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Friday, March 9, 2012

Fluffy Puppy


A happy and healthy Zephyr one year after getting encephalitis.
It's been 1 year since Zephyr came down with immune mediated encephalitis.  If your not familiar with what happened see March 2011 in the blog archive and lots of posts throughout the past year.  I'm so happy to say that Zephyr is doing awesome!!  We have not seen any signs of the encephalitis and it's been over 4 months since a seizure (and I think the last one might have been because I missed a dose of Keppra soon after he started it, so maybe a withdrawal effect).  Luckily, Zephyr's brain was able to recover from all the inflammation and he has no signs of permanent brain damage, except that he might still have seizures if he wasn't on Keppra.  I've waited to give an update on how he's been doing partly because I didn't want to jump the gun.  He's been off all procarbazine for almost 2 months and he's now down to only 2.5mg of predisone once a day, a tiny amount for his size.  I've been worried about how things would go and if the encephalitis would return as we removed his meds.  To say that I watch the boy like a hawk is an understatement.  :-)  The only thing that I can say I've noticed is that he continues to feel even better.  He is one happy, goofy, healthy boy!

Fur starting to return in December.
 When Zephyr started the chemotherapy treatment to suppress his immune system and to control (hopefully get rid of) the encephalitis I read that dogs don't loose their fur like people loose their hair.  Not so for Zephyr.  I think he lost about half of his fur, he was basically bald from about his shoulder down and his skin became very thin and dry.  I think some of this could have been caused by the prednisone too.  Once he switched to the procarbazine, especially to every other day in November, I really noticed his fur starting to return and he started to have a lot more energy.  The picture above was taken at Christmas when his fur was starting to grow in and the first picture was taken in early February.  Hopefully you can tell that his fur is filling in and the color is a little richer.  His skin is also less thin and dry.  This makes me so happy because I think it means that Zephyr's body and immune system is returning to normal and working well.  I'm also so thankful for all the support that I've had from you all.  It's wonderful how a few words from someone you've never really met can help so much.

Super soft shiny fur!
Zephyr had a spinal tap in mid-July and they shaved a rectangle from about the top of his ears to the bottom of his ear lobes.  Back then I asked if anyone wanted to make bets on how long it would take to grow back.  Well, it's been 8 months and it's almost filled in 100%.  You can still see the slight outline of the shaved rectangle.  

I also have great news about Zephyr's blood work, which I had checked back in February.  His liver enzymes have all returned to just about normal as we have continued to remove his meds.  The only one that wasn't normal was the alkaline phosphate, it was about 190 and normal is 150 or below, way down from the 1,300 it was at in September.  It's probably still a little high because he was still taking 5mg of prednisone a day then, but now it's 2.5mg so I expect this to continue to improve.

"Mom, I feel so good and I love you so much!"
It's amazing to me to think about how much Zephyr went through and that he remained his strong happy self through it all.  I'll never forget those days at the neurology center when I didn't know if he'd make it and when I told him that it was okay for him to go if the fight was too hard. Ugh, that was hard to write.  Luckily he would have none of that.  I'll also never forget bringing Astro in with me to see him and all three of us laying together in a room for hours.  And then, at the first sign of improvement, Dr. Knowles and the Vet Techs lifting and carrying him outside, Astro and I running in front of him when he could barely see shadows and couldn't walk, with them moving him along just above the grass while Zephyr moved his legs in the air trying to run after us while everyone clapped and yelled to encourage him.  What an awesome boy!

"Hee, Hee, Hee, Hee!"
Zephyr wants me to tell you that, luckily, there are a few advantages to being sick.  One is that even a year later Mom often cooks some beef or chicken to add to meals.  Best is that you get to learn bad habits like begging and you don't even get in trouble for it, even if you do it in the kitchen, in fact you often succeed.  Mom will also let you do things like lick plates, and then you come to expect it and of course you get it.  You also get to perfect your thievery skills.  For example Mom thinks it's great when you walk by the fridge, stick your nose in the gap between the wall, grab a plastic bag, and run off all giddy like and proceed to tear it up.  You also get lots more bed privileges.  Like it's often okay to get under the covers at 2:00 in the morning and of course your little brother can come too.  We have all learned to appreciate life and every day a little more too, because unfortunately it can be gone in a flash.  I am so fortunate and happy to still have Zephyr, he is my heart.  Hug and kiss your hounds!!

21 comments:

Angela J. said...

I'm so glad Zephr is doing so well. He definitely looks healthy and happy! So hard to believe now how sick he was...what a trooper he is. He didn't give up and neither did you. You should both be so proud of all the hard work you put into his recovery. I will hug my hounds tonight (as I always to anyway, LOL) but this time in Zephr's honour.

gyeong said...

Awesome awesome news! Glad Zephyr is doing so much better. Why do my guys get away with those things, and they haven't even been sick? :)

jet said...

Yay for Zephyr!! That is such good news and I'm glad he is being spoiled too ;)

Claire Krigbaum said...

That is just wonderful! What a handsome dog he is. I LOVE that fourth picture down of him, what a smile!

Kini_pella said...

Love the first photo of him...he looks so happy :). So glad he's feeling better!

Sarah Regan Snavely said...

Yay, Zephyr! What a wonderful post!

What Remains Now said...

What wonderful news and a great post! I am so glad for everyone...especially Zephyr!

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Yes, my guys pretty much get to do any mischief they like ... as long as it isn't too destructive! Zephyr sure does look happy and healthy. I'm so glad all your heartache and efforts last year have paid off. I wish Beryl was as hairy. She just seems to be getting balder and balder:) Consider both my kids hugged and kissed!

Sue said...

This is the best news. So glad Zephyr has come through such an awful time.

Song and I send him, you and Astro big hugs.

Declan said...

That's a story to warm the heart! You must be so pleased and proud of him. I'm just off to see Mum for a cuddle! Deccy x

Tina said...

Wow, this really looks and sounds like he and you finally got over it! But I do completely understand you watching him so closely. I do see every little limp in Bisou, too ;-)

Michelle said...

This is such awesome news!! Glad to read that Zephr is doing so well. I hope things continue to go well for a long, long time. :)

Angela said...

Yay! I am so happy for you and Zephyr, what wonderfule news! He is an amazing boy and you are an incredible mom to help pull him through such a hard time too! Hugs to you all :)

houndstooth said...

Hearing that he's doing so well really warms my heart! He's such a special guy, and I know he scared the daylights out of you with all he went through. I hope that things keep getting better for him!

Bunny says she wants to see pictures of him out hiking in his back pack soon!

Kippy Marrie said...

Olá amiguinho...
Obrigada pelo recado em meu blog.
AMEI!
Te desejo um ótimo domingo, e fique com o Papai do Céu.
Aus da amiguinha do Brasil ...

KIPPY

Trina said...

So glad Zephyr is doing well! I hope it continues!!

jcp said...

He looks so great! I'm so very happy for you. Thanks for sharing this update.

Sue aka Greyhound Lover said...

What wonderful news, Zephyr is looking so good! huge hugs to you both xxx

IHeartDogs said...

We're so happy to hear he is doing so well! And looking extremely handsome :) You're a greyt mom and he has such an amazing spirit. Stay healthy and happy! Hugs and ear scritches to you and your Bro <3

KB said...

What great news!!! I'm so glad that Zephyr has done so well. I didn't know that he'd lost some of his fur. K has been shedding, and I've been afraid to brush out the loose fur out of fear that she might go bald!

I love your story of all the extra privileges. Our dogs could tell a very similar story :)

Happy days for you!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

So glad Zephyr is doing so well. Just can't imagine having to fight like you guys did. Makes my metatarsal/P1 joint injury seem like nothing.