Story told by Lori,
I regretfully add my beloved German Shepherd, Ransom, to the list of Canine Histiocytosis casualties as of 3/28/08. Ransom was a 4 1/2 year rescue pet through the German Shepherd Rescue. He was a best friend, loyal campanion, and a beloved pet. He got my newspaper for me in the morning, played dress-up with my four year old and greeted all who came to our house with a wagging tail.
His symptoms started a few months ago with signs of ugly, angry cysts on his back shoulders. They grew to the size of a 1/2 golf ball then stopped. When a few more popped up around his chest and behind his ear and groin, the vet had already put him on a dose of anti-biotics and decided to remove the larger ones for biopsy. After hours of analysis and phone calls to specialists, he diagnosed Ransom with Histio, not sure of what kind, though. We were treating him with a combination of prednisone and immunar which seemed to help him for awhile. The cysts slowly started to dry up and disappear and he seemed more active.
A week ago he developed a 105 fever which never went away, shortness of breath and became lethargic, even with the help of oral anti-biotics. After 2 days without eating and hardly moving, we decided to hook him up to IV's. He had developed a secondary infection that the Vet and I optimistically thought he could cure with fluids and anti-biotics going faster in his system. Unfortunetly, Ransom's fever never broke and was progessively deteriorating fast. X-rays showed nodules and fluid in his chest and lungs.
We made the painstakingly decision to put him to sleep. My 10 year old daughter who got Ransom for her birthday just under 3 years ago, sat by his side while the Vet gently put him to sleep. We knew it was the right thing to do so he wouldn't have to suffer any longer. I really miss the jingling of his collar and is big fuzzy body next to my bed.
I can't believe that this disease is so mysterious and pray for a cure so that noone else and no dog has to go through this pain.
While my four year old keeps asking me how far is heaven, my middle daughter asks me if we are going to get another dog. I tell my youngest that heaven is closer than we think and Ransom is not suffering anymore and I tell my other daughter that we probably won't get another dog for a long while. She responded, maybe in a "medium" while.
Thank you for letting me share my story while the pain is still new.