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~
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
PLEASE SEE ZIGGY'S STORY HERE
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.
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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