Saturday, February 15, 2014

Scenes From A Snowy Day

This photo makes my heart happy. Even though the weather is miserable and our schedules and routines are non-existent, I am so glad we are back in D.C.
Feb. 13, 2014 - Snow falls in front of the U.S. Capitol.

A *little* bit more accumulation than forecast.

As usual, Chester wanted out of the house immediately so he could play in the snow. He looked out, saw the snow and went crazy with doggy happiness. Sonder, not so much. The snow was so deep on the patio that, in order for Chester to even get out of the house, I had to clear the snow away from the sun-room door and shovel the steps and a little path into the yard. 
By the time all was said and done, the snow on our patio table measured 17".
Our cars were thoroughly snowed in. Not a big deal because we couldn't go anywhere anyway and everything was closed.
I knew we had kids for a reason. 
Caitlynne did a lot of shoveling and was not a bit sore - all of the conditioning she has been doing for crew paid off.

Christopher's redneck snow boots.
Once again, we were giving thanks for our new snow-blower!

 So much snow! 
I tried out my new waffle maker and fed all of my cold and hungry snow removalists as soon as they were finished. 
Kevin and I took the dogs out for a short walk and spotted this snowman that the children of one of our neighbors made. It was one of the better snowmen that I have seen this winter!
It was nice having the kids home from school for the two days and even nicer that we couldn't have left the house on Thursday even if we had wanted to. A snow-plow finally made it down our street about 3 pm but it only cleared enough to make the road (barely) passable. 

I know the kids will have to make these missed days up at some point but we really needed a break. In addition to car maintenance appointments, volunteer commitments, drama practices (Christopher is in the school play) and crew & basketball practices, I had quite a few things to complete for my new job. Running around to have a TB test taken (and then read), getting fingerprinted, having a photo for my badge taken and completing a ton of paperwork ate up a good chunk of my short week. Throw in an emergency visit to the orthodontist and three emergency visits to the vet and I am so done with this week. We also received word that my mother's sister passed away early Wednesday morning. While it was not unexpected, it was still very sad. I have spent quite a bit of time the last few days remembering past holidays, special events and vacations spent with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Such great memories! 

So, about those three visits to the vet...I noticed Tuesday morning that Sonder was not acting like his usual (obnoxious and demanding) self. In fact, based on the way he was walking and looking, my first thought was that he had a stroke or a seizure. In addition to walking like a drunk sailor, he was trembling a lot, was very lethargic and wasn't eating or drinking as much as usual. When he did eat, he immediately vomited it back up. I watched him throughout the day and decided to take him to the vet in the late afternoon. The vet performed an exam and ran some simple neurological tests on him but couldn't find anything obviously wrong. We thought maybe he had gotten hurt while playing with Chester so the vet prescribed some pains meds and off we went.

With no improvement by late Thursday afternoon, we literally followed the snow-plow out of the neighborhood on our way back to the vet. This time I opted to have x-rays and preliminary blood-work done. Again, nothing was found. The vet gave Sonder an injection of pain and anti-nausea medicines, hoping those would help him move around better and eat/drink something. The vet also gave him fluids by an iv because he was so dehydrated. I took him home and he zonked out. He did not seem improved when he woke up yesterday and then things went a little downhill. He was even more lethargic, flat out refused to eat or drink and seemed to be even more unbalanced and unsteady when he tried to walk. Back to the vet we went and I had him admitted for overnight observation and additional testing.

Late last night the vet called with the news that the results of one of the blood-tests returned a positive reading for Anaplasmosis, a tick-born infectious disease caused by the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum. This bacteria is spread to dogs (and humans) by the brown dog tick, the western black-legged tick and the deer tick, all of which can also carry Lyme disease. In fact, with just one bite, a human or an animal can become infected with both Lyme's Disease and Anaplasmosis. What a nice "two for one" deal.

Before leaving him yesterday, I asked the vet for a "good bad and ugly" best guess as to what was wrong with Sonder. Lyme's disease was one of the things that he suggested so I wasn't too surprised to hear this diagnosis. I have been pulling ticks off of both dogs as recently as two weeks ago so I knew the possibility was very real that his illness could be tick-related. We did some reading last night (what did we do before the internet?!?) and Sonder's symptoms - vomiting, joint pain, changes in behavior, loss of appetite and neurological symptoms - fit this disease to a "T". In fact, one article noted that canine ataxia, (the dysfunction of the parts of the nervous system that coordinate movement), includes a loss of balance after a sudden movement, tremors and a change in gait in which the dog may stumble or appear to be drunk. So my "drunk sailor" comparison was not all that far off!

Anaplasmosis is treated with antibiotics for thirty days and Sonder received his first dose last night. Once treatment is begun, symptoms are supposed to quickly improve and he should be much better within 24 to 48 hours. The vet was going to offer him food and water early this morning and, if he holds that down and if he seems improved, we should be able to take him home sometime before 9 p.m. We are still waiting on the results of his urinalysis and some blood-work related to his pancreas but I am hoping that this diagnosis and treatment are it.

While I keep asking myself, "does it ever end?", I am just so glad this all happened this week and not next when I begin my new job. 

Have a great Saturday!

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