In the last week or two, I've noticed that Maisy seems... off. She's just slightly stiff. She needs to take a break halfway up the stairs. She's reluctant to jump in the car, and she's slow and sad-looking on walks. Things that would be easily attributable to aging- Maisy is seven, after all- but these are some of the same things I saw emerge over the summer. You know, before her immune-mediated crash? The one that almost killed her?
I called Maisy's neurologist, who told me to increase Maisy's prednisone from 5mg every other day to 5mg every day for 7 to 10 days. Then, we have three options: do 2.5mg daily, 7.5mg every other day, or add in cyclosporine (which tends to be quite expensive). He recommended option one, so that's what we'll do.
But then he added that it is not unusual for dogs to have a recurrence of immune-mediated inflammation after one or two months of reducing the dose. Which we did for Maisy about six weeks ago. He also added that dogs who recur at this point tend to have "less longevity" than dogs who successfully transition to no steroids at all.
It's one thing to suspect that your dog likely won't live as long, but it's quite another to be told so point-blank. I may have cried at work. I'm trying to be positive, though. Not only is Maisy very sensitive to my moods, but being sad and scared and worried won't help me enjoy whatever time I have left with Maisy.
Which I hope is a very long time.