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Aura had many Angels touch
him during his illness.
May life bring them a reflection of the kindness that they extended.

~Dr Jean Dodds~
~Dr Cynthia Juday~
~Dr Dave Krueger~
~Dr Ellen Paul Kuchenbrod~
~Ellen Hawkins~
~Katrina Hatch~
~Melinda Brown~
~Carol Lovekin~
~Angela Carolyn~
~Kelly Ray~
~Vic Robison~
~Alison Schackman~
~Lew Olson~
~Robin Punsalan~





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Portrait-Allure Secret Weapon
1/28/03 - 2/6/05

By Debbie Fulkerson

In our mind Aura's story started before he was even conceived. It holds yet another segment of why he was so special. As we carefully considered and planned this special pairing of his brindle sire and dam, we had held little hope of getting that one black masked red girl we had desired, to start our foundation with. The odds seemed slim to none, that we would get anything but stripes, stripes, and more stripes. Even so, we asked the Stud dog owner if she would be so kind as to grant an *off the wall* request from us. Could she possibly whisper gentle persuasions, along with offers of cheeseburgers, into said dogs ear as to our color preference, before he commenced his business? Im relatively sure she thought we were a half a bubble off, however she agreed and complied with our request. The same held true with his dam, with a little extra incentive thrown in.......a Frosty from Wendy's.

As is customary in the Midwest during January, a snow storm had developed to the west of us a day before the due date, and was scheduled to be a doozy. I was an eight hour drive away from the whelping box and took off 24 hours early. To no avail it seemed, as the storm had already started and by hour four my knuckles had turned that florescent white color and my eyes resembled roadmaps. As I entered Dayton, OH running with the traffic at 55 m.p.h. in the far left lane, little did I know that a young driver from CA entering onto the Interstate had decided that the Merge signs posted actually meant Gun It!!! After I was T-boned and spun around three times, and still swearing to this day I counted 12 Semi trucks coming down on me with those three spins, I finally came to a rest parallel with the guardrail, that protected the upcoming bridge. With the passenger side split open to the elements, a little duct tape, and after changing my pants at the next rest area, I stubbornly continued on my journey.

Aurababy.jpg (15964 bytes)It took a little over 24 hours for my nerves to begin to settle from my very first wreck and for the birthing process to begin. As I hadn't witnessed a litter being born in over 30 years, coupled with the aforementioned, lets just say the anxiety level was a bit high in anticipation of the blessed event. However, I tried really hard to maintain a level of calmness as the process began. The first one to enter the world came easily and appeared to have a red/black cast to it while under the heat lamps that were placed around the whelping box. One of the birthing coaches exclaimed that it was, "A black masked red!" I just poo poo'd her and kept watching, as they worked cleaning this small miracle and bringing life to it. She exclaimed again, "It's a black masked red!" I told her in NOT so nice terms, did I feel then was the time nor the place to annoy me and that I knew the heat lamps were affecting the color of everything and to knock it off! She then pulled him outside the circle of light to prove it. It was then the tears began to fall. My special order black masked red was born with six healthy striped, siblings right behind him. Lesson number one: When *special ordering* a puppy through through bribery of sire/dam, you also need to be specific as to which sex you desire.

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Around week eight I made the return trip to evaluate the puppies and their progress. There was actually no evaluation of the red boy as I think it was a given, he was going home with us no matter what. It was during this time that his name came about. It was a beautiful sunny spring day with all the puppies running and exploring about, I then noticed the red boy sitting contently on the PVC bed, curiously watching his siblings, instead of romping with them. It was then that I saw the *AURA* that emitted over him. To this day that vision still gives me goosebumps. At twelve weeks another return trip and I made the painstaking decision between two of the brindle females and it was off to Illinois that Aura and his sister Ashantai went to live.  

At six and nine weeks Aura and his siblings were vaccinated by their co-breeder with Pfizer Vanquard 5-Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parinfluenza, Parvovirus. At 16 weeks our vet gave Aura his final puppy vaccination. Aura received a rabies vaccine-Pfizer/Defensor around the one year mark due to our county ordinances and show regulations. He showed no adverse reaction. Upon repeat vaccination of rabies vaccine-Merial/Imrab-3, he was not as fortunate.

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He was in excellent, vibrant health until 18 days after the last rabies vaccination was given. Aura presented with neck pain while turning around in his crate at feed time. Also while free in the house, as he would try to turn he would yelp in pain. He was given Buffered Aspirin for two days and kept quiet from his spirited sister. His condition worsened and he was taken into the vet, where they did a CBC and an X-ray. He showed no temp and both the X-ray and CBC came back normal. They suggested a soft tissue injury and he was put on a short course of Prednisilone and Doxycyclene (precautionary measure   routinely given for tick-borne disease along with its anti-inflammatory properties) . After three days he returned to normal and was weaned off the Pred as directed and kept on the Doxy for two more weeks.

Three weeks later Aura went off his regular feed. No temp and he acted fine otherwise. I offered him boiled chicken/rice, which he happily scarfed down for two days. However by day three he presented totally lethargic, with joint pain, and increased water input/output. He was taken into the vets where they did a blood panel and tested for Lepto. Blood panel highs came back with BUN-108, Cre-3.5, ALT-141, Ca-14.7, IP-6.3. He was in acute renal failure. He was given an injection of antibiotics and sent home on Ampicillian. I was told to come back  the next day for administration of I.V. fluids.

Next day he was still extremely lethargic along with joint pain, he still presented no temp. I questioned the vet tech as I reluctantly handed Aura to her, as to what exactly the procedure was in administering fluids to a dog. Did they put an I.V. in him and where? I had never had such a sick dog before and was quite concerned at the situation of leaving him in the hands of others. She informed me that the vet didnt like to put I.V.'s in, as they would also have to put a catheter in, and keep him overnight. First flag. That he liked to administer fluids under the skin. I knew this vet's experience with Sighthounds was limited at best. I then asked if she knew if the doctor was aware of the sensitivities of Sighthounds and that they carried little body fat in comparison to say a Golden Retriever? She replied that she was quite sure he did. I asked if I could possibly stay with him and she said that wasn't normal procedure and that they would take real good care of HER. Second flag.

Four hours later, as scheduled I went back into the vets to pick up Aura. He wagged his tail at me as he approached. He appeared no worse for wear until we returned home at which time he would not lay down for some reason. Upon examination of his underside, which seemed to be the location of the discomfort, I discovered  (bit smaller than) softball sized water filled pockets at four separate sites. Two on his brisket at elbow level and two right in the triangular fold at the front of his back legs. I assumed this was where they had given him his fluids. He had by this point started panting and seemed in terrible distress. I took his temp and it read 105.5! I immediately contacted the emergency service and had the vet paged. We met at his office where Aura was given an unknown injection for the fever and Im assuming Lasix to encourage urination, as he had not done so for hours. He gave us an unmarked bottle of  pills and said if his fever did not subside in two hours to give him one of the pills. Two hours passed and at midnight his temp spiked to 106.7. I gave him one of the pills and as primitive as it sounds, we stood outside together for an hour, where it was pouring rain at 40 degree's. Temp went down one degree. I then soaked a bunch of towels and stood him on a couple, while draping a few others over the top of him standing at the open front doors. I had an ice bag, which I covered with a wet towel and applied it to his groin area until 5 a.m., at which time the fever finally broke, he took in some water and slept for hours. The temp never returned again. Another lesson learned: Do NOT administer Sub-Q fluids to Afghan Hounds in renal failure.

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I returned back to the vets the next day (or the same day according to my body clock) and politely asked for his test results, including the Lepto test that had come back negative, and brought them to another local vet for consultation, with an appointment scheduled for later that day. His joint pain was still evident, started losing bladder control while sleeping, temp normal, input/output fluids consistent, and he ate a whole bowl of chicken/rice. After 24 hours there were still small water pockets evident.

From the very start I had made both vet's aware of an illness that had afflicted Aura's littermate Ziggy that lives in PA, that I had been informed about selectively over a year ago. They had diagnosed Ziggy with Immune Mediated Joint Disease. Neither vet I spoke with seemed to acknowledge or discuss any possible connection. Maybe the diagnosis I had relayed to them was too broad/gray or their understanding of the disease was limited. I doubt I will ever know for sure.
With the exception of the fever, the presentation was very close to the same between these littermates,  I was to find out.

Aura was seen by the another local vet and another blood panel was done along with an ANA test (Anti Nuclear Antibody) and complete Thyroid panel sent to MI State. He was started on another course of Prednisilone and Doxycyclene again. The vet while not giving a definitive diagnosis, suggested it was an autoimmune disorder which resembled Systemic Lupus (in short the body system starts to destroy itself), even as the ANA test came back negative. The blood panel revealed his kidney levels were slightly better, however his liver levels were now extremely high. Urea Nitrogen-58, Creatinine-2.9, Total Bilirubin-0.4, Alkaline Phosphatase-1115, ALT-272, Ca-13.2, Magnesium-1.3. His Thyroid levels showed his T4 and T3 levels at 0 and his Thyroglobulin Autoantibodies as Inconclusive. I was told those numbers were to be expected, while in the throe's of the disease, as it suppresses the Thyroid function.

Along with the conventional Western medicine, Aura was also treated with many holistic medicines, along with acupuncture and a special diet. Unfortunately in hindsight, and with this specific disease, if ever faced with this again (God forbid) I would adhere to the alternative medicine's available,  including homeopathic remedies. While conventional medicine can hold treatment for the symptoms, the initial problem or causes are not resolved and the side effects from the conventional meds are sometimes devastating.

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Aura continued his courageous battle with this awful disease while in its prime, for a total of 33 days. He never missed but one meal through it all. He fought boldly against the joint pain, renal failure, liver failure, skin lesions, and towards the final days he even disputed with integrity (unbelievably), the paralysis of his back legs and loss of bladder control. His true Afghan spirit remained adamantly strong through it all, unfortunately his physical body betrayed and let him down at the end.

I still hold moments of anger that this special boy had to leave us at such a young age of only two. I still feel very passionate that this tragedy could have possibly been avoided had I been armed and educated with the TRUTH on several issues. I hold tightly to several things that Aura has taught us and try to reflect on it daily. We continue to hold high hopes for Ziggy's continuing recovery and good health, along with lighting a candle in faith that none of Aura's other littermate's are afflicted with this awful disease.
Aura....my sweet *special order* boy....you will never to be forgotten.

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