External Growth

Addie has acquired many lumps over the years, with most being under her skin.  However, she has had 2 external.  The first has remained small for many years and all the vets have agreed that it is nothing to worry about.  The 2nd one though has grown recently and become a problem.  It hasn’t been excessively rapid growth, but it is to the point where it has started to bleed and we cannot seem to get it to heal.

With that, we decided to take her to the vet to have him look at it closer.  Our main concern for not taking her previously was that we did not want her to be put under to have it removed as anesthesia at her age is just not a great idea unless it is absolutely crucial.

Addie sporting her new T-shirt to help keep her from licking her stitches

Addie sporting her new T-shirt to help keep her from licking her stitches

But this is how things go in Costa Rica:  the vet just asked us to drop by sometime that day between 1 and 5pm.  We arrived at 3:30 and waited for 2 other patients before us and were in to see the vet by 4.  He agreed that it should be removed and he could do it with just a local anesthesia so that it would numb the area, but she would still be awake.  Awesome.  When can we schedule an appointment?  Oh, now is fine.  So we get her up on the table, we assist in the surgery by just helping to hold her while he numbs the area.  We are also watching the entire removal process.  He stitches her up, and she is good to go in about 1 hour from when we walked in.  Wow.  The cost?  $20.  Crazy nice hu?!

Nasty looking growth on her back leg.  She is on the operating table here.

Nasty looking growth on her back leg. She is on the operating table here.

So, there is a chance it will grow back (as with most external growths), but she can now lay on that leg without fear of it breaking open again.  He also visually analyzed the part he removed and there did not seem to be an infection and it did not appear to be cancerous.

She is still favoring that leg today, but she is up and moving and a little lighter.

On a not so bright note:  she is having greater issues walking in general.  We are going to try the shot of Legend again although it has only been a month or so and we hope this time it takes better than last.  If not, we are running out of options…

Our Swimmer is Back!

Addie retrieving her 30 lb. “stick”!

When Addie was younger, she used to LOVE to swim!  We couldn’t keep her out of the water if we were within a mile of a lake or creek.  But in August, 2010 she was diagnosed with Vestibular Disease.  From that time forward, she avoided the water.  Oh, she would wade a little in it, but no full on swimming like she used to do.  I think it was because she didn’t trust her balance and that could be a dangerous thing in the water.  Even in Colorado we lived close to a pond and she just would not swim like she used to in years prior.

However, we now live on a massive lake and can walk there within 3 minutes.  Whenever it is nice and sunny out, we take the dogs down there.  Something about Costa Rica, who knows, but now Addie is back to loving the water!  She is back to the point where we have to drag her out of the lake to go home 🙂

We are excited about this change in her for a couple of reasons.  1) we like to see things that make her happy again and swimming is definitely that.  2) swimming is a great low-impact exercise for her.  She still stumbles a lot, but in the water she glides easily.

I think we enjoy her new-found (again) passion as much as she does!


Addie enjoying the outdoors!

That’s what we are this afternoon… speechless!

We had Addie’s blood tested again today – 2 months since the last test.  Here are her results by month:

Test July, 2011 Sept, 2011 Dec, 2011 Jan, 2012 March, 2012 Normal Levels
ALT 93 129 190 224 93 < 120
ALP 93 119 200 220 <140
Glucose 94 98 87 89 53 75 – 125
Protien 6.9 6.3 7.2 6.5 5.5 – 7.6
Creatinine 1.7 1.4 1.5 1.9 1.1 .4 – 1.4

We don’t have comps for ALP or Protein, but her ALT, Glucose, AND Creatinine all went down.  WAY DOWN!!  They are not perfect, but they are astonishing to say the least as they had been trending very rapidly in the upward direction. We had been very concerned as they pointed to either liver and/or kidney failure.

So… the question we asked was why the drop?  There really were only 2 things that have changed in the past 60 days:

  • We added the Chinese herb Shu Gan to her diet.
  • We moved to Costa Rica.

Which one caused the positive effect?  We don’t know.  But we plan on staying in Costa Rica for a while, and we will definitely be ordering more Shu Gan!

Addie’s New Vet

Addie enjoying the Costa Rican sun..

Addie had her first appointment with her new vet in Costa Rica.  Nothing wrong, but we wanted to make sure and get her established with a vet right away.  We took in her 6″ of historical paperwork from both of her previous vets in Colorado including the last 3 blood test results.  The Dr. reviewed those, did an initial exam and verified that her ear infection she had the week before departure was indeed all clear.  She speaks wonderful English as she went to school and practiced in Texas prior to practicing in Costa Rica.  It is helpful that she speaks English well as our Spanish is no bueno!

She assessed that given Addie’s age and medical history, she is doing well!  The liver numbers are a concern being over 200, but she said she has seen a dog with ALT’s over 2,000 so that is encouraging and Addie show so signs of liver issues such as retaining water, yellow gums or yellowing of the eyes.  So for now, Addie gets 2 thumbs up!

And a great side benefit of this?  Addie’s initial exam and office visit cost us less than $14!  Back in Colorado, that type of visit is between $50 and $65!