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Follow up blood work, things starting to turn around.  Infection was almost gone and he was really drying out.

Otis looked pretty wicked. He had dried up and all of the skin where hair was lost had turned an ugly gray. We got some fun reactions in the car on way to the vet or at the vets office, needless to say people would move to the other side of the room.

He also had lost close to 20 pounds at this point, and being a Boxer that was all muscle. He looked pretty scrawny and sickly but he was feeling better. He was eating again and had some life back.

We also started him on a medication called Azithioprine, an immuno suppressor.

We were on the road to hopefully reducing steroids.

Possibly the first really positive vet visit.


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Staph bacteria was resistant to Clindamycin so we switched to Chloramphenicol but of course the Chloram was really potent and could have all kinds of wicked side affects so we had to watch him closely for any weakness in back legs.

It was also determined that the Clindamycin was most likely causing the swollen feet. And as per life about this time Chloram was expensive, toxic to handle and the pills were huge. It was around then that we figured out Otis would eat anything wrapped in bread and slathered in peanut butter.

Thank you universe for peanut butter, I love you Skippy.

We felt some renewed hope, positive again that NOW things would be on the right track.

I just wanted my friend back.


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After several calls to the vet we stopped the Pentoxifylline due to the feet swelling, Otis now looked like he had baby bear paws they were so large. It was painful for him to walk.  The swelling did not go down and in fact had spread up his leg.  Scheduled a return visit to vet on August 10th.

At that time we did a culture test again to determine if his Staph infection was resistant to the antibiotic, he still had infection present in his skin scrapes. He was still not eating very well and was generally feeling rotten.

My happy dog who would run and snooze in the sun and jump up to cuddle with me in the bed could no longer do these things.  He was too weak to jump anywhere and sun is off limits to dogs with Pemphigus.

Every day I questioned still if I was doing the right thing… was this the life he would want…would he ever get better…were we delaying the inevitable?

Our house was covered in sheets because every time he would shake blood would fly. Bathing him looked like a murder scene and I would cry each time. We hardly left him. We had to prop his legs apart when he slept because around this time his groin area was sticking together the skin was so raw.  We did find out that Gold Bond powder is a life saver for that. It was rough.

But we pressed on.

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Confirmed Pemphigus, those words made me feel like hell after everything I had read.

We continued on the medication and at some point a few days later Otis started acting like it hurt to walk. We noticed his paws looked a bit swollen and called vet, nothing to be concerned with yet.

It was also around this time that he started to almost refuse to eat.  With a dog talking almost 12 pills a day, food was the only way to get meds into him.  Forcing so many pills down his throat was nearly impossible.  It resulted in alot of tears, both out of frustration and from back of the jaw bites to the hand.

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On the way to the visit my stomach was in knots, afraid of what news we would get.  In all fairness to the clinic this is the same place we took our first Boxer for a neurology visit to find out she had a tumor that the told us was untreatable, it had a stigma.

The doctor told us that it believed it was Pemphigus but that a biopsy would need to be done to rule out anything else and confirm.

He was sedated and biopsied, some Pemphigus could be drug induced with Cephalosporines as the culprit so his meds were changed.

He was placed on Ciprofloxacin, a medicine called Pentoxifylline to increase blood flow to limbs and Triamcinolone as the steroid. It was also suspected he had a staph infection as well.

We went home to await the biopsy and hoped this would be what we were waiting for…

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Otis was so uncomfortable at this point.

I still questioned myself and what we were doing.

The vet did a culture and sensitivity test to determine if he was resistant to meds we were using. Ketomax was used for his ears, pharmaseb for skin, changed antibiotic to Cephalexin, famotadine for his tummy, keep on prednisone and tramadol for pain. We were referred to a dog Dermatologist at this point, nothing our vet was trying was working and he was in so much pain now.

Again that nagging in the back of my mind if we should just stop and get him out of pain but I wasn’t ready to give up on him. We told ourselves we would see what the dermatologist would say.  He would offer us some hope.

Pics of that time.

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At this point it seemed as if Otis’s skin was falling off. His ears were raw and stiff, the insides were bright red. He was barely eating, it felt like I was force feeding him his medicine. Each time we showered him fur was coming off in chunks and every shake of his ears would spray blood up the shower walls.

I started to question everything we were doing..   Is he dying? Should we put him to sleep? Am I hurting him more than helping? Should we stop, should we keep trying?

Needless to say I cried often and spent a lot of time laying in bed with my best friend…. and scheduled another vet appointment.

More photos of what we were dealing with

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When nothing was improving we scheduled appointment with our regular vet.

At this point a Dermatopathology was done to try and determine the root cause. We changed antibiotics to Orbax, upped the predisone, the spots were shaved and topical neo-predef tetracaine powder applied. We were still to bath with medicated shampoo. We also switched him to a brown rice and salmon diet, just in case he developed a sudden food allergy.

Things were getting rough at home, Otis hated baths (I could not blame him). He was out of energy, he was uncomfortable and there seemed like nothing we could do.

July 22 – pred refill, shampoo refill.

Some pics at the time.

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Otis woke in the morning not wanting to stand. It took everything in me to coax him outside to potty, immediately upon returning into the house he laid down on the kitchen floor and didn’t want to stand.

I noticed his feet were cracked and bleeding both across the tops and on the bottom pads. I called my vet but was told he was out of town for a week. I immediately took him to emergency vet.

Otis was given an injection of prednisolone, an oral prednisone and we were to continue with antibiotics and follow up with vet if things didn’t improve. They didn’t. 😦

His feet a few days later… even worse.

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The first visit to the vet Otis was treated for possible allergic reaction to a bug bite or something environmental.

We treated with hydroxyzine for the itching and an antibiotic to prevent possible infection due to scratching. We were also given instruction to bathe in order to help with itching or discomfort. Nothing seemed to help and he was getting worse.

What he looked like at first visit, seems harmless in the picture. Except his feet…ouch.

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