Now Check My Dog Has a Systemic Infection

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Please note that this is only our experience. It’s anecdotal, not veterinary. I am a writer, not a veterinarian, veterinary technician, nurse, doctor, nutritionist or anything practical. Don’t take this as medical advice, mk?

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One night in mid-November, I climbed into bed with my book and pulled up the covers for Cooper. He crawled under and leaned against my leg, like every night.

After a while, I noticed that my leg was burning. I pulled the covers down to check on Cooper. He felt like he was on fire. We measured its temperature: 104.9. (for reference, the normal temperature of a dog is between 101 and 102.5.)

For a few days before that, we noticed that he seemed tired. Less like him. That morning he had skipped breakfast-not unusual for him in winter-and had spent the day taking a nap. When we took his temperature, we knew that something was really wrong.

The next morning we took him to the vet first thing in the morning, and this appointment triggered a whole series of Tests, therapies and worries that – two months after– are still ongoing.

I want to share Cooper’s story here and what we learned along the way, in matter it helps other people who find themselves in this scary situation with their dog. Let’s start with the basics:


Basically, it means exactly what it says: It is an infection throughout the body – the entire system – instead of an infection at a single site, such as an organ or a wound.

The Tests to be diagnosed include blood tests, imaging (CT, ultrasound, etc.).) and urinalysis.

The first morning we recorded Coop, he was dehydrated. So while they were taking blood, they didn’t immediately look at her urine. Instead, they gave him fluids and asked us to bring back a sample the next morning.

When they got his blood count back, his liver enzymes were completely crazy (technical term, I think), so his vet ordered an ultrasound. In the meantime, we gave him a broad-spectrum antibiotic and a liver supplement.

At this point, and as is common with systemic infections in dogs, Cooper was not eating. Not even small bites of really delicious stuff, and we tried everything: lamb meatballs, beef stew, all kinds of cheeses, peanut butter, sausages, eggs, everything we could think of to make him at least take his pills. Nada.

He had gone from 55 pounds to 49. So we also gave him an appetite-stimulating remedy. However, he was still dehydrated and struggled not to take pills. We went back to the vet where they gave him another round of fluid, followed by an injection of a strong antibiotic. They also took cooling measures because his fever was raging again. And he had diarrhea that lasted for weeks.

Needless to say, we were tense.

The next week, we took him to his ultrasound. The vet initially recommended an X-ray, but she said that if they detected anything, they would order an ultrasound. We chose to skip the X-ray stage completely because we thought we would end up spending less when he needed it after paying for an X-ray and we knew that it would give a clearer picture and put us on the path to a better treatment for Coop. Because at that moment he was sleeping all day. He still had no appetite. He was nauseous and feverish. We wanted to help him and help him quickly.

Ultrasound helped us to exclude lumps or tumors (thank God!!!) and the veterinarian was able to diagnose the systemic infection

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