Thursday, 8 January 2009
All about Emma...(and it's very long )
Well most of it will be anyway. Far too much catch up on otherwise.
All my good intentions of keeping up with the blog have, for one reason or another been put on hold for the time being. I still can't get motivated enough, always thinking of something else to do. I don't use the internet so often now either.
Anyway, this is supposed to be about Emma. I purposely haven't written anything about her for a while as I have been, and still am waiting for news about what can be wrong with her.
I'll start at the beginning.
About three weeks before Christmas, I noticed how thin she was getting. Now this was good in a way, as I had been feeding her less and giving her a "Senior Light" blend of dog food, but she still had been getting as many titbits, biscuit treats, chips and other naughties so was wondering why she was suddenly getting a bit "ribby". Also over the previous month or so she had a couple of days where she didn't want to eat anything at all, which is very, very unusual. Turned her nose up at everything. Occasionally a spell of being sick.
That sets the scene, so I thought I'd take her to see Damien for a check up. He listened to the above, and decided the way forward was to do a blood test to check out for anything not right. Her heart was checked, and it's none too good at present, plus the fact she has a bad tooth which needs to come out and maybe causing her some discomfort, but we can't risk the anaesthetic at this time, because her heart probably won't stand it. Anyway, the test came back within a few days, Damien rang me to say it she is very low in protein and albumen. I was to start feeding her up with higher protein food, and more of it, little and often, to get it up to normal level (she was something like 16% and it should be 25%)
This was on the Friday of the weekend before Christmas. So I went out and bought the same brand of food, but the normal one instead of Light, with higher protein. That night she was sick. Next morning, fine, and ate normally all day. That night she was sick again, and brought everything up. Same again on Sunday. She threw up so many times I lost count. Then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, she was fine, ate normally, was lively, happy and waggy, so I thought thank goodness, just something she'd eaten (I forgot to mention she ate cat's sick up at the farm on the Friday, so thought that was the explanation for that episode)
Christmas Eve, about 9.45 pm Alan and I sitting watching tv, Emma asleep down the side of the sofa. She got up and staggered across the room, screaming and screaming like you've never heard, near tore me apart. She collapsed on the floor on her side and was violently trembling, her eyes rolling, legs jerking, and then she stopped breathing. By this time I'm down on the floor sobbing, and holding her head, and I stuck my fingers down her throat and got her breathing again. Meantime, she'd lost control of her bowel and bladder.
So at 10.15 we are down the vets, and had to wait with her limp body, whilst the duty vet, lovely girl called Annwen was tending to another sick dog. Carried her in about 10.30. Told her all the symptoms and as much previous history as I could, and she thought it may point to liver failure, causing her to reject food with protein in, which would account for the fact she was so low in her system. Emma managed to stand up after about 20 minutes, and laid down in the corner. Had to bring her home and see how she went on, and phone up if any more problems. We got home Christmas Eve about 11.15pm, and I was going to sit up with her all night. Well it got to 1pm, and she got up, shook herself, and went to the door to ask to go out for a wee as if nothing had ever happened! So decided to get some sleep.
At about 3.15 am, I heard her get up and she wanted to go out again. Let her in front garden, she came in all waggy and excited and wanted her treat for being a good girl and going asking to go out, so I gave her one of her tiny little treat biscuits. Within 10 minutes, she was screaming again and had another fit. She then settled down and I managed to get about 3 more hours sleep. 8am came round, and the same thing happened, another fit, but no screaming this time. Fits only lasted about 1 minute too.
Anwen phoned to see how she was, and said to bring her back down. So Christmas Day, 10 am back down the vets. She gave us some food especially for liver failure in dogs, and I was to give her one spoonful every hour, nothing else.
The next bit is going to be hard to believe, but by midday on Christmas Day, she was right as rain, again as if nothing had happened. We were going to Alan's daughters for dinner, and we were still able to go, with Emma in the car on her beanbag, she was fine, we went out to check her about every 20 minutes and no problems at all.
By Boxing Day, Emma was livelier and fitter than I'd seen her in years, I had to do the farm and she was running round with the dogs up there like a 2 year old. This carried on for many days, three days of farm especially.
Had to take her to see Damien on the Tuesday between Christmas and New Year, and he did a blood test for liver, had to leave her there all day for some other tests. They all came back clear on Friday, and again he said I needed to feed her up with something she likes best, but preferrably, chicken and rice, with white of egg added or some fish. So I gave her half a tin of tuna. We went out for a few hours, shopping for the chicken and rice etc and during the day, she had various dog treats, and when we got home, she didn't want the Tuna. That in itself is so amazing, she would take your hand off for tuna normally. So I cooked the chicken and rice, she didn't want that. So I tried her on the special food she'd been on and devoured with relish for the past week, she didn't want that, or any other food I offered. About 2 hours later she was sick again, and brought up everything she'd eaten all day, undigested.
Damien had said if there were any developments to phone the surgery. Of course, it was after 6pm by then so I only got someone to answer who said they would get the duty vet (John) to phone me back asap. However, Damien phoned me within a few minutes, and told me to come down and he'd give me something to settle her stomach, and to give her nothing for 24 hours, but then to try again with chicken and rice.
He phoned me from home in the evening to say could I take urine sample (Emma's not mine...) down on the Saturday morning, and John would test for kidney failure, as the symptoms were pointing toward that now.
Was fun doing same, following her around the garden in the dark in my dressing gown at 5.40am when she asked to go for a wee.... anyway, did the deed, got loads of wee in the dish, and on my hand...
Dropped it into vets first thing, and John phoned within about 20 mins to say kidney function seemed ok for a dog of her age, and Damien wanted me to take her in again Tuesday (the one just gone) for a further update.
So (nearly finished now) have to feed Emma as before, brown rice, chicken, white of egg and some vegetables, carrot or beans. I've been busy cooking up a big batch, had to find boneless and skinless chicken to cook, else I would be the one throwing up, it makes me want to heave if it still looks like a bird, sorry...
So she's on little and often, splitting it into about 5 or 6 meals a day, and back to see Damien on Tuesday. She's already gained a fair bit of weight, not sure I'm too happy about that, don't want her being a fatty again, but will have to sort that out later I guess. Damien is going to do some more tests for something called Addison's Disease. I looked it up on Google, and everything seems to fit her symptoms. Fingers crossed we will get to the bottom of this.
So there you have it. Still a worry of course, but I don't think it's the big "C" which was my first thoughts with her vomitting everything back, like a tumour, she's far too healthy and lively and would be in more pain more often. Also the blood tests would show anything like that I think, and she's not diabetic which was another possibility.
So as it stands, Emma is happy, waggy and huffy as ever, but always that worry round the corner of will it happen again. Fingers crossed for her then everyone.
One of the sad things for me about all this is that Emma has her little Christmas stocking, stuffed full of goodies, still wrapped hanging up in the larder out of her sight, because we couldn't open any of them for her, until we know if she is able to eat any of the contents. It could be she has developed an intolerance to the additives in dog foods for instance, just not worth taking the risk at present till we know. :(
Sorry this is so long, now you know why I've not posted before. Will keep it updated with any news.