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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An internal battle

Last night, our youngest lab's immune system decided to post 'No Trespassing' signs to keep out the invading antibiotics. R was in the midst of a rapid recovery from a bad clostridium infection. Our awesome vet had prescribed a pair of antibiotics that was destroying the evil bacteria. The bad news was that R's immune system didn't realize that the antibiotics were his friends and decided to fight them. The allergic reaction that followed scared me - itching, agitation, hives, and vomiting. I'd previously seen this scenario in my now deceased search and rescue Lab, C. Her allergic reactions sometimes threatened her life. Fortunately, R's allergic reaction went no further.

Due to our nighttime veterinary adventures, my plans for the day were obliterated. Someone needed to be with R until he stabilized. So, I rode in the morning and watched R for the rest of the day. He's a lovable little guy so watching him is a pleasure. Below, R plays with a toy a year ago when he weighed about 10 lbs, and then, more recently, he lies in the lap of luxury.

Early this morning while my husband watched R, I pedaled into the darkness on wind-packed snowy trails and watched the sun burn below the horizon. I always feel reluctant to venture into the night but I never regret it. Today, no cat eyes awaited me when I started my ride. Rapidly, colors emerged over the eastern foothills.

The clouds turned crimson and orange.

Then the sun shined so brightly that I picked up my guardian dog, K, to romp next to me. K seemed to know that I was worried (about R), and she stayed glued to my side.

In contrast to my last dawn ride, I had no wildlife encounters today except for hearing some distressed vocalizations emanating from the shadowy fringes of a meadow. The only fresh tracks nearby were left by a prowling bobcat. The wind was covering my tracks with snow so rapidly (see snow-level view on right) that the bobcat must've been very close for his tracks to still be visible. However, after listening to bobcat sounds, I'm certain that it wasn't a bobcat vocalization.

After more research, I think that I heard an
adult cow elk call. I've heard the mewing calls of separated calves and their mothers but this was a more distressed sound. The link above claims that the recorded vocalization was from a cow elk in estrous, which is not likely to be true at this time of year, but I have no doubt that this is what I heard.

When I returned from my ride, I hung out by the fireplace with R and the other pups. He seemed tired but on the mend.
R is starting new antibiotics, and my bet is that he'll be super-dog again by tomorrow, albeit missing some fur where he chewed his itchy paws last night. I wish that *I* had the healing powers of a full-grown puppy.


  1. R is soooooooo darned adorable!!! And seeing him snuggled up with sweet S is too cute. I sure hope he's back to normal tomorrow!

    K has the most beautiful eyes-what a gorgeous group you have.

    I took the punks out for hikes this afternoon during a lull in the winds-took a little too long and we got pummelled towards the end, but so nice to get out in the woods.

    Give the fearsome threesome lots of noogies,

  2. I hope that R is feeling better today, poor pup! Our dogs Z and L have both had recurring bouts of c. perfringens, and we've never been able to figure out where they are picking it up. (S never got it, even when the other two would both have it.) Metronidazole has been very effective for them.

  3. Thanks to both smrp and Dog Geek for their well wishes.

    Our vet took R off both antibiotics (including metronidazole) and put him on a new one. She thought that it was unlikely that the metronidazole was the cause of his reaction but didn't want to risk giving him more. The good news is that he seems great this morning.

    I sure do hope that the clostridium doesn't turn out to be 'recurring' like Dog Geek's Z and L had. Fortunately, neither of our other dogs have gotten it - I think that it might be tough on a 13 yr old dog...

    Thanks again.

  4. Oh dear...I didn't realize he was on flagyl/metronidazole. My friend down the road almost lost her collie to it a few months ago. Massive awful seizures-I was shocked when I saw him but luckily he survived. I'm very cautious with it now.

    Crossing my fingers that R gets better quickly and that the rest of your crew stays healthy...

  5. Poor R! First the infection, then the med problems. I'm not sure I even know what that infection is.

    I've had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic before, and it's NO fun.

    Three cheers for R and you being so brave! Get some rest.


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