A considerable amount of time this week has been devoted to watch-dogging the puppy – now named Tripp. He knows his name, will come when called and is learning NO. He is not yet housebroken so we spend as much time as possible outside. Cullen has been great with him with only a few retaliatory actions.
After a period of time in which we thought she was a goner, Scout rallied, regaining mental alertness and personality, eating/drinking well. We eventually saw the vet, who diagnosed myotosis and prescribed prednisone, antibiotics and iron supplement. Scout is doing pretty well, seems almost her old self, but somewhat weaker. And, of course, she is still 12 years old.
Our winter weather has been sporadic for sure. This past week one of Kathryn’s friends visited with a plan to go XC skiing. They caught the last two days of snow before rain and warm temperatures melted it all away. Instead of XC skis and snowshoes it’s rubber boots and trying to avoid the soggy ground as Kathryn takes the dogs for a walk around the pasture.
Scout was intrigued by the small fish around the dock. When she first saw them she leaped from the dock onto the fish with no success. Then she started stalking the fish. Finally she graduated to trying to ambush the fish. Although she never captured a fish she would spend hours trying.
We found lumps on Trey’s neck and had him examined. We suspect he has systemic histiocytosis – a reactive inflammatory diseases in which a disorder of immune system regulation is suspected. Histiocytosis is a cancer which proliferates rapidly and invade a wide variety of tissues. Histiocytes are a type of white blood cell called macrophages which ordinarily form part of the dog’s immune system. Their proper role is to engulf bacteria and other material which should not be present in the body and dispose of it. Histiocytosis is quite rare in other breeds but it is the most common cancer in Bernese Mountain Dogs comprising 25% of all cases.
Systemic histiocytosis can have episodes that come and go with varying severity. It invades the skin and peripheral lymph nodes in almost every case but also involves other tissues particularly in later stages of the disease. With systemic histiocytosis skin abnormalities are common, particularly on the face and limbs. If the tumor has metastasized to the lungs there may be trouble breathing. There are no successful treatments for histiocytosis at this time. It is simply a difference in how long the disease takes to run its course.
Trey’s surgery left him with stitches on his neck and left side. Below he models a t-shirt to keep him from scratching open the stitches. Since this picture we have found a turtle neck shirt which better protects his neck. With temperatures in the 70’s Trey is warm and uncomfortable, but the shirt is a necessity for another week.