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Atticus & Me

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Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:34 am    Post subject: Atticus & Me Reply with quote

My Story:

April/2000: Purchased beautiful 4 mo old Briard (Atticus) from very responsible breeder in Ajo, AZ

April/2000: Vomiting in car; taken to vet and diagnosed w/car sickness; verified by breeder

May/2000: Vomiting and diarrhea diagnosed as bacterial infection by vet due to kennel @ doggie day care -- took 3-4 months to recover

June/2000: Limping and pain in right front leg -- diagnosed as growth disease by 3 different vets - breeder informed of diagnosis with no other puppies ever having

June/2000-Feb/2002: Ongoing pain and lameness in right leg with numerous xrays (anesthesized each time); ongoing periodic bouts with vomiting and diarrhea and not eating well. In Feb, pain was so excruciating in leg, xray was done w/ spot on joint -- vet said he did not know what it was, but possiblity of cancer and sent Atticus to UGA Vetenarian Large Animal Research Hospital. Surgery performed find degeneration in right front joint with no definite diagnosis -- finally attributed to trauma due to Atticus being too young for arthritis and negative for cancer. Joint was totally fused with metal plate. Stayed at hospital for 8 weeks and recurrent trips for check ups and xrays every 2-6 weeks through out the remainder of 2002. During this time lost from 110 lbs down to 92 lbs -- told to maintain weight of 90-95 due to joint fusion.

June/2003: Right leg began to improve and indicated he would make full recovery; there were some bouts with nausea, poor appetite and limping, but was still an improvement over 2002.

June/2004: Atticus quit eating, vomiting and total loss of appetite. Took him to vet; received IV's; first diagnosed as poisoned; symptons continued and more tests -- then diagnosed with lymes disease (vet acknowledged he didn't really think it was lymes, but all tests indicated it was and had to receive treatment; continued to lose weight and poor appetite until Aug/2004 -- lost down to 87 lbs. Vet said he knew there was an infection in his body, but could not find and did not know the cause.

Aug-Sept/2004: Appetite returned, but did not gain weight, still lost down to 82 lbs.

Oct/2004: Still losing weight and again not eating. Treated homeopathically, but continued to deteriorate and passing blood. Force fed for 3 weeks. Weight now @ 72 lbs.

Nov/2004: Was back at vet's with IV's; contacted breeder by email as it appeared I would lose him within a few days, weight now @ 67 lbs. She immedidately called and said I think I know what he has: Valley Fever. Her older dog, Atticus' Father. had contracted it and lost rt testicle before diagnosed; puppy sent to NY also had been diagnosed. Went by my vet's with info printed from internet; started meds next day and performed titre test, which came back positive within 7 days.

Dec/2004: Noticeable improvement when flucanozole started, also giving Vitamin C and healthy powder; appetitite improved and gained 5 lbs. Thought for sure we were going to save him, but by Christmas had again quit eating.

Jan/2004: Not eating and meds causing liver and kidney dysfunction. Took him off meds and eating improved; began meds w/1/2 the dosage, but stopped eating altogether; liver and kidney tests still not good and began limping and pain in left front leg. Unable to bring him home due to critical condition and was euthanized on 1/27/05. Atticus and I had lost a 5 yr battle with valley fever -- the real tragedy was that we (nor the 10 vets that he saw) had no idea what we were fighting until the last 3 months of his life.

What can we do to stop this right now -- I am still in shock that so many people and so many animals have died from this disease -- many without ever even knowing what they had. My last email was from a couple that lived in MS, moved to AZ with their cairn terrier, who became ill after their move and had liver failure after their 4th year and was still undiagnosed. They brought him back to a vet research hospital in MS where exploratory surgery was done to determine cause -- he died during the surgery, but spores had spread to all parts of his body -- why had UGA vets not discovered this in Atticus' joint during his surgery?

Has anyone ever contacted a "Diane Sawyer" about what's going on (or what's not being said)?

Please give me your thoughts. My daugher and grandson lived in NM for 4 years. She now resides in England, but has called the Colorado CDC to find out if they needed to be tested (both are residents of Colorado) -- they returned the call to let her know they didn't know anything about this disease, and she should contact Arizona. I just cannot imagine being more devastated than I am right now -- can't imagine one of my children having this.


Jo Kennedy
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Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Posts: 240
Location: Reno, NV

PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jo, your story is unfortunately all too common. I am so sorry for you and Atticus. VF is an unknown in most areas as it is endemic to the sw deserts. It is also found in Africa in the wild animals. Your AZ breeder should have been more informed. Or should have spoken up sooner. If you are not in AZ working with vets who see this all the time, a diagnosis is sometimes impossible. They never heard of it. Same holds true for people. Read the posts on this website and you will see the problems we have.

Politically they do not want to publicize this because it will stop the influx of people to those areas. It comes down to money, as always. Less revenue from tourists, less people moving to those areas, more people leaving. The beginning of ghost towns.

And there is no money to research this as it is not something that affects the population. It's isolated. That's why these boards are so important. This is the best we have right now to find information. For dogs and people, we need to be better informed than the doctors. My vets are keeping records on my progress with Jennie and Motley, the all-natural vf beagles. They are astounded at my progress and I hope that the documentation will help them become more aware. But it's a really slow go. They don't know about it and when they find out, the only drugs available are sometimes more devastating than the disease. Many die of complications due to the azole drugs.

Thank you for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you and everyone involved in this horrible dis-ease.
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