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Old 05-13-2009, 04:27 PM
tessa_s212
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Default worried about Spook

Spook is our 9 year old English Setter we took home from the shelter last winter. Due to his back problems and barking, no one wanted him and if we hadn't taken him, he would have lost his life in a cold, dark shelter. This dog has truly made me in love with E. Setters, despite all his quirks.

Six days ago he stopped eating and stopped walking. We thought it was his back again, But this time even when we increased his dose for his back, he was not eating and he did nothing but lay there, completely motionless. He went to the vet today and all I could find out from my sister was that he has elevated liver enzymes and WBC. He tested negative for heartworm(cheapest tests were run first, just to rule them out though we knew the likelihood of it being heartworm was zip.) He's being put on a home-cooked diet, and they are doing a Differential or CBC.

I've been working at the clinic long enough to know when they start running all these expensive tests, it just isn't good, especially with the liver. I'm so worried he's in the beginning stages of liver disease or even cancer of some kind.

So his total clinical signs are:
lethargy
anorexia
increased thirst and urination
weight loss
pain in abdomen
no recent bowel movements
and some small amount of blood in his stool(which was just three little tiny squirts of diarrhea) about a week ago

Anyone else ever had a dog with similar symptoms or can give me a clue of what more specifically may be going on. Elevated WBC and liver enzymes could mean so many things.
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2009, 06:23 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Can't really help you here, but it sounds like maybe liver or kidney problems

Good luck and keep us posted on Spook!!
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2009, 07:32 PM
tessa_s212
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Everything I keep finding points to liver disease - now it is really just a question of how much damage there is to the liver. The medication he was on for his back for quite some time, we were forewarned, could be hard on the dog's liver. And I've since called and spoken to my mother, and she's further confirmed that Spook has had dark/orangish urine, yet another sign. I was also told that the vet seemed very concerned, so it may be something that is quite serious.

I'm actually also very surprised that the vet didn't push Science Diet. Spook is now on a egg noodle, kidney bean, cottage cheese diet for the rest of his life. Can't have a lot of meat based protein because of the extra wastes made from meat digestion and the stress it can put o the liver.

My sister knows how to use a computer as well, but I've gotall sorts of resources at my fingertips being in vet tech school. I'm not telling her anything yet about liver disease or failure just quite yet. Ignorance is bliss.

It is just so upsetting.. we've had him just a short time, and I know if it comes down to expensive treatment, my sister cannot afford that and even if he does have some quality of life left, euthanasia will be the only answer. Just hoping it doesn't have to come down to that for at least a good sum of time. But unlike what both my mother and sister expected or were hoping, this isn't a quick fix... it will likely turn out to be a slow, downhill battle.

Now we just wait patiently for test results and a confirmed diagnosis and prognosis.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:49 PM
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I'd start with an Xray and if there's a question and ultra sound . Many vibes coming your way !
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:07 AM
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did they do abdominal xrays?
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:18 AM
tessa_s212
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They didn't do an ultrasound or x ray yet because of the expense. The bill has already stacked up to a little over $300 I believe, and my sister just doesn't have that money. I think they are also still waiting for one more test to get back. I'm not sure where we are going from here. All I know is that they're going to have to focus on treatment, rather than expensive diagnostic testing, so that we can put all the money into making him comfortable and managing his liver failure until my sister can't afford it anymore and then euthanasia

I wish I knew more, but I wasn't at the appointment and getting sister and mother to repeat all the science mumbo jumbo is impossible. I can look in his file when I work saturday when I work.

And I did get a specific on the WBC - they are up to 2200. So just really not good. I'm going and visiting mother and sister tomorrow to check on spook and see if I can find out more.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:21 AM
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i would think that getting pictures of his liver to rule out a tumor would be pretty important.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:48 AM
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Sending a ton of good vibes for Spook.
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  #9  
Old 05-14-2009, 04:04 PM
tessa_s212
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Sister just can't afford an ultrasound or xray. She's not sure yet how she's going to pay the $300 as it is. I'm not sure how she's going to afford to continually feed him a homecooked diet. I'm going to help as much as I can, as I can buy many of the food supplies on my food stamps. SO's grandparents will just have to stop forcing me to spend my food stamps on them so that we can keep Spook alive, comfortable, and happy as long as possible.

For now we're just keeping the vet informed on how he's doing. He gets back in town Monday, and we'll just have to see what he says then.

He's walking around today, and you can just tell he's more comfortable now that he's off the pain medication, on new meds (antibiotic, B6, glucosamine, etc) and getting all sorts of special treatment. He's still laying around a lot, but that painful look is out of his eyes. I'm not sure what to expect and I'm sure we'll just have to play it day by day until that time comes.

He's just 9 years old. When we took him home he had back problems, and we thought it would likely get to the point where we just couldn't afford huge surgeries and treatments for his back and he'd be euthanized then. And I know what we've done for him is wonderful.... He's had a year of a great life with other dogs and people that love him - no one yelling/hitting him for barking, no one throwing him out like garbage because they had a baby. A permanent, stable home that isn't going to toss him away. I just wish we were rich and could do more for him - not as if ultrasounds or x rays would help him more. It would only tell us more specifically or confirm diagnosis.. so we're trying to do the most for him and leave it at that. And when that time comes, it won't be in a cold, dark, cement building like it would have been a year ago. It just that it was hard to let go of our other two at 11 and 12.. 9 is just too early. Especially since we've only had this wonderful, magnificent dog just a year. It just isn't long enough.

Needless to say, he got some goooood long belly rubs from me today and the butt scratching/massaging he so thoroughly enjoys. And it was so good to see him up walking occasionally.

I just have to end with... it is so hard thinking that we are likely going to lose him much sooner than anyone would have imagined. So hard. And many people woudln't even take a chance on an older dog - which is why he almost lost his life in the shelter. But even if we lose him only at 9,.. It was such a privelege to take this dog out of a shelter and have him in our lives. Something about older dogs that no one else wants... they're so wonderful. I do believe when I can afford my own place or afford Cocoa a companion, it will be another old dog that I adopt. If only to give that dog a year or two, it'd be worth it.
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:23 PM
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My opinion wont be popular, but I think the time to coddle Spook and make his last days easier was a while ago. He hasn't eaten or walked for six days? You're five days late for the vet. It's good that he's walking around today, but I think you are at or past the point where he needs to be PTS. Don't drag it out until it's horrible for him.
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