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Help with VF and immune system

 
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grannydi



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Fountain hills, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:16 am    Post subject: Help with VF and immune system Reply with quote

My 7 year old, 12 pound yorkie tested positive for VF yesterday. This is his second bout with it. As a 9 month old pup, he first presented with severe pneumonia, an extremely high fever and coughing, and chest exrays led to Valley Fever. He never had a positive titer but was monitored with exrays and stayed on meds for about a year.

After 5 years of remission, I noted last week that he seemed to be limping, not particularly on a specific leg but just sore in general. No fever, no coughing. Took him in, had the Cocci titer ran, and it came back yesterday 1:4. I don't necessarily believe that the low titer is indicative of a mild outbreak though, due to the fact that he never titered at all for his initial infection.

We started him on Fluconazole yesterday, 25mg twice daily. He seems even more sore and stiff this week than last week, and he ate good yesterday but today I had to feed him boiled chicken.

I am concerned about his immune system due to the low titer, and the lack of titer last time he was treated, and know that it requires a pretty strong immune response to make any headway. I am looking for some info on what I can do to give his immune system a jumpstart. I know that last time he was treated there were things I gave him that hopefully helped, but 5 years later, my brain can't remember what I gave him.

Would appreciate any and all thoughts on this.

Thanks,

Diana
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Sheila



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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diana I am so sorry to hear about your boy's relapse. This is the scariest part about vf. My Jennie (19 lb beagle) has done well on keto and I'm hesitant to take her off. It will be a year in August.

I have another beagle also dx with vf whose titers have stayed consistant at 1:4 even tho he has virtually no symptoms anymore and never had meds. 1:4 means they have been exposed, may have it, or may just show a past experience. Really vague. But since he never showed titers at all it would make me pause to see them now.

I have done lots of alternatives and supplements and will recommend Solid Gold Life Extension for your boy for his immune system. You can find some info here: http://solidgoldhealth.com/products/showproduct.php?id=33&code=565

I used this when Jen and Motley were really sick and I believe it helped. You can find it at premium doggie shops or order online.

I use the garlic powder from springtime inc, here:
http://www.springtimeinc.com
It is high in sulfur which is good for vf and generally good for the immune system. I also use their bee pollen, an excellent choice for immune system strength.

Hope this helps. I am truly saddened by your post and will be thinking of you. Please let us know how he's doing.
Sheila
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grannydi



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Fountain hills, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Shiela,

Yes, the info does help, and I'm off to read your links.

Luckily I was able to dig up all of his old treatment records from when he had VF before, so I took them to my vet today and we went over them. With the low <1:4> IgG and negative IgM titer, no coughing, no fever and no weight loss, she was still on the fence about whether he even had VF at all. Her suggestion was to titer him again in a few weeks, and then decide whether to treat him or not. Knowing how awful VF can be, I just couldn't go that route, and after seeing all of his old titer and RAD reports, I think we are on the same page now and she has agreed to treat him aggressively. I requested a total blood panel and RADS. RADS look good with only a small area of possible (her thoughts)/probable (my thoughts) fungus. Before, he had an extremely elevated white count and I want to make sure he doesn't need an antibiotic as well as Fluconazole. She also agreed to double his Diflucan dose, if he can tolerate it, at least for the first few weeks. I know every case of VF is different, but he didn't respond well on the regular dose initially, and knowing that, I am more comfortable giving him the higher dose.

I will let you know how he does and thanks again for your help.

Diana
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Sheila



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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you have a cooperative vet. It makes all the difference. We also started an aggressive therapy and then cut it back after one month. We got immediate results but her liver enzymes elevated. After cutting it back to 1/2 the amount we continued getting good results. I pray it is the same for you.

Jennies WBC was scandalously high but we never used antibiotics. Seems to be contra-indicated with vf, lowers the immune system. I did use high doses of strong (atomic) colloidal silver though, which is also anti-fungal. But the garlic is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal. Just start slow with that if you choose to use it.

Is he eating ok? That's really important. If he's eating he will be fine! I will look for your updates. What's the little guys name? Smile
Sheila
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grannydi



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Fountain hills, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sheila,

Yes, I know the antibiotics are contra-indicated for VF, but by the same token, the possibility of pneumonia (which he had last time) scares me and I want to make sure I stay on top of that aspect. My little guy ran a white count of 33,000 with his initial infection. He was very, very ill, couldn't eat for a month and survived on fluids and force feeding. During that time, he dropped from 12 pounds down to 8 pounds, which is a third of his body weight. He also ran consistent fevers of 106+ for several weeks, and more of his problems came from the pneumonia than the VF. Having the VF is bad enough; I want to make sure he stays healthy so he can fight it.

We seem to have caught it fairly early this time. No fever or cough, no weight loss, and he's still eating on his own. I was a little iffy on the vet's attitude yesterday, but today when I hauled in my mountain of records, it clicked with her that yes, I'd walked this path before and knew what I was talking about and what worked for my little guy before. Her attitude did a 180. I think it also helped that the vet who treated him before was a pulmo specialist in a large specialty clinic where she worked before she opened her own practice. I actually picked her as my vet when she opened her practice near me, based on the fact that I knew she had worked for Dr. Jeffries previously.

Oh, and my little guy is Scooby Doo, the yorkshire terrier. (My kids named him, not me!)

What are the benefits of the colloidal silver? I've heard of that before but can't remember in what context. My vet also recommended putting him on Vitamin C and echinea (sp)?

I am so appreciating your help and support.

Diana
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Sheila



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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scooby Doo! How wonderful! Surely I will remember his name in my prayers. Yes, Vitamin C will help the drug work, makes it more absorbable. I give Jennie her meds with her meals and add some Vit C powder (from springtime inc. I like their stuff!). Echinacea is an herb that's good for the respiratory/immune system. But it shouldn't be used for more than 6 weeks. You will do better with some silver from a health food store.

Silver is antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal. If you can get atomic (high parts per million is usually atomic instead of ionic) at least 75 ppm, there will be no side effects to be concerned about. Ionic silver is what you usually find at 5-25ppm and that must be used in small doses as it will build up in the liver. I wouldn't worry about it though. If you decide to use it talk with the health food store people and then let me know what you got and I will help you with the dosage. It's my first line of defense for all my kids (10 dogs, 2 kitties and hubby). I use it in open wounds, in the eyes, nose, throat, ears, internally. The dogs even like it! Avoided a lot of vet trips with this stuff.

The other herb worth mentioning is Milk Thistle. I wouldn't give these azole drugs without it. Milk thistle helps build the strength of the liver. Since he's not coughing I would be more concerned with dissemination into his bones than pneumonia. See how it goes with his limping. That worries me more than anything. If it continues perhaps it would be prudent to add some of the anti-inflammatory arthritis-type supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin.

Keep us posted Diana. I'm sure most everyone will be reading and keeping ScoobyDoo in our prayers.
Sheila
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grannydi



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Fountain hills, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheila wrote:

Since he's not coughing I would be more concerned with dissemination into his bones than pneumonia. See how it goes with his limping. That worries me more than anything.

Sheila,

Of course I am already worried about dessimination, but whether it is or it isn't, that wouldn't change the course of his treatment. We would still treat him with Fluconazole, and he is on the highest dose he can handle right now anyway. I just want to make sure I cover all the bases on things that might change the course of his treatment, and a secondary bacterial infection would probably require an antibiotic. Since I had such an awful experience last time, I want to make sure I stay on top of it. Thanks for the tip on the glucosamine though. I think I had him on that last time he had VF. The vet doesn't think he has a pronounced limp, just that he is painful and sore from laying around and being sick. She is, of course, much less concerned than I am, because it isn't her dog.

I am also concerned that his titer is going to disappear, and I want to make sure I have a baseline on the rads and bloodwork early on so that I don't have to fight to get him treatment.

Diana
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Sheila



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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good morning Diana and ScoobyDoo. I like your vets idea that he's just sore from laying around. That works for me!!! I hope this is the case. Sure sounds like you have a really good handle on what's going on and a basically cooperative vet. Yes, treatment is the same and with an aggressive start with the fluc I expect you will see improvement.

Titers are a funny thing. There is nothing that says titers are definitive of anything. You already know that from the past experience. From re-reading your post it was the limp that brought you back to the vet, yes? The 1:4 titer may just show past infection if it proves the limp is just a sore muscle. Oh Joy! Wouldn't that be wonderful! But I agree with you. You are doing the right thing.

I hope you will find time to keep us posted on his protocol and progress. Have a wonderful day!
Sheila
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grannydi



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Fountain hills, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheila,

Yes, that would be wonderful if it were the case, but I don't believe it is. Off treatment for a year, he still had a negative titer, and now it's 1:4, so where would that titer have come from if not active infection?

Plus, he had his teeth cleaned last month, which could have been just enough of a hit to his immune system to spark off a relapse.

What puzzled my vet is that his titer for the IgG antibody was the positive at 1:4. The IgM titer was negative. That's why she is skeptical. But the Scoobster has never had a positive IgM titer, so not having it now doesn't mean anything to me. Also, although he is doing well, he is a little more lethargic than usual and not quite going after the food bowl with the same zesto he usually does. I can't put my finger on anything directly, but then...we know our dogs! He's just not his usual, sparky self. I'm pretty convinced, and after seeing his old records, the vet is more convinced than she was at least.

Diana
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Sheila



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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ummmm Diana, it surely sounds like vf to me.Lethargic is why we put my little Jennie on keto even though everything else had normalized. Yeah, the teeth cleaning. Sigh.

I'll reiterate how I think the titer thing is a little like fruit loops. Still, fyi, I will copy what I read on Jennie's titer test regarding the antibody interpretation. This holds true for people also:

IgM negative/IgG negative: No infection or early infection. Consider treatment and recheck titer in 2-4 weeks if disease is suspected based on clinical grounds.

IgM positive/IgG negative: Early or mild infection. Consider treatment and recheck titer in 2-4 weeks if disease is suspected based on clinical grounds.

IgM positive/IgG >/=1:4. Early or active infection. The higher the IgG titer, the more likely that disease is severe or disseminated.

IgM negative/IgG >/= 1:4: Previous or current infection. Weak IgG titers (1:4) may occur with resolving or localized disease. The higher the IgG titer, the more likely that disease is severe or disseminated.

This was taken from the titer report from Antech Diagnostics in Irvine CA. Even these descriptions leave the whole thing wide open but I thought you might like to see them.

With vf not only is your vet puzzled, we are all puzzled. That includes the medical field en toto. That's the problem with vf. That's why the research is so important and the initiative that was introduced by the House rep, Bill Thomas, from Bakersfield is so important. You can read about that on the valleyfeversurvivor.com homepage if you haven't already.

I know what you mean about knowing your own dog. Not quite right is an accepted reason to bring them in to the vet. It's all we have to go on. Hope you guys have a wonderful day.
Sheila
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grannydi



Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 21
Location: Fountain hills, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again Sheila,

I hope you and yours are having a wonderful day also. That was interesting, the info you posted from your titer report, and it would be wonderful if it applied to my little Scooby. I'm hesitant to put much faith in the titers for him though, because he never ran one at all last time. I know there aren't any absolutes when dealing with VF, so I am just trying to wing it by instinct. Wouldn't it be something if it turned out that I had over reacted and the vet was right after all?? I should be getting his blood panel back later today and it might even show something different. If it does, I'll be sure to let you know.

Diana
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