I'm gonna get really detailed with the symptoms and timeline so anyone with pets will know what to look for in case this happens to them! Scroll down to see the happy ending and to see all the pictures of my sweet boys!!
My boyfriend and I got two puppies this summer, Rigby our Golden Retriever is 6 months old, and Sawyer our Chocolate Lab is 7 months. They have been the sweetest most playful dogs all summer, so when Sawyer started acting sick it was definitely noticeable.
There was actually one day last week where he was acting really lethargic and didn't want to get off his bed, but I had been home on vacation so I chalked it up to him being tired from not getting his normal naps in. He was fine the next day. Then, Wednesday morning of this week he would barely get off his bed again, and had to be lured outside to go to the bathroom with treats. I thought he was just tired again, maybe he was going through a growth spurt and he would sleep it off while I was at work. However, when I came home to let him out a few hours later, he wouldn't even get out of his kennel when I opened the door. Normally he would be sprinting out to see me.
I called our Vet immediately, but they couldn't see him until two days later, so we talked about his symptoms and decided that he probably ate something in the yard that was bothering his stomach and it would pass. He wasn't throwing up or going to the bathroom more than normal so I was skeptical, but didn't have a better explanation. He was still drinking water and eating, but we had to hold the bowl up to his face, he wouldn't bend down. We were hoping after a good night's rest he would be better in the morning.
Sadly, the next day we couldn't get him to eat breakfast at all and he was just laying on his side only moving his eyes and slightly wagging his tail when we talked to or touched him. We rushed him to the Animal Emergency Clinic that our Vet had recommended, where they felt his stomach to see if they could determine if he ate something that he wasn't digesting. That didn't seem to be the problem, so they made him turn his head to see if the problem was in his neck, and he whined. They X-Rayed him to see if it was a pinched nerve and when that came back negative they brought up Meningitis.
MENINGITIS!?! I had no idea dogs could get meningitis so I was FREAKING out because I know how serious it is in humans!! They checked both his temperature and white blood cell count which were slightly high, but not drastically so. They said we could go to a specialist for a spinal tap to be sure, or we could just treat it as if it were meningitis and then go from there if it didn't work. So we decided to go ahead with treatment.
He's been prescribed a steroid for the meningitis, but also an antibiotic in case it is a bacterial strain, or some other type of infection. He's also been prescribed some medicine for the pain. We had to wait until his dinner time to give him the steroid and antibiotic but he got the pain medicine right away. It didn't seem to have any effect other than maybe making him more drowsy. We were really starting to worry about our poor sweet baby.
HERE COMES THE GOOD NEWS! About 2 hours after his first dose of steroid and antibiotic he got up and walked to his water bowl to drink on his own!! Then he went to check out the new bed Rigby was laying on....we got another one so he would hopefully give Sawyer more space. Then, he even started chewing the bone Rigby had been playing with! I started crying happy tears, which was amazing after all the sad tears I had cried that day. Since his first dose last night he has definitely acted more like himself. He is still not supposed to take stairs or do vigorous activity, but he has started trying to play with Rigby in the yard, and tried to come up the stairs to see me this morning, as well as continued to chew his toys and eat and drink normally.
He still gets tired really easily and lays down a lot more than normal but as long as he keeps making this progress like this we should be in the clear. This has been such a scary thing, to think we might lose our puppy when we only just got him. Pets really do become a part of your family so definitely trust your gut when it comes to anything being wrong with yours, and give all the puppies and kitties extra kisses for me!!
I haven't been posting pictures of Sawyer while he's actually been sick so all of these were from before, but if you would like to follow along as he heals click through any of the posts to follow me on Instagram, and check my story.