Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Parker – the wonder dog


November 2010

I wanted you to have an update on Parker’s condition.  As most of you know, Parker has Valley Fever.

Valley fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-e-OY-deze) organisms. It can cause fever, chest pain and coughing, among other signs and symptoms.

Two species of coccidioides fungi cause valley fever. These fungi are commonly found in the soil in specific areas and can be stirred into the air by anything that disrupts the soil, such as farming, construction and wind. The fungi can then be breathed into the lungs and cause valley fever, also known as acute coccidioidomycosis (kok-sid-e-oy-doh-my-KOH-sis).

Parker is thirteen years old.  From our research on the internet and speaking to several veterinary friends, the treatment recommended for Valley Fever would kill an older dog. 

Parker has lost a lot of weight.  He has good days and he has bad days. There have been days when we thought he may not make it to the next day and then there are days when he is almost his old self.

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August 2012

He still enjoys his morning walks with Doug.  On good days his tail is high and wagging.  On bad days it’s down.  After his walk he is pretty much comatose for the rest of the day.

The biggest problem is getting him to eat.  For quite a while he would eat nothing at all.  We started feeding him “people” food.  Straight hamburger, stew beef, chicken.  We made homemade dog food, rice with some kind of meat and a few veggies.  That worked for a month or so.  Most days he would eat once and then refuse anything else.  We have tried every kind of dog food known to man.  We find a brand he seems to like and after a few days, he won’t eat it.  Sometimes we fool him by taking it out of the fridge, fiddling with it in the kitchen so he thinks it’s people food and then feeding it to him.

Drinking is not a problem in fact he will drink constantly, sometimes without a breath causing him to throw up.  He pees a lot too.  Doug has starting letting him out in the middle of the night.

We have tried dog vitamins but of course he refuses those.  We got some advice from a health food store and have been giving him Pao D’Arco which is an immune system booster and a fungicide.  He doesn’t like it but it comes as a liquid and we are able to get it in him with an eye-dropper.

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July 2012

We have read and read and read about Valley Fever and our concern now is what will happen when we go back to Arizona.  It really doesn’t seem to make a difference.  This is a life-time thing.  Parker could get completely better but Valley Fever can reoccur whether exposed to the spores in the dust or not.

So Parker, we’re pulling for you.


Allen and Lolita DuGuay said...

Hope you find something to keep him feeling better. Didn't realize it even existed.

Sue and Doug said...

we are 'pulling for him too'..Parker is a lucky dog to have such dedicated owners.

Peter + Beatrix said...

It's heart breaking to read about Parker. I know you would not let him suffer. Parker looks a lot like our dear Boomer who was with us 6 years only. We were his 3.owners and the previous ones did not feed him right. So he got cancer real bad. And we had to make a decision. IT was a real black day in our lifes.
We hope the best for Parker

where's weaver said...

WOW...I have never heard of this disease. We hope all that you are doing for him gives him a quality life.

Marsha & Joe campers4lifex2 said...

My prayers are with you and your beloved Parker. It is difficult to watch a loved one endure pain and suffering...may Parker's better days out weigh the not so good days.

Know that in the end you are doing and have done all you can to make his life the best possible.

Jim and Sandie said...

I worry about our girls and Valley Fever but they love the desert soo much that it's hard to deprive them of that sun and rocks. You do the best you can and give him lots of love. He's had a good life and you're going to make sure the time he has left is the best ever. Give him lots of love from all of us until we can give it to him in person.

Wanderin' said...

So sad to hear about Parker but I certainly understood a lot of what you tried and what you're doing. Our dogs are our families too. I'm hoping he has more better days than the other kind.

Sue said...

Aw, I'm so sorry to hear about Parker's difficulties! I hope his health improves and you all get to enjoy each other for a long time to come!

Linda Sand said...

It's as bad as having a sick kid. You just do all you can (as you are obviously doing) then pray.

Ed and Lyn said...

So sorry to hear about Parker. They do become your children.