Sweet mercy, it’s another pupdate

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this topic, so I think a brief revue may be in order.

This has not been a good year and a bit for my poor Nuala.

In January 2013, she ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had surgery to repair it. Recovering from that, Nu got a urinary tract infection (UTI). She received antibiotics, but a follow up revealed that the problem was not limited to a UTI.

To address what now appeared to be kidney issues, we changed her food to a kidney diet, and started another medication.

She had been on a hypoallergenic diet due to food allergies. Of course, the kidney issues took precedence, but that meant an increase in overall itchiness.

She gave herself an aural haematoma.

Things seemed to get better for a while and Nu behaved as she had when she was several years younger.

Then, in the fall, she got some strange infection in her eye and nose. We went through a couple of rounds of treatment for that, and then Nu injured her other ear with another aural haematoma. Now she has cauliflower ears.

Again, after she recovered from her eye/nose infection, Nu seemed to be happy and well.

In January this year, her kidney function and enzymes were checked and it was determined that she should remain on the kidney food and medication.

I asked for some Mometamax, because I noticed her ears smelled funky. Usually, that’s the first sign of infection. Likely linked to her allergy issues, Nu has problematic ears.

I completed her course of treatment, but as soon as the drops stopped, her symptoms returned. I tried to keep up with the infection by keeping her ears cleaned.

Then came heck month (A.K.A. March), and I was away so much, I couldn’t keep up with the cleaning.

By the end of March, she was clearly in distress. She was shaking her head and her ears were swollen and they smelled purulent.

The first appointment resulted in more Mometamax and an EDTA ear wash to be administered daily.

A week passed and while pus was draining out of her ear (and apparently down her throat), she was definitely not feeling better. It looked like she’d developed pustules in her right ear. She refused some of her favourite foods (another support for the theory that the infection was draining down her throat – how could she enjoy anything when it all tasted like pus?). She was also hacking a lot in the attempt to clear her throat. She started losing her balance.

A second appointment adjusted the topical antibiotic and added an oral antibiotic as well. On the chance that the ear drum had been pierced or ruptured altogether, the Mometamax had to be discontinued.

A third appointment was scheduled and while there are days when she seems to feel better, Nu was not showing signs of marked improvement.

At the vet’s I had Phil weigh her, and Nu had lost 2 KG (approximately 4.5 pounds). We had started feeding her a full can of food (she usually only had a half-can) because that was the only food she’d eat. Her kibble was what she wasn’t eating, and she got a cup morning and evening.

We got an extension on the oral antibiotics to see us through until next Tuesday, when Nu’s been booked in for a full-day stay, light sedation, aural irrigation, her vaccinations (they’re due), and then we’ll see how she is when we pick her up. They might see if they can express and test the fluid from some of the pustules in her ear as well … ick.

Phil and I suspect the eye/nose infection in the fall, that some of the infection may have taken root in her sinuses and stayed dormant for a while. A sub clinical (no physical symptoms) thing.

Nu Sleeping

Nu sleeping in my office (foot of my desk) and healing, I hope.

Since Thursday’s appointment, Nu has been sleeping most of the time. She’s still shaking her head, and now she’s also started whining a bit when she eats biscuits and other harder foods. Unfortunately these are also some of her favourites (carrots).

Phil and I are distressed to see our little dear so sick.

I’ll let you all know how she’s doing in a future post.

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Sundog snippets: Pupdate, July 2013

So here’s a quick pupdate for you.

First, the story so far:

In January, Nuala had an ACL repair. On the heels of that, she contracted a UTI. We administered antibiotics. She somehow scratched herself an aural haematoma. Rather than having it drained, the vet recommended letting her body metabolize the blood. We agreed.

The follow up urine sample, however showed extra protein, which is usually a sign of a problem with the kidneys. Blood tests showed that Nu’s kidney enzymes were in perfect balance. An x-ray revealed no stones in either kidney or bladder, but an enlarged liver and spleen.

The vet recommended an ultrasound. This would require a journey of several hours for which Nuala would have to be sedated (she doesn’t travel well) and several days off work for Phil and me. The ultrasound may or may not have found anything and may or may not have resulted in a laparoscopic biopsy, which may or may not have proven clinically definitive. We declined.

We changed her food to a kindey health diet, and started her on a regimen of ACE inhibitors. Nuala subsequently redeveloped a UTI and this time we have the urine sample cultured. It turned out to be a massive e-coli infection. Uber-doses of antibiotics later, she was once again clear of infection, but the high protein in her urine remains a concern.

Where we are now

The vet is again encouraging us to consider the ultrasound. We’ve discussed things at length and here are the ultimate reasons Phil and I are not going to follow through with it:

  1. Nuala is behaving well, she’s feeling better than she has in a long time. Her residual limp from the ACL surgery is almost unnoticeable. By all accounts, she’s happy.
  2. What will the ultrasound reveal? The existence (or the lack of existence) of a growth of some sort.
  3. If the growth is benign, will it be removed? No (unless its negative impact on Nu’s health is severe).
  4. If the growth is malignant, what can we do? Not much. Cancer in dogs is notoriously fast-growing and often has metastasized before an operation can remove it. Though they do have canine chemo and radiation, the course of treatment would again involve travel and its effectiveness is not as good as human therapies.

While it may result in a better diagnosis and possible prognosis, we may not be able to act on it quickly enough to make a difference.

So we’ve decided to stay the course with her current medication and see how things go.  If Nuala’s health worsens, we may have to revisit and reconsider our decisions, but I honestly don’t think this will happen.

Our last dog, Zoe, had cancer, and we did what we could, but the cancer was aggressive and ultimately fatal. The operation to remove the cancer wasn’t effective, was very hard on her, and it may have bought her two weeks, but they weren’t a good two weeks. Her death broke our hearts and it was two years before we thought about adopting another dog.

Whatcha got there?

Nuala hoping to scam noms from Phil 🙂

You may disagree with our decision, but I hope you can respect it.

Here ends what I hope to be the last pupdate for some time. Nuala really is doing well and until we can see a reason to, we’re not going to put her through further procedures.  She’s been through enough this year already.

 

Sundog snippet