Four years and six attacks later (diagnosed March 19, 2011), Dylan at the age of 14 is still hanging in there and loving life. I have learned a lot about treating her IMHA attacks quickly and efficiently, with the least impact on her possible. And I have learned a great deal about preventing them and what I believe is the cause of her attacks. Since January 8, 2014 Dylan has been free from medication. She has been isolated in my back yard since December 23, 2013, only leaving it in my van to go to Mosquito Creek Veterinary Clinic to get her nails done. Her last attack is now a year and three months ago on December 23, 2013.
Although I have a pretty good idea of what triggers her attacks, there is plenty I don’t know about what other factors have contributed to her condition. Her last two attacks I pretty much saw the events that led to her illness 5-6 days after exposure. At the time of both, my hypothesis was weed killer, however, wasp killer and possibly many different pesticides are potential triggers in her case. But I am certain the attacks are triggered by her inhaling the toxic substances from the ground, which I suspect is especially bad in mornings with the evaporation of the morning dew.
It is possible there are other abnormal factors, such as fer early vaccinations with combo vaccines, given while also spayed and de-wormed (a very bad combination) and possibly a genetic predisposition, but as I have written previously; http://mybullseyeview.com/?p=2300, I do present a theory of a normal response to what her body considers a foreign invader.
Evolution of her response is not adequate for the innovation of mankind. Our creation of a multitude of pesticides and chemical treatments and genetic modifications in the plants we grow as the core of our food supply and the resulting changes to our biology and genetic expression that result; and potentially most important, the chemical purification of a toxic micro-genome in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals such as our dogs and ourselves. The food we feed ourselves and our dogs is critical. As is the quality of the air we and our dogs breathe, remembering that a dog’s nose is much more specialized and very close to the ground and the environment that surrounds it.
What goes in their nose, goes through their bodies just as what goes in their mouth goes through them. Everything that goes through our dogs, including the water they drink, matters and is critical to both the good health required to prevent illness and the ability to recover from events that challenge the balance and integrity of the body.
I think these factors are all critical. So prevention must take all of this in mind. And this is the approach I have taken for Dylan and for myself and my other dogs. The quality of the water we drink, the food we eat relative to our unique needs, and the air we breathe are all factors that contribute to our overall health, in addition to psychological factors such as thinking, that is challenging the mind, and social interactions with other people and other dogs. And this doesn’t mean my dogs must play with other dogs. It means they must be able to interact with them in a reasonable way and interact with people in a positive way as well.
Unfortunately, isolation limits some of Dylan’s interactions with other dogs; however, she does have a crew of three other pooches here that she is constantly interacting with. She has neighbors who love to say high and friends who drop over occasionally. It is pretty obvious how much she enjoys people. A striking contrast to the original Dylan that came into our home. Afraid of all people and dogs.
Now dogs don’t bother her and she loves people. She bounces outside to see them. She can’t run, but she sure tries, bouncing from her front legs to her back in happy arcs, but never really leaving the ground. Despite four years of many drastic and life threatening events, anemia, ischemia, paralysis or a desperate struggle just to move, she still clearly loves the simple pleasures that life brings her.
I see joy in her and because of it I keep working hard to keep her healthy; to keep toxicity out of her body and to give her the healthiest diet I can. And she continues to survive and thrive, despite the ravages of multiple challenges with prednisone.
Even her immune system continues to be healthy. It kills her effectively and consistently when she breathes pesticides. Nothing else makes her sick and like my other dogs, despite the rats in our neighborhood that carry disease and fleas, she never has fleas and is never ill. She does have bouts of vertigo which are likely attributable to the IMHA and prednisone related side effects (accelerated effects of aging) and which includes her low thyroid output and has become worse after the attacks. Fortunately the latter is easily treated and we just deal with her bouts of instability.
I wouldn’t call her immune system compromised like one generally thinks of in individuals treated for autoimmune disease. She has never been given any of the non steroid immune suppressants which do wreak havoc on the immune system and cause it to fail. And when she has had prednisone, I get rid of it as quickly as I can, which was 17 days total during her last attack.
Overall I think this approach has been very beneficial to Dylan. I have fed her a raw, hand made and well balanced species appropriate diet of human grade ingredients throughout all six attacks and the immune suppression caused by prednisone. She has never been ill throughout the last four years since diagnosis and despite having had open bed sores inches across form being unable to move in her bed, they did not get infected and were not treated with antibiotics.
So at 14 years of age, after four years fighting to survive and six deadly IMHA attacks; Dylan happily soldiers on, ignoring any loss she has experienced, totally focused on enjoying the moment! As a dog should be! I have learned a lot from her and I fight for her right to live on!