Mikey's Mysterious Illness
Most people talk about what they have taught their dog,
I talk about what my dog has taught me.
I thank Mikey each and every day for educating me.
If you are researching your pet's mysterious illness, as you read Mikey's story you might think, "I'm wasting my time here, my dog's symptom's are not the same as Mikey's." This is going to sound crazy at first but although the symptoms might be different the actual cause might be the same.
Mikey's ordeal taught me to look at medical problems like allergies, some seizure disorders, thyroid problems (and many others) very differently now. Each are very real medical disorders and they all have different names but when I step back and look at the big picture I see them as symptoms of a damaged immune system that isn't functioning properly. The symptoms of a damaged immune system can manifest in many different forms and have many different diagnosis. They can often be easily controlled with medications, sometimes they can't. Sometimes lab reports are helpful and sometimes they are completely normal even though you know there is clearly something wrong with your dog. We spent a small fortune and put Mikey through a lot in an effort to find out what was wrong with him. Hopefully sharing his story will help you and your dog find answers much faster than we did.
My entire life came to an abrupt halt when my healthy Weimaraner puppy became deathly ill. We got him from a vet who had declared the puppy to be healthy. The day after we brought him home our vet examined him and he agreed that Mikey was a healthy puppy. This healthy pup became deathly ill before he was one year old.
At first his problem seemed to be very minor. He had a skin condition. The breeder and our vet both said it was because he had been in an outdoor kennel with a concrete floor. Our vet prescribed two different antibiotics. He had Mikey taking one of them for five consecutive months! They did not help. The skin condition was closely monitored as he was seen by the vet every few weeks for his puppy shots. February 1st, Mikey had completed all of his shots. The vet saved his rabies shot for last and finally that was done too.
Those last few statements probably caused some of you to go right into a major meltdown. Those who didn't are like I was before Mikey educated me. Please keep reading for your pet's sake.
What we say: "I wish I had know then what I know now"
What we feel: "I should have known then what I know now"
What we know: "Knowledge is power"
Mikey's skin did finally clear up after many months. For several months he suffered with itchy paws periodically, he would lick them until they were raw and sometimes bleeding. The vets diagnosed him with allergies and prescribed an array of products but none of them helped. His condition grew increasingly worse.
When he suddenly started displaying behavioral problems the vet said he was becoming a rebellious teenager now and neutering him would help with that problem. Mikey was neutered on April 29th and the outcome was more like insanity. Our well trained, well behaved little boy had become a total maniac. Although his insane behavior did gradually get better, it lasted a long time, a really long time. The vet prescribed sedatives for Mikey but it made no difference so the vet recommended that we euthanize our seven month old pup.
In September of 2003, he went through a period of vomiting. Then his skin started breaking out with what looked like hives every time he ate. He would start looking a little bit better (very little) and then it would be time for him to eat again. Within minutes his skin would break out even worse. His coat became dull and coarse and his hair began to fall out. He became tired very easily, he could only play for about five minutes then he was ready for a break. He was cold all the time. At times he insisted on being right with us every moment. Being alone made him extremely nervous. It was’t enough for us to be in the same room with him we literally had to be touching him. Many times even while he was resting we could actually see his chest pounding because his heart was beating so hard and his breathing was very unusual. And even the smallest cuts or scratches seemed as though they would never stop bleeding. By this time he had been examined by many vets and the diagnosis was always the same, they kept telling us that his problems were all caused by allergies.
His stomach became unable to tolerate his food or even water and we took him to the vet again. They took Mikey into a room to x-ray his stomach and then the vet recommended exploratory stomach surgery and biopsies. (The day of the surgery, we brought Mikey home and as the drugs gradually wore off we saw Mikey's strange behavior rise to a whole new level. We had no idea the worst was yet to come.)
The pathology report indicated that Mikey had inflammatory bowel disease and recommended further testing for liver and pancreatic disorders. The vet refused to do those tests. He diagnosed Mikey with allergies and insisted that we start feeding him special allergy dog food that we had to buy at the vet's office.
Mikey could not tolerate that food either so the vet prescribed "anti-vomiting pills." When Mikey ran out of pills the vomiting started again. The vet said we would have to keep giving Mikey that special dog food and the pills, that was our only option. That's when I had to share my honest opinion with the vet. When something makes you sick every time you eat it, that is the body's way of saying, "Don't do that again!"
Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results ...
isn't there a name for that?
That was the day we decided to see what would happen if Mikey ate people food instead of dog food. He ate it, he loved it and he was able to tolerate it without pills. His skin broke out a little worse every time he ate one single bite of any food but the stomach problem seemed to be resolved. When I told the vet we decided to stop the special diet and give Mikey people food he said we couldn't do that. He warned us that it is bad for dogs and it destroys their teeth.
This photo was taken after Mikey had been eating people food for eight years. His teeth are beautiful thanks to his chew bones.
Mikey's favorite bones are the sanitized /bleached bones.
Maybe the vet wasn't aware that dogs do have ways to clean their teeth?
We had spent months watching in horror as Mikey's condition had become progressively worse and worse. He became deathly ill and after being examined and treated by seven vets we realized no one could help him. Two of the vets recommended euthanasia, one of them brought up the topic three times before we could escape from her office.
In February of 2004 I began frantically typing a medical diary so I could send it to one of the worlds' leading vaccine and immune system experts. While looking at the invoices from the various vets I learned that in September of 2003 when they took Mikey into that room for an x-ray of his stomach the vet took the liberty of vaccinating him again five months early, while he was sick and without my knowledge or consent. Mikey's vaccination record was one of only three pieces of paper in his file and it clearly indicated that he was not due for any vaccinations until February of 2004! According to the vaccine manufacturer's directions for safe usage the product can be "safely" administered to "healthy" animals. Mikey certainly was not healthy when that man took the liberty of needlessly vaccinating him five months and while he was so sick.
The expert confirmed my suspicions. Mikey's problem was much bigger than allergies. Vaccine is supposed to trigger an immune response but sometimes it completely overwhelms the immune system. She said she thought Mikey could be turned around and she offered to help but I would have to find a local vet who would be willing to work with her.
A friend recommended vet #8 and he said he would work with the expert but then he suddenly changed his mind. He started yelling at me, saying that Mikey was a hopeless case and he demanded that I kill him.
I looked down at Mikey and he was looking up at me as if he was saying "No Mommy, please don't listen to him."
I saw a sick little boy who clearly hadn't given up and I saw that sparkle was still gleaming in his eyes.
I had to believe in Mikey.
After realizing vaccine played a huge role in Mikey's mysterious illness I continued researching with the focus being on vaccine damage / injuries. I kept seeing something over and over. People kept talking about holistic vets. We had already paid a small fortune to eight vets who accomplished nothing and now I'm supposed to take Mikey to a vet who is an herb eating quack and spend a bunch of money at his office too? Obviously I had little faith in holistic medicine but we had run out of options.
We decided to take Mikey to a holistic vet and let him decide Mikey's fate. If he said Mikey was a hopeless case then we would know for sure that we truly had done everything we possibly could to save our little boy.
Vet #9 said he had never seen such a young pup so badly damaged but he thought we could turn him around. He correctly diagnosed and began treating Mikey's mysterious illness. Within a month his condition had improved drastically. We found out Mikey almost died most likely because of a severe adverse reaction to vaccines (vaccinosis). His symptoms from the beginning were indications that he seemed to be having great difficulty tolerating the vaccines and he was suffering from adverse effects but the vets continued to vaccinate him. Then that vet took the liberty of vaccinating him again without even discussing it with us. Mikey's immune system was overwhelmed and severely damaged.
While he was still undergoing treatment we could see him getting so much better. He became obnoxious, overbearing and demanding ... everything a Weim should be! This experience has really opened my eyes to the potential dangers of many "safe" and commonly used veterinary pharmaceutical products. (now I prefer to call them HARMaceutical products)
Why should you do your own research?
Because it could save your pet's life.
I was forced to get deeply involved in Mikey's health care. I have been amazed, shocked, stunned and completely disgusted by so many things I've learned.
That's why we share Mikey's story. With great hope that it will help others to find answers and realize how important it is for them do their own research and truly get involved in their pet's health care.
When Mikey had exploratory stomach surgery the pathology report recommended further testing for liver and pancreatic disease. We had asked three vets to do the testing and they all refused. Instead they insisted that the problem was nothing more than food allergies and kept trying to sell us expensive allergy dog food and anti-vomiting pills so the pup could keep the food down. As his condition continued to deteriorate under their care we took it upon ourselves to create a nutritious homemade diet for him. In January we also made the decision to stop using flea control product and although we had no idea at that time he had already been vaccinated we decided to postpone all vaccinations. While one vet was demanding that we euthanize Mikey another vet insisted that we ignore Mikey's serious health condition, go against the vaccine manufacturer's recommendations for safe usage of their product and vaccinate him anyway. The vaccine label states that it can be safely administered to “healthy” animals. It was quite obvious that Mikey was not healthy, in fact he was seriously ill. We truly believe the decisions to stop the flea control product, postpone vaccinating and make nutritious meals for him saved Mikey’s life but we still had to restore his health as much as possible.
We were fortunate enough to find a great holistic vet (yes, that "herb eating quack" I mentioned earlier saved Mikey's life) and changed our lives as well. The vet said it could be detrimental to Mikey's health to vaccinate him so he did provide us with a letter of medical exemption (this is a legal option in some states) but he said we still had to contact Animal Control and purchase a dog tag. We were relieved to know that we didn't have to worry about any legal issues.
Oh! We were so wrong!
When he was just a baby we were told by three different vets that we should kill him because he was a hopeless case. Five days after celebrating his tenth birthday Mikey was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. He died of congestive heart failure nine months later, just three months before his eleventh birthday.
We think our "hopeless case" did quite well. We never gave up until Mikey told us that he was ready to go. We're so glad we listened to him instead of those vets.