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Need Advice with my 9 year old GSP

 
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Indiana Mitch
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PostPosted: 10/28/03, 6:57 pm    Post subject: Need Advice with my 9 year old GSP Reply with quote

I realize that this forum centers on Wirehairs... but I'm desperate for help.

My 9 year old GSP has been showing some signs of kidney failure, but I thought the vet and I had figured it out.

I was feeding her and my GWP a food by PMI (a split off from purina) called Exclusive and was very happy with the food. High quality and both dogs looked great.

Suddenly, the older GSP began to drink LOTS of water and urinate a great deal. She even began to relieve herself in the house which was unheard of before.

The vet and I decided we should move her to an "senior" food, since her kidneys might be having trouble with the regulare high performance food.

I began feeding the Senior type of PMI food, and things got better quickly.

Well... after returning from a hunting trip in SD where my GSP hunted fairly hard and came back quite tired... I noticed she wasn't eating well either and had lost too much weight. I can now see too many ribs and her rear end looks awjul with lots of bone showing.

She is not eating the Senior PMI food like she was before the trip... so I thought I'd better do the old trick of mixing in canned food. I even heat the food to create a strong aroma. This has always worked in the past.

It's not working. She's eating almost nothing and drinking water like crazy. I've not had her to the vet yet because (and I know this sounds selfish) I'm out of work and barely have enough to pay the bills. Someone else paid for the entire SD trip, or else I would not have gone.

Other than being too thin and not eating... she's not looking too bad. She's not moving much, but she doesn't seem terribly weak either. Eyes and lips look good... and she doesn't seem to be in any pain.

Is there something I can add to the water to get her some calories?

She must really be messed up because a little while ago she walked right up behind me, here in the home office, and emptied her bladder. She didn't whine to go out or give me any warning. Just urinated out everything in her system.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions. As you can imagine, I'm trying to figure out how to get her to the vet tomorrow.
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PostPosted: 10/28/03, 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not a vet and I certainly don't profess to be one.. however.. the excessive drinking of water.. the urination in the house.. loss of aptetite... actually it sounds like Diabetes to me. Did your vet run a blood test and check blook glucose? Does her breath smell 'fruity'?

If it is diabetes, there is nothing you can do at home to help her outside of getting her the insulin she needs. Please, I know it's expensive, maybe your vet can work something out withyou on payments or something, but please please get your old girl back to a vet. I'm afraid she may be in very serious trouble.

Sheri
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Indiana Mitch
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PostPosted: 10/28/03, 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I initially took Maggie to the vet and the first test he did was for diabetes.

She does not have that ailment.

When we switched her food, it seemed pretty clear that her kidneys were simply having trouble filtering properly and that a specific diet, designed for older dogs, was the answer.

However... after hunting those few days, she's simply not eating the way she should, regardless of what I place before her.

I'm between a rock and a hard place because I'm afraid if I give her something REALLY tasty, something she just can't resist... it may irritate her kidneys again.

What's also tough is that they want you to have water available all the time... and if I do that through the night... she'll urinate all over. If I didn't need sleep, I'd observe her and just keep running water through her. It's amazing to see how much she can drink at one time... and then how much she can eliminate. And the urine is clear and odorless. The ONLY good thing about all this.
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PostPosted: 10/29/03, 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitch,

The first thing that comes to mind is general kidney failure - what was the urinalysis like? protein level?, etc. What about a blood screening - urea levels, sedimentation rate, etc? I'm assuming the vet did a Lyme's titer - its an insidious disease that can display all sorts of symptoms.

I would not work a 9 year old in the field that is showing serious signs of kidney failure. It may have been a mistake to take her hunting with such symptoms. In my experience, when dogs show signs of kidney failure combined with general weakness, especially in the rear end, all serious work needs to end til you determine the reasons. To me this sounds like progressive kidney failure for which their only delaying tactics as far as I know. But you must first rule out any acute infections.

Jon
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Indiana Mitch
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PostPosted: 10/29/03, 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well... initial testing done by the vet this morning has ruled out kidney failure. Strange... with the symptoms and all... and the vet led me to believe, last time I was in, which was a month or two ago... that he thought her kidneys were beginning to fail.

Whatever the case... today's test for kidney function showed that her kidneys are fine.

The vet is running more extensive tests on the blood and I'll know the results late in the afternoon.

I did mention Lyme's and he didn't blow me off or anything. He continued to check Maggie all over and didn't say much, other than she did NOT have a fever.

I pulled ticks off of both dogs a couple of weeks ago and then treated them each with bio-spot flea & tick control.

The vet said to feed her absolutely anything she wants; especially since she has lost 10 pounds and is down to a skinny 54 pounds.

Today she refused to eat a dog bisquit, and she was still willing to eat those, and those alone, yesterday.

So on the way home from the vet I stopped and bought some plain cheeseburgers. About once or twice a year I'd share a cheeseburger with Maggie when driving back from a long hunt.

She would not even attempt to eat a cheesburger today... and just turned her head away.

I sure hope the bloodwork will tell me what's going on.
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PostPosted: 10/29/03, 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The test results point to VERY low blood sugar.

She was down to 13, believe it or not. The vet was shocked that she was still functioning at all.

Using syrup in water I've got her sugar up to 120 and she seems quite a bit better. She's also eating dog treats on her own.

She still obviously quite ill... and the vet says something has to be very wrong for her to drop that low -- perhaps a tumor in the pancreas... which would make sense.

I'll be watching her closely and working with the vet to decide whether it's best to avoid any suffering and put her to sleep.

Thanks for all you concern.
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PostPosted: 10/30/03, 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just so everyone will know and this post can come to an end... I've decided that I can't watch Maggie suffer and waste away anymore. I'll be taking her to the vet for some final rest in a little while.

Thanks for all your concern.

And I must admit... having this silly looking Wirehair pointer leaning against my leg does help a little. I sure hope it's a long, long time before I have to help her along with her final journey.
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PostPosted: 10/30/03, 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's too bad they haven't run an ultrasound, Mitch.

At first, when you talk about the frequent drinking and urination, I think about my GWP girl at 7 mos of age going through a detox situation because of crappy food at the pound.

But the refusal to eat is more inkeeping with what I lost my last boy to. An ultrasound would show any masses or tumors. But I'm only speaking from my own experience. If a dog is sick, they're generally going to stop eating.

I'd be questioning the food, Mitch. Don't want to sound alarmist, but I've heard of some dire results from some bad lot numbers of foods lately. Frankly, I don't trust any kibbles now, especially something from Purina. But that's just me...and my own experience.

I'm sorry funding won't allow you to give this girl a chance. Is there no way you can negotiate with your vet?

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Indiana Mitch
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PostPosted: 10/30/03, 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The food that Maggie has been eating is from a 40 pound bag that was almost emptied by the time she got sick. She has shown signs of "issues" for a couple of years now... but has always been okay.

In addition, she has spondylosis (two vertebrae fusing together in her spine) and has hunted on 3 legs for a couple of years, once she gets tired.

I realize that 9 is not old... but I also realize it's not the same as 2 or 4 or even 6. As much as I hate to admit it... it's time to let this one go. Although I'm pretty miserable about it right now... I know I'll feel good about her suffering (in all its forms) being over sometime today.
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PostPosted: 10/30/03, 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to thank everyone that offered support and advice regarding Maggie.

I did go ahead and end her suffering a couple of hours ago. Afterwards... a good friend accompanied me to a local hunting preserve where Maggie and I did our fair share of hunting... and the owner helped us dig a good grave. The owner thought that Maggie should "greet" folks as they entered the actual shooting area of the preserve... so he took us out to that spot and started the digging.

As you all know, it's really difficult to end the time with our bird-sniffing buddies... and it's especially hard when the dog was a real gem. Maggie's mother won the 1989 U.S. Open Pheasant Championship... and that blood made Maggie a "full steam ahead" meat dog. She never backed away from thorns... ice.. wind.. or snow to find birds for me.

It was hard to watch Maggie slip away... but it was certainly a relief after watching her suffer the last few days. Why, oh why... can't bird dogs live to be 100? Perhaps it's because most of us wouldn't get to play with near enough puppies, if they lived that long.

Well... enough of this sad stuff. If any of you would like to see a few pics of Maggie having fun over the years... just click here:

www.brightsites.com/huntbirds

It's a simple and low-grade website I created years ago.... but it works.
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PostPosted: 10/31/03, 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitch,
They never are with us long enough. Just know that she had a good life, did her job well, and made your life a bit better.

Go ahead and have a good cry! She was worth it.
Bernee
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