but was up again after that, eating and playing with the other dogs.  It was some unusual behavior, but he has at times not wanted to eat in the mornings.  I mentioned this to Jim and told him he might want to call the vet and see if he could be scheduled for a bile acid test to be sure he was not suffering from liver or kidney damage because of his meds.  He seemed fine the rest of the day. 

On the morning of the 31st, at breakfast and morning meds time, he went outside and hid in a doghouse.  This was completely not like him at all, and I woke my husband and told him to take Bandit in.  I had no reason to suspect Parvo, he had his puppy shots and a one year shot, he was just due this month for his booster, plus he was an adult.  He was not throwing up, no diarrhea, just unwilling to move, but this was alarming enough and completely unlike his happy go-lucky self. 

I went to work and Jim called the vet and they told him they didn't have an opening until late afternoon.  Jim called me from the vet and told me he tested positive for Parvo after having diarrhea at the vet's.  The news went through me with a shock of fear.  We have 12 other dogs that may have been exposed!  In rising fear and panic, I begged leave from work and drove home.  Bandit was put on IV fluids and kept overnight at the vet, and I began a disinfection of our house and dogyard.  Our greatest worry was Ghost, our show pup as though he had all his boosters, he was still at the greatest risk.  We were worried about Bandit, but as an adult dog, we thought he would be strong enough to pull through, and indeed after an hour on fluids he seemed to come around and was partially alert.

Jim went off to his classes, and James was a great help cleaning up the dogyard and putting down disinfectant on every place he could find.  Fear for our other dogs and worry for Bandit kept me from sleep.  Ghost seemed a bit lethargic in the morning, but then sometimes he is, but this scare had me doubly worried that this time it wasn't from him being a laid back personality.  Eager to get news of Bandit and to schedule Ghost for an exam/Parvo test, I called our vet.  Some instinct told me that something was wrong when I didn't get an answer.  A nagging fear began itching at the back of my mind.  I tried to call again a half hour later, and then again after another 30 minutes.  Meantime I was busying myself cleaning, but just before another 30 minutes passed, I received a call from the vet. 

She told me Bandit had passed away.  He had been fine when they checked on him at 3:30am, but sometime between then and 6am he had passed on.  Run Free my wonderful boy!  Somewhere on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge I know you will be leading a team of huskies, running like the wind and playing hard!

Ghost came up negative on the test, and even though it is good news, it only means he has not begun to shed the virus (if he has it).  So now we are on a constant vigil for up to 10 days to be sure none of the other dogs contract the virus.  We ordered a product on-line called Parvaid in hopes the testimonials and anecdotal accounts from known kennels in favor of this product are true.  Our hope is that if another dog appears to show the signs, we can begin their treatment with this product while awaiting vetrinary assistance. 

Fear is at an all-time high, fear for our furry family which makes you question all your decisions and philosophies.  Was I right to get Bandit micro-chipped?  Was it a good idea to have free association among all the dogs?  Would they be safer in divided quarters?  Would they still be happy?  All these things and more keep plaguing me as we watch and clean while we wait.

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