Our Pickle was in a Pickle!

Our Pickle was in a Pickle!

In mid January, Pickle (our 5 year old Mini Schnauzer), Chris and I were at Flagler Beach, FL when Pickle began to develop welts and scratch like crazy. We found Happy Life Animal Hospital in Bunnell, FL where Dr. Long completed a very thorough exam and administered a shot of cortisone. Pickle was feeling like a new dog the next day!

About 3 weeks later, we began to notice Pickle was not acting himself. He was not anxious to run the trails. He was not eating and we really knew something was wrong when he wouldn’t eat a treat! After watching him go downhill for about a week we determined something was wrong!! We called Happy Life Animal Hospital and they told us to bring him right in!

Dr. Long completed several tests, and the results showed an autoimmune issue. She gave us some meds and told us to watch him closely. A few days later Pickle was getting worse so we took him back to Dr. Long. She ran tests and confirmed that he was getting worse. She sent him to the animal emergency hospital in Port Orange. He stayed for 3-4 days while we spent 3-4 days of praying and crying. I probably don’t have to tell you we called so many times they recognized my voice. Finally, he was released and we returned to Dr. Long for further tests and instructions. That day we left her office with 7 meds and a head full of what in the world???


The next week was up and down. Some days were better than others but all were filled with nothing but Pickle worry. One day he was so lethargic we took him to the vet believing he was going to have to be put down. Dr. Long ran some tests and we heard hooping and hollering from the back. She threw open the exam room door and yelled, “his numbers are up!!” She explained he would have good days and not so good but it looked like he was going to make it! We left with a spring in our step!!

Pickle did have a couple of days in a row that he was much better; so much so that I called Dr. Long to see if we could back off some of the meds. I’m sure she laughed to herself as she said no, lets keep him as is until his next visit. He did continue to improve and she was right, some good days and some better days.

Its now about 2 months out and he’s got a big prednisone belly and a voracious appetite!! Dr. Long initially told us to let him eat all he would in an effort to get him built back up. He was about to eat us out of house and RV so we called a few days ago and she told us to go back to twice daily. Dr. Long told us that the autoimmune issue was not caused by a tick bite but could not pinpoint exact cause without lots more expensive testing. She said the autoimmune issues would all be treated the same so they weren’t necessary but she’d do them if we wanted. Since I’d already missed a few expensive dinners and some new shoes we agreed to pass and continue treatment as she advised.

Pickle continues to improve and although our pocketbook is lighter and we’ve still not caught up on sleep, we’d do it all again to keep our little boy alive. I want to finish up with a big heartfelt THANKS to Dr. Long and her staff, Darien, Brandy, and Veronica. All have treated us like family. We are so grateful and can’t thank them enough!! Liz







Chris Pipes
  • Marylee
    Posted at 20:58h, 07 April Reply

    I hope your fur baby is better

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 19:11h, 22 April Reply

      Hey there Marylee – Yep, he’s still slowly getting better! So happy. Hope you’re doing good? believe I’ve seen where you’ve been doing some traveling… all the best, CP

  • Mary
    Posted at 22:17h, 07 April Reply

    I’ve been wondering but was hesitant to ask. Glad that you shared with those who have grown fond of your Pickle. We can relate to the empty pockets due to dog care. Glad that you caught this and life will move on with more adventures.

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 19:09h, 22 April Reply

      Hi Mary – yes our little boy is still improving but its sure been a scary journey! Hi to Mack for us. Thanks so much for following and giving us feedback! Chris and Liz

  • Deborah Drake
    Posted at 01:24h, 08 April Reply

    I’m so glad Mr. Pickles is getting better. Love him & you both .

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 19:03h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks so much and were happy to see Dale still smiling and doing better! Hi to the family and thanks for following along… Chris and Liz

  • Anne
    Posted at 01:38h, 08 April Reply

    Liz, Vonnie’s Australian Shepherd started going down hill. Inflamed gums, breaking out with whelps all over her body. They could not figure out what was going on with Dana. I am very sad to say that Dana died due to an autoimmune disease. I gave Vonnie my Lady as they were a perfect match. I had been giving lady Trifexis for heartworm, fleas, etc. and she did well on Trifexis. When Vonnie took Lady, she began giving Lady, I think it was Interceptor or Ivermectin. Lady began breaking out just like Dana did. Vonnie was so worried.. I told Vonnie to switch Lady back to Trifexis which she did and things began clearing up, gums began to look less inflamed… All of this to say, it may be the Flea/Heartworm medicines that Pickles is on. You may need to change it to something else. Dogs are now showing up with autoimmune diseases and it is all because of the Flea/Heartworm medications that they are on. Please consider this… Vonnie was devastated that she lost Dana and she had to work through a ton of guilt that she felt it was her fault for not knowing or changing Dana’s medications.. But, she did not know.. Not until Lady began having the exact same reaction that Dana had. So, just saying… Praying for Mr. Pickles to be whole and well again from the tip of his tail to the tip of his nose!!!! 🙂

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 20:43h, 22 April Reply

      Ann, I’m sorry to hear about Vonnie’s dog. I know she was heartbroken. We almost lost Pickle. It’s interesting because Pickle had some of the same circumstances. He got whelps all over him. We took him for a corizone injection. Then about 3-4 weeks later he started going downhill. He stopped eating, lost weight and was very lethargic. We took him in and he was so close to dying he was admitted to ER and spent 3 days. He was discharged with 7 medications! We took him back to vet’s every other day. One Tuesday he was so bad we took him in and thought he was going to be put down. His blood count was up slightly so he decided not to. Needless to say it’s been up and down as Dr. Long told us to expect. We can tell he’s getting better but still not himself. Dr. Long tested Pickle to see if a tick bite caused it but it was negative. She told us that was the most likely cause since we RV full time. When it was determined not to be related to ticks she said there were more tests but very expensive and all treatments would be the same. If it happens again, we might do testing. I’m going to check further about Brevecto. That’s what we gave Pickle and within a month all this happened. Dr. Long has him on a flea/tick collar that he wears for 8 months because she did not want any more meds going thru his liver. We’re also giving him a med to protect his liver after all the meds he was on. I remember asking Dr. Long, if Pickle is on Heartgard how can a tick bite affect him? The tick bites then dies. I”m thinking-then why bother? At this point, it looks like Pickle will live but everyday we get up with the fear of a relapse. We have to find a vet somewhere along the way out west to test his blood levels to change meds, if necessary….what we do for our beloved pets…. Thanks for your info. I’ll do some research and talk to our vet and let you know her thoughts. We credit Dr. Long with Happy Life Animal Hospital in Bunnell, FL for saving his life. We felt like she and her staff really worked hard at saving Pickle. I’ll talk with you soon. Liz

  • Ed
    Posted at 20:33h, 08 April Reply

    Sure am glad your little buddy is on the mend. Give him a treat for me.

  • Lisa Peat
    Posted at 01:54h, 09 April Reply

    That’s a lot of worry for you guys but I’m glad it sounds like you’ve got a happy ending with Mr. pickles !
    Happy travels Pipes

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 18:59h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks Lisa. Hi to Dave.
      “Since 1952 – Original, Unchained, Whimsy”

  • Downtown Brown
    Posted at 09:36h, 09 April Reply

    Love the Pickle! Get well soon!

  • Dale Encinosa
    Posted at 17:22h, 09 April Reply

    Thank God your boy is going to be ok. We’ve been where you were with our dogs and it was Hell. Love u guys♥️

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 18:57h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks so much Dale. Hi to George for me. Think of you often. You’re one of my earliest Hotel pals! CP

  • Brandy
    Posted at 12:45h, 11 April Reply

    Dear Mr and Mrs.Pipes,

    You would never fully understand how much it means to all of us to read this posting. It has been such a pleasure meeting you both and especially Pickle. He is such a cool little dude and a wonderful patient. He never put up a fuss with anything we had to do. He would give us those gentle eyes as if he was saying ” I don’t like this but I know you have too”. We all are beyond thrilled that he is back on the road and is able to go on many adventures. In our line of work we have our sad days and know we can not save everyone patient that walks in our door but we have to try. We get to be their cheerleaders on the good days and their shoulder on the bad days. Even if all we can do is give them a hug, kiss and a belly rub. Pickle’s has touched all of us here at Happy Life and he will be a memory that is cherished for the amazing outcome for him. We look forward to hearing more about his many more trips. Please let him know we all are still cheering for him!!!!

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 18:52h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks so much Brandy! All of you were terrific to be such a huge help to our little boy! He’s still improving and doing great.. Thanks for your nice message. Chris and Liz

  • Darien
    Posted at 12:47h, 11 April Reply

    You guys and Pickle are like family now. I pray he continues to be healthy. Please make sure to stop by when you guys come back to the area!


    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 18:50h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks so much Darien. You are well suited to work in that business! You were awesome. Chris and Liz

  • Susan Ambrose
    Posted at 13:15h, 11 April Reply

    Hi Chris – so glad to hear that Pickle is getting better – well done !!! Kip the Doodle says that this is great.

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 18:48h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks so much! He’s still improving and eating hearty. CP

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