Poor Emmi

Back at the end of December, we found Emmi like this:

Taken when we got home from the vet.  Look how her forehead is puffy and the left side of her face is hanging.  It wasn't like that just a few hours before!
Taken when we got home from the vet. Look how her forehead is puffy and the left side of her face is hanging. It wasn’t like that just a few hours before!

Yup, within 2 hours of finding this, we were at the vet.  As fast as it came on, and the way it presented, despite the winter season, the vet immediately went to the possibility of a snake bite.   Turns out, as they were shaving the side of her head looking for a bite, they were instead greeted with the popping of an abscess.   It was drained and flushed, and Emmi sent home with antibiotics.

24 hours later.   Much better!
24 hours later. Much better!

It never occurred to me that the 7 days of Clavamox dispensed by the vet wouldn’t be sufficient until at day 10, the abscess was re-filling, and Emmi was acting as if ‘something’ was wrong in her front end.  Back to the vet we went.  At the time, Emmi wasn’t telling the vet where it hurt, so we assumed the ‘unidentified pain’ was due to the spread of infection and/or the discovery of an old broken tooth that might be starting to bother her.

The first available appointment to pull the broken tooth was an entire week later.  We made the appointment and took Emmi home with a 2 week supply of Clavamox and pain killers.

As the week progressed, it seemed Emmi’s ‘front end’ pain, though sporadic, worsened, so back to the vet we went.  Poke, prod and bend as he did, the vet couldn’t find a single trigger for the pain.  What he did do was make room to get Emmi’s tooth pulled a day earlier, and promised to look for anything that could be causing the ‘phantom pain’.

The surgery came and went.  Emmi came home and got bouncy, and then the pain came back.  At this point, the vet said to test her for Valley Fever.  That she was immunocompromised for nearly a month already had me guessing she would show a titer now.  Sure enough, she showed a 1:4.  According to the vet, problem solved.  Return to Fluconazole.  No further investigation necessary.

The Emmi we all know and love.
Crazy Emmi. 

Now I know there are people who will disagree with me, especially anyone with a DMV in the State of Arizona, but I lived with Symptomatic Valley Fever Emmi for a few years.  Despite religious adherence to treatment, Emmi still hurt. Her titers never wavered.  In November 2013, I titer checked her (1:16, her usual read), changed her diet and took her off ‘treatment’.  She has not needed pain killers since December 2013.  May and November 2014, she was negative for titers.  I really can’t be blamed for not rushing back to ineffective treatment over a 1:4 which occurred under circumstances of a long-term infection!  Besides, I know Symptomatic Valley Fever Emmi, and what we were now experiencing was completely different!

So what was I to do when the vet handed down the blanket Valley Fever diagnosis?  Go to another vet, give the recent history, but lie and say last week’s Valley Fever test was negative!

The result:

During the exam, ‘symmetrical bleeding’ was found at the back of both of Emmi’s eyes.

Subdued Emmi.
Subdued Emmi.   

Pain in Emmi’s jaw and a reluctance to bend her chin to her chest resulted in x-rays.  Something peculiar appeared at the jaw.  It’s unclear if it’s a healing fracture, an anomaly, or ‘something else’.   The vet is posting those x-rays to a vet board to see if anyone can identify what’s going on.  Also, there is old damage to her neck, and bone restructuring on one of her shoulders.

As far as the eyes, possible causes could be trauma, genetic, and if you live in the Southwest and no other cause can be determined, Valley Fever.  Emmi will get a re-check in 2 weeks to see if there are any changes.  Slugger will go along to see if, by chance, he has the same bleeding.  If they both have it, it is what it is, and we’ll have to prepare ourselves for eye problems, which can include blindness, as they enter their golden years.  Family is family, no matter what the health status.

If Slugger doesn’t have the bleeding, we look at trauma, more particularly the jaw issue since the neck and shoulder problems are old.  It isn’t like y’all haven’t seen videos of Emmi zigging when she should have zagged, right smack into a tree, wall or other barrier to rapid forward movement, or engaged in Xena Warrior Princess battles with The Idiots.  She’s never acted injured after any of those episodes, so it would stand to reason that it’s equally possible she found herself acting inappropriately on the wrong end of one of the horses and gotten a snoot full of hoof without telling us.  The vet said trauma induced bleeding can take months to stop.

Crazy, yet subdued, Emmi
Crazy, yet subdued, Emmi

Emmi came from a very bad place, sick and crippled.  We called her Hope back then because we ‘Hoped’ she would live.  We already knew her back end would take her from us way too soon.  It never occurred to us that her front end was equally damaged. I mean, how much can one little baby girl take before she’s even a year old?!!    I guess we shouldn’t be surprised over the changes in her neck and the bone restructuring in her shoulder.

But her jaw?

As luck would have it, the jaw anomaly is on the right side, the same side as the abscess.   It could very well be that horse or Idiot, something happened, a blunt force which drove a piece of gravel, a small something into Emmi’s face which then eventually abscessed.  The same trauma, however it happened, could have caused the bleeding in the back of Emmi’s eyes.   The not knowing…  well chalk it up to another reason I think we should live stream video of every inch of Run A Muck Ranch on the Internet so the entire world can help me keep an eye on my kids.

Emmi had to be morphined down to tolerate her x-rays.  She is not liking her current drugged condition.  Like with Vito between seizures in his clusters, the only way to get her to settle down is to lock myself, and her, in the bedroom, alone.  As long as Mom is close, all is well in Druggy Emmi World, but if I try to leave her, not so much.

Emmi Sandwich
Emmi Sandwich

As it stands, the worst part of all of this is that Emmi is on severe activity restrictions for at least 4 weeks.   The thought of any of the kids in any sort of discomfort is unbearable, but in Emmi’s case, with her love of being, well, Emmi, activity restrictions when it’s cool enough outside for her to be Emmi Gone Wild, that’s the real tragedy.



20 thoughts on “Poor Emmi

    1. Tricky part is when Emmi feels good, she turns Emmi, which can cause her to hurt herself. The vet said to crate her for a month. We can’t bring ourselves to do that.

  1. I’m sorry to hear about emmi, it’s heartbreaking when our babies are hurting, they look to us for comfort, and give us that please just fix it and make it go away look. It’s so hard when we don’t know how and all we can do is hold them and love them and try our best to keep the pain at bay, if only they could talk! But keep the faith your doing all you can do! And she knows that ! I will pray for a answer to this mystery and a speedy recovery too ! It will be ok

    1. Got a potentially yucky diagnoses on the phone just a little while ago. Vet is thinking we may need to get TMJ surgery. How much does it suck to know that the tooth extraction may have made things worse??? We can’t win.

  2. I’m so sorry for Emmi, that really doesn’t sound promising and reminds me of the problems my old Belgian shepherd had in the end. If you fix one problem, the next one starts. I hope of course for Emmi, that her case is different and that she’ll be okay. You are perfectly right btw my pets are family too, no matter what health problems they get.

    1. tmJ issues, caught early, have great prognoses – so we aren’t digging her grave yet! She’s only 4, and if surgery is indicated, I assure you. she’ll have an easier time getting through it than me! 🙂 We have an appt with the specialist on Monday.

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