Callee “A Tribute To Our Gentle Giant”
Callee was our Giant Schnauzer whose passing has left everyone stunned. I could easily write a novel about her impact on our lives, her antics and all the fond memories that we have of her that will live forever in our hearts. What I do want people to know about Callee is that she brought such love and laughter in her short 8 years to everyone she met.
Callee was a comforter to our 2 rescued dogs when we brought them into the fold. She was a comfort to her humans. She had more of a soul than most people I know. Even with her size, she was the gentlest dog with smaller animals and babies. She made us laugh every day. Callee loved the holidays and enjoyed having her own little plate of whatever feast we would have. She was our confidant, a great listener, an alarm clock if we over-slept by sticking her cold nose under the blanket to wake us. She was always the first one at the door to greet us, wagging her stub tail in excitement even if we were only gone 5 minutes. No better friend or family member could there ever be.
Last year in the Spring, Callee developed what the vet believed to be allergies. She had never had the issue before that time. With some antibiotics and Benedryl, she recovered quickly. In early April of this year, she appeared to have allergies once again. The vet gave her antibiotics and sent her home. This time the antibiotics was not working like last year. The inside of her nose began to swell and the outer part of her black nose began to get raw and pink. We and the vet figured it was from licking her runny nose. The vet prescribed stronger antibiotics and it continued to get worse.
Two weeks before she died, I took her to the vet once again and he was more than perplexed. He said she didn’t have allergies but had no clue what it could be. He put her on strong steroids with stronger antibiotics in hopes it would knock out whatever it was she had. He also did blood tests and they came back normal. By this time, her nose had closed up and she was breathing through her mouth. Then I noticed that she began to get lesions on her feet, legs and in her mouth. This seemed to all happen overnight. Now the vet was extremely concerned. He changed the dosage of steroids to a dangerously high level and the next few days she didn’t get better at all.
I took her back on May 21 and he kept her to sedate her and take biopsies to send off to the lab. He gave me more steroids, fungal medicine as well as pain medicine to give her. The next morning she was out of it. I think her brain was affected by whatever had a hold of her. She was no longer drinking water, didn’t want the special soft food we had for her and could not give her medicine because her mouth and back of throat was painful with sores. It was as if she was a walking corpse. We know she was in a lot of pain. We chose to leave her at the vets where they could administer pain and steroid medicine via IV. We knew that would be the last time we would see Callee alive.
We got the call Saturday evening; May 23 from the vet that our beloved baby girl died from her fungal infection “Cryptococcus Neoformans” (C. neoformans)a bird related fungal infection the evening of May 23, 2015. After receiving the call we rushed over right away because there was no way were we going to leave her there over night. My husband and I dug her grave near the pecan trees where she enjoyed watching the squirrels in the tree.. In the dark and in the rain we buried her.
On May 27, the vet called with the results from the biopsies. Callee had Cryptococcus neoformans. A fungal infection which is typically systemic fungus and is contracted from spores found in over 80% of bird feces. Callee found and sniffed bird droppings in the yard. Yes, Bird feces that can be found in anyone’s yard. The fungus went up her nose and quickly spread to her feet, legs, nose, mouth, throat and lungs. It caused lesions in all these places. It is very rare for a dog to be affected from this. All dogs sniff bird poop when they come upon it. Vet did not say why Callee got it.
I am not warning people to not let their dogs out in the yard so please understand this. The vet told us that the chance of one of our other dogs getting the same thing is .00000139%. It doesn’t have to come from wild birds in the yard. It could happen with inside birds such as a parrot. What I am saying is that if your dog begins to show any signs of lesions such as been posted, if antibiotics do not seem to be working for their “allergies”, demand biopsies to be done on the lesions.
Could Callee have been saved if we did the biopsies much earlier? The vet said if we had known what it was very early on, he would have put her on a very strong treatment and even than there was a very slim chance she would have survived. Our vet has never come across this before in his practice. He did say he should kick himself for not seeing this before, but there were no symptoms of anything but allergies. He did the best he could. He is a vet, not God. We will continue to use our vet for our animals. I trust him. There is no real treatment for Cryptococcus. But if we had known early on, we could have made some choices about the life of Callee. We could have saved her so much suffering and pain at the end.