Brief update, after our visit to MVDVM: Jiminy likely has spinal meningitis, but it could be disc trauma. He had a temp of 104 (normal is 101.5), but his butt happened to have been resting right on the hot water bottle I’d placed in his carrier, so MVDVM wasn’t sure whether or not we should conclude Jim has a fever. His temp was down two tenths of a degree by the time we left. I’ll be taking his temperature every few hours, so we know.
In the meantime, he got a shot of doxycycline, and I came home with oral doxy. There’s no harm in treating for an infection (meningitis), even if it turns out he doesn’t have one. I myself feel that he does have one. I’ve felt that he was a little hot and dry since this happened, if you know what I mean. He will stay on the Tramadol and Metacam that I’ve been giving him. I also got some A/D, the critical care wet food, and a big syringe, so that I’ll be able to get more solid food down him.
After he’d eaten some of the new food, mixed with warm water, I decided to try having him float on his back in some deep warm water. I held his head, of course, and made sure his spine stayed in its normal position. I was very pleased to find that he seemed to enjoy the feeling, a lot! Now he’s asleep on my lap. Maybe I’ll reschedule my student and just hang out with the fuzzy people and have a nap myself. I really don’t want to move him until I have to.
It’s a little after 6:30 now. Jim has had his Tramadol and Metacam and a good amount of the A/D food mixed with water. His temperature is down to 103.1. Obviously, then, he does indeed have a fever, and his elevated temp earlier wasn’t due to the hot water bottle. I hope that MVDVM will also think it’s obvious that the doxy is working. After our nap, I had time to start reading online about canine spinal meningitis, and, unlike stroke, it seems that meningitis in dogs is every bit as serious as it is in humans.
Well, I will just do everything MVDVM says, and whatever else I can think of to keep Jim comfortable, so he can focus on getting better.
Just now, I realized that a lot of what I know about dog body language might have come from nursing. I had just finished feeding him, and I felt he was uncomfortable, but not in any way having to do with his back. Periodically, I’ve been taking him out to see if he would go peeps, as he did yesterday (today he just peed as he lay, a couple of times). I’d taken him before his meds and feeding, but he’d just stood there. But I thought I’d try again now.
As soon as I took him out the door, he perked up a little. This is what made me think about body language, because it would be impossible for me to explain the change in him, but it was unmistakable. I put him down and kept my hands on him to steady him, and he peed right away, a very long peeps. He obviously felt relief then–I mean, psychological as well as physical–and is now comfortably (I think so, anyway) resting in bed, while I feed the others.