Otis is doing really well. He’s adapting to life as a pirate.

His skin is doing well, not perfect and not in remission but he’s happy and pain free so I wouldn’t ask for much more. He is still not able to be in the sun very long which stinks but we give him a few moments here and there.

We just went to 1 Triamcinolone every other day this week and are keeping fingers crossed that he does well on that dosage. He’s still on 1 1/2 Azathioprine every day so we hope we can reduce that soon as well.  Ideally we can get to one pill of each on alternating days to keep him where he is.

He’s a little scruffy but beautiful as can be in our eyes.  We had a car ride today and I loved watching his ears flap in the wind. I love seeing him enjoy life. I love seeing him alive.

He enjoys his Starbucks water.  🙂

We’ve been through so much and hopefully this blog will be filled with happy pictures going forward.

We fought hard for his life. It wasn’t easy and it was not cheap but we did it. It took so much sacrifice and heartbreak but I wouldn’t do it any differently.

If you have a dog going through this, I feel for you. Know there is a happier side of the story, that when you think you don’t have any more in you left to give – give just a little bit more.  I wanted to give up sometimes but my husband reminded me that my friend was in there somewhere.

I think he knows how much we loved him and how hard we fought for his life.

If anyone is seeking more information about Otis and his story, or our side of it (  🙂 ) please drop me a line.

Otis today as I write this….



Continues to improve. Otis still gets occasional lesions but very few.

Still on Royal Canin food, Triamcinolone at 4 every other day, raised Azathioprine to 1 1/2 tabs since we are done with Cyclosporine.

I had two milestones when this whole thing started, one that he would come back into the kitchen with me. He had always been my “sous chef”.  We hit that milestone in December. And two, that he would be strong enough to jump into the bed again, we hit that in February.

I felt like I was getting my friend back.  I was grateful.

The rest of December went well, eye healing up and skin was getting better.

After the surgery Otis started to gain weight and muscle. I think the eye was bothering him for much longer than we knew. Somewhere in the back of my mind I crossed my fingers that the tumor had caused all of the skin issues, we weren’t that lucky. They Pemphigus stuck around but was still improving.

January 13th vet visit we decided that Cyclosporine was not making much of an impact and would discontinue.

It was also decided to try modifying diet again. We started him on Royal Canin HP. This meant no more peanut butter, bread, treats, snacks or same food as his sister.

We were able to put his meds in mashed potatoes and he took them, thankfully!!

Down to Triamcinolone every other day, 4 tabs and Azathioprine.

Surgery day, intense stress and panic.  He’d been through so much and it felt really unfair and yet like everything else he took it in stride. We decided with the risk of infection not to get eye implant.  With his skin issue he was never going to win a beautiful dog contest anyway. 🙂

We dropped him off and waited. Surgery went well.

We picked him up and for a few days held our breath while he bumped his way around the house. We had to keep him separated from our other Boxer which was the hardest part. No bleeding, no complications, he healed beautifully even on all the meds.

Best of all he was in less pain, even though it looked worse.

We have one tough pup.

Skin issues unchanged.

Everything going great until December 6th.

Son and I are making dinner, I look down at Otis and it literally looks like his eye had sunk in. He looks as if he’d had a stroke. I freaked and yelled for my son to come look and immediately called our vet. Now to backtrack they had told me early on during one of the ER vet visits that he had a corneal ulcer but this all took a back seat. At one point I was concerned with the eye and told my husband I was sure it was something else but we had so much on our hands with the Pemphigus we just let it go.

I took him up to the vet right away and they did some tests and said it was most likely an ulcer, gave me drops and said that all the meds he was on could hinder the healing.

This is what he looked like….

We started the drops and that night nobody in the house slept. Otis tried for hours to get comfortable and never could. He spent the night going from bed to couch to floor, laying down for a few minutes and then spinning in circles to get comfortable. This went on all night. I knew he was miserable. We contacted the vet and he referred us to dog Ophthalmologist who, if needed, could do surgery that day.

Yet another doctor, and waiting.

Eye doc confirmed my earlier fears when looking at the eye, he had a melanoma in the eye and we would have to remove the eye. Not only that but this type of cancer, if it spreads, will go to the lungs/stomach.  The eye was so full of pressure that it was basically like the worst human migraine, thus the inability to sleep or get comfortable.

We had to make a choice about surgery but most importantly to get him out of pain and comfortable.

Tests would need to be done to see if he was healthy enough to withstand surgery and there was the concern of healing, with all the meds he was on. They also needed to know if the melanoma had spread. We decided at that moment if it was anywhere else, we would stop fighting and we wouldn’t put him through anything else. My heart broke again that day and there were more tears.

Xrays and scans showed he was all clear so we upped his pain meds and gave drops to relieve the pressure, and scheduled the surgery.

At home he curled up and slept, never though another creatures comfort would make me feel so relieved.

Vet visit on November 16th.

Everything is good, fewer and fewer Pemphigus lesions with each visit.

Doc says we can reduce steroid if everything stays consistent.  Crossing fingers we can get to 4 pills every other day.

We’re taking less pictures these days since things are looking better.

Still on Triamcinolone, Azathioprine and Cyclosporine.  Not seeing much improvement after adding Cyclo but being patient.

Otis is eating like a pig but still not gaining much weight. Steroids do make him hungry allllll the time.

Follow up

Infection gone

Started him on Cyclosporine in hopes that we could eventually replace the steroid. Expensive med and hard to find but we’ll make it work, additionally it takes time to make it into system so we have to wait to see if we get any results.

Reducing steroids to 5 and 2.5 on alternating days.

Starting to get cold and a dog with limited hair might need a coat. 🙂

Things looking good!

Had a tiny setback, infection popped back up but this time put on a weaker antibiotic Clavamox.

Still taking Triamcinolone and Azathioprine.

Things seem on track and everyone is happy.


What the hell happened….

Woke up in the morning and Otis would not eat or drink. He went outside to potty and came straight back in to his bed. He would shiver and whine, breathing was strange and he just was miserable. He was also acting really strange. This in itself was not that off, Pemphigus can wax and wane.  Some days are good, others are bad.

Sometime in the afternoon he went outside and wandered like he was unaware of where he was, he tried to got potty about 15 times in a row so we tried to reach our derma vet and could not get in touch.

We contacted our regular vet and took him to the office, he took one look at him and could tell he was not well.  Got him started on IV fluids and took some blood to determine what was wrong, he decided to keep him in the office overnight.

My heart sank, we were right back to that horrible place again. That place of no hope. There were lots of tears and no sleep.

We went up the next morning to visit him, liver and pancreas levels were through the roof but he was hydrated again and feeling a little better.  Vet wanted to keep him all day and said we could pick him up that night if things were still going well.

Around 7pm on Sunday we picked him up, I noticed he seemed a little week in back legs but we thought it might have been from sleeping in a weird kennel. At home he had some trouble getting up the stairs and when he would sit/lay it seemed like he went down pretty hard.

The next morning when we woke he couldn’t stand on his own, I had to boost up his back legs. His legs were crossed in the back and he was weak walking. He couldn’t manage stairs at all and he nearly fell over when trying to sit/lay. More tears and a call to the vet. More bloodwork. Nothing in the bloodwork so took him home. More tears. Doc said steroid dosage could have been masking this all along and now that we were decreasing it was showing up. Maybe the Chloram was causing it?

A long debate with doctor and my husband on if it was time to end this, had it come to that point?

We had fought so hard and so long… I wasn’t ready.

September 21st he woke up and stood up on his own, weakly but on his own. By the end of the day he was getting stronger. The next day stronger and soon like he never had this problem. We’ve never figured out what it was, and probably never will but he was better and that’s all that mattered.

Otis was doing really well at this point.

Still a bit of bacteria so kept on Chloramphenicol, still on steroids, still on immuno suppressor. Bathing twice a week and using betagen spray and neopredef powder when needed.

He was eating well and some personality coming back. And hair was starting to grow, which was a good sign on such a high steroid dose.

We were in a good spot.