We brought our 6-year-old mutt, Scampi, to BluePearl in September of 2019. Scampi had been diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease, and had lost the use of his hind limbs. Two other vets had dismissed the possibility that Scampi’s condition was due to a recurrence of Valley Fever, an insidious and horrible fungal infection that he had been treated for years earlier in Arizona.
He had been in pain, sedated, sequestered, and without control of his bowels, for several months by the time we got in to see Dr. Daniel Hicks at BluePearl’s pet hospital in Tacoma. At that time, Scampi was on a cocktail of 5 meds, including a steroidal pain medication, two sedatives, nerve blockers, and a muscle relaxant. Even with all of these meds, Scampi was anxious, very uncomfortable, and deteriorating.
We worked with the doctor and staff at Blue Pearl to determine the least expensive way to assess and treat Scampi’s condition. Dr. Hicks suspected Valley Fever as the culprit in Scampi’s demise, and proposed starting with x-rays just in case they revealed anything important. Lo and behold, the x-rays showed lesions on his spine and ribs consistent with a fungal infection! Dr. Hicks took some blood to confirm Valley Fever, and prescribed anti-fungal medication just in case. We opted to take Scampi home and wait for the results.
It turns out that Dr. Hicks was right: Scampi did have Valley Fever that had spread to his bones. Luckily for Scampi, and for us, the anti-fungals did the trick. After so many misdiagnoses and many months of excruciating pain and disability, Scampi is happy, healthy, and mobile again!
Thank you to Dr. Hicks for thinking outside the box, working with us to find affordable options for diagnosis and treatment, and for his empathy during our visit to BluePearl.