As most of you know by now, my little dog, Steven Jalapeño, is very sick and recently went in for surgery to figure out what’s been going on. During this time, I set up a GoFundMe page in hopes that we could get some help with his quickly growing medical bills, which is shown below.
I gave a quick review in the above link of what has been going on, but most of you have been asking in more detail. I figured it would only be appropriate to do a blog post to shed more awareness on a few things and let people know what’s really going on with him.
But first things first… If you aren’t familiar with my baby, Steven, I have included a few extremely cute recent photos for everyone!
So here’s the scoop on what’s been going on:
About a month ago, actually exactly a month ago, Steven went in to the vet to get his usual steroid shot for his allergies. It has always been a low dose with no adverse long term effects to worry about. In the 4 years he has been getting these shots 1-2 times a year, he has never had any sort of reaction whatsoever.
Things were going well and he wasn’t itching so we decided to take a trip up to Fort Worth to visit my family. Steven is always so excited to see everyone, especially Maggie, his other big dog friend. They never skipped a beat and ran around upstairs like a bunch of hooligans which made me not think much of his excessive water drinking and frequent urination. We stayed for about 5 days and then headed home where I noticed he was downing ridiculous amounts of water; 6 bowls a day. He normally doesn’t even drink 1 full bowl a day, so something was wrong. I took him to the vet and they said it was his steroid shot showing some side effects.
As the days went on, Steven started refusing to go outside because it was so hot, I couldn’t take him around with me everywhere like I had before and he NEVER wanted to play. There were quite a few unusual things going on with him that concerned me. I started doing some research on the internet and found a few people who’s steroid side effect stories that matched up with mine and then there was the diabetes and Cushings Disease scare. I took him back to the vet to get his urine tested to rule a few things out since it hadn’t been the full 3 weeks to get the steroid out of his system. Everything came back normal, thankfully, but that worried me even more because that didn’t tell us what was wrong. So, it had to be the steroid, right?
Let me take a break in this story and let people know that my vet is my VERY best friend and owns Bluebonnet Animal Hospital where she has cared for Steven for years. Quite a few people weren’t sure why I wasn’t getting a second opinion, but most people don’t know that I am literally with them while they are doing the tests and I look at the paperwork that they get with results, so there is no need for a second opinion when the info is right in front of you.
Back to the story. Last week was a really tough week for Steven. He wouldn’t move, he would lay on the floor, sleep on the floor instead of with us, lethargic, always panting, hated to be around other dogs (he would attack them now, even his best friends) and losing weight rapidly. He lost a total of almost 2 pounds on his tiny 9.5 pound frame! I always lay him on his back and squeeze his little leg muscles to make his legs kick and when I tried to do that I could literally feel my fingers through his leg where his muscles should be. He was still eating and drinking like a champ and I was now feeding him quite a bit more since he was always begging for food like he was starving. We thought, maybe he’s just so lazy he’s losing his muscle mass.. So we took him to RedBud Isle to get him some exercise and interaction with other dogs. He was done for in about 5 minutes. The next day, Friday, I rushed him to the vet to get blood and stool tests completed.
Saturday, I was a wreck. Waiting for Melissa, my vet, to let me know results. Normally, she would just text me when they came in but I had some weird feeling something was wrong and that she would have to call me. Sure enough… She calls and tells me his test results came back with concern and he needed to get an ultrasound on his liver ASAP Monday and potentially a biopsy. It’s always the worst when you can’t do shit but wait, for what seems like FOREVER, because it’s the weekend. Of course, I am bawling my eyes out and already sick to begin with, so that’s not helping anything. Thankfully, Melissa is amazing and was on the phone with an internist on her day off to see what types of liver diseases this could be, so we at least had specifics to test for if the ultrasound came back normal. Sunday rolls around and Steven is having a tough time breathing, he’s shaking and shivering like he is in pain and his tummy is protruding out. Melissa suggests I take him to be evaluated overnight so if something does happen they will be able to take care of him. I decided to keep him with me and then took him straight to the specialist at Central Texas Veterinary Specialty Hospital Monday morning.
We went to the vet Monday and they took him back for the ultrasound, which was going to take about 30 minutes to do. The biopsy was a must, but little did I know, they would have to take multiple samples and it was an actually surgical procedure AND they couldn’t do it that day!! I was so upset because I wanted to get this all going right away. Dr. Chang took him back to get him prepped for the ultrasound and came back a few minutes later saying the surgeon was actually in the hospital today and could definitely do his biopsies later in the day if we wanted. YES, we did! Who knew all of these tests would be so expensive… I get my estimate statement and it’s over $3,000!!! They stated that this can definitely go up and probably would. This wasn’t even including what I had paid for tests and medication for Steven over the past month. Well, good news is that the ultrasound came back normal so we didn’t have to worry about a liver shunt or an enlarged liver, but that meant we had to to get these biopsies done because it is some type of liver disease.
A lot of people have been asking how this just mysteriously popped up. Which is a great question. The steroid shot he received lowered his immune system for an extended period of time that these liver symptoms were able to push through and really start effecting him.
Dr. Chang DID say that this could be caused by Trifexis, his flea and heart worm medication. There have been quite a few deaths and sick dogs that point back to Trifexis. It doesn’t affect every dog the same way and most dogs don’t even have a bad reaction to this medication. The specialist pointed out that they do see the small percentage of sick pups that have had a negative reaction. Just be aware if your dog takes this medication and starts acting strange, ask a vet if Trifexis could be the cause.
That is where we are at this point. Steven Jalapeño has a type of liver disease but we are unsure of what kind and what caused this. Results from his biopsies should be in tomorrow or early next week. Keep Steven in your thoughts as this has been a very hard time for all of us.
And if you need an amazing vet in Austin, head over to Bluebonnet Animal Hospital and ask for Melissa!!
All I know is that I am BEYOND grateful to be self-employed. I am able to make my own schedule, change shoot dates and put things on hold for an entire MONTH while I took care of Steven. Tomorrow is my first shoot back and I am really sad to leave him in his post-surgery state.
Here is Steven’s and his poor little belly after his surgery –
If you have made it to the end, THANK YOU for taking the time to read everything.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider donating to help us pay Steven’s medical bills if you are able. I would pay any amount of money to keep my baby alive. Being self employed is a blessing, but it doesn’t really leave me much to pay a whopping $4k+ surgery bill! Any help would be greatly appreciated.
We’re almost half way there!!
http://www.gofundme.com/d7cvu8 or click HERE.
I am SO grateful for those who have donated so much already. It warms my heart to know there are so many people out there who love and care about Steven. And THANK YOU to those who have reached out to me seeing how he is doing. All of this really means so much to us.