Happy New Year?

After a short staycation with the wifey (and pup scare!), it’s time to get back to typing.

It was my intention to post my first New Year blog entry, well, yesterday to welcome in 2021 with all my favorite things: food and writing, but my precious baby boy, Dixon, became incredible ill New Year’s Eve. So, we spent New Year’s Day in the pup emergency room, and, needless to say, I was a complete emotional wreck all day because of it.

Dixon, being a brave sweetheart at the emergency vet.

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week saw a break in the wet, cold weather in our area and so we hit the Fair Hill Trails, as we normally do, with Dixon. Dixon LOVES hiking! All the smells and horses and bikers and other pups out on the trails makes it one of his favorite activities. I can just say, “Trails?” and he will start jumping and barking and shaking with excitement. We open the back window a bit for him on the drive over and the closer we get to the trail head the more he snarfles at the breeze in anticipation. Because we hike so much, he is on flea and tick preventative, I check him all over after hikes for ticks, he gets regular baths, and, since it’s a soggy, muddy mess out right now, after our hikes on Tuesday and Wednesday, I even carefully wiped him down all over with pup wet wipes as soon as we got back home. There were no ticks on him. After our hike on Wednesday, he bounded about the house all playful and full of energy, as he normally does. He even enjoyed his normal round of ball after din-din and demonstrated zero signs of any pain or discomfort or lethargy. However, New Year’s Eve we woke up around 6:30am and headed downstairs to gear up for his morning potty break when I noticed he had a slight limp after reaching the bottom of the stairs. Initially, this did not concern me too much as he has been diagnosed with a mild luxating patella in the past, and my first thought was he must have strained his knee a bit out on our hike. So, we canceled ball that morning, gave him a dose of Naturally Calm and NutraVet baby aspirin and thought he would feel better by morning, as he has in the past.

Over the course of the day, however, his limp progressively worsened, which I tried to calm myself by reasoning his lack of activity was just causing him to feel a bit stiff, but intuitively I knew a call to the vet in the morning was inevitable. He then woke me up in the middle of the night shivering and was so lame in his back legs that I had to carry him out to potty and it took him more than 5 minutes of standing still to just pee. I immediately switched into total panic mode. We made an appointment with an emergency vet clinic in Newark due to the holiday and they saw him immediately. After x-rays and a physical exam revealed nothing so wrong with his leg or knee or muscles to justify the severity of his lameness the vet decided to run blood work. My sweet boy tested faint positive for Lyme Disease. He is now on Doxycycline, a muscle relaxer, Pepcid, and two different pain medications. The vet assured me, through the total blubbering mess I was, that it was highly unusual to catch a Lyme Disease diagnosis so quickly and, therefore, she didn’t foresee any further complications after completing his antibiotic treatment. I was obviously confused, as I had not seen a tick on him, but the vet stated that, if an infected tick bites and even immediately falls off, then that’s enough to transfer the disease. Regardless, I felt horrible…still feel horrible. I’m not even sure if the tick bite happen out on the trails to be honest, as deer roam through our neighborhood and yard frequently. If you live in my area, Fair Hill Maryland, please be warned that Lyme Disease is currently present and a very real threat to you and your pets. And, don’t let your guard down because it’s winter, as I discovered yesterday, because ticks ARE NOT seasonal. Lyme Disease in dogs is completely treatable if caught early enough. Dixon will now need to be monitored annually for any signs of relapsing symptoms and have kidney test run, but, thankfully, he is feeling much better today (and I’ve finally stopped crying!).

Obviously, New Years Day was terrifying for me, but Dixon has been on meds for 24 hours now and he is already walking by himself and his sweet personality is back to normal. He will have to take Doxycycline for the next month, but the hard part is keeping him calm and still for the next 7 days while he recoups from his lameness and fever. Sweet little guy doesn’t understand how sick he is and, like a toddler, he feels a little better now and wants to take off at full speed. I have to carry him up and down the stairs though, as the vet instructed us that he is not to use them for the next week and can only have as much activity as it takes him to go potty, which is a challenge since Dixon is normally a super active, playful pup. My heart still hurts over all this and I do not wish this experience on anyone or their precious pup! Check for ticks constantly and do not hesitate to make a vet appointment if any prolonged limping, lameness, shivering, lethargy, or loss of appetite occurs. If your pup demonstrates any of these symptoms, then take them to the vet immediately! Catching Lyme Disease early is crucial. Even though Dixon has significantly improved within just 24 hours of antibiotics and pain meds, please keep him in your thoughts!

Fair Hill Yellow Trail at Stone Mill

Smoked Holiday Brisket and Brisket Pot Pie recipes to follow soon.

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