The last time we left the vet’s office I was still trying to digest how ill Phoebe was. She certainly deserved a prize for being a super-trooper.

The following day the vet called with the lab results. Phoebe’s blood had an extremely high white blood cell count, which would be expected under the circumstances. The lab found blood in Phoebe’s urine, confirming the urinary tract infection. The next step, which was optional, was to order a smear test (culture) to identify what was

Courtesy Image: dream designs
Courtesy Image: dream designs

causing the infection. That came with a little price tag of $200. Even though it was optional, I felt somewhat obligated. There would be no way to identify the strain of bacteria that was causing infection with out the culture. I had to see it through. It was going to take up to a week to get the results. In the meantime the vet prescribed Clavamox twice a day for two weeks.

I scurried to the vet, paid my dues and wondered what surprise would be next. HA!

I will tell you what came next: trying to get a rescue dog to take a bath. I assessed the situation and figured that the  odds were pretty good that she would try to make an escape from the bath tub if I made her sit there all lathered-up for ten minutes. I envisioned having to chase her around the house, sort of like trying to catch a greased pig. I needed a better plan. In one of my bathrooms I have a shower stall with a detachable shower head. If I could get her in there I could lock her in. I thought it was a much better option. Of course, Phoebe did not think so.

I tried to coax her into the shower, but she wanted nothing to do with it. I tried leading her in with treats; she wanted nothing to do with that either. If I wanted her in there, I would have to pick her up and carry her in whether she liked it or not. OK game on!

I never knew that dogs could turn into star fish. As soon as I had Phoebe in my grasp she spread all four legs and crooked her head, making it impossible for me to get her through the door. Oh how I wish I had a picture of that! I finally got her in by prying her foot off the side of the door. Whew!

Courtesy Image: sixninepixel
Courtesy Image: sixninepixel

Then it was time for the hose down, lather up and wait. I thought ahead and brought some treats with me so I could give her a few as we went along, but did not think far enough ahead. I put the treats on the floor outside the stall. Every time I opened the shower door a fraction of an inch, she tried to beat her way out.  Duly noted. I would bring the treats in with me next time. In the meantime it was a l-o-n-g ten minutes.

The next day the vet’s office called with the results of the urine smear (pretty quick). Phoebe’s urinary tract infection was the result of e. coli and the bacteria was off the chart. In fact, it was so bad that she was going to need Clavamox for four weeks instead of the standard two weeks.

Before Phoebe had her first bath, her belly was bright pink and she was scratching like a fiend. I felt so bad as I watched her chewing on her foot like it was a chew toy. The shampoo seemed to give her some relief. Thank goodness the severe itchiness was short lived. She has had a few flair ups since, but nothing like the first few days.

The next time Phoebe was due for a shower, I remembered to put the treats in the shower first (in a baggie so they would not get wet), but this was not enough to get her to enter willingly. I still had to pick her up and carry her in, only this time I held her legs so she couldn’t sprawl out. No more star fish impersonations for her. We made it through and I paid her off in five minute installments of treats.

Over time we have gotten it down to a science, and since treats are involved she all but begs for a shower.

I wish I could have said the same for the urinary tract infection. As she neared the two week mark of taking  antibiotics her symptoms started to return. She was drinking more and urinating a few times an hour. It was back to the vet to pick up the second round of antibiotics, give another urine sample and order another culture to see if the antibiotics were working. Ka-ching! Another $300!

When the results came back, there was an indication that the urinary tract infection was improving. We just kept giving her the antibiotics and hoped for the best. We had to schedule an appointment for another urine sample and culture two to three weeks after the course of antibiotics ended to make sure the infection was gone.

bottleIn the meantime, we had to order a new batch of Ivermectin for the mange. She went in for a quick weigh in so that the vet could adjust the dosage and then went on our merry way. I also found some Mal-a-Ket wipes online and decided to order them so I could wipe Phoebe’s skin when she had an itching flare up. They seemed to help.

A couple of weeks after Phoebe finished the Clavamox we took her in for yet another urine sample and culture. Halleluiah! The urinary tract infection was gone! Now we just had to get past the mange. Of course, there is no guarantee that it will never return. Now we just need to see if it was a one time event, or if Phoebe will be prone to recurring infections. Needless to say, I am hoping for the former.

We carried on with the Ivermectin for a few more weeks and then went in for another skin scraping to see how the mange was coming along. Before we got to the skin scrapings, the vet’s eagle eye honed in on another new manifestation: Papilloma virus (I will set that one aside for now).

To my surprise, the mange scrapings were negative (no visible mite population). The mange was is on its way out! We need two negative scrapings two or three weeks apart before we can discontinue the medication. We go back in three days and are hoping for the best.

I cannot wait to start focusing on things that are far less depressing, like diet and training. Still, I think it is extremely important to call out all the medical issues that came along with the Phoebe package. They are a reality and something to consider when adopting a rescue dog. As Phoebe has proven, even when a dog appears healthy and makes it through an initial vet checkup, there is always a strong possibility that something will manifest a few weeks down the road.

Just keep your eyes open.

Grand total for lab work and medication: $987.89

September 04-2013

  • Urine Culture: $182.75
  • Clavamox for UTI: $84.16
  • Mal-a-Ket Shampoo – 8 oz.: $26.93 (online $14.99)
    I look for cheaper options when it comes to things like flea prevention and shampoo. I do not look for deals on medication. I think we all know that medications from the vet are overpriced. Yet, I prefer to pay the extra cost and have a source to go back to if there is a problem. Who knows what you may get online.

September 17-2013

  • Weight: 38.7 pounds
  • Tech Appointment (to gather the urine sample): $12.00
  • Urinalysis and Culture: $207.45
  • Second Round of Clavamox for UTI: $84.16

October 01-2013

  • Ivermectin Refill: $40.00
  • Mal-a-Ket Wipes: $14.99 (online from the manufacturer)

October 10-2013

  • Weight: 43 pounds
  • Tech Appointment (to gather the urine sample): $12.00
  • Urinalysis and Culture: $207.45
  • Nail Clipping: $12.00
    I had enough going on and had never clipped toe nails. It was worth the twelve dollars at this point.

October 29-2013

  • Weight: 41.7 pounds
  • Exam (Re-Check): $42.00
  • Skin Scrapings: $22.00
  • Ivermectin Refill: $40.00

Rescue Dog Tally (Basic Care and Health Needs): $1900.41  plus the landlord’s rental deposit