I have googled Ehrlichia Canis or E.Canis a dozen times this week. It is what blindsided us, taking our Kane so fast and furiously. Imagine a tic bringing down a one hundred pound dog! Generally I apply topical flea and tic medicine in the spring and summer. Usually I skip the fall and winter months. I was feeling guilty, thinking all this was my fault.. But our vet told us that a tic can latch on to a dog who is treated with flea meds.. To latch on is all it takes to infect.
I only wish I had caught it before it got out of hand, but I never noticed any symptoms. One day Kane was fine and the next he was sick. That Wednesday morning I discovered he had thrown up his supper, I was not extremely worried. I have had many dogs and sometimes they have stomach issues, maybe from eating something they shouldn’t or are just not up to par. Usually in a day or two they perk up on their own. I knew Friday eventing this was not going to clear up on its own. I took him to our vet, Dr Hendricks, first thing Saturday morning. A fifty minute drive to Manchester. He thoroughly examined him and did a blood analysis. He tested positive for E.Canis, and was started on Doxycycline. Dr. Hendricks has been our vet for about twenty five years. So I knew from his demeanor, this was a serious condition.. He gave him a shot for pain and nausea and we went home with three prescriptions. Getting these pills down him was a difficult process. Felt like I went in up to my elbows and literally placed them in his stomach. He fought me with what little bit of strength he had left.
Kane would not eat that day, or Sunday. Not for a lack of trying on my part. i cooked rice with chicken broth, boiled chicken breast and shredded the meat, canned salmon, canned chicken, and even cat food. On Monday night he ate a piece of hot dog and a bite of canned chicken. It was enough to get my hopes up. He ate a bite or two of a hot dog on Tuesday morning, but that was it. So on Wednesday, I loaded him in my car and took him back to Manchester. Doc came out to the car to examine him. He was even more grim than before, but I couldn’t give up on him ….not yet. He said he could try a different antibiotic and give him a shot to stimulate his appetite. Although I never sensed any optimism on his part, I desperately held on to a slim hope Kane would respond and be back to his old neurotic self. I longed to see him work on his China project, a hole that has brought him so much pleasure . Digging was Kane’s favorite hobby. D was not fond of the gargantuan holes.. Cutting grass had become a dangerous task..
The appitite stimulant kicked in and he ate a whopping two bites of hot dog. Sadly that would be his final meal. Still clinging to hope he would eat only if I served the right thing, I cooked some ground beef for him. On Friday morning I took the hamburger meat to him, but he could barely lift his head. He managed to get up and stagger outside..Then he collapsed and laid his head down. I brought the car around to load him up for his final ride to see his Doc. I put his collar on and he tried to walk to the car, bless his heart. But he collapsed again outside the gate. D had to help me roll him on a blanket and load him in the car. He was still looking wistfully at me with those big brown eyes, but there was nothing I could do for him. When we arrived , Brandy, the vet tech, said they would come to the car as soon as Doc arrived. As I sat there in the back of my car waiting on the vet and bawling my eyes out, Kane tensed up in pain and I though he was seizing, his tongue was lolling out. But he relaxed. As hard as this was, and even though I’m still in shock at how quickly this all unfolded, I’m at peace with letting him go. I cannot bear to see him suffer.
That was a long sad ride back home. We covered him in his favorite blanket and placed him in the China Project. I placed a cross on his grave on which I will hang his dog tags.
In my research of this disease I ran across one article that recommended dosing dogs with doxycycling from time to time as a prevention. I am going to ask Doc about that.
Two weeks ago Kane was chasing armadillos and squirrles, eating like a lumberjack, and wiggling with happiness as I spoke his name or petted him. This has happened so fast. Two months ago we had five dogs. Today we have two. Seems surreal.
Kane, Kaney Baney, Kanicus, Kane Kane was my buddy. He came here Christmas of 2007. He was with his friend Maddie, who iwas about to pop with a litter of puppies. We let Maddie have her pups in our basement. We found homes for them, and Maddie, but kept little Pinky. Kane and Pinky became good buds. We are letting Pinky stay upstairs with Beau so he won’t be lonely for Kane.
Rest in Peace my Big Red Dog.