This is not a tale of garden variety mischief. This is REAL mischief, the kind that does harm. A couple of weeks back, we noticed a lump along Wilson's left ribs. It was rather large and firm. It was well hidden under his elbow so it had escaped notice for a while. Now he is prone to fatty lipomas, those lumps of fat that are generally benign. Wilson was due for a physical and there was no chance we would just "guess" this lump was a new lipoma. We scheduled an appointment and took him in just a couple days later. There was a young "relief" vet on duty who was visibly shaken when she found a tick on Wilson. Oh, the horror! While I hate ticks more than most, dogs get ticks, it's just a fact of life. This didn't get our rapport off to a good start. But whatever, keep moving...She takes blood for his CBC, listens to his heart, examines his teeth, all the usual. Next she takes him to the back to aspirate a sample from the lump..She has a hard time getting it and needs two tries. Wilson remained stoic. She felt the sample looked suspicious, and wanted to send it to the pathologist to be sure. Instantly our thoughts turned to the Big C. So now it is a waiting game for results and we are completely focused on that lump. The next day,our regular vet called. All we wanted to hear about was the lump results. She says they were still rather inconclusive, but what she was really worried about was the results from his blood test. Both his white cells and his red cells were way too low in the counts she expected to see. Wilson was badly anemic and could even be bleeding internally! Holy Crap! She needs us to bring him back in ASAP for an x-ray to look for bleeding and to start on aggressive treatment. We took him back in that very evening. X-rays are done and his insides look great, no tumors, no pockets of blood. This leads her to feel it is likely a tick disease because he always tests very slightly positive for Erlichia as he had it years ago. It was treated back then, but Erlichia can never truly be cured, just controlled. A dog that does not get treatment will die eventually. So Wilson is prescribed a double dose of Minocycline (generic antibiotic for Doxy). It was a massive amount! And also prescribed was the steroid Prednisone which comes with the side effects of excessive thirst and hunger, and peeing all over the house if you aren't attentive. We started the treatment on a Tuesday night, and by Wednesday night, the Pred side effects were kicking in. If Wilson so much as thought he heard food potential, he came running! Corgis are pigs, corgis on Pred are just plain scary! Wilson seemed to tolerate the meds pretty well until Saturday when he threw up a little in the middle of the day. I could tell he didn't feel well and he no longer wanted food. Now stomach distress is a side effect of the antibiotics, and it was over-powering the Pred's hunger! From then on Wilson would eat and within a few minutes, up it came. The pills went in with the meal so he was losing those as well. Basically Wilson feels like CRAP, can't drink water, can't eat. He was miserable! First thing Monday morning we were on the phone to the vet. We got a spot for that evening. By then he was very lethargic and depressed. First thing he was weighed. He was down two pounds already! To shorten the story a tad, it was decided to do a small in-house blood test. It would not be as thorough as a lab reviewed CBC, but she could see a little bit. They took blood and disappeared into the back. She returned in a few minutes saying she wasn't sure what was going on. Her results on the little sample showed as perfectly normal. It was impossible for his blood to have done that kind of repair so quickly. A tiny notch, maybe, a full turn around, no way! So she wanted another full blood sample in order to do a new CBC to send out to the lab. All she could figure was that the lab had sent the wrong results back on the first sample!!! Holy Crap! She gave Wilson an anti-nausea shot to try and settle his stomach and sent us home to wait. Poor Wilson. The shot just made him more lethargic. He was on drug overload!
The results came in the next morning. His blood was PERFECT! We had been torturing our poor dog with strong drugs when he was perfectly healthy! What a horrible thing to do to your dog! The vet was very contrite. She apologized profusely although it was truly the lab's fault and not hers. I mentioned the fact that we had spent hundreds of dollars on tests and drugs Wilson didn't need and thought a refund was in order. She contacted the lab company and they agreed to refund all costs associated with their mistake. This certainly wasn't about money, but I shouldn't be stuck with the bill! My poor dog was put through hell. I know we are all human, and mistakes are made, but wow, this was a douzy! It also leaves you with one other thought....whose dog did the bad blood results really belong to? There is a very sick dog out there not getting treatment.
It took a full couple of days for Wilson's system to clear all the drugs and his energy, stomach and attitude to return to normal. What an awful week for the poor boy.
Oh, and that lump that started it all? My regular vet took a new sample. Nothing but a fatty lipoma, thank goodness! The difference was that instead of the usual location between the skin and the muscle, this one was between the muscle and the ribs. Not a common spot, but it happens.
Here is a pretty picture of Wilson on a much happier day back in October (taken by professional photographer Dwight Dyke).....