Monday, April 17, 2017

She Gave Me a Scare - Clostridial Enterotoxicosis

Hey guys!

It's been a rough week and a half around here for us. If you follow us on social media (like on Facebook or Instagram), then you may have already heard about what's been going on. If not, read on!

Oh, and warning: it'll get a little gross and gets a tad long. You all know how much dog lovers like to talk about poop. ;)

It all started on Friday, the 7th. Nola woke me up with an accident in the house, which never happens. She's fastidious and does not like making a mess. It was a little different than normal, a little mucus-y, but that was it. Later that day she had pure liquid poop, but was still acting normal.
Saturday she was pretty listless and still continued with the diarrhea and it was very frequent. I kept her hydrated and offered bland food, which she ate. I really did not want to go to the E-vet, since it's...not the best. But that's a whole different blog post, so....let's continue!

Anyway, she improved some Sunday but still had so much poop and so frequently. She had accidents every night, despite waking me up at least twice each night to take her out. Monday she was the same, so we headed to a new vet to see what was up.
She had a physical exam and a fecal done, which showed nothing amiss. She was also tested for giardia, which was negative. The vet gave her an antibiotic/anti-inflammatory shot and sent us home with anti-diarrheal medication and oral antibiotics.

Tuesday she vomited up her pills, which resulted in me splitting up her pill times, but otherwise was okay. A little listless, but better. Still a bunch of liquid poop, but not as much. And no more inside accidents!

Fast forward to Thursday and she seemed to be doing pretty well. Well, that went to hell on Friday when she woke up totally subdued and tired, refused to eat or drink, and pooped 5 times within an hour timeframe. The first two were just watery liquid poops (I told you it'd get gross!), but the rest was mucus with blood in it.

The vet could fit us back in later that morning, so off we went again. This time was more concerning, since she'd lost a pound (that's a lot when your dog is under 10lbs on a normal day) and was slightly dehydrated. They pulled blood and tested for a myriad of different things, including pancreatitis, which was negative. All her levels were either normal, or on the higher end of normal, save for her PVC which confirmed the dehydration.

After all the testing and a thorough exam, the vet thought it might be Clostridial Enterotoxicosis. I'd never heard of it, but the vet assured me that Nola was presenting textbook symptoms - she actually did let me read through the chapter on the illness from one of her medical books! -, and explained why she thought that.
From what I've understood, Clostridial Enterotoxicosis is caused by abnormally high levels of the bacteria Clostridium perfringens (CP). It's often found in decaying plants and marine sediment; for those that don't know, we live in Florida, 20 minutes from the gulf. It can also contaminate meat, and be picked up in a kennel setting, but the first two are the most common culprits. It's believed that around 20% of gastrointestinal issues are caused by CP. It can occur in both dogs and cats, but is
much more prevalent in dogs.

Nola had almost every single symptom - in fact, the only thing she wasn't presenting was a fever. Unfortunately, there isn't a hard and fast test for CP, and it's easy to get both false positives and false negatives when someone does attempt to isolate the CP. Since Nola had already been on medication for a week, her test wasn't definitive, but since everything else had been ruled out and we do live right in the CP's ideal environment, the vet decided to go ahead and treat her as if she did have the CP.

That meant she had an antibiotic injection, an antibiotic/anti-inflamatory injection, an anti-nausea injection (the vet suspected nausea was making her not want to eat), and was given sub-q (under the skin) fluids to combat her dehydration. We were sent home with another round of oral antibiotics, probiotics, and RX gastrointestinal canned food.

If you've never seen the aftereffects of sub-q fluids, consider yourself lucky. It is freaky looking!
It doesn't show too well here, but that bulge behind her elbow is the fluid. Her shoulders were also so squishy and fluid filled. Thankfully it went down in a few hours!

By Saturday, she'd started improving, and by yesterday, she's nearly back to her usual self, which confirms her CP diagnosis. She's still on the mend, but is getting there!

Currently she has 3-4 more days of the RX food, and is getting two different antibiotics, one 3x a day and one every 8 hours. For the 3x a day one, she has 18 more days left, and for the 8 hour one, a week. She's getting fed three times a day in an effort to get her weight back up where it needs to be, which she appreciates. ;)

Going forward, she'll be switched to a higher fiber diet and probiotics every day; both of those create a less welcoming environment for CP, making another episode less likely to happen.

For anyone that read through all that, you get a gold star. ;)

This time last year we were dealing with a broken tooth, and this year it's Clostridial Enterotoxicosis. This had better not become a trend, Miss Nola!



  1. Why is it always on a Friday? So glad she's feeling better!

  2. I've been checking in (Instagram) daily to see how Miss Nola is doing and keeping her in my thoughts & prayers. I'm so glad she's on the mend.

  3. So glad she is feeling better :)

    Bell Fur Zoo

  4. Oh Ms Nola sending lots of healing vibes your way..
    Lily & Edward

  5. Glad she is finally on the mend! Being so tiny and that sick is very scary!

  6. I've said this before and I'll say this again: I am so pleased she's getting better! :)

  7. I am so glad she is doing better. It's so scary when they are sick and no one can come up with a reason. Get well soon Nola!

  8. Glad she's feeling better. Barley went on a 3 or 4 year stretch where every year at the end of February we were at the vet for something, so I feel your pain on dogs starting that kind of trend ;)

  9. HOLY CRAP! um...sorry. ☺ That is so scary! Ma would loves it if I would lose that much weight...butts I gots lots to lose, so there's that ☺ I can't imagine how stressful it must have been for all of you ~ I am so glads Nola is feelin' better. Sendin' lots of POTP and healin' vibes and AireZens!
    Ruby ♥

  10. Dear Nola,

    I hope you keep feeling better, and that everything is fixed soon! That does not sound like fun at all! But hurray for an extra meal each day!


  11. WOWZERZ - what an ordeal fer u Nola - so furry much glad the dogtor got it figured out an'now u iz gittin'better.
    Lady Shasta

    Mom Kim here - thank you for blogging about this - not sure why but I never did see anything on FB about this - how scary for both you and Nola. Me and Lady Shasta send our prayers and POTP for continued improvement for dear little Nola.

  12. Wow, I'm really glad I read all that. Thank you for sharing!

    Honey loves to pick up and play with seaweed that washes up on the beach. Now I know to look out for digestive symptoms. Luckily we have antibiotics on board, at least.

    Glad Nola is feeling better. And that your vet was up to the challenge of such a tricky diagnosis.


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