Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 2783 Posts

·
every moment is a gift
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 10 year old girl is hitting the wall of problems. I know that with age, comes the risk for more health problems and we're now staring down several. I've searched the threads for more information, and hoped that putting it all together would help me and I know that members here have a wealth of experience as well.

In late May, she was having loose stools (things had never been "good and firm" since she had been on Blue Buffalo, but at the time she had been vomiting her previous food and it was the only one she would eat, so I kept her on it).

We had a checkup with our regular vet (#1) to check the stool. As a precaution, she was prescribed flagyl until the fecal exam came back. I also had a them run a urinalysis from a free catch sample as a precaution (her urine looked darker, but no other symptoms). During the exam a cataract was discovered. However, because of a likely cancerous mass, we were referred first to a local surgeon and told to deal with the cataract later. At the meeting the morning of the surgery, the local surgeon referred us to a teaching hospital because of the location of the mass.

In the meantime, the fecal came back negative for parasites and bacteria, but no change in the poop...everything from liquid to formed but too soft to pick up. So we upped the flagyl. The urinalysis showed blood and bacteria, so we had a sterile sample drawn from her bladder during the cancer surgery. The mass was removed and, although they did not get a clean margin, it is a slow growing tumor and we are doing monthly checks for regrowth instead of chemo or radiation. They also submitted another fecal. The results of the fecal were all negative and the urinalysis showed some elevated numbers, but "not enough to worry about" at the time.

In discussions with the oncologist, he suggested we see a dermatologist because of her more atypical allergic reactions and general history. He was thinking autoimmune disorder.

The loose stools continued so we got a second opinion (vet #2) who suggested we drop the flagyl and started us on probiotics. We had a slight improvement for 2 days and then right back where we were.

We recently had a check for a vaginal discharge, recheck the stool, free catch urinalysis and then vet #1 referred us to have her blood pressure checked. Free catch shows high protein. The vet (#3) we were referred to did a sterile draw and also checked the blood pressure which was about 150 (?) and they want to do it again when she's calmer. Friday afternoon I learned the urinalysis protein/creatinine ratio was 1.8, but they gave me no more information except they think it is glomerulonephritis. Vet #1 said if it's kidney disease I will need a referral, but the Vet #3 said I didn't need one and they could prescribe medications. :confused:

We're addressing the loose stools now as a food intolerance and she's been on a new diet for two weeks now and we do have improvement. Maybe 70% normal. If no permanent improvement, we'll look at digestive enzymes, etc.

Past history....She's had allergies problems since she was a few months old - not just itching & breakouts, at times her feet were so swollen the pads would start to peel away from her toes. Vet #1 has always handled this problem. Around two, she started allergy shots and within a year, combined with steroids and antihistamines, she began to have a real quality of life. (I cannot afford Atopica and she has had to remain on a low dose maintenance steroid.)

A few years ago, her thyroid was tested. In order to show a reading on the thyroid panel, we worked up to 3 times the basic dose and she hit the lowest reading. Unfortunately, this sent her allergies into overdrive and I was having to increase the prednisone so much that she was miserable. I opted to taper her off the thyroid medication.

Around the same time she had ACL surgery and during recovery, her skin infection finally cleared up. We tried rounds of antibiotics, but she would have a skin infection within a few days - so she's on a maintenance antibiotic too.

I feel like the priority is the kidneys since the cancer care is a monthly lump check. Even though it's a drive, I want everything to be going on at the teaching hospital. At least that way, the oncologist, dermatologist and internal medicine doctors are in the same building and can/will freely talk to each other. Of course, everyone's off for the holiday weekend, so I'm stuck waiting until Tuesday for phone calls to be returned.

I can't change any decisions I've made in the past, but each decision was made with love and with her in mind.

If you've read this far you are incredible!.....Anything I should be asking about as we head forward?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,724 Posts
Oh My Gosh. You must be so overwhelmed. I'm sorry you are going through all these things with your sweetheart. I have no experience with any of this or advice, but i wanted to let you know I am sending prayers your way for you, your family and your Golden girl.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,788 Posts
You are doing a fantastic job of managing so many conditions for your girl!

Some thoughts about various issues:
Being hypothyroid is miserable. I tell you this from living it myself, so I would consider adding back a thyroid med.

The loose stools could be caused by sensitivity to wheat gluten (in humans this is often caused by celiac disease, which also occurs in some animals). Since you have to move to a low-protein diet for the kidney disease, maybe a food that is based on rice would work? Somewhere I have a recipe for making your own low-protein dog food and I know it's based on rice. I'm sure I can find it if you need it.

Except for the cancer, a lot of what you describe sounds like some form of autoimmune disease. Hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance are both in that category. Probiotics are helpful, so that's a good start.

And you'll hear from a lot of other people who know a lot more about these conditions than I do.

Holding you and your sweetheart in my thoughts and prayers,
Lucy
 

·
every moment is a gift
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Oh My Gosh. You must be so overwhelmed. I'm sorry you are going through all these things with your sweetheart. I have no experience with any of this or advice, but i wanted to let you know I am sending prayers your way for you, your family and your Golden girl.
Thank you so much! It's like controlled chaos sometimes. I know it sounds unbelievable so I didn't include it originally, but shortly after her clearance from the oncologist, my formerly feral cat was attacked by something and spent 4 weeks at the vet. He's been confined on my porch for several additional weeks while everything continues healing and is VERY unhappy.

You are doing a fantastic job of managing so many conditions for your girl!

Some thoughts about various issues:
Being hypothyroid is miserable. I tell you this from living it myself, so I would consider adding back a thyroid med.

The loose stools could be caused by sensitivity to wheat gluten (in humans this is often caused by celiac disease, which also occurs in some animals). Since you have to move to a low-protein diet for the kidney disease, maybe a food that is based on rice would work? Somewhere I have a recipe for making your own low-protein dog food and I know it's based on rice. I'm sure I can find it if you need it.

Except for the cancer, a lot of what you describe sounds like some form of autoimmune disease. Hypothyroidism and gluten intolerance are both in that category. Probiotics are helpful, so that's a good start.

And you'll hear from a lot of other people who know a lot more about these conditions than I do.

Holding you and your sweetheart in my thoughts and prayers,
Lucy
Thank you! I appreciate you insight and ideas. Vet #1 suggested last week that I consider a non-flavored thyroid tab and see if perhaps she was reacting to an additive in the flavored tab. I'm open to it certainly. I wondered if there were tests for immune disorders or if the diagnosis is really symptom based. Again hindsight is 20/20.

Since we just got the kidney news, we haven't swapped to a kidney diet yet, but I know it's coming. She's just moved to lamb & rice. We tried a turkey & potato food first, but she was itching and chewing like a maniac within an hour of eating it so we dumped it. The original food was chicken and rice. I hope we can get her tummy settled a little more before the kidney food transition. I'm going to look through all her treats for gluten tomorrow - it certainly can't hurt.
 

·
& Sawyer's & Quinn's too!
Joined
·
2,740 Posts
You are making so many decisions and doing what is best for her out of love. I am quite confident that they know that on some level. She is so lucky to have you for her advocate. Take care of BOTH of you!
 

·
Mom to 9 :)
Joined
·
2,383 Posts
Just a couple of suggestions to talk to your vets about -

For allergies, my Joey takes a low dose of Temaril-P (contains trimeprazine (5mg) and prednisolone (2mg)) in the a.m./Cetirizine HCI tablet in the p.m.

I have had two dogs in the past diagnosed w/ chronic renal failure. I used Azodyl w/ both and had good success with both.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,245 Posts
Gosh, you are dealing with a lot of multiple issues. Poor Hannah and thank goodness she has a loving and diligent owner like you!

What type of cancer was she diagnosed with?

I've not dealt with kidney issues in a dog but am currently treating Toby for a digestive enzyme deficiency (cobalamin and folate), which presented with loss of weight and lots of loose stools. We are still dealing with it, with slow improvements. I can share our experiences (and the tests) if you end up testing for that.

Toby was just placed on hypertension medicine in preparation for his cataract surgery. His pressures were always very high in the clinical setting, and high normal to elevated under sedation, and normal to high normal at home during home testing. It may be Hannah's hypertension and the kidney issues are related, because I've read here it they tend to go hand in hand (we haven't seen that with Toby). I hope they can help you find a kidney friendly diet that helps the skin/allergy issues and the possible hypertension issues. You might ask the vet who did the cancer surgery to check and see what her pressures were during the surgery to remove the mass. That should give you a pretty good idea of her pressures when she's not overly stressed out. The hypertension medication prescribed to Toby is a human medication that I get at Walmart for $6 a month.

Toby's thyroid bounces like a ball based on seasonal changes. We get his medication from KV Supply (thyro tabs). I checked but cannot tell if they are flavored.

I think you are making a good choice in concentrating her care at the cancer center, at least for now, while you are chasing down so much.

As far as the cataract surgery, it's a good approach to wait on it and get these other issues under control. Toby's ophthalmology vet calls it elective since many dogs live good quality lives being vision impaired or blind.

Give Hannah some ear rubs from me.
 

·
every moment is a gift
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Gosh, you are dealing with a lot of multiple issues. Poor Hannah and thank goodness she has a loving and diligent owner like you!

What type of cancer was she diagnosed with?
Thank you! It's called hemangiopericytoma (realized I never said what it was) which is locally invasive and usually doesn't metastisize, but goes to the lungs if it does.

I've not dealt with kidney issues in a dog but am currently treating Toby for a digestive enzyme deficiency (cobalamin and folate), which presented with loss of weight and lots of loose stools. We are still dealing with it, with slow improvements. I can share our experiences (and the tests) if you end up testing for that.
She's never had a problem keeping weight on. Since her ACL surgery (at 80+ lbs), I've gotten to a stable weight of 67 lbs (orthopedist was THRILLED). I had noticed your posts before about the enzyme deficiency and that is the next step if a food change doesn't bring normalcy.

Toby was just placed on hypertension medicine in preparation for his cataract surgery. His pressures were always very high in the clinical setting, and high normal to elevated under sedation, and normal to high normal at home during home testing. It may be Hannah's hypertension and the kidney issues are related, because I've read here it they tend to go hand in hand (we haven't seen that with Toby). I hope they can help you find a kidney friendly diet that helps the skin/allergy issues and the possible hypertension issues. You might ask the vet who did the cancer surgery to check and see what her pressures were during the surgery to remove the mass. That should give you a pretty good idea of her pressures when she's not overly stressed out. The hypertension medication prescribed to Toby is a human medication that I get at Walmart for $6 a month.
Great idea to call the teaching hospital! I've added that to the growing list of things to do. It would provide an excellent reference. :crossfing

Strangely, the Walmarts around me are sort of out of my way. Unlike everyone I know, I probably go 5-6 times a year. LOL! However, I don't know how I overlooked their rx program. All the medications (dog and cat) are on the $4/$10 list!

Toby's thyroid bounces like a ball based on seasonal changes. We get his medication from KV Supply (thyro tabs). I checked but cannot tell if they are flavored.
I think it's a human version, but I'm not sure.

I think you are making a good choice in concentrating her care at the cancer center, at least for now, while you are chasing down so much.

As far as the cataract surgery, it's a good approach to wait on it and get these other issues under control. Toby's ophthalmology vet calls it elective since many dogs live good quality lives being vision impaired or blind.

Give Hannah some ear rubs from me.
Thanks again. I think if I keep considering the opthalmology issues it's a way of looking forward beyond the current problems. :)

OOOooOO if you could hear her grunting in pleasure from those ear rubs!
 

·
every moment is a gift
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Just a couple of suggestions to talk to your vets about -

For allergies, my Joey takes a low dose of Temaril-P (contains trimeprazine (5mg) and prednisolone (2mg)) in the a.m./Cetirizine HCI tablet in the p.m.

I have had two dogs in the past diagnosed w/ chronic renal failure. I used Azodyl w/ both and had good success with both.
Thank you! I'm going to ask about those allergy meds. She's currently on 10 mg on MWF and then either 10 or 20 on Sat and Sun (depending on the time of year and her breakout level) - in addition all the benadryl. We had gotten down to a 10 mg tablet a week prior to starting the thyroid medication. Even after stopping I've not been able to ween her back down - she just falls apart. :(

It's so good to hear about success with kidney disease....we've usually got a LOT of hope here, but sometimes things build up and seem like they're going to topple over. BUT, I haven't started grinding my teeth yet so, it's not too bad yet! :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,788 Posts
You are going through so much with your girl! Having your cat in recovery too must be overwhelming. Many of us who have multiple animals can relate.

Thank you! I appreciate you insight and ideas. Vet #1 suggested last week that I consider a non-flavored thyroid tab and see if perhaps she was reacting to an additive in the flavored tab. I'm open to it certainly. I wondered if there were tests for immune disorders or if the diagnosis is really symptom based. Again hindsight is 20/20.
Hypothyroidism, which you already know she has, is an autoimmune condition. So is arthritis, which is common in older dogs, and so are allergies. I think a lot of diagnosis is just based on the symptoms, though some autoimmune conditions often come together.

The ongoing antibiotic may be causing problems with digestion and thus causing food sensitivities and loose stools. Probiotics may be helpful with that, though it takes a while to see results.

Since we just got the kidney news, we haven't swapped to a kidney diet yet, but I know it's coming. She's just moved to lamb & rice. We tried a turkey & potato food first, but she was itching and chewing like a maniac within an hour of eating it so we dumped it. The original food was chicken and rice. I hope we can get her tummy settled a little more before the kidney food transition. I'm going to look through all her treats for gluten tomorrow - it certainly can't hurt.
The kidney disease food that we used with Sabrina was a prescription product. What I remember most about it was that it was much lower protein than other dog foods. Since protein is harder on the kidneys, we had to restrict Sabrina's treats, so she didn't get much meat of any kind, no eggs, no fish, etc.

Through all of this, remember to take care of yourself and to make time for having fun! That's important, since nobody can give all the time.
 

·
every moment is a gift
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Boy, the remnants of Lee worked us like you wouldn't believe. We've been without power & phone since early yesterday afternoon and they think it will be at least Friday before we get it back. The houses across the street are on a different circuit and the trees laying on the lines caused several transformers to spark, burn and ultimately blow out after about 6 hours. The winds and rain were strong and almost continual for about 20 hours - I was getting scared. But SO glad to finally have rainfall, no trees on the house and no wildfires like in Texas.

Anyway, talked with the vets when I got to work. DallasGold - I checked with the oncologist about her BP and he said that she was so nervous (she had to wait 4 hours during a storm) before surgery, that he didn't think it would be an accurate assesment.

He agrees with Vet #1 and #3 that the kidneys should be a priority. Vet #1 said that he'd prefer I get the kidney situation investigated before changing anything with the thyroid or allergies and would recommend not changing too much up at one time. The referral coordinator at the teaching hospital agreed and said they would prioritize her as kidneys and allow an appointment with dermatology, but probably no testing until kidneys were evaluated.

With the storms blowing through yesterday and today, we didn't make it to recheck the blood pressure, but hope to do it on Thursday morning. Before losing the phone yesterday, I was amazed at the number of clinics without a machine....I found one and their pump was broken. So, now...we wait for the blood pressure recheck (wish they weren't so expensive or I'd just buy one) and then decide the next path. The good news is that she's had good poop for the last two days!

GoldensGirl - I don't know why it never connected that the thyroid, etc are autoimmune issues (???) :doh: I knew this, but somehow it never registered. Thank you for mentioning this so I don't continue to say to doctors something so contradictory :)

Thank you for the continued thoughts and prayers. I'll be checking in as I can, but nothing regular until the power returns - I really want a generator :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,245 Posts
It sounds like you have a good plan, attacking the kidneys first, then approaching the others. It seems so overwhelming, then to deal with lack of power on top of that--ugh... I hope you get your power back soon. What a major hassle.

I agree about those blood pressure machines. After checking one out I decided I'd like to just buy one and went online to search for one (a Pet Map) and a used one was about $950! I thought about just using a human one but it doesn't give you all the numbers the canine one does, like the mean arterial pressure.

I'll be checking your thread for updates.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,994 Posts
My Toby has had similar urine values for protein for over 3 years. That should give you some hope! He has never been put on a kidney diet because he has IBD, and in fact we supplement his protein with cooked chicken (small amounts) to help prevent the ongoing muscle wasting in his back legs.
One thing his vet did was tell me to give him 1/2 a baby aspirin daily, apparently it's quite kidney protective. You might want to inquire about that? It's below the level where they expect gastrointesinal side effects.
The food problem sure sounds like an intolerance. I hope the prescription food helps.
 

·
every moment is a gift
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
My Toby has had similar urine values for protein for over 3 years. That should give you some hope! He has never been put on a kidney diet because he has IBD, and in fact we supplement his protein with cooked chicken (small amounts) to help prevent the ongoing muscle wasting in his back legs.
One thing his vet did was tell me to give him 1/2 a baby aspirin daily, apparently it's quite kidney protective. You might want to inquire about that? It's below the level where they expect gastrointesinal side effects.
The food problem sure sounds like an intolerance. I hope the prescription food helps.
Oh that's great to hear! :)

Vet #1 said in an email that we might have to have a "sit down" if the numbers remained high - I didn't realize this when we spoke on the phone or I would have asked about that phrase. I found out last night when I stopped by the library to use the internet.

I'll check on the aspirin when we get the BP rechecked. Thanks!

We were back to super mushy poop today, but with all the disturbances in the neighborhood, I'm not too surprised. I hope things improve on that end when the power comes back on - I saw power company trucks when I went home to give lunchtime meds so I'm thinking positively!!! :crossfing
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,245 Posts
I hope you get power back tonight.

I bet Hannah is stressed by everything going on without power, vet visits, etc. Plus she's probably sensing your apprehension over these things. Dogs pick up on our slightest emotions...my vet had to remind me of that a couple of weeks ago when I first started preparing for Toby's surgery. She's right, of course, but it's so hard when we worry about them so much.

If you get to take a machine home let me know. I can find the form I use to note the pressures and email it to you--pm me. They instructed me to take a series of 4 or so at once and do several series per day. I usually did 4 or 5, noting the readings, Toby's demeanor, the time, if he exercised before, if he had eaten before, and his position. I also noted where I took the reading--front or back legs, what side, etc. They showed me how to take it on his tail but Toby wouldn't have that at all. They also wanted a couple days worth of readings. They took all of those readings, averaged them, through out highs and lows and came up with an overall assessment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33,267 Posts
I don't know if this is relevant or applicable but our first Golden, Polly, had sensitivity issues in the form of hot spots. At age 6 she was diagnosed with liver cancer (via exploratory surgery) and given a month to live.

I started making her food myself. It was hamburger boiled with carrots and peas and then instant rice put in at the end. I let it sit for 1/2 hour and dished it into containers. Once cooled they went into the freezer. I made a week's worth at a time. She lived until she was 14 1/2. The vets were amazed that she survived.
 

·
3 goldens
Joined
·
11,706 Posts
I am so sorry your girl (and you) are having to go thru all this. She is a beautiful girl.

I don't really have any suggestions as everyone else has already posted the things i thought about. I will say, i am super low thyroid myself and it is miserable. Even on meds i get so darn tired. But then i am also anemic and have diabetes, and problem with my blood pressure just dropping to unreal levle.s my fireman/emt brother said he doesn't see how i am even able to walk when it drops to like 60.42.

So i feel for your girl and i hope you can get an answer.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,788 Posts
Just checking in. You are getting tons of good advice. It's so hard to handle all of this, but it does get easier with practice. And there's a lot to be optimistic about!

Continuing to hold you and your sweetheart in my thoughts and prayers,
Lucy
 

·
every moment is a gift
Joined
·
3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I agree about those blood pressure machines. After checking one out I decided I'd like to just buy one and went online to search for one (a Pet Map) and a used one was about $950! I thought about just using a human one but it doesn't give you all the numbers the canine one does, like the mean arterial pressure.
I've searched around, but haven't found anything I understand (too technical). Do you know why the doppler (with the sensor held between the pads of the foot and cuff on the leg) might be used over the oscillometric (pet map type)? I couldn't get a straight answer on this.

I started making her food myself. It was hamburger boiled with carrots and peas and then instant rice put in at the end. I let it sit for 1/2 hour and dished it into containers. Once cooled they went into the freezer. I made a week's worth at a time. She lived until she was 14 1/2. The vets were amazed that she survived.
What a wonderful gift you gave Polly! I discussed diet some and he mentioned we would have to be very careful if I started manipulating it. I think if I have to take this route, we'll consult a nutritionist too. I never cook meats so I wouldn't know if I was doing anything properly! :)

I am so sorry your girl (and you) are having to go thru all this. She is a beautiful girl.

I don't really have any suggestions as everyone else has already posted the things i thought about. I will say, i am super low thyroid myself and it is miserable. Even on meds i get so darn tired. But then i am also anemic and have diabetes, and problem with my blood pressure just dropping to unreal levle.s my fireman/emt brother said he doesn't see how i am even able to walk when it drops to like 60.42.

So i feel for your girl and i hope you can get an answer.
Thank you so much for posting. You've got a grab bag of health issues too! I have to agree with your brother and am amazed that you keep going with such a low reading.

I hope we can readdress the thyroid issue with Hannah once we've started kidney care. Hearing stories like yours and others about their own thyroid experiences make me want to try to find a solution for Hannah and give her the best quality life I can.
 
1 - 20 of 2783 Posts
Top