Caturday quickie: Pupdate

Crash puppydog

What Nuala spends most of her time doing these days 😦

It’s been a while since I’ve had to offer a proper pupdate of this nature.

All was going well with our Nuala until a week ago last Friday. Previous to that day, our dear little pup (DLP) was handling her medication well, without apparent incident. She would snarf down her food in thirty seconds, consume carrots, apples, and cheese with wagging abandon.

In short, she behaved like the pup that she, at ten years of age, no longer is.

Then, on Friday, she stopped eating.

It started with her carrots, her mid-day and evening snacks. As a dog with food allergies, it was the snack (outside the hypoallergenic treats) recommended by our vet. Nu left a carrot uneaten.

As the weekend progressed, she ate less and less of her food.

Come Monday, she puked and wouldn’t eat any of her food at all.

Tuesday, we took her in to the vet and he examined her, performed blood tests, urinalysis, and took x-rays.

That evening, we were given the news: the only obvious issue was a urinary tract infection. We would be getting antibiotics for that.

Her blood work was troublesome, though.

Her kidney and liver enzymes were both elevated, indicating potential failure of either or both organs in the future.

There’s nothing that can be done for kidney or liver disease in dogs.

They’re starting dialysis trials at the veterinary college at the Univerity of Guelph, but it’s an ordeal for the animal and a great expense for the owners. At this point, our vet did not recommend it.

So we’d continue with the Fortekor, get Nuala back on the kidney support diet, and see how things went.

She left most of her food Tuesday evening and didn’t eat at all Wednesday (Canada Day). This is not a good thing for a dog on insulin. She needs food to process the drug. And she continued to vomit.

On Thursday, I resorted to canned salmon and plain rice. She ate. I was relived.

On Friday, Phil picked up an appetite stimulant and another medication to prevent ulcers from the vet.

When he returned, Nuala licked at her empty food dish and Phil gave her a serving of rice and salmon. She ate. He filled her bowl a second time and she ate again. Friday evening, she ate a full can of the kidney diet without being prompted.

Better days

Better days

This morning, she picked at her food and we tried the appetite stimulant. It didn’t appear to work, but then, at noon, she ate her food. And vomited it up two hours later.

The weird thing is that the UTI shouldn’t put her off her food. No obstruction was apparent in the x-rays. Her kidney and liver situations were not far enough advanced to depress her appetite.

So we’re all at a loss (even the vet) and Phil and I have the vet emergency service number in case something dire happens over the weekend.

It’s so distressing to have a sick pet. You just wish they could talk.

So that’s the latest health crisis for our DLP.

I’ll keep you posted.

Caturday Quickie

Sundog snippet: Pupdate

I promised a pupdate and here it is:

The bad news

When we went to see the vet last week on Tuesday, it was supposed to be for an ear flush.

This did not happen.

It turns out that Nuala’s ears are too far gone. Due to her allergies, the tissue in her ear has developed inflammatory polyps. This is not restricted to the external ear tissue, but extends right down the ear canal. What’s worse, her polyps were calcifying.

As a result, the vet could not flush her ears and when we saw him in the evening, he indicated that we should stop the topical antibiotic. The ear was so closed, there was no point. None of the medication could get to the source of the infection.

Though Nuala received her annual vaccinations, there really wasn’t much they could do that day.

The blood work we’d had done from our last visit was returned and showed that Nuala’s kidney and liver enzymes were still within normal ranges. Her liver enzymes had actually improved.

The recommended treatment, as the article linked above indicates, is ablation. This is a surgical procedure in which all the polyps are resected, and, because of the number of growths in the ear canal, removal of the canal altogether.

Unfortunately, there is no one in town that does these procedures on a regular basis. Once again, we’d have to travel a minimum of four hours away to get the surgery.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is not an option for Phil and me. We can’t just take vacation when we want and taking unpaid leave would be a hardship. Nu does not travel well, and would have to be sedated there and back. Plus, she’s officially a senior now, and the complications of surgery are increased.

Two other options were presented, cyclosporine and prednisone. The first was shown to be effective in a very small sample of canine patients. The second is effective, but would have an effect on her liver and kidneys. It would also cause an increase in her appetite and thirst, but Phil and I figured we’d be okay with this since Nu had lost so much weight recently.

Fortunately, prednisone would likely be a short term, or at worst, periodic treatment. That’s what we opted for and went home with a new, more powerful, oral antibiotic and enough prednisone for two weeks, at which time we have another follow up booked.

Oh, the vet said on the way out, you know she’s deaf now, right?

The good news

By the time we were on the second day of treatment, we noticed a marked improvement in Nuala. She was once again, behaving like her normal, healthy self and eating again.

Even my mom noticed a night and day difference in her behaviour.

Pus started running out of her right ear again, the one that was, by far, the worst. We’re just using the EDTA ear wash to keep her ears clean. We also noticed that she was not deaf, or at least not completely.

We reported this to the vet and he is sceptical, but when a sleeping dog in another room is summoned by the sound of the opened fridge door, she can hear.

Since then, her ears have continued to improve. The pus has stopped running, but we now figure that it’s the new antibiotic that’s provided relief. She’s no longer shaking her head or losing her balance. Her ears are perky again, with only the tips of them, where her aural haematomas are, folded over and malformed.

We have hope that by the time the two-week check up is due, her situation will improve enough for a flush (if that’s still indicated).

So, we’re happy with our decision and hopeful for the future health of our furbaby.

Nuala is notoriously camera-shy. When she sees me coming with the phone or camera, she turns in the other direction, which is why I generally only get pictures of her when she’s sleeping or has her back turned. I was able to manage this picture with the help of a biscuit.


What’s that you got there, Mom?

Happy Nuala

Good biscuit! Can I have another?

Sundog snippet