We have a female boxer, Bella, who recently turned 7 years old. She was perfectly healthy, however, she would have somewhat frequent yeasty ears and paws - so she was on Cephalexin several times over the years. One time resulting in a ear hematoma, which she recovered fine from (4 years ago). We have had the suspicion for several years that she had environmental allergies, but never had the test done...however, we had tried several food tests, none of which ever yielded any results.
6 months ago we allowed an out of state family member to stay with us one night after purchasing a brand new puppy. During that time she was her typical self, very motherly. She spent a significant amount of time coddling the new puppy. 2 weeks later I noticed she was having blood in her urine and she was very very itchy and was scratching off significant amounts of fur from her shoulder regions and were developing small black bumps. I took her in to the vet immediately and they confirmed she had a UTI as well as performed a skin scraping and said they did not see mites. A few days later she developed a ear hematoma. We took her back to the state we had lived in previously to our old vet and they did another hematoma repair and said that she had scabies...and that it had to of obviously come from the new puppy that was at our house because she was not around any other dogs (except our other 2 dogs, who had none of these symptoms/reactions) nor was she around any foxes (the only other carrier of "dog scabies"). She was put on a 3 week dip treatment that yielded no results. She just kept getting worse and worse developing open bloody sores all over her body. After week 3 of the dip we got in to a Dermatologist. There they confirmed again that she had scabies but wanted to try a more effective treatment, Revolution, which lasted 6 weeks.
During this time she was still very very itchy so she was put on Prednisone, over the course of these last 6 months the dosage has varied. She was also put on Azithromycin. All of these medications yielded a decrease in her itchiness at the beginning and then things picked up where they had left off and we went back to square one.
She then developed another ear hematoma in the other ear so she went back in for another repair surgery (at a local vet this time, not at the out of state vet). Her stitches came out the same day we brought her home. We went back in and they restitched her ear, but again, the stitches came out. (we had issues with that vet as you can tell). Her ear still has never fully recovered. - Also while she was under for the hematoma, the vet took a culture from one of her toes which was very inflamed and obviously infected. Results never showed anything.
A couple of weeks later she still was not making much progress with the bumps, sores, itchiness. We had been back to the Dermatologist several times, each time with her assuring us that we were going to over come this and that this was just a long healing process.
Finally about 3 weeks ago the Dermatologist did some cultures on various oozing bumps on her. The results were: 1. MRSA 2. Enteroccus 3. Rhobococcus 4. Corynepacterium
The Dermatologist put her on Chloramphenicol 1500mg 3x/day for 30 days (I have to wear a mask and gloves to administer this medication, and for extra safety measures, administer it outside away from our children).
After 1 week of being on the medication I was seeing no results so I emailed pictures to the Dermatologist and she said that this will just take time to get the bacteria.
We have now completed 2 weeks and again I sent more pictures. Immediately the Dermatologist responded and said she was afraid that the infection has gotten to her blood stream so she wanted us to take her to a regular vet (a different one this time obviously) and have a whole blood work up done. Today, August 26, 2012 we received the results of "everything is normal. Her liver and kidneys are fine. Her white blood cells are normal" - therefore the vet said that her immune system is not working or recognizing that there's an infection and that she's afraid that Bella may have bone marrow disease or cancer. Our Dermatologist suggested maybe she's in the early stages of going septic.
Our Dermatologist suggested that we could, if we wanted, try the IV treatment of antibiotics that will go directly to her blood stream, pain killers and fluids. Where the Vet has suggested that we may not yield any results from doing that and our best option is really to put her down. (all in a very kind manner, not pushing it, but strongly suggesting).
This is where we are: Bella's back legs are very swollen. She's lost over 50% of her hair, she does have healing sores, with some still open, she is having some difficulty breathing - it's as if she's got a cold (I've read that a lot of times with MRSA you can get pneumonia...so I guess that is a possibility). She is still able to walk and eat. She is very happy to be with us and still wags her tail and barks occasionally. She is doing everything she can to remain her "normal self" and insists on being by my side 24/7. To date, we have spent $2,500 over the last 6 months trying to "heal" her - which is obviously a lot of money but we'd do it all over again if we had to. My husband and I are trying to find any possible reason to not put her down, we feel that she will tell us/show signs of when she's ready. But most importantly we are looking for any additional advice on things we can try, etc. *?*?*She is very infected with MRSA, and is not responding to the Chloramphenicol 1500mg 3x/day. Her blood tests come back completely normal. No elevated white blood cells. Liver and kidney functioning fine. Does this really mean that her Immune System is NOT working? And is there ANYTHING else we can do/try*?*?*
Thank you in advance, sorry it was so lengthy. (Yes, we have been very cautious and followed protocol for caring for someone with MRSA. We know exactly how dangerous it is)