I didn't post early today because I was waiting for answers. Yesterday, I met with the awesome specialist, Dr. Mclain, at VMS. Up until yesterday, Juno's temperature remained 104 degrees. ALL her radiology and ultrasounds of all organs were normal. Blood tests and repeated blood tests ALL showed normal, except slightly elevated white blood cell count and showing a bit more younger cells indicating infection. But we can't find the infection anywhere and antibiotics are not stopping it (if it is an infection) and they are not lowering the fever. All tick panels are all negative. We're still waiting on a blood parasite test but the antibiotics she's on should have stopped it if it was that. (For the record, Juno is only 2 years old.) So Dr. McLain came up with two possible causes to test for:
The second possibility seemed the most likely given the symptoms she described: walking on eggshells, seeming to limp on one leg then maybe another, general all over weakness, difficulty getting up. This disease would absolutely show a fever when inflamed. Since I got Juno, I noticed sometimes she walked with 2 straight front legs, never bending. I just thought that was her playfulness. She also had difficulty being convinced to get up from the living room at night to come to bed with us. Climbing stairs after laying down was not something she enjoyed and she'd plop at the bottom of the stairs and wait it out until she was good and ready or until I came down and cajoled her upstairs. I also remembered the day I adopted her, she was limping badly because her fosters had run her on a sled team for 13 miles the day before--and she was only 12 months old. In my opinion, that was far too young. I wondered if that was an early indication of her joint problem.
So I left her to stay overnight so they could do the blood culture and tap her joints. She'd have to be sedated. They also wanted to watch her move. If it was auto-immune arthritis, they'd put her on steroids and it would be manageable for life either through low dose steroids or holistic medicine. Also it could go into remission. But, before they introduce any steroid, they want to be absolutely sure there is no infection because giving steroid with infection can be fatal. So they were testing for both possiblities to be sure.
Today they called me while she was sedated. Her joint tap showed clear fluid indicating it wasn't auto-immune arthritis but they would send out the fluid for more thorough analysis. They wanted permission for a spinal tap to test for meningitis. I gave it immediately. Her temperature they told me was still steadily 104 before her tap.
After the tap, she woke up and was resting comfortably. They called me for an update and asked if I'd want to visit. I almost dropped the phone. Seriously? I can visit my dog? "Sure! You can walk her and spend some time in a quiet room with her too. As much time as you want. In fact, it will cheer her up." I hung up the phone, dropped everything and was out the door in 3 minutes.
"Hi Mom. The ladies here are really nice, but there's no place like home. Are you bustin' me outta here?"
So far the spinal tap also showed nothing "remarkable" but we'll have final results tomorrow. We won't have any blood cultures until next week unfortunately, but even if these results come back negative, they still may start her on steroid to reduce inflammation. Something low dose and watch her. She has been a true conundrum for many vets. Meanwhile MY vet, Dogtor Hilary, calls and emails me every few hours asking about her. She was almost so happy to hear about arthritis because it can be treated holistically. Now she's just as bummed as I am for no diagnosis, but she is as happy with VMS as I am. They really have an awesome bedside manner and an open door policy for the client. They even asked me to walk Juno back to her kennel! I never herd of a vet letting a client do that with their animal.
Tomorrow we go visit and see a weekend staff doctor on duty to discuss spinal and joint tests that were re-analyzed outside the clinic. We also get to take Loki to visit her. She has to stay the entire weekend but bottom line is she gets visitations from us. I've never seen a hospital this awesome with visiting. Juno seemed happy to see me and licked my face about 300 times after she pottied on her walk. But she's still not herself. Everyone at the hospital is in love with her. They think she is so very sweet for "her breed." (Don't shoot the messenger here.) I myself have never seen an aggressive husky, but you know, like anyone who doesn't understand a "wild-smart" breed like a husky, a naive husky owner can raise them without boundaries and hence huskies can get into naughty trouble. It makes me proud to hear how wonderful she's being for the staff. Even if she's a little picky about the food.
Juno finishes her boiled chicken and contemplates the mushy stuff below it.
"Disgusting! Have you tasted hospital food before?
On your next visit, slip me some tri-tip. And hide a file in it while you're at it."
Meanwhile, Loki is beginning to become concerned. It seemed quite sweet that he should be so worried. But then l I found him doing this:
And when I looked a little closer, I found the source for his concern.
"Systematic removal of quadrupeds."
Don't worry buddy. You're not going anywhere. You'll be able to see Juno tomorrow and understand she's just on a temporary leave from home. There's no plan to permanently remove any quadrupeds from the House of Dingo.