Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

I had a very happy, exciting thing happen to me yesterday, which I can't discuss, but I thought MAYBE, just MAYBE my string of really terrible events was coming to a close.  This turns out to not be the case.  So, on top of family drama, illness, financial concerns, and deaths...we add a VERY sick puppy.

You may remember that starting about two and 1/2 weeks ago, she was having major issues with...digestion.  I will try and make this not gross.  If possible.  She was up every hour, was having accidents in her crate, and the smell was unbearable.  We took her to the vet, and they diagnosed an infection of the small intestine.  Put her on some antibiotics and told us to feed her chicken and rice.  Lucky, spoiled dog.

Well, she got a tiny bit better, but then a couple of days ago, she was back to the up-all-night, and poop-in-the-crate routine.  Not to mention, she had gotten SKINNY.  Not that our girl was ever big, but you can see her ribs.  And she's eating about 6 cups of kibble, 3 chicken breasts, and 2 cups of rice a day.  She's a bottomless pit!!!

Also, she had been limping.  This, while disconcerting, we weren't too worried about, because she tends to do it fairly often if she's had a lot of exercise.  But, as long as we were going back to the vet...  Get her checked out.

So...$350 later, they think that she has an insufficient pancreas.  This is a disease where the pancreas does not produce the necessary enzymes and often shrivels up.  It is primarily a German Shepherd disease (80% of all cases), with most of the rest of the cases being rough-coated collies, with an occasional greyhound thrown in the mix.  What does this mean?  This means that she cannot break down fats, and, consequently, is not digesting her food, or getting the nutrients she needs.  She had lost 3 pounds in 2 weeks, after having already lost weight before the first visit.  She is down to 66 pounds, from the standard 75. 

How is it treated?  If the diagnosis is confirmed with bloodwork, then we will start giving her pancreatic enzymes with her meals for the rest of her life.  Unfortunately, 1 in 5 dogs do not respond to the treatment.  For now, she is on another course of antibiotics, because along with not digesting fat, the intestines become a breeding ground for bacteria, since they are so full of unabsorbed nutrients.  This usually develops around 4 years of age, but can occur at any time.  She's only turning a year old October 12! It is rarely congenital.

As for the leg, it seems to be pain located in the femur of her front, right leg.  For now, the vet is hoping it's a muscle tear from playing ball, and put her on pain meds, and she's on strict rest for 2 weeks.  On Monday, when we call about the bloodwork, we are to report on how the leg's doing.  If it isn't improving, we will get x-rays to see if it is a fracture.

I slept downstairs on the couch, since with four stories, the stairs would be too much for the poor girl needing to go out so frequently.  Fortunately, the medicine's already kicking in, and she didn't have to go outside too much during the night.  YAY! 

We will hope that the good news from yesterday is confirmed today, and I can get out of the downward spiral.  NO, I am NOT pregnant.  That is not the news.  I will share it if and when it comes to fruition.



  1. Hope your dog feels better!!! And that the good news carries through. I can't wait to hear about it. :)

  2. Poor Harper. I really hope the treatment works for her. I'm sorry that you're having such a crappy couple of months here. I'm looking forward to hearing about your good news!