In an ongoing effort to share real news from real dog parents in order to help Fidose of Reality readers, today we proudly present a true story of a life-threatening illness that plagued Thurmie, the Dachshund of Devri King of Kansas. Here, in her own words and pictures, Devri shares the tale of Thurmie’s panniculitis diagnosis.
In early April of this year, I noticed a large lump on my dog’s cheek. I immediately took him to our vet. It was identified as an abscess, and he was running a temperature of 103.9, so it was decided that he would need to spend the night in the Animal ER for monitoring. The next morning, I took him back to the vet, who lacerated the lump open, putting in two stitches and leaving the rest open to drain. It didn’t drain.
At this point, several other smaller lumps appeared on various spots of his body. A deeper laceration was done on the lump on his cheek, and a drain tube was inserted. A little bit of the fluid that was in the abscess drained, but the tissue around it was hardening. The vet took cultures and biopsies of several of the lumps in the attempt to find out what was going on. In all, a total of probably 15 lumps had developed all over his little body.
On May 22, after several other little lacerations, and after the vet consulted with a specialist at Kansas State University, Thurman was diagnosed with Sterile Nodular Panniculitis. It is an immune system deficiency, with no cause identified. (There was no bacteria in any of Thurman’s biopsies or cultures.) He began his treatment that very day, May 22, and within a few days, the three lumps that had developed in his groin area were completely gone.
Thurman’s treatment began with Cyclosporine and Prednisone, twice a day. He was going in for weekly check ups, then every other week, now every four weeks. His medication dose has been dropped down also, to the Cyclosporine once a day, and the Prednisone (a very low dose) every other day. This regimen will continue to be cut down with his progress, which has been nothing short of miraculous. No lumps have returned since the day treatment began.
I wanted to give you all the details before I went into why I am writing this article. I am doing so because I wanted to point out that in the link listed above, it states that this condition is common in Dachshunds. Although I have not come across any other Dachshund owner who has encountered this condition, I wanted to share our experience with you all so that you would have information on this particular disease. Like IVDD, it is not a death sentence. In fact, with Thurman, it has been quite the opposite. Yes, we have had to change a few things in our daily routine with him, but it isn’t/wasn’t anything that we weren’t willing to do to make this as easy for Thurman as we could. He is in no discomfort or pain. Although he has some battle wounds from the lumps, he has been a true champ in his recovery.
Thurman has always been a very happy, very active dog. He LOVES to run! He runs in several “wiener dog races” throughout our state. He has done so for several years. All I have to do is say the words “You ready to run fast?” and he is completely focused and ready! In fact, when he had the dreaded “cone of shame” on with the drain tube, he was still running in the backyard like lightening! His zest for life has certainly helped him conquer this disease and tackle it with pride. He has learned several new things and words, too – “shade”, because the heat gets to him more now that his immune system is down; “pill”, because one of his pills is large and I put it in a baby spoon scoop of peanut butter; “check up”, because I didn’t want him to associate going to the vet with another laceration; “feel”, because I have to do regular “feelings” at home to make sure no lumps have appeared. (Dachshunds are the smartest breed, right?!)
Living with this condition has certainly been an eye-opener to us. We have learned so many new things about raising a dog. I encourage you to go to the link provided and at least read about this disease so you will have some knowledge. Just in case. Education never hurt anyone. I also encourage you to develop a close and personal relationship with your vet and their assistants. Our vet/vets/vets assistants have been absolutely spectacular with treating Thurman’s condition. It says a lot when you can say to your dog “You get to go see doc today!” and they are jumping with joy!
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Editor’s Note: For more information about Sterile Nodular Panniculitis, please visit this link from our friends at petMD.
If you ever find a lump or bump on your dog, here’s more about that topic, too.
Never attempt to self-diagnose and always seek veterinary care and treatment for your pet. The opinions and results above are indicative for this dog and we cannot make the same claims nor guarantee for your pet.