Posts Tagged ‘canine pemphigus’

Monday I said goodbye to my best friend.

Otis had been struggling lately with some pain we had attributed to arthritis, but after his decline this weekend we assume he was actually dealing with some type of tumor, possibly in the spinal cord.  He was pretty lethargic and unlike himself starting Saturday morning.  By Monday morning he could barely walk and was in so much pain he wouldn’t even lay next to me or dish out any kisses.

We fought hard and long to get him back from Pemphigus and I’m grateful for the additional years we had.  This all happened so quick that I’m still trying to accept the fact that he’s no longer here.  His pain is gone and I’m grateful for that, but I would give so much to have a few more days, weeks…or really years.

I lost my sous chef, my sleeping partner, my bathroom stalker, my greeter, my shadow and a big part of my joy.  To say my heart is broken is an understatemet. My heart is shattered.

I hope this blog continues to help others and that Otis will always be an inspiration to those fighting against Pemphigus.  I will forever miss this guy.



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I haven’t posted in awhile and should be better about that. It’s easy to get comfortable in life and where you are I guess. 

Otis is doing really well with his Pemphigus, we really have no active lesions and are just on maintenance at the time. Still doing 1/2 Triamcinolone every other day and alternating days are 1 1/2 Azathioprine.   We have noticed some issues lately with stiffness and he teeth are getting worse.  I imagine some of this is side affects of medicine and some is just the fact that my boy is getting old.  He will be 10 in September and for a Boxer that is getting up there. 

So Otis is good, we are trying to stay out of the summer heat as much as possible – he really hates the heat.

I’ve received a lot of emails lately which is both a blessing and a heartbreak. Blessing because I hope I can provide some information and insight.  Heartbreak because it means another dog has this horrible disease and these dogs find ways into my heart even though I’ve never met them. I desperately wish they will all find a way through it.

The universe works in mysterious ways and I was I writing this I found out one of the dogs in my heart passed this morning.  My new found friend Sidney lost his fight with Pemphigus.  He fought long and hard along side a family who tried everything for him.  They were amazing parents for him, every dog should be so lucky.

I hope Sidney meets my Ella at the Rainbow Bridge. I’m sure they will be fast friends.  Amy, I hope you find comfort in knowing you did everything you could and although the pain right now is so great – he knows you did everything too.


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I haven’t updated in so long because things are going so well for Otis.  We still have the occasion lesion but meds are still low and he’s happy and content – except for the temperature downturn here lately…he hates being cold.

We are down to 1/2 of a Triamcinolone pill every other day and still on the Azathioprine 1 1/2 pills alternating days.  Vet visits are now every 6 months instead of every 2 weeks or less.
Life for Otis and us good, we are still pretty cautious with him as we never know what stress can trigger so we keep his life pretty low key and oh how he misses sunbathing!!  We do give him a few minutes of sun soak every so often.  He misses his old food and people scraps but I think he’s okay without them.
We wish everyone happy holidays and if you are fighting Pemphigus right now we wish you strength, patience and lots of love.  Feel free to hit us up if you want to chat!!

Still loves to carry around his buddies!

“Helping” me out in the office.

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We had what was essentially our 1 year post dooms day appointment.

Otis is doing really well, he’s grown back so much hair that he actually looks furry! We only have  few active Pemphigus lesions at this time but we deal with those, they aren’t as active as they are annoying.

We are backing off to 3/4 of a Triamcinolone pill every other day and still on the Azathioprine 1 1/2 pills. He did have a foot infection today but our regular vet says they are seeing a lot of foot problems right now with dry grass and foot irritation. Can’t say I even like walking in the grass with no shoes right now.

We also have follow up with eye doc this week and got some cruddy news.  It appears Otis’s retina is thinning in his good, well only, eye and so we might be encountering blindness sooner or later.  Hopefuly later. But we will soldier on and find a way to make it work, we always do.
Life is so different from last year.  I barely slept, I never left this house with the exception of work and I felt sick, discouraged, sad and afraid all the time for what might happen to Otis.
We are in a good place right now.  Everyone is happy and healthy, I’ll take it.

Next visit in 6 months unless we have any issues.  I never thought we’d get here but we did.  Such a long fight, and so worth it.
Special wishes for my new friend Henry and his family going through the Pemphigus fight right now.  I hope he’s doing better!


my buddy, sleeping the day away. 🙂

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Otis is continuing to grow hair now that meds have been reduced. We have been put on 1 Triamcinolone every other day and 1.5 Azathioprine on the alternating day.

He’s stronger every day and liver enzymes continue to drop as we reduce meds, blood work looking good.

Thankfully not much to write about.


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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….


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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