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Thursday, November 18, 2010


We finally have some insight into what is attacking K’s paw bones. The preliminary biopsy results show a truly nasty bacterial infection that is resistant to many kinds of antibiotics.

My first reaction was “Woo hoo, it’s not cancer” (and I still feel that way - K has a better chance of beating an infection than osteosarcoma). My vet quickly tempered my emotions by telling me that the infection was extremely serious. The infection worries her and the specialists immensely. She told me that she feared that further amputation might be needed if the infection continues raging unchecked. And, her very greatest fear was that the infection could become systemic - a horrific thought. For right now, our goal is to slow the bacterial growth with a cocktail of antibiotics.
K seems slightly more subdued since the infection started making an ugly mess of the surgical site. In fact, the infection at the amputation site is purely a result of the infection eating away at K’s paw bones and other tissues inside her paw. So, it’s not a typical post-surgical infection because the surgery didn’t cause it.

She's obsessed with trying to lick her paw.  Our schemes to stop her are getting more outlandish by the day. An E-collar doesn’t work so we’ve gone to a breathable wool sock or mitten pinned to a t-shirt to keep it on her paw. Poor K looks humiliated by the get-up.
One other piece in the puzzle fell into place. K’s tendon rupture that happened about 8 weeks ago was probably caused by the infection. So, it makes sense that the tendon repair surgery didn't hold.

I am watching K like a hawk for signs that the infection is spreading while I await the final biopsy report. My vet has warned me that this battle will be a long haul. In fact, if we can control the infection, K may be required to take a cocktail of antibiotics for the rest of her life to prevent the virulent infection from recurring. That statement made it clear to me that I cannot expect immediate results.

In the meantime, K and I still take our tiny little walks around our clearing each morning. We don't travel far but we enjoy each minute.
K is as alert and excited about animal scents as ever. Indeed, our little walks seem to be the only time that she's not obsessed with licking her paw.
Yesterday morning, K and I saw bobcat tracks all around the house. The bobcat had marched into our clearing.
Then, he stalked rabbits endlessly. I didn't see any signs that he was successful. However, his tracks did appear right next to rabbit tracks in several spots.
I love these little wanders with K. I hope so very fervently that she recovers, and we have many more years of walking in the forest side-by-side.

Throughout this ordeal, R has continued to be my high energy whirlwind of laughs when he joins me for mountain bike rides. We visited a high point, Hug Hill, today, amidst a furious wind that whipped the snow into drifts. Atop the peak, R’s ears twirled like a weather vane in a gust and his hunter-orange vest stood straight up caught in the wind.
His ears flopped hilariously during a recall.
But, when I requested it, he stood regally atop snowy boulders.
I spotted a glittering peak in the distance. It glowed so brightly compared to the dark forest that I pedaled through. The snowy peak looked like a beacon, promising a light at the end of the tunnel. It represented my deep-seated belief that K will recover and even romp again someday.
The beauty around me inspires me to believe that anything is possible.


  1. Poor girl - give her a hug for us?


  2. While different, you and I are both chasing infections in our pups and hoping and praying for success in the medications. I so hope that you find the right cocktail for your girl and you are able to continue to enjoy many many more exciting and amazing adventures together!!

  3. Poor K. She's got a tough road ahead. I purr and purray for her all the time.

  4. The best fing about the news is that there is so much more HOPE! And wif HOPE, there is SUCH MERIT in the fight!

    Though times may be a bit difficult, I have a very good feelin about the long term! And you two will be closer than ever!

    wif love from the Luke

  5. Poor K looks pretty sad in her shirt and glove. That is pretty clever though. Feet are difficult to keep pups from chewing on we have learned.

    At least you have a better idea of the cause. Glad it's not the big c but it is still very scary.

    You guys will be in our thoughts and prayers.

    BIG hugs to you all :)

    Lots of Luv & Kisses
    Addie, Lucie and Hailey

  6. i'm so relieved that K doesn't have cancer, but i'm sorry about the severity of the infection that she has. i'm hoping the vet can get the right mix of antibiotics so K can beat this nasty infection!
    i love the picture of R...he really does have the best floppy ears ever! :)

    the booker man and asa's mama

  7. After you give K hugs from us, please have her give YOU one from all of us too -

    The Bobcat continues to provide the sign of all will be okay eventually -

    Thinking of all of you

  8. Sending healing thoughts all the way to the Rockies. All of you are in for a very difficult time and I will think positive thoughts for K and you and the runner, and R as well, every time I hug one of our girls...and that will be a lot of good thoughts.

  9. I'm so relieved to see an update- I've been checking your blog all day! How would she get such a nasty infection? Did the doctor say? That's some really, really scary stuff - I hope the antibiotics get it under control quickly. But thank goodness for no cancer!

  10. Relieved to hear you have a diagnosis, sounds like you have a very caring, diligent team working on the treatment. Sending special paw power from our K to yours.

  11. A known enemy is one you can fight.

    With you around, there's no way she can lose.

  12. She will romp again! I so, so feel it! And I'm so glad it isn't the ugly c-word. That sounds like a horrific infection, to cause the ruptured tendon and everything else. Do the vets have any idea what it is or how she could have picked it up?

  13. There is always hope! Keep believing - she will be romping again soon.

    Your pal, Pip

  14. Your photos today are glorious. That first of K is a heartbreaker,though. She has such a pleading look. The way her face is partially shadowed is just wonderful and appealing. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this infection can be conquered. (I had to hide Lucinda's eyes when she saw the Bobcat tracks so close to the Rabbit's!)

  15. I am glad it's not cancer! I know the infection is serious, but it sounds like your vet has a clear plan of attack laid out. Do you have any idea how the infection got started? It sounds rather unusual.

    We're thinking the very best thoughts for you and K!

  16. I'm so glad it's not the C word! The infection sounds darn bad, any idea how it got started?

    Keeping K in our prayers! Hope to see K recover and romp around with you!


  17. Like Sam, AC and Houndstooth, I want to know where this came from and how it got our girl! She will stay in my all day walk-around prayers, for a recovery or medications that will keep it at bay. This cocktail of meds won't be easy on K's system at first, but I hope she becomes used to it and will have a long happy life with it.

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Ali Z

  18. These tears in my eyes,,,,
    because of hope and miracles.
    We do not want K to have an infection but we have hope it can be conquered.
    We feel your mighty forest wrap its boughs around all of you.
    The maker of the sky is listening, and we are greatful,,, so greatful.
    Thank you for sharing all of this news with us (your family) .
    K is not worried when she is investigating mother earth,,,,
    if only we can learn from her.

  19. Thanks to all of you for your uplifting and wonderful comments.

    Several of you asked where this infection came from. I don't know the answer to that question. I was bombarded with information and forgot to ask some basic questions. But, no worries, K and I have to go to the vet almost every day so I'll get a chance to ask questions tomorrow!

  20. I'll continue to keep sending good thoughts your way. Hopefully the cold and snow of winter will also be an aid to arresting the infection!

  21. Glad it's not cancer! Tough as this is going to be, it sounds like there's hope. With all the antibiotic-resistant diseases showing up in people, it was only a matter of time before it hit our dogs. I'm both sad and worried that it's finally here.

    Jed is constantly licking and creating sores & granulomas on his legs. He spends half his life in an E-collar. He hates them, of course. The one that works best for him is clear plastic so he can see, deep enough so it stretches to the tip of his nose to discourage licking over the edge of the collar, and fitted "just right" [ours have adjustable velcro strips so the fit is not too loose, not too tight]. Also gets his leg/paw wrapped or covered so he can't get to the sore even when the E-collar is removed while he's eating. He hits the E-collars against things [walls, furniture, the fence] and dents them, so they have to be replaced periodically. Sometimes I can distract him from the need to chew on the sore with a bone, but it doesn't always work.

    You've got a tough row to hoe, but you and K are surrounded by love and support.

    Jed & Abby

  22. The poor sweet thing looks so sad. Thinking of you.

  23. Some of your wonderful "indoor mental stimulation" may reduce K's obsessiveness. Maybe...She's so used to being active. The bring me the stapler might help her relax...just a thought.

  24. Oh dear... while we are chuffed its not the dreaded "C" word, the news isn't great, heres hoping...!

    Schnoozles and cuddles!

    Koda & Kate

  25. so glad to hear it isn't bone cancer...Mom's had to deal with that twice with her past danes & it is not a pretty disease.

    Hopefully your cocktail will kill off those resistant little buggers & you'll be healed up in no time!

    Mom says to talk to your betterinarian about adding a good probiotic to K's regimen. It will help her gut cope with the antibiotics. Most health food stores have them, but even some yummy plain yogurt with her meal can be good!

    wags, wiggles & slobbers

  26. Bacterial infections can be such incredibly ugly things. We are crossing all of our paws that your vet will be able to put together the right cocktail of antibiotics for K.

    Our deepest sympathy on the sock...

    Woofs, Purrs and Hugs,
    Tommy, The Chans and #1

  27. We too are happy for you that it isn't cancer. And as Luke said, there is hope. And hope is a wonderful thing. We will keep K AND you in our prayers for a complete recovery. We know the road is going to be long and difficult, but you have been down that road many times yourself. Keep fighting, K will too. Wishing we could just wrap our arms around you and give you a very big hug.

  28. As I was reading this, I was thinking where in the world did this come from? I saw your comment about not knowing. Frankly, this is scary. Poor K and Poor you for having to deal with this. BUT- you now know what it is and have a plan which should be a bit calming. You have the whole blog community behind you so just give K everything she needs and all will work out as it should.

    Hugs & ear scratches,

    The Heartbeats

  29. Gee sure have been given some difficult fights to fight. Please give K a hug from us and also consider yourself (((Hugged!))) too.
    Sending lotsaluv

  30. We are sending our hugs over to K. Let's all hope that the infection can be under control.

  31. Oh, gosh, I'm so sorry that it wasn't the happy news you were hoping for. But K is very much a fighter and I know that she can beat this thing. Most especially cuz she has you on her side. She is Most Lucky, for sure.

    My paws are crossed tightly and pawsitive brindle wishes are coming your way.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  32. Kia ora KB,
    Kia kaha to you all!

  33. I agree with Barbara - at least now you know what you're dealing with. The bobcat was a true omen - secrets revealed. Now for the attack plan... With you on her side, K's going to fight this! Stay strong and I'm very thankful that cancer was ruled out. Many hugs to you and K both.

  34. I was sort of rooting for an infection too because it seemed less scary than cancer, but this scares me too. I will continue to wait and worry on your behalf.

  35. She has you by her side and truly, right now that is all she needs...your comfort, your presence, your love ,,,,,,,,,,,,,no dog could ask for more love than what you offer your girl as you travel on this journey together <3

  36. Oy. Thinking about you all.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose


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