Poster Child

Mommy here… we had a follow-up visit with Vet today, after 4 weeks on antibiotics. Miss D got to get cuddles from her favorite vet tech, Angela.

Angela swears that Miss D loves to be carried like a baby with her paws in the air and her pot-belly pointing toward the sky. Seeing Angela carrying Miss D, I would have to agree that Miss D was enjoying herself. Miss D’s favorite sleeping position is on her back with her paws in the air, so Mommy postulates these positions may be easier on her spine. However, we have been unable to replicate the “carried like a baby” phenomenon away from Vet. Perhaps it is an “Auntie Angela” thing with Miss D.

Soooo comfy. Efurryone should sleep this way!

Soooo comfy. Efurryone should sleep this way!

Vet is pleased with Miss D’s progress. Miss D is looking more alert and active and is tolerating the new low-fat diet well. Vet even says Miss D’s spleen feels smaller, so perhaps it was more a reaction to the UTI than to Cushing’s. Even so, we decided to continue the antibiotics for another 14 days and follow-up again in 3 weeks to be sure we killed all the buggers.

Meanwhile… we have decided to delay treatment for the Cushing’s until at least after the Easter holiday. Mommy is worried that the stress of the upcoming holiday would obscure Miss D’s baseline reactions to the treatment. The baseline is important as we need to monitor Miss D’s eating and drinking and energy for adverse reactions to the medication. Plus we still haven’t fully transitioned to the new low-fat food. Another week ought to do the trick. So… we’ll wait another 10 days before starting Miss D on Vetoryl capsules.

And life goes on… we haven’t had a training update in awhile. Mostly because training has continued on the plateau. We’ve had a small setback in recent weeks, due to Miss D’s back pain and subsequent irritability. I’d be irritable too if my back hurt! Now that Spring has sprung and the days are grower longer, our nightly patrol has become more of a pre-dusk patrol. We’re encountering more joggers and more dog walkers now which provides more opportunity for training.

Miss D will never be the poster child for rescued animals and she’ll never win Family Dog of the Year. But she’s learned a few calming techniques that have made our patrols more pleasant for everyone. Unless the passing dog is that rowdy Newfoundland puppy (puppy! it’s almost as tall as Mommy!). Or our friends, the Scottie trio. Or Gus, the Westie. Or the standard schnauzer down the street… Well, I did say training has plateaued. What did you expect? :)

Final Piece of the Puzzle

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Vet called this morning and we have the final piece of the puzzle. Miss D has been diagnosed with Cushing’s disease (or hyperadrenocorticism, for you fancy folks!) and with high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia). What does this mean?

Both these diseases are serious, but both are also treatable. Miss D will be starting a new, prescription, low-fat diet for her cholesterol. This food is prescription-only, so Mommy can’t just drop by the local market to pick some up. Thank goodness for the internet! Vet can get it through her vendor, but Mommy found another vendor online that offers free shipping, discounts for regularly scheduled purchases (like food!), and the overall price is just plain cheaper. So Mommy needs to talk with Vet about switching to Mommy’s preferred vendor. Easy peasy.

Miss D has the pituitary-related form of Cushing’s, meaning she has a benign growth on her pituitary gland that is making her body produce too much cortisol. This can be treated with medication. The initial costs are not cheap. We have to figure out the right dosage for Miss D which involves close watching for symptoms of overdose and several tests in the first months until we find a stable dose. BUT once we do stabilize, the tests can be performed less often.

Mommy’s research of the medication found that the hooman tablets are not cheap. BUT, the doses are ridiculously high for Miss D, even if she is a little chubby for her size. So Vet will likely recommend a “compounded” generic form, which would be provided at a more reasonable dose level for Miss D. As a generic, the compounded version is already much cheaper, and at these lower doses, cheaper still. So Mommy is breathing a little easier about that.

So Miss D can still live a long, healthy, happy life with a few small changes. And Miss D is going to start feeling a whole lot better soon.

The latest

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Miss D wants to let her faithful readers that she has begun to feel better. We have confirmed another piece of this tricky puzzle. Bladder infection is confirmed. So in addition to 2-4 weeks bed rest for the back pain to heal, we’ll be taking strong antibiotics twice a day for at least 4 weeks, maybe longer pending another test after 28 days are up.

We still need to confirm the Cushing’s diagnosis, but will postpone that test until Miss D has a chance to recover a little from all the stress of the last week.

Miss D is a little depressed, seeing as how mommy has banished her from her favorite chair (no jumping!) and forbidden seeing the neighbors (no running!). We tried a short walk, one block, on leash. But of course we ran into neighbors walking their dogs, which set Miss D off. That was an epic failure and ended with Miss D taking her pain medication an hour earlier than vet recommended. So no more walks.

Life has suddenly become quite boring, and Miss D’s world has shrunk, for the time being. But we’re on the mend!

Morning update

Miss D here. Mommy gave me some yummy bread stuffed with pain meds and I’m feeling fine. Much less stressed.

It’s a sunny day and almost not chilly and the grass is drying out, so I’ve been playing indoor/outdoor. Mommy just loves that game ;)

And now I’m gonna nap for a bit. Suddenly I’m very sleepy. What was in that bread?

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You can see my shaved belly where they did an ultrasound of things inside my tummy!

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Blues Update

Mommy here…

Miss D developed an uncontrollable tremor and excessive panting this evening. Ran her over to Vet immediately. Vet determined that Miss D’s previous back injuries were exacerbated by all the goings on. So tremors and panting are definitely due to pain along with excess cortisol running through her veins with the now probable Cushing’s diagnosis and even more probable “silent” bladder infection (showing no symptoms and then suddenly Wham!).

Poor Miss D! It’s all just snow balled this week. Wham! Mommy is a little overwhelmed this evening.

But…We’re home again now, high as a kite, warm and cozy in bed.

Miss D is on strict bed/crate rest for the next 2-4 weeks, to heal her back. Short, leashed excursions to pee, no jumping on furniture or excitement around other animals… Or people… lawn signs… orange cones… wind… This ought to be interesting