It's been a roller coaster week. Ben was feeling OK once the gabapenten kicked in for him. We started him on the minocycline on Wednesday. Thursday, he felt awful, but I think it was the antibiotic making him feel sick.
Friday morning, I spoke with the vet again and we decided that Ben would need to show some real improvement by Monday or he needs to either go to Cornell or I need to make a decision that I really don't want to make.
By Friday night, he was feeling somewhat better and I began to have some hope that the antibiotics were finally starting to help. I do think there is some genuine improvement, but I am rather hesitant to call it that because we have been in this cycle where it looks like he gets better, then he crashes and ends up worse then ever.
He is finally off the banamine and on bute instead, which is much safer for him. I am taking that as a good sign. Today, he is moving around and his appetite and interest in life are back, although he still has a lot of joint and muscle pain.
Then.....I went out this morning and found Ramsey standing in the exact same spot Ben was in two weeks ago with most of the same symptoms. The only difference is that Ramsey has a fever and Ben did not, at least not by the time I checked. I could have missed a mild fever in Ben that precluded his symptoms because donkeys do not show signs of fever the way other animals do.
Ramsey's symptoms are much milder than Ben's were, it is not a holiday weekend and I have the right drugs on hand and started him on them immediately. I am very hopeful that he will respond faster than Ben and get over this in a day or two.
We still do not know what is causing this. The fact that Ramsey is now sick raises the specter of an infectious disease. However, they have had no contact with other animals and I never go anywhere, so where did it come from?
I still think this is likely Lyme disease. Two years ago, they all got Lyme disease at the same time. I see no reason why it wouldn't happen again.
The symptoms I see in Ramsey are:
- Sudden fever
- Chills with hard shivering even under his blanket
- Joint and muscle pain
- Withdrawn, depressed aspect
- Loss of appetite
Treatment: Banamine controls the pain and brings the fever down. Minocycline to treat the infection.
Ben's Treatment: Bute for pain and inflammation, omeprazole to treat ulcers caused by two weeks of banamine, gabapenten for chronic pain, minocycline to treat infection.
My treatment: Someone needs to book a room for me at the nearest psych ward.