This is my dog Shera…a faithful and ever-loving companion, who up until recently was always at my side.
But that changed all of a sudden last week, when he started sneezing violently, as if something was stuck in his nose. We paid not much attention to it, thinking it was just a blocked nose or something, until after about 3 days, it didn’t get better, so we took him to our vet, who diagnosed a mild case of kennel cough. A course of antibiotics was prescribed and we came back home.
Shera was only 3 days into his medicine when he got worse….he would sleep all day if undisturbed, laying on the same side unless woken up. I noticed this very unusual pattern and decided we had to get a second opinion, so we went back to the same vet but asked for a more senior vet to look at him.
What really moved me was that even with his eyes so swollen that they were almost fully shut, as I sat next to him trying to comfort him, he struggled to sit up and lifted his paw up, wanting me to shake it like we normally do…..it almost brought me to tears…an animal, a totally different species to us, even in such a sick state, still wanting to show his affection for us…..amazing.
This time, he was in good hands, for the vet listened to our descriptions of Shera’s symptoms, then went very quiet, looking at the dog, checking his temperature, heartbeat, legs, ears etc, a full check. In a few minutes, he told us that Shera was a very ill dog, and deteriorating fast, so he was going to keep him in, take x-rays and blood tests, and call us back with the results.
Later that day, the vet called us and told us that Shera had a very rare condition called SLE (systemic lupus something-or-other), an auto-immune disorder, much like the lupus that can affect humans too. The bad news was there is no cure for it, but the good news was that it’s controllable with drugs.
When we went back to pick Shera up, he showed us how the dog’s legs were swollen due to liquid building up there, and along his forehead, with eyes swollen too. That was because his body was fighting against itself. So he’d given Shera some steroids already, and told us to carry on the regime for 7 days, with strict instructions to call him, any time day or night, if things got worse. That in itself was a huge comfort to us, as we’d never had that sort of service from any vet!
Anyways, cut a long story short, Shera has been on the steroids for 3 days now and has recovered somewhat, is feeding normally, aside of not wanting to eat from the bowl he’s been using since he was a pup…that’s weird. He’s even going for his daily walks, albeit much shorter now due to his weakness.
But we’ve noticed he has slowed down a lot….he was so very full of life before, walking around the house following us wherever we went. Now he has his food, and just goes to sleep on his favorite blanket, only getting up occasionally for a short walk in the garden for a pee etc.
Over the years, he has become part of our family. let’s hope he recovers fully to his former self again.