I had a Siberian Husky named Keita from 1994-2001. I bought her from a puppy store in a mall in Albany, NY which may have a lot to do with her story. I had her for 6 years, she was the biggest sweetheart and I loved her with all of my heart. She was very spoiled and loved every minute of the happy life she was given. However, in October of 2000, I noticed a pink button like growth on her muzzle. I brought her immediately to the vet, they took a biopsy and it came back negative. The vet told me not to worry and that it was a common thing for dogs to get growths as they get older. I didn't think anything of this because she was still VERY much her happy self.
Her next symptom was snoring- she never made a sound when she slept and out of the blue she was snoring which was a huge red flag that I noticed. After awhile, I noticed she didn't want to go on the daily long walks that we (Buddy -my german shepherd, Keita and myself) would go on- which was extremely odd- because she (and Buddy) used to go crazy at the sound of the leash EVERYTIME. I brought her to the vet so many times at this point because her breathing started to get louder and louder by the week and her discomfort level was noticeable, and this is probably a couple of months into the disease that I brought her to the reknowned Animal Medical Center in Manhattan hoping to get some answers. This is where they told me that she had Histiocytosis, they also told me they do not know how it comes about and there is no cure. They did leave me a bit hopeful in saying that the correct mix of chemo and steroids can buy them a little more quality of life and keep symptoms at bay. Very devastating to say the least but I never lost hope to go to any lengths and do whatever needed to be done to help her. The news came to me in December of 2000, and there was NO information on the web at this time- which completely added to my fustration.
Keita was such a great spirit and to watch her go from happy and healthy to a painful, depressed, detiorating animal was more than I could bare. This disease slowly was killing my baby in front of my eyes. Doctors were telling me there was nothing they could do - she was going to die from this any way you look at it. You can only try to keep them comfortable inbetween. Her doctors had her on high doses of prednisone and cyclosporine. She was on this medication up until March of 2001 and couldn't take it anymore literally. The combination of the meds really helped her symptons for ONE week and then she started throwing up from about 5 times a day to every two to three minutes! I asked the vet what was going on and they said that her stomach and esophagus were getting "raw" from the harsh meds on a regular basis. They then gave me more pills to try to coat her stomach- she was up to about 25 pills a day.
In the beginning of April, she had enough. She would run away from me when I tried to give her pills and when I could actually get them into her, she would only throw them all up in a matter of minutes because her poor stomach couldn't take anymore. I was cooking her favorite meals and she was happily eating them until we got to this level of this horrid disease. She had stopped eating, drinking and stopped acting like herself so I stopped her medication because it was doing more harm then good at this point. She became very lethargic, her face/muzzle was so swollen that her third lids were over her eyes almost blocking her vision completely, two holes formed on top of her muzzle that she was breathing out of instead of her nostrils-due to the high doses of prednisone, and her breathing was so completely labored that she would sit with her paws completely to the sides to open up her chest as much as possible. I knew at this point (even though the doctors were telling me they didn't know what this disease was which kept me very hopeful) she was coming to the end. This poor animal was tortured by this HORRIBLE disease that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy and the worst thing about it is that my other dog Buddy (who was extremely close to Keita) had to watch this whole thing. On the night of the 17th, Keita was crying next to me on and off, so I made the hardest phone call of my life to the vet the next morning. On April 18th, I brought her in to be put down- it was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do.
That is her story and we all still miss her terribly -even Buddy- he went through a very depressed time without her. He didn't eat for two weeks and was very sad. We all were and still are, and this disease was first hand the most ugly, cold hearted, life-robbing thing that unfortunately knocked on my Keita's door. I have to say that as nasty as the disease was for her, it is nice to see some info out here on the web even though it's 2 years later for the poor people who have animals going through this as we speak. I sympathize with all of you who have lost a pet especially due to this illness. Good luck to all of you and let it be known that this page is in memory of my beloved *KEITA* We love you baby and we miss you more than you know.
Keita was owned and loved by Patty.