Good Blood

Addie continues to amaze me.. she is our “Super Dog”!

Following her last urinary tract infection, I was a bit concerned as she still seemed “off”.  I can’t say exactly how, but sometimes you just have that feeling.  I didn’t think it was still the UTI, but something else.  They ran some blood tests and then a urine test.  Her traditional vet called and based on her results (her BUN and creatinine were high), she diagnosed her with kidney failure/disease.  The actual test results said more than a 50% reduction in kidney function.  She recommended Addie go on a high carbohydrate/low protein diet. If you are familiar with dogs with cancer, you probably know that this is 180 degrees opposite of a traditional cancer diet.  Addie’s meals are higher protein and carbs are a big no-no for cancer.  When speaking with Addie’s traditional vet about this, she was perplexed.  She basically said we need to take care of which one was going to kill her first – the kidney failure or the cancer.  That is when she gave me information point #2:    that she believed that Addie really only had 6 more months.

Normally, this would be devastating news obviously.  But given Addie’s history, I wasn’t too phased.  I recall over 3 years ago getting a 6-10 week diagnosis for her.  Yea… she’s still here kicking butt.

So the lab results were sent over to Vet #2 – her holistic vet.  His opinion was not even close to being grim.  He recommended we wait 30 days, retest her blood, then determine how to proceed.  Which could mean altering her diet, providing more holistic meds which could help her kidneys, etc.  But at this point we were on a wait and see.

Late last week, we had her blood retested.  Her BUN and creatinine were both within the normal range.  High-normal, but normal.  The traditional vet didn’t recommend any changes at this time.  We are still waiting to  hear from her holistic vet who is out on vacation until the 19th.  But we not too concerned given her higher levels.

So again, Addie faces adversity head on and laughs in it’s face….

I saw a "dead-head" sticker on a Cadillac…

Summit of Schoolmarm Mountain

As weird as it would seem to celebrate a cancer diagnosis and an even more dire prognosis, we are doing just that because Addie is still with us over three years later!!

After hearing from the veterinarian that performed the splenectomy back in July of ’08 that she would only have 3 or 4 months to live we are absolutely elated that she has lived well for over 36 months since that time.  Of course, she is showing her age just as any dog her size who is getting close to her 14th birthday would be.  However, given the alternative we were presented with back in ’08, we are more than happy to be dealing with her old age issues.

Yes, she has more fatty lumps, has a harder time getting up and around, tires more easily, and is absolutely worn out when we take her for even short hikes now.  Although we know she won’t be with us forever, we know that we have done everything we could do to prolong her life.  The greatest thing about that is that she has managed to not only have a longer quantity of life but also to have a good quality of life during that time.  She demonstrated that again just this past weekend when we took her on a relatively short hike to a small mountain summit.  We had to be careful to keep her from overheating, and we had to stop and rest frequently.  But she had a great time along the way playing with Finigan, sniffing every possible item, and finally scaling the summit to have her picture taken yet again on the top of one of Colorado’s numerous mountain tops.

When the day comes that we are forced to say goodbye to our girl, we WILL look back (regardless of what Mr. Henley says) with great joy because we know that we were able to help Addie enjoy life for as long as it was possible for her to do so.

On a more somber note, we will be speaking with Addie’s veterinarians tomorrow to discuss her urine’s elevated specific gravity levels which were discovered during her most recent UTI battle.  Elevated specific gravity is an early indicator of kidney trouble so we are concerned.  We will post more as things develop.

Little Scare

Things have been going very well with Addie as of late.  No cold paw incidents, she is eating well, and is about as active as a 13 1/2 year old girl can be!  She does have some stability issues, but I believe that is caused more from losing muscle mass from age and her vestibular incident last year.

However, over the past 2 weeks, we have noticed that she cannot hold her bladder as long as normal.  She occasionally has to get up in the middle of the night and can only go about 5 hours.  Not like when she has had urinary tract infections (UTI’s) in the past though.  She also was drinking a lot more water.

We took her to Dr. Friedly last week to see if he could find the cause. We were thinking the worst.. not sure what that was, but possibly kidney issues.  He ran blood work, and all was relatively normal.  We then did a urinalysis today.  Major infection.  Another UTI.  Although a major infection is not great, I will take it over kidney failure, etc.

So our girl is on antibiotics and some other UTI meds, to help her out.  Going forward, she will also be getting some holistic UTI chews to help keep more infections from occurring.  This is probably her 4th UTI within the last 18 months.  The vet said not much we can do to help prevent them, it is just her less-effective immune system, but hopefully the meds and chews will help.