Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thanks, Harry

Harry and Ginny, 2006 (P.Murkland Photo)

Our Harry died several years ago. We still miss our dear friend.
His best friend, Ginny, pictured above, will be five years old this coming week.

Harry suffered from pneumonia when he was young, and we almost lost him then.

He was saved because our vet at that time was willing to try Rocephin, a drug we read about in Mary McBryde's amazing Irish Wolfhound book.

Since then, other wolfhounds around the United States have been saved by this powerful human bacteria-fighting medication, also known as Ceftriaxone.
Longtime breeder Mike Genovese, also a vet, shares his experience here.

But it is sometimes tough convincing vets that the protocol really works.
In a wolfhound, pneumonia can kill rather quickly.
An antibiotic that doesn't work can mean death.

The symptoms also can be rather subtle.
And this is where we thank our Harry.

Our baby wolfhound caught kennel cough, and we thought she had recovered.
She was playing, eating well, acting normally.
Then, suddenly, in the middle of a meal, she stopped eating.

She couldn't or wouldn't lie down.
She seemed agitated.
She was panting.
She was pacing.
She seemed to be trying to vomit.
She began drooling.
She was standing strangely, with her head in an awkward position.

These are all warning signs of bloat.
But her stomach wasn't distended.
She had just pooped, and she did vomit her half-eaten dinner.
A friend suggested she had a stomach-ache, and to wait and see if she began feeling better.

Her temperature was 103 degrees F.
And then I knew. Thank you, Harry.
The way she was standing, the way she was acting ...
these are symptoms of pneumonia.
Sometimes dogs with pneumonia don't even have a temperature.
But she did. (Here is a fact sheet for you.)

I rushed her to the ER.
Along the way, friends emailed a protocol, for Rocephin.
Already knew about it. Thank you, Harry.

Late at night, the ER vet said the x-rays showed a mild pneumonia in one lung. She thought Rocephin was too big a cannon. She said she would use a different antibiotic.
This worried us. We began searching for someone who could help us. When the clinic closed in the a.m., we found help thanks to our regular vet, and brought our wolfhound to a specialty hospital more than two hours away.

The x-rays there showed a collapsed lung (the one that had been clear in the ER).
Severe pneumonia, they said. They planned to use Rocephin, the vet told us.

It was a fight to save her.
Pneumonia can kill a wolfhound in less than 24 hours.
It has killed other wolfhounds, in recent months.

After several days in the ICU and an anxious wait for us, our baby made it. Two weeks later, she continues to recuperate.

If we had waited to bring her to the ER, she would have died. If we had never heard of Rocephin, we may have been more complacent about medications.

We have Harry to thank.
We sure miss that big goofy guy. He was so sweet. Anyone who met him, loved him.

During these past dark days and dark nights, we have been thinking of Harry often.
And we believe somehow, his spirit is with us, still.

He loved Ginny so much, and she loved him back.
He was her protector, her guardian. The Pack Patriarch.
And now he has helped save her baby's life.
We love you, Harry.

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