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08 April 2008 @ 05:18 pm
   This link is for Blastomycosis, but once you get there, you can site-hop for hours creeping yourself out on the various hidden little nasties that surround us.  
   Our friend, Dr. J.D. "Ninja" Smith, has advised us that "Those nematodes and fungi were here before you learned about them, you can't get away from or get rid of them, and they'll be here long after you're gone... so suck it up and get used to 'em."  

Note that some of the references may be dated, but the information is useful.
Current Location: At Home By The Fence
Current Music: Tiger Army!
29 March 2008 @ 05:25 pm
"...She thinks she missed the train to Mars, she's out back counting stars..."

Hi, is Dirtbike. I tired of watching news. No like people for president, should be dog. If dog president, we have bones not money. 
Is spring!  We have peeper frogs, they sing loud, make noise all day.  Warm naps in sun, sniff smell mud and bones, big birds long legs scream and holler.  I have deer hair pie!  
Big moon, I run and hunt, bark and roll all night.
Then come in, have sausage sleep warm dry.
Life good!
Dirtbike, happygirl

Dirtbike’s music faves this month:

Retro love: Hum -You'd Prefer an Astronaut...The Pod, Stars, I Hate It Too, sounds like summertime!
Classic props: The Beastie Boys' Check Your Head
Paranoia fun: NIN's Year Zero, Ballgame Over
Progrock bonanza: Coheed & Cambria's No World For Tomorrow rocks her ears off!
Sneers & Snarls to: Punkvoter.com, NOFX's 3 Dweebs & a Ween.  If we want politics we read NRO!

Current Location: At Home By The Fence
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: HUM
10 March 2008 @ 04:01 pm

"...Dear Apollo, where should I begin?..."
Coheed & Cambria

Dirt's Blasto story began with a respiratory infection around the beginning of April '07. She ran a fever for a week or so, and developed trouble breathing, nasal discharge, and lost weight. We also noticed a gray sore on her back, about the size of a dime. The hair around it fell out, and it would not heal. She also had a non-productive cough.

We treated her at home with broad-spectrum antibiotics, available at most farm stores. After a week, she showed no improvement and began to grow more listless. We took her to her new vet, Darren Dell, DVM. He examined her briefly, and said that it was likely one of two things: Heartworms or Blastomycosis. He took her off and ran a couple of tests.

When he returned, he said that she was negative for heartworms, and we breathed a sigh of relief. We knew that heartworm treatment was very hard on an animal, and weren’t sure we could even afford it. He explained that he had done a slide test from the sore on her back, and it was positive for Blastomycosis.

We were still pretty optimistic, thinking it couldn’t be nearly as serious as heartworms. We were quite mistaken. He explained that Blasto was a fungal infection that developed from the inhalation of Blastomycosis spores that were found mostly in the ground, on wet soil, wood debris, etc. He also said that although it was not terribly uncommon, it could be very expensive to treat, as the first-line treatment was an antifungal called Sporanox, or Itraconazole. He informed us of a compounding pharmacy that could greatly reduce the cost, but that she may need daily treatment for up to a year.

He also explained that her survival was not guaranteed, she could lose her sight, and that she could easily relapse. We decided to try the treatment, and received her prescription Itraconazole 150 mg. from Pet Health Pharmacy the next day.

The first few doses did not seem to affect her adversely, and we were pretty confident that she would be herself in no time. After about a week, we were ready to let her go. Her condition had declined rapidly, her appetite was gone, she could barely breathe, and every day she seemed closer to death.

We learned that the Itraconazole was not as effective without food, and she was completely anorexic. We were force-feeding her Ensure Plus, peanut-butter, anything we could make her swallow. Her breathing was so fast and shallow that we didn’t know how she was living. We gave her small doses of Prednisone to help with her breathing, but only at the worst times, as Prednisone is sometimes contraindicated for fungal infections. She became lame, lost almost ½ her body weight, and seemed oblivious to everything.

Long nights were spent with her, tears were shed, we read to her, talked, petted, were afraid to sleep for fear that she would be gone when we woke up. She had a thin bloody discharge from her nostrils, and her nose was dried to a crust from the constant fever.

After about 3 weeks we started to see slight signs of improvement. One day she got up and scratched herself. Then she would stand on the step and give a couple of tentative barks. Soon she wanted to police the yard, and would raise her big old tail again. In a few more weeks, she was back to eating almost anything, and looking forward to her daily med with a spoonful of margarine.

Soon she began gaining weight, her hair came back, the sores healed, and 5 months later she was able to discontinue the Itraconazole. Her sight is fine, she has no lameness, and her coat is thick and shiny. She is now the fat and happy big-girl in the photo that graces this page. This was an awful ordeal for our family, and was only one of several unfortunate events that were happening at the same time.

We couldn’t have saved her without the help of Lisa’s Blastomycosis.ca, without the help and support of the wonderful people on that forum, and without the quick diagnosis of our veterinarian.  Many animals are lost just because of a delay in diagnosis, sometimes even from an unwillingness of veterinarians to believe that it is no longer a rare disease, merely under-reported.

As time permits, I will add as much information on Blastomycosis as I can find, in hopes that others will be able to save their beloved animals. They are blessed creatures who are only on loan to us, and in return for our efforts we receive unlimited and unconditional love. Hard to put a price on that. We love our Dirt-Dirt.


Current Location: At Home By the Fence
Current Mood: thankfulthankful
Current Music: Tiger Army
08 March 2008 @ 02:29 am
"...Please pass a plate, and the ammunition..."
Alkaline Trio

   DirtBike is a 2 yr. old Coonhound mix who has survived Blastomycosis. She would like to dedicate this journal to all the dogs that never had a chance, for whatever reason.  It is possible that this could be turned into an LJ community soon.
   A diagnosis of Blastomycosis Dermatides is the result of a fungal infection (Virulence Factor BAD1), a hideous and heinous instrument of disease and death that does not discriminate between dog, cat, horse, elephant, lion...or human. It lurks everywhere, in the soil, the leaves, the straw, even the home. It cannot be eradicated. 
   Once identified and diagnosed, it is very hard and expensive to treat. There is always hope.  It can be beaten, but it takes hard work, patience, and will test the resolve, the pocketbook, and will require an amount of love and dedication that most didn't know they were capable of. In the end, it is worth every effort.
   Previously thought to be a rare affliction, Blastomycosis is now a common killer of man's most cherished friend. The entries that follow will be mainly comprised of research, articles, hints, tips, tricks etc. that we have learned in this year since Dirt's Blasto diagnosis.

  Disclaimer: DirtBike wishes good health, sammiches, cheeze and soft beds for everyone.  She hopes that the reader finds help, comfort, and empowerment from these pages. 
   She also begs that one speaking for her would be forgiven their mental dust-bunnies, tendencies toward paranoia and the possibility that one should embarrass themselves by rambling about music, art, various punk genres, politics, religions, capitalism, objectivism, law, medicine, and anything else that may prove to be a downfall in any competency hearing. One will attempt to curb these idiosyncracratic annoyances.
   She states that one must also be clear that they are not a veterinarian, not an attorney, not a doctor, not an expert on psycho-billy bands, and does not make any claims as such. Neither should one claim to be a very good cook.
   She now suggests that one bring her some damn Snausages toot-sweet.

Current Location: At Home By the Fence
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Warped Tour Comp.