Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Well the saga continues. To give you an idea of what we have been dealing with, I need to give you the history of the past month. About a month ago we noticed Gus was acting funny. He was sleeping all the time and didn't want to play fetch. Now he is a lab, so he should want to play fetch even when he is dead. So, off the vet we went. The vet decided that he had an infection in his jaw caused by something that he was chewing on (grass or a stick). The infection probably moved under the muscle up to around his eye and to the hinge of his jaw (that is where it is in a dog). So he was put on antibiotics to treat the abscess.After 10 days of antibiotics he was great, playing fetch with Ellie and playing with his soccer ball just like he used to. Then we get a call from the vet. It ends up that Gus has tested positive for an autoimmune disorder called masticatory myositis. Basically his body is attacking the muscles of his face and jaw because they have the same protein signature as a bacteria. The treatment is a long term, decreasing dose of steriods. So we started him on steroids. And the side effects of steroids, among other things, is increased hunger. Bring on the corn cobs!
Gus post surgery with his C collar
So, then we have the exploratory abdominal surgery to try to remove the corn cobs. Gus spent three days and nights at the hospital and got a big shaved belly with 12 stitches. We had to stop the steriods because they are known to inhibit healing. Then last Wednesday we noticed that he was sleeping all the time again and couldn't even eat Ellie's carrots that she was feeds him on the sly. We called the vet clinic and got the ok to start the steroids again.
Gus's first day with us.
Ok, so this brings us to Monday. He was in bad shape, would not leave my side and could barely eat his food. A lab that can't eat is a sad dog. Back to the vet. They start thinking that it is the abscess again and want to do another exploratory surgery of his face that afternoon to find the abscess. I decided that Gus has been explored enough, so we packed up and headed to TUFTS veterinary hosptial.He was admitted as an emergency case and is kept over night. He was seen by two regular vets, three students, and two neurologists. I was able to pick him up last night. They think that it is still just the autoimmune disorder. They have him on a much larger dose of steroids, (hide under lock and key all food for the next month or so) and an immune suppressant. (nice word for chemo)The problem is that they just think it might be the immune disorder. We are now playing my least favorite game called, wait and see. If it is the autoimmune disorder then he will slowly get better. If it is the abscess then it will get really bad very quickly because his immune system will not be able to fight it.So for now, we wait and watch Ellie play with her best friend. When we got home last night Ellie spent the rest of the evening chasing Gus around yelling, "Ga, Ga, Ga!" and then tackling/hugging him every time he stopped moving. We miss him when he isn't here and get nervous as to what he has in store in the future. We are actually hoping for the autoimmune disorder, which would mean no more surgery. Luckily Ellie has been doing great through all of this.


Stephany said...

oh guys, I'm so sorry - what a nightmare to go through with Gus - I hope he gets on the mend soon. Keep strong... let us know what happens with Gus.

k8land said...

Aw, babygus! I'm thinking happy doggy thoughts for the fam. Much love to you all! K8 in CT.