First off - sorry for the delay! The last 10 or so days have been a complete blur. My plan this weekend to update all the puppy pictures, weights, videos etc. I'm also planning on bathing and grooming them all this weekend in preparation for them leaving next weekend! HOLY that went by fast! I can't believe I only have 10 days left with them. 2 will be here a little longer so that makes be feel a bit better.
This weekend I'm also going to sit down and set a schedule for the 29th when everybody is getting their puppy. I know your'e all anxious but we must go through the contracts before you swoop away your little bundle! I'll make sure I have time for each of you to sit down and discuss and ask me all the questions you need!
As all of you know we've had some bad things happen around here the last 10 days. Some of you have gotten short versions of the story and so here I am opening everything for you to understand.
Sunday January 8th I noticed something just a bit off about Audrey. I couldn't put my finger on it. She was laying on her side and I also noticed her belly seemed a little large. I've been watching her closely since the puppies were born since it is our first litter and I wasn't sure what signs to look for when it comes to mastitis, infection, etc. So I decided to take her temperature. Around 4:30 pm she was 103.5 F, which is just borderline considered a fever. An hour later I checked again and it was at 104.4 F. I was really worried so I called the emergency vet. They advised that I come in ASAP. So off we went.
When the vet saw Audrey she agreed that her tummy seemed large and could feel a large mass like I could. I was relieved to know I wasn't crazy. She and I suspected an infection from the birth. So she took Audrey away to do some x-rays and tests as we waited anxiously. After 45 minutes she finally came back. She said "The good news is that her reproductive organs are perfect, the bad news is that her spleen is VERY large which could be nothing but also could be very serious." She went on to explain that in the x-ray her spleen seemed to be everywhere. (That's the large mass we felt earlier). She double checked with a second view of an x-ray and also with an ultrasound.
We agreed that the next step was to do some blood work to eliminate other possibilities. They ran the blood work and sadly she came back to us and explained that Audrey's red blood count was low (21%), her platelets were low which were indicators of two auto immune disease's called ITP and IMHA and when combined are called Evan's Syndrome. (She had also done another test to confirm).
She gave us about 5 or 6 different medications to go home with and explained that it is a very serious disease and we need to watch her carefully. She also said that we shouldn't be concerned about the puppies at this stage but they cannot nurse anymore (because of the steroids).
On Monday January 9th we had to go to our regular vet to check up on the information that we received the night before. They checked her PCV (Packed cell volume- you'll see me use this term a lot) and she was at 23% which was a great sign since it was up from the day before! They also ran some other blood work on Audrey and found that she had also tested for positive for Lyme disease. Now, we've only ever found 1 tick on her and it was when she was 6 weeks pregnant (In November) and it was not engorged. The vet seemed to think she has had it for a while but it was dormant in her system and that things got stirred up when she had her puppies since her immune system was compromised. Either way, this was the least of our worries when compared to the Evan's Syndrome.
On Tuesday January 10th Audrey seemed to be doing the same as before. When I got home from work she just seemed a little more lazy then usual. It didn't sit right with me. I brought her into a vet close by and they said her PCV had dropped a bit and we should go to emergency to get her checked again. We dropped off our baby to emerg and they decided to keep her for the night for observation. By the time we arrived home we got a call from the vet. Audrey's PCV was at 10%, which means she had become anemic and needed a blood transfusion NOW. That night Dave and I tossed and turned all night. Both of us were devastated and no idea what was going to happen.
Wednesday January 11th Audrey's PCV was up to 21% again and the transfusion was a success. (Now remember a normal PCV range is around 40%). We checked in every few hours with the vet while her PCV count went up and down, up and down, up and down, ranging between 16% - 19% over the course of 2 days. It was exhausting. Lots of tears and emotions were flying around our house. She wouldn't be released until she was eating normally and had a steady PCV. Things were going really steady and good.
When Friday January 13th came around things got a little heavy. I went to visit Audrey and her PCV had dropped to 14% and another transfusion was likely in our future. She was completely yellowed with jaundice, could hardly hold up her head and had a very difficult time breathing and wouldn't eat. At that stage we had to make a decision. Do we continue treatment or let her go? Will things get better or are we prolonging the inevitable? I had a good chat with her vet and she reminded me that with this disease things often get worse before they get better. I was stuck. I couldn't let her go. She's only 3!! She still has so much love for this world! I could NOT let her go! I looked at her in the eyes and could still see my baby looking at me trapped in this horrible mess. When do you draw the line? At this stage we had spent $900 Sunday night, $230 Monday and then another $2300. It was going to be another (at least) $500 to get her through until Monday, and that's not including a transfusion that she would likely need.
That's when I cracked. I was completely lost for options. We drained every credit card and every bit of savings we had. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to continue but we just simply ran out of money!
That's when someone suggested a "go fund me" account. Now I've seen these before and I have personally contributed to these but was I at that stage? Did I really need this? Am I being selfish for wanting my girl alive? That's when I decided that I had nothing to lose, except my Audrey. So I cracked. I sat down and made an account and took every bit of my pride and sprinkled it down the toilet and begged for people to help us save our girl.
I shared the post of Facebook and then put my phone down and cried. I was just around the corner from the vet sitting in my car not knowing what to do. I sat and cried for 20 minutes before I picked up my phone again. I opened my Facebook app and someone had said something like "I'm so happy to see all the support you have gotten so far...". And I thought... "what do they mean?". I clicked on the go fund me page and saw that in 20 minutes we had raised $825. I threw my phone to the ground and cried. We can save our dog!
I called Dave and told him the news and he was overjoyed. In less then 24 hours we raised over $3200. Now if that doesn't make you feel loved then I don't know what does. I still cannot believe it. All these people love Audrey just as much as I do and want to help her. My heart was, and is, SO FULL.
When Saturday January 14th rolled around Audrey's PCV had risen to 16% and slowly during the day creeped up to 19% and she was no longer in the range of having another transfusion. Dave and I were completely wrote off between the emotions of finding out her diagnosis, the roller coaster PCV levels, the go fund me page, taking care of the puppies etc etc.
On Sunday January 22nd Audrey's PCV was holing at 20-21% but she wouldn't eat so she couldn't go home just yet. We went to visit her and was able to take her for a walk and we may have force fed her a little bit of food in hopes of jump starting her appetite.
On Monday January 23rd I called first thing in the morning. They said that Audrey had ate meals during the night and her PCV was holding at 21% and that we could bring her home!!! I picked her up that evening after work.
Tuesday January 17th we had her checked at the vet and her PCV was up to 24%. And on Thursday January 19th (today) it's up to 26%.
So basically from here on out Audrey will be consistently checked at the vet and on steroids until her Evan's syndrome goes into remission and will slowly be weaned off her meds... as long as everything continues to go okay. (Which were praying for a full recovery).
I could go into detail about the puppies but just know they are perfectly fine!
We spoke to multiple vets over the week and they have all said that as far as Lyme disease it will not be transmitted to the puppies but they may have antibodies. As far as Evan's Syndrome, they run the same risk of any other dog that can get it but may be a little higher since the are predisposed to it.
The reason I wanted to explain my crazy week to everyone is just so you know I am NOT ignoring you, it has just been VERY emotional and tiring. I can answer any questions you have about everything too so don't feel scared to ask.
I'm sure you're dying to see some puppy pictures so I'll attach some below. Again, stay tuned, I will be posting more this weekend!
Also, we did have 1 person decide not to get a puppy (Ginger) because of all this crazy stuff, which is expected. She might be for sale. We haven't decided yet. We are contemplating keeping her since this will be Audrey's first and only litter AND because she is a complete DOLL. We will not be breeding Audrey again because it is too much of a risk for her and too hard on her immune system but Lucy is next in line in a few months!!
Look at those faces!!!! FYI they are between 8.5 lbs - 11 lbs now!!