Update: October 22, 2019:
Noelle met with a specialist last week. While clinically she appears to be improving and feeling like a pup, her titer numbers have not changed and we wanted to make sure we are on the right track with her treatment protocol. Apparently, it can take years to note a difference, if any. The vet recommended changing her antifungal medication to one that has a better proven response, but that comes at a higher cost. We have also added another medication, Terbinafine to work in conjunction with the itraconazole.
We have been given the okay to proceed with Noelle’s eye enucleation which will cost just over $2,000. This disease has caused her to lose sight in her left eye. The retina has detached. According to the opthalmologist, when the eye dies, it compartmentalizes (shuts off to other organs) essentially trapping any residual disease inside the organ. While we are treating the Coccidia systemically, we want to make sure the eye cannot possible affect any surrounding area. Noelle is on eye drops to regulate her eye pressure which prevents it from becoming painful. Thankfully, her right eye appears to have been unaffected.
Pre-op lab tests will include chest x-rays (as she has a residual interstitial pattern in her lungs from her pneumonia last year) and blood work. Once given the green light, we will proceed with her surgery.
In the meantime, Noelle has been enjoying her foster family. She just took her first trip to dog beach. Click here to see Noelle enjoying her adventure with foster brother Sunny!
Noelle continues to be sweet as ever. If you would like to sponsor Noelle through her rehabilitation or donate to her surgical costs, please select the yellow DONATE NOW button on the right. Donations for her medications and continued care are greatly appreciated.
If you are interested in reading more about this disease, click here.
Sweet little Noelle came to us from the shelter right around the holidays in 2018, after recently having a litter of pups. Emaciated, she weighed only 46 lbs. Her golden spirit was dampened by the fact she was also pretty sick. Initially diagnosed with pneumonia, she has been on antibiotics for 6 weeks. Still unresolved, we are now investigating other possibilities for her respiratory illness. Her x-rays still show opacity in her lungs that can be attributed to a few things, and her lymph nodes are enlarged.
While she has come a long way in foster care, gaining 8 pounds since her arrival and interacting with her foster siblings, she still tires easily and has her down days.
Please keep Noelle in your thoughts as we try to determine the root cause of her illness.
We will keep you posted!
February 4, 2019: The results of the fine needle aspirate performed indicate that the enlargement in her lymph nodes is not lymphoma, but reactionary to whatever is going on in her lungs, which is great news. Tuesday we took her back for a respiratory PCR panel and are currently awaiting results. Please keep Noelle in your thoughts!
February 10, 2019: A canine respiratory panel was completed which cleared Noelle of some nasty possibilities of the cause of her respiratory infection. She has now been placed on another round of antibiotics for three weeks, at which time we will do more x-rays.
March 7, 2019: The results of Noelle’s x-rays showed no change. The bronchial pattern noticed is not something we would see with chronic allergies or bronchitis. She still has a deep dry cough. Tests and treatment have ruled out bacterial and viral infection so our next step is to test for a fungal infection.
March 12, 2019: The results of Noelle’s labs came back yesterday and she has tested positive for coccidiomycosis, also known as Valley Fever. This comes from inhalation of a soil-borne fungus which normally affects the dog’s respiratory system however it is known to spread out into other body systems. Although rare, she presents with most clinical signs. In speaking with our vet, we will put her on an elevated dose of anti-fungal medication for an extended period of time which has proven to be most effective in these cases, then titer and check her blood work again, and adjust medication accordingly.
This disease can spread systemically and affect her bones and joints, which is probably the cause of her mobility problems. This poor girl had been feeling so punk. It can also affect the eye, which is another issue she is having.
The anti-fungal medication can be tough on the liver, as can the NSAID she is taking for her pain. We are hoping that as she improves, she will no longer need the NSAIDS but while she is on both, we will need to do blood at the same intervals to make sure her liver functions are within normal limits.
This is a longer rehab as the elevated dose must be given for 4-5 months. Valley Fever is a life-threatening disease and she may have to be on medication the rest of her life. We won’t know until we see how she reacts to the medication, but we need have her stabilized before even considering placing her up for adoption. Relapses will happen if her therapy is not followed through to completion or shortened.
Noelle’s foster family is committed to seeing this through. Her demeanor improves exponentially when on NSAIDS, so that is good news! Noelle is a favorite at the local wine bar…a total sweetheart!
April 22, 2019: Poor Noelle just keeps getting slammed with bad luck! She has continued to have problems with her left eye so back to the vet she went. She underwent testing and was referred to an opthalmologist who as has diagnosed her with a detached retina. Although uncommon, this can also be a result of the fungal infection that has invaded her body. She can no longer see out of her left eye.
Noelle now is receiving daily drops of prednisone for the inflammation, and dorzolamide which will decrease the pressure in her eye. We are hoping she will not have to undergo surgery to have it removed.
Additionally, she is taking fluconazole to treat the coccidiomycosis as well as carprofen, to ease the pain in her joints, another side effect of this infection. Her foster mom has a juggling act going with all of these different medications! Please keep sweet Noelle in your thoughts.
August 15, 2019: Noelle had a checkup this week for both her blood work and eye. Results indicate that while clinically she is improving, her titer values have not changed. Apparently it can take years to see a change, if at all. We have increased the dosage of her fluconazole and will retest again in six months.
The results of her eye exam is pretty much the same. Pressures remain fine with the drops, which she takes like a champ. The opthalmologist believes she is in the clear for her right eye, so that medication is being tapered and discontinues. Surgery is questionable at this point, it is a waiting game for a while.