Prednisone

Since Addie’s life threatening bout with Ehrlichiosis she has been on a regimen of new medicine. These include an antibiotic, antacid, vitamin, and a steroid (Prednisone). Yesterday, at her 2 week, post-Ehrlichiosis checkup the doctor drew blood and assessed her overall condition. She advised us to remove the antacid. Normally, I think the Prednisone would also be removed but without it I don’t think Addie would eat nor could she walk. At this point, I think it is primarily responsible for her being here. So, the doctor agreed and we decided to keep her on it for a while longer.

Her blood test results came back today. Although they are better, her red blood count is still not where it needs to be. We are hoping that as soon as the antibiotic treatment is completed (another 7 days or so) that her red blood count will be normal so that we can try to wean her off the Prednisone. Prednisone is an anti-inflamatory and renders the Neoplasene ineffective. This is quite worrisome to us and we want to get her back on the Neoplasene if at all possible.

However, at this point we would rather have her eating and walking. Just a few days without food at this stage would probably be fatal. So we take the lesser of two evils and hope for the best.

Right now she is lying on the floor beside me and I can tell she is hungry. This is a good sign and I am happy to have it.

The Good, The Bad, and the Hopeful

Addie getting her IV treatment

Addie getting her IV treatment

The Good

Last week we realized that Addie had not had a blood test in over a year.  Honestly, we had only requested one test since we moved to Costa Rica.  So, since we were taking her to the vet to have her skin condition evaluated we figured we would also have blood drawn.  Her test results were pretty good.

Test Results Normal Range
BUN 26.1 8.8 – 26
Creatinine 1 .5-1.6
AST 59.3 8.2 – 57

Two categories are “above normal” but only slightly.  In comparison to her past 3 blood tests she is actually much closer to the normal ranges now.  Yeah!

The Bad

This past Sunday she was having a much harder time getting up than normal.  However, she was eating normally and we felt that this was a good sign.  Eventually though, she wasn’t even able to stand on her own.  By Monday morning she was much worse and we sent a text message to our vet asking for an appointment.  Unfortunately he was out-of-town but he did put us in touch with another vet in Tilarán.  We took her in first thing Monday morning.

We never know what to expect when Addie has to take an emergency trip to the vet.  On several other occasions we have rushed to the vet thinking “this is THE trip”.  We never want it to be but it is hard not thinking about that outcome as she is lying in the back of the vehicle in bad condition.   By the time we arrived she could hardly raise her head and her breathing was very shallow.

During the exam the vet even said “I am not optimistic at all about Addie’s prognosis”  but then again, we have heard comments like that on several other occasions.

The vet decided to insert an IV for hydration, to administer some pain medication, and to take a blood sample.  Later that day she called to tell us that Addie needed to stay overnight BUT that she was recovering faster than anticipated! The diagnosis was Ehrlichiosis – a tick disease that can be deadly if not caught.

By the time we arrived the next morning she was still doing well.  She had vomited the night before but did manage to keep a small amount of breakfast down.  She could also get up on her own so we walked her across the street to the park to urinate (for about 2 minutes!).  It was quite a scene: I was walking Addie slowly across a busy street, Rob was trying to keep the IV in her paw from tripping her, and the vet was following with a bag “just in case”.

Although she was doing better she was not ready to go home just yet.  The vet kept her until about 4:30 that afternoon in order to administer more medication and to fully re-hydrate her.   At that point she felt that Addie would do better at home than in her office.  (As a side note:  many vets here in Costa Rica work in conjunction with a feed store.  Addie’s hospital room was a crate tucked in between pallets of grain!).

The Hopeful

Since her return home, she has been picky but is eating her full amount of food.  She has been taking her medicine and getting up on her own.  She is still very tired but has improved over Monday.  She has a follow-up appointment tomorrow, and we are hopeful that she will continue to improve.

At this point the main concern is liver and kidney function as those two organs are typically the most effected by the disease.  This is worrisome because those are the two organs we worry about most given her age and cancer.  BUT as we showed at the top of the post, her blood tests last week were good.  We hope when the new results come in that the ranges will still be close to normal.

At this point only time will tell for our Addie Girl who apparently over the years has bartered for a few extra lives from some of her cat acquaintances… 🙂