Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Skruffy Has GOOD NEWS – Kinda
Skruffy went in for what we thought was going to be her final visit to Soldotna Animal Hospital…definitely her last visit with Dr. Meezie Hermansen because she is off for the next month due to her commercial fishing gig.
But before the news…let’s look at the past 7 days. As you can see, the hair on her belly area is nearly gone. Most of that is due to the ultrasound she had last week…but she has lost a lot of hair in the past three weeks, that’s for sure. Last Wednesday (June 29th) we put her on a liver medication called Denamarin. Gave her a pill Wednesday afternoon, Thursday morning and Friday morning (best given after 10-12 hour fast.) Well, we noticed Thursday night that her appetite had weakened. By Friday morning, she was refusing all food. Marcia and I talked about it and decided to stop the Denamarin and the antibiotic because Skruffy eating was the most important thing right now. The Vet from Anchorage called Friday evening to see how Skruffy was doing, and she concurred with stopping the medication (she is the one who suggested this medication to Dr. Meezie.) By Saturday she would eat out of Marcia’s hand, by Sunday she progressed from hand to hand and some out of her dish. She had totally given up on her Diabetic Hill’s Prescription foods, so I was cooking up some ground chicken, Marcia made some brown rice, and complimented it with grilled chicken breast strips and grilled pork strips (no spices, no oils, just meat). On Sunday when we headed over to Homer, Marcia noticed that Skruffy’s color on her belly was yellow, her gums were white with some only hint of pink, and to complicate things…she had not pooped since Thursday night. We both thought her liver was shutting down… On Monday (4th of July) I got an infant suppository manufactured by PediaLax. Used half of one dose, and within 15 minutes things started to flow. It was an awful bright gold color, very runny at first, very disgusting (no pictures, sorry). But she ate a bit better Monday night. At 3 am I hear this bark…ask Marcia if she heard it. As we started to fall back asleep, there is the clear bark of Skruffy again, she is at the front door. Gotta hurry, let her out and there goes some more! Gotta say, it was the only fireworks we saw in this area where it is too light to really do fireworks on the 4th (which was now the 5th). By Tuesday, her poop started to look more like normal.
By bedtime Tuesday (the 5th) we start feeling like there is hope for the girl. She ate both breakfast and dinner within 30 minutes of getting her insulin shot. She had much more energy, so much so that when I took her on one of her three walks Tuesday, she actually pulled on the leash. She jumped up into the motorhome so quick, she went right over to my chair and tried to jump into it before I got into the motorhome (first time she had tried to make that jump in over 3 weeks.) And as we looked over her belly last night, we both saw some pink coming back, and her gums definitely had pink and even red to them. And her appetite was back, and I started mixing her dog food with the ground chicken before I cooked it, and added less rice to the mixture. It looked like we might have gotten over the hump.
Skruffy dog is more alert, more active, getting her color back, barking at other dogs again, taking good walks, eating, peeing, pooping, and loving to be on either of our laps. Yes, she still sleeps more than she use to…she does not like her glucose test, but does not mind the insulin injection. In the past six days I had over 20 glucose readings, especially the important glucose curve reading showing how long it took for her blood sugar to hit rock bottom after an injection and start to climb again…and how far it would fall after a shot. I emailed a pdf of the chart I had made of the glucose readings to the vets office, and also put it on my Kindle. So off we went to see Dr. Meezie today, her last day at work (as a Vet) before she starts the job she was born to do (fishing) for the next month.
Good news…she is no longer Anemic…her red blood cells are back to the normal level, as are most of her other readings. Bad news, her liver enzymes are way too high…8 to 10 times higher than normal…and her white blood cells are still a little high. Had it been just the white blood cells, Dr. Meezie would have given her a pass. But what we don’t know is if the liver enzymes are high due to what she went through over the weekend, or is that why she went through what she did over the weekend. Because she is eating well, holding her food down, peeing and pooping, having more energy, and loosing her yellow coloring, Dr. Meezie “thinks” that they are high because of her problems, and are on their way down. So we decided to start up the antibiotic again, hold off on the Denamarin, come back Friday to see Dr. Bowser or Meezie’s month long replacement who is up from New Mexico to enjoy the cool Alaska weather and get away from the hot New Mexico weather, and run the liver test again. “IF” the Liver enzymes are falling to more normal levels, then off we go with a dog who has a good chance to a much longer life. “IF” they remain high…we have a dog who will be lucky to make it out of Alaska, let alone all the way back to California, and especially to Florida. Though still worried a bit, we are confident, with all the positive readings, that the liver tests on Friday will be better.
Tonight we finally had dinner with Chuck and Debbie. Chuck is the twin brother of Bill who lives near us in Florida. Due to Skruffy’s condition, we asked them if we could postpone our get together last week. They too use Dr. Meezie, and totally understood that Skruffy was our first concern right now. We had a great dinner and a great time, nice to meet you Chuck and Debbie…hope you make it down to Florida one of these days. Another “small world” thing…just across from us is a family from Missouri who come up to Alaska every summer to commercial fish. They leave their 5th wheel and two vehicles up here all year round. My parents lived in Missouri for many years in the same town, and yes…my parents know the mother's parents, and my cousin was the 6th grade teacher of one of her sisters, and my cousin has known her dad for many years…even went to college together. Now that’s a small world, here in Alaska, the largest State of the United States of America.