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Boomer walks me!
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Hi everyone, I stumbled upon this site after about 30 hours of researching what is going on to my poor Chopper. A little background and then a few questions if anyone has experienced this. Chopper, my best friend and the only thing I have in my life, born to Honey girl, my Mom and Dad's beloved companion. Honey went over the rainbow bridge last september at 12 years old. Chopper is 7 1/2 currently. I work night shift as a nurse (former Vet nurse), and I came home this past Monday to my usual greeting at the door by my buddy Chopper. For the last few days he wasnt gobbling his food like usual, but by the time I'd get up from sleeping it would be gone and hed be in bed next to me. Well I tried coaxing him to eat this particular morning and he just seemed a little disinterested. I went to the gym after letting him out to pee, and when I arrived back home he wasnt at the door. He was sitting with his back to me looking over his shoulder, big warning sign something was wrong. So i said come here Boo and he couldn't hardly get up. Once I was able to help him get his hind end up he headed for the automatic watering bowl and drank as if he hadnt had a drink in months. I stopped him and took him out again and he peed again. But I knew this wasn't my dog. He was lethargic and his eyes said it all. Rushed him to the vet where she called me a few hours later and said its glomerulonephritis caused by lyme. He had tested positive for lyme (even after vaxx) years back and had a month's worth of Doxy and tested negative. She said his BUN 75 and creat was 3.6. I know this isn't a good sign in people or animals. IV therapy has started, after two days she let him come home. Hes getting azodyl, doxy, a phosphate binder, and pepcid. He looks slightly better yet still not himself. All the research I see with my beloved golden is that it is ALWAYS fatal. Does that mean fatal in a few days? months? years? Has any golden ever pulled through this? I can't even explain how hard this is for me, as it is hard for anyone to lose a pet but this couldnt have come at a worse time. I feel as if I absolutely cannot lose my Chopper now. I know as humans we rationalize and attempt to bargain with the end... I am contemplating giving him SubQ fluids myself at home. Vet said give him meds bring him back next Friday for more blood work. I'm just so unsure and cannot concentrate. I cant even stand that I am leaving his side to go to work. Please does anybody have more information. I wont make him a science experiment but I feel like we should try what we can, nothing crazy (no dialysis or kidney transplant). Any help would be greatly appreciated. :crossfing
 
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I'm so sorry your Chopper tested positive for this terrible disease. I have no experience with it, just sending positive wishes and good thoughts.
 

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where the tails wag
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I have no experience but wanted to let you know my thoughts are with you - and also; I am not sure anything other than life itself is always fatal.
 

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This thread gave me goosebumps. I live in chronic fear of lyme nephritis. I do not believe every vet general practioner knows much about it( one vet in my large practice doesnt even believe it exists, and her husband is a pathologist at Tufts vet school). NC State has an incredible knowledge of tick diseases in dogs. Maybe you could call them? I do believe it is fatal, but maybe there are state of the art treatments or clinical trials? Maybe you could research who is studying it and call them for the very latest medecine?

http://research.vet.upenn.edu/ClinicalStudies/CanineLymphoma/tabid/4518/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/29/Study-of-Lyme-Nephritis-and-Proteinlosing-EnteropathyNephropathy-in-Dogs.aspx

There is a Tick List of huge influence for dogs. The web address is here on the forum somewhere.

https://sites.google.com/site/blackgsd/home
 
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First of all, Lyme nephritis is not always fatal. It is frequently fatal because the damage to the kidneys is difficult to reverse. Damaged kidneys tend to get worse over time because they can't properly filter out waste products from the blood, and that waste can damage them further. So manage your expectations, since many dogs cannot recover from this form of the disease, but also be aware that some have.

The real question in my mind is whether his kidney values have improved. I would really want to know what his creatinine and BUN are today to see if they're still showing severely reduced kidney function. Doxycycline can beat back the disease significantly within the first 24-48 hours after the first dose, so I would want to know if his blood values also improved in that time frame. That might give you an idea of how much kidney recovery is possible. I would also ask the vet about the merits of a low protein diet to keep those protein waste products to a minimum and give the kidneys a chance to heal.

Kidney damage does not heal well in dogs, so the question is how badly his kidneys were injured here. Knowing that would tell you the answers to your other questions (whether this is fatal and how long he might have). The good news is that catching it early and treating right away with doxycycline anecdotally improves survival rates. Another piece of small good news is that my vet has said, again anecdotally, that she tends to see milder cases in vaccinated dogs.

OK, now that business is out of the way, I want to say that I'm absolutely heartbroken for you. We live in Lyme ground zero (southern CT), and TBDs are a constant fear, so what you're experiencing is one of my worst nightmares. Scratch Chopper in his favorite spot for me, and tell him I said he was a good dog.

I know you said you feel like you cannot lose him, and I know the feeling. But if he does die, please remember that you never really lose a good dog as long as you honor him by learning loyalty and joy from his life. You lose the chance to scratch him on the head when you want to and the chance to feel his warm breath on your hand, and that hurts so, so much, but a good dog really never leaves your side.

I'll check back on the thread throughout the day. Hopefully one of members who's a real vet will see the thread and offer better advice and insight than I can.
 

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Boomer walks me!
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Update on Chopper today. I got home from work this morning and he was worse then before. He didn't even pick his head up when I came home. Not eating, not drinking, although still urinating. I gave him a bolus of SubQ fluids (my own personal order). I began seeing that perhaps hes losing the battle and I will not allow my best friend to suffer. I laid down in my scrubs and snuggled up with him which he seemed to appreciate. He hasn't been sleeping, resting not sleeping. He finally slept, although I could not. He was dreaming. My brother stopped by to see him and coaxed him up, his back legs arent cooperating with the sitting to standing but we helped him up and away he went. Out to pee, came back in, ate some food took more meds, and appeared to have gotten another burst of energy (he has visitors all day, I had to put the grim reaper on stand-by). I called his vet (who's pretty far away and she knows I couldnt drive him that far for his last appointment, I would have a local vet come to the house). The vet thats been treating him says, he is going to be touch and go, he is fighting a war on two fronts, the lyme and the renal failure. We have to be patient, he isnt going to wake up back at a 100% anytime soon, but she also feels he will not hit the wall and have absolutely no kidney function left anytime soon either. She said do not make any rash decisions, give him a couple of days and a lot of help getting from the sit to the stand. Make sure hes getting all of those meds, and we will recheck kidney functions next week. Its hard to see him in pain, as he can't have pain meds because of the kidney problems, I just hope I'm doing the right thing. When he got up and wanted his duckies and was wagging his nub (as I forgot to mention he doesn't have a tail <he's been through more than any dog would have survived before this>), I knew I had to call off the reaper and try. He wouldnt give up on me!
 

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Aww, I got teary over this photo! Great post by TippyKayak. I so hope Chopper heals and is able to stay with you for a long time.
 

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Boomer walks me!
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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you very much and thank you for the links. I actually sent a late night email to the Doc at UPENN! I cant afford to do anything crazy with him like dialysis or kidney transplant, I just need reassurance I'm doing what I can with what I have!
 
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Dr. Rainheart
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I am so sorry you are going through this. I don't have any advice for you; you just have to wait it out. I've never seen a case of this, but my vet has told me about it and is mostly seen in retrievers (though we aren't sure why). I hope he can pull through this.

I always worry about Lyme, even down here. A study I did at my vet clinic this summer showed that 22% of dogs that come in are positive. I did give my pup the vaccine and that is the best protection we can give. I did find over the summer, also, that a little over 3% of the dogs that did have the vaccine (since a puppy and every year after) still came down with Lyme.
 
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Boomer walks me!
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Discussion Starter #13
We're doing our best! Maybe it's the holiday but I got home just a half an hour ago from work, he wasn't up but had his chopper smile on. I coaxed him and picked his hind up for him and we went outside! Still urinating and he ate like a piggy and licked the bowl clean which is a first in many days!!! Now were doing our fluid therapy! I need a miracle here and so does my boy!!!
 

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In every dog I've ever personally known with Lyme, the disease symptoms went to almost zero by 48 hours after the first dose of doxy. That includes Comet's experience with anaplasmosis. He was almost too lame to get down the stairs one morning, and by the next morning, 24 hours after his first dose, there was no sign of a problem. You obviously still have to finish the antibiotic course to actually wipe the disease out, but that first step of recovery is amazing.

So my guess is that the Lyme is on the retreat and his body is trying to bring those compromised kidneys fully back online. I'm glad your vet encouraged you to wait at least a couple of days. You really won't know what his chances are until the antibiotics have had an opportunity to work. Some of his lethargy and problems getting up might also be due to Lyme arthritis, which, if it's part of the problem, should improve quite quickly.
 

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Boomer walks me!
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Discussion Starter #15
That scares me a little because he started doxy on Monday and this arthritis isn't backing off yet. He doesn't have the strength in his hind legs to get up or sit down but once I help him up he walks pretty decent. I could probably take him on a decent walk. It's the bending and pushing to get up and down!
 

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Boomer walks me!
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Discussion Starter #16
Any knowledge of levothyoxine. He's also hypothyroid and Im not sure to carry on with those meds. I have left them out because I was worried about stressing the kidneys out more having to metabolize more?!
 

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I would continue with the thyroid meds regardless ... It helps with metabolism.... As a vet and as a dog owner, my one dog who has had anaplasma and Lyme was better quickly (within 24 hours). Renal disease is tricky.... There are some thoughts to use aspirin to prevent antibody/antigen complexes and enalapril...
 
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Boomer walks me!
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Discussion Starter #18
As a Vet have you ever seen a dog overcome this? Is it an immediate death sentence?
 

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We currently have a client with an aussie whose dog is living with Lyme nephritis, and has been for the past year. However, one of my good friends lost a golden very quickly to Lyme nephritis.
 
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Boomer walks me!
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Discussion Starter #20
That's my fear. It's not the kidneys I see right now as the problem it's these legs no cooperating. It's sad, ill keep helping him as long as I he let's me. He doesn't cry out. They just don't work until you get him standing on them. They're like jello. Almost like a baby deer trying to stand up on ice
 
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