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“I want to be the change I want to see in this world.” ~ Rodney Habib in an interview with Kimberly Gauthier (that's me!)

Over the next couple weeks, you'll see several blog posts about our recent medical crises with Scout.  This experience was stressful, confusing, and heartbreaking.  Although Scout is on the road to recovery, I'm still shellshocked.  He's not even two years old, and he's spent two days in the hospital.  At least we were with him the entire time.

Diagnosing and Treating a Fever of Unknown Origin in Dogs

DepositPhoto/dmitrimaruta

Fever of Unknown Origin in Dogs

FUO is a condition that is common in dogs and cats according to Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM.  “Affected animals experience an elevated body temperature, usually accompanied by lethargy, weakness, and lack of appetite. As the name implies, the cause of fever of unknown origin is not determined in most cases.  However, most pets with the syndrome are treated for bacterial infections.  This treatment usually is successful.”  Source: DrBarchas.com

Saturday was the first time I've heard of Fever of Unknown Origin.

Scout Home After Long Day at Vet Hospital

Scout Home After Long Day at Vet Hospital

Scout's “long story short” Fever of Unknown Origin

When I woke the dogs up Saturday morning, Scout wasn't himself.  He's not a morning dog and tends to wake up slowly.  But this morning he was panting and he was hot to the touch.  When I got their morning meals together (green beef tripe) Scout wasn't interested – Whoa!  I took his temperature while J Googled “what's a normal temperature for a dog?”

Scout's temperature was 104.5 degrees.  He was still active, just a little mellow, and wanted to play – but I was worried.

“The normal body temperature for dogs is between 101 and 102.5 F, compared to 97.6 to 99.6 F for humans. This means your dog may feel feverish to you even when his temperature is completely normal.” Source: Pets.WebMD.com  If your dog develops a fever above 104.0 – call your vet.  If the fever is 105.0 or above, go to the emergency vet immediately.  CLICK HERE to order a thermometer for your dog on Amazon.com.

We called our vet, but they were short staffed.  We called around to other vets, and they were all booked up.  So we went to the emergency vet (because Scout's temperature was climbing towards 105 degrees) in Everett, Washington.  J sat in the backseat with Scout, keeping him cool with cold compresses.  We were seen right away, because Scout's temperature had increased to 105.0, and Dr. Hotter turned into our avenging angel.

After a detailed exam and blood work, she sent us home with no antibiotics, because she wasn't sure what was causing his fever.  If she gave us meds and the diagnosis was wrong, then it would be difficult to get the right diagnos is after a round of antibiotics.  Since Scout was still drinking and alert, we decided to wait.

Sunday, his temp was going up and down, but he still had a temp.  He no longer wanted to play.

Monday morning, he was worse, and I took him back to Dr. Hotter with our temperature chart (the one I gave her was handwritten).

Spreadsheet to track a dog's temperature - fever of unknown origin

She did an exam and more blood work, and we had a heart to heart about the next steps.  We needed a specialist who could look at the blood work, x-rays, and ultrasound and know what they're seeing.  She was right.

She called Dr. Peterson at the VCA in Lynnwood, WA and got us right in (no wait), and I drove down immediately.  They greeted us at the door and after some paperwork took us to a room where we hung out for the rest of the day.  Scout was dealing with an infection in the gut due to a cut or scrape, a tick-borne illness, or bone marrow complications.

Before we left, Dr. Peterson sat with me and explained what she suspected and prescribed medications.  She's been contacting me with test results daily.

Scout's temperature dropped to 102.8 at 8:30 Monday night and settled at 102.4 on Tuesday.

Scout Going to Bed with Puller Ring

Scout Going to Bed with Puller Ring

Recovering from a Fever of Unknown Origin

Scout was put on two antibiotics to cover the possibilities of what's going on.  On Wednesday (yesterday) he was taken off of one antibiotic once it was revealed that the cause isn't Anaplasma or a tick-transmitted disease.

Scout isn't able to eat raw this week, because his white blood cells were decimated.  I won't risk a possible bacterial infection along with anything else.  Dogs can better handle bacteria than humans, but if a dog's immune system is compromised, you have to be careful.  Why take the risk?

Medications for Fever of Unknown Origin

  • Baytril – antibiotic for neutropenia and possible infection
  • Doxycycline – antibiotic for Anaplasma or tick-transmitted disease (he was taken off this one)
  • Maropitant – anti-vomiting medication to avoid the risk of him vomiting up the antibiotics
  • FullBucket Probiotic Paste – taken in the morning (antibiotics are taken in the evening) to protect his gut

He's taking these fine with peanut butter.  The FullBucket probiotic paste is easy, because it's kind of like peanut butter, and he licks it right up.

What We Feed Scout

Scout's appetite is slowing coming back, and he is being fed what he'll eat, so far that's…

When I cook my meals, I add extra for Scout, because he'll eat what I eat.  He's not a fan of canned food, so I gave up on that even though healthy options were chosen for him.

Be the Change

One thing I love about Rodney Habib is that he's honest in his desire to inspire people to raise their dogs naturally.  When I write blog posts, I try to stay positive and informative; this wasn't always the case.  It infuriates me when people come into the pet industry to take advantage of our love for our dogs.  But that's never going to change, so I'll have to change.

Today, I want to give my readers information to help them make informed decisions about their dogs.  If I don't like a brand, I will be honest in my critique, and I will try not to be passive aggressive or just downright mean.

It's not always going to be easy.  And I will continue to offend people who disagree with my belief that a better diet leads to a healthier dog, but I can't control the feelings of others.

But the outpouring of support has inspired me to do better; to be better.

When I posted online about Scout's condition, all of my friends, connections, and followers rallied.  Everyone provided support, prayers, good thoughts, healing vibes, and more.  I'm expecting a prayer blanket for Scout in the mail.  Our nutritionist sent a healing his way (and to me too).  This has gone on for days.  Messages, calls, flowers (thank you, E.) and more.  The outpouring of love and support is what's going to inspire people to be more responsible for their dogs, to feed them better, treat them better, care for them better.

So I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who took the time out of their busy day to send me continuous prayers and support during a time when I was barely holding it together.

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