Thursday, May 29, 2014

Too Much, Too Soon

Nichole had a great post today on the Lapdog blog about the importance of preventive care for our fur kids. I know most of you agree and have regular checkups and do all the other stuff, such as heartworm and flea and tick prevention. Unfortunately there are still pet owners who don't think it's necessary for their animals to see a vet on a regular basis if they aren't showing symptoms of illness. I can assure you that our regular health checks have caught some serious problems before they became unmanageable.We do complete blood work on each dog at least annually.
Morgan sees the vet every six months because of her age and various health conditions. On her most recent checkup and blood test, we discovered that her thyroid needed help. We had assumed that her slowing down was normal aging, but after starting treatment, we discovered an active alert dog again.

Fudge is now 8 and is starting to see the doctor every six months, too. It was at his most recent checkup that we discovered a growth on his side that was a form of skin cancer. It was removed and Fudge is 100% again.

Noah and Tess will each be getting dental cleanings and Tess has a benign growth that will be removed at the same time. Prior to each checkup, I make a list of questions and locations of any lumps and bumps so that I don't forget anything. Dr B knows to check my list now to be sure we've covered everything.
I've had several dogs who have needed thyroid supplements. There are often signs that lead me to suspect there's a problem. Morgan slowed down, Noah had trouble losing weight and Libby had hair loss, all symptoms of hypothyroidism. But this month when Bailey's test showed a very low thyroid level, I was surprised. She showed no symptoms. Her weight is fine, she has a good coat and she's active. Still, the level indicated that she needed a supplement.

We started her on soloxin once a day. All my other dogs have showed improvement very quickly so I watched Bailey closely. After a couple days I noticed that she seemed a little too quiet. After a couple more days, my independent Bailey became very clingy. She wouldn't leave my side and kept nudging me to pet her. I noticed that her eyes looked dull, but I didn't really have anything but a gut feeling that there might be a problem.
On Saturday Bailey didn't want to come out of her crate in the morning and when I coaxed her out, she didn't bring her bear with her. That is very unusual. Saturday night she barked several times during the night. The second time I got up to let her out, I put her in the big pen in the garage to finish the night. When I went to feed her in the morning she had been sick. There was runny diarrhea in the pen and as soon as she got outside she started vomiting. Of course it was a holiday weekend and I couldn't reach Dr B, but I didn't think we needed the emergency room yet. I had a feeling it was the soloxin so I didn't give it to her.

First thing Tuesday morning I spoke with Dr B and told him I suspected a reaction to the soloxin. After describing the symptoms we discussed the possibility of an allergic reaction. He said allergic reactions to soloxin are rare and he had a different idea. He thinks that Bailey's body had adjusted to the low hormone levels she was producing and that we overwhelmed her with the full dose. Our plan is to leave her off the meds for a week, then introduce it to her more slowly, 1/4 tablet for three or four days, then 1/2 tablet for three or four days, then 3/4 and finally up to the full dose. If she shows symptoms again, we'll use a different therapy, but for now we're hoping she can adjust and continue with this drug which has worked so well for the others.

After five days off, Bailey is again running and jumping and carrying her bear around with her. She also has a sparkle back in her eyes.

I'm pleased with the working relationship I have with our vet. When I have a worry, he takes the time to listen and explain. He trusts my observations and is willing to work with me to try new therapies for my dogs. Because he sees each dog on a regular basis, he has a pretty good idea of their condition and temperament. Regular checkups can give us more quality time with our pets. Mark your calendars.


Marjie said...

I"m so glad you figured out what was wrong with Bailey. So now she has a bear, instead of Monkey? Still, even from afar I know she always carries around her favored toy, and leaving him behind is a sure sign of trouble!

scotsmad said...

So glad she's feeling better, but what happened to Monkey?

We have our annual check ups, but go whenever something just isn't right.

XXXOOO Bella Roxy & Dui (who just visited our Vet for the first time today.)

Mitch and Molly said...

We are so happy that your mom is on top of it, Bailey, and that you are feeling better!

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

Freya Rose Blossom said...

I have a lovely vet and trust him. Good advice Sue.

Pleased Bailey is bouncing back.
Luv's Cat Flap Cavalier X

Piappies World said...

We're happy that Bailey is doing better now as well as the rest of your pack.

Piappies Fudgie, Princess,Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Max, Wai-Pai & Forgie

SissySees said...

Oh, I held my breath while I read that post. I'm so grateful that Bailey is better and there is a plan! A good vet is paramount, isn't it?

Nichole Burke said...

Great news for Bailey! Having a great relationship with your vet is key!
Oh, and great post!!! :)