Saturday, May 31, 2008
In the meantime, Charlie has gained 5lbs in a week, loving any form of food at any time! He has started a cough ~ probably kennel cough, so for now his activities are limited; no trips out shopping or to the beach until he heals! He's starting to play with toys a little and has even taken Tess' tennis ball away from her once or twice, leaving her I'm sure to wonder why he didn't bring his own!
Friday, May 23, 2008
When I picked him up, they wheeled a gurney out to the van so we could load him up. He reeked of urine, and just lay on his bed, pretty oblivious to the world. Our next stop was to our internist, where we took some x-rays and drew some blood, and weighed him in - at a whopping 53 lbs!
This "old dog" who was written off as too old and unable to walk, was standing up in the car and took a long potty walk all under his own power, and inhaled 1 can of dog food and 2 jars of baby food before he even got home. He had a bath and more food, then it was time for sleep, which he did fitfully until about 3am, when his tummy alarm went off again - so early morning breakfast it was!
He's a real love-sponge, and he gets around just fine thank you! He gets along with all of the other dogs, who really enjoy the extra treats they get now. He will have vet visits during the week to make sure that everything checks out okay; our main concern is that his heart/lungs are okay - they are a little fuzzy on x-ray, but his bloodwork looks pretty good.
Please keep your fingers crossed for this handsome boy!
Friday, May 16, 2008
The above picture is his pre-ultrasound shaved tummy. Now he's sporting a naked tummy just in time for his summer swimsuit! His kidneys were small on ultrasound, but everything else looked pretty normal for a fur-man his age. Until we got to his GI tract. Leonard has a mass in his intestine, at the ileocolic junction, a prime location for GI cancers to grow. At this point, stool can still pass, but the opening's smaller than normal. We were unsuccessful in obtaining a needle aspirate of the growth in spite of Leonard's good nature about the whole procedure.
The best option to treat this tumor is surgery. And we would in a heartbeat if he had one less medical problem. But his cardiomyopathy and kidney disease are 2 major strikes against doing such a major surgery. And there's a strong possibility that this is much worse that what we can see on ultrasound. We've opted to medically manage him at this point, placing him on antibiotics, and reserving the possibility of using steriods and a diuretic for a later date. We will also incorporate our Eastern medicine as well, so herbs and homeopathics will be used too.
I'm still working out the logistics of feeding him several small meals a day because everyone needs to eat if he does ~ just ask them!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
He has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the walls of his heart are enlarged, so its not performing optimally for him. He takes a medication called Atenolol, which is a beta blocker used for humans. We're very happy that his heart is stable!
He has lost a pound in body weight over the last 18 months, which isn't surprising given that he's about 18 years old! He also had a little labwork done too, and his BUN and Creatinine are elevated which are signs of renal failure. It's normally managed with supportive care, generally with subcutaneous fluid therapy, sometimes a diet change, and nutriceuticals such as Azodyl and Epakitin. With Leonard's heart disease, the fluid therapy is out ~ we could put him in heart failure very quickly. So we've opted to use Azodyl, a twice daily capsule which binds to the toxins the kidneys can't filter out properly. We will also continue a good quality diet, and add in Epakitin when his blood phosphorus levels rise.
Leonard doesn't know there's anything wrong with his kidneys or his heart. He's not very fond of his new twice daily medication regime, but takes it in stride and is still purring when we're done!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
A streak of warm weather prompted a little haircut for Austin - and check out the pile of hair left behind! His long, beautiful hair is gorgeous, but tangles as he sheds, and catches every sticker in the yard; brushing is not his favorite form of attention either! I was concerned that a haircut would be a stress to his heart, so this was a decision not taken lightly! However, I crated and carried him in to the bathroom in the house (the unofficial 'salon') and pulled out the clippers. I turned them on cautiously, fully expecting him to freak out. Imagine my surprise when he began purring and leaning in to them! His cheeks got a little more trimmed than I had planned because he wouldn't quit rubbing on them! Of course, this prompted a change in weather, so he needed some clothes. His blue t-shirt really brings out his eyes (although he doesn't appreciate that fact!)
MeiLi has had trouble off and on with her snotty nose, and what seems to be some asthma too. She has an appointment so see our holistic veterinarian Dr. Laflin at Cardiff Animal Hospital coming soon. She suggested a homeopathic remedy which is working pretty well so far and it, coupled with an albuterol inhaler, seem to be helping. She's gained back some of the weight she lost (it's pretty noticeable when you're only 5lbs) because she couldn't smell her food. And she's back to her crabby self! She's in the picture with Poppy enjoying a little sunshine!
Marci had some breathing problems which after a few days on hairball medication had resolved. She surprised us this weekend with a little abscess on her cheek - probably from playing too rough with claws. She's doing well, it's healing nicely!
He had trouble off and on with his colon upon his arrival in late January, but then began having trouble with bladder infections also. We fixed one problem, then the other would crop back up. And then he began to have trouble with back pain too. He became unable to empty his bladder on his own, so I would have to express him daily, most of the time with some sedation in an attempt to keep my fingers. Unfortunately, at his last recheck exam (of course with sedation) we emptied his bladder and actually it was improving, but once it was empty, we discovered that his colon had became static too. Big uh oh. Into an emergency laparotomy to see what was going on.
One of the hardest decisions we ever make is that of euthanasia. Are there more bad days than good days? Is this condition painful? Is there quality of life? These are the questions we ask and then tearfully answer. I painfully made the decision that Xan shouldn't wake up from anesthesia. He peacefully crossed the Bridge with lots of love on April 11. His spunky dog-like personality touched everyone who met him.