Monday, October 25, 2010

Back to the subject at hand-- sort of.

It's been a while since I wrote something here about Lymphangiectasia, but something happened this weekend which has given me pause and a reason to bring it up here once again.

A while back (a long while back) I wrote a post here entitled Lymphangiectasia is not a death sentence.  I wrote this post because I was seeing so many people coming to the canine lymphangiectasia support group in utter despair, having been all over the internet to read the gloom and doom predictions that are posted on various websites mentioning the disease.  I went through all of that myself, when we first got our diagnosis, and because there was no such thing then as a lymphangiectasia support group, I had to navigate those waters on my own.  And we were lucky.  Not all dogs will make it, but so far, we've done well.

My own experience tells me that, if you can figure out HOW to get these dogs stable, and if you don't get cocky and start feeding treats and fatty foods again, you're likely going to have a very good remission, perhaps one that will last the rest of the dog's expected life span.   I know this, not only because Louie has been in a prolonged remission, but because I'm aware of other dogs who lived many, many years and died of old age AFTER being diagnosed with lymphangiectasia.  This is what gave me the hope to soldier on, in spite of the gloom and doom I was reading everywhere.

Yesterday, one of our support group members wrote to the group to let us know she's looking for another vet.  The reason?  Her vet told her that, by keeping her dog alive, she was consigning the dog to years of misery with a painful disease.

This just broke my heart to read.  If I thought that my own dog with this disease has been miserable and in pain in the years since his remission began, I couldn't live with myself.  It's just not true; he's a happy, energetic, playful little imp who utterly owns my heart, and I fully intend to keep him around as long as I possibly can--provided he remains happy and energetic.  If and when he gets to a point at which there isn't hope, I think we'll both know it.

So it's quite sad, to me, that a veterinary professional came out and all but accused our group member of selfishly keeping her dog alive against its better interest.

Fortunately, she had us to turn to.  From my reading, I know that there's older literature out there which paints a disturbing picture, but that's not the whole story.  There's also newer research and newer ideas about treatment and prognosis but, unfortunately, this disease is so rarely considered and diagnosed that many vets don't ever have a reason to research what's new in the treatment of this disease.  Many, if not most, have never seen a case.

I don't know what I would have done if the doctors at UC Davis had given up on us.  We did get to a point at which they didn't know where to turn or what to do, but that was because they missed his protein allergies.  No one ever accused me of keeping him going just because I couldn't bear to part with him, and he was awfully, awfully sick.  Most of our friends who saw him had a hard time believing that he could recover, but recover he did.

I know he will never be cured.  He will always have to be carefully fed, and watched, and kept away from all things fatty and that long list of proteins he just can't eat.  But that's okay.

I wonder sometimes if vets don't just get so jaded by owners who don't want to spend the money to really diagnose and treat a disease like this.  Is that it?  If so, I hope some of them might take pause at our story, and our friend's story, and realize that some of us will take the time, make the effort, spend the money, and do what is needed to give these dogs the chance they need.

For us, these dogs are family.  It might just be that the owners are looking for that one glimmer of hope to know what to do.  None of us wants to create or prolong misery.  This is not about being selfish, it's about being loved by a creature that trusts you completely.  It's about giving what you can in order to be the person who deserves that trust.

I would urge anyone out there who's receiving a gloom and doom message from their vet to seek another opinion.  And, for the vets, I would urge you to recognize that some of these dogs DO have a chance, despite what you might have read in veterinary school.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Do you have room in your home and heart?

Pet rescue organizations are really struggling right now.  With the downturn in the economy, many families have been forced to make difficult financial decisions, which, in the kinder scenarios, may include "rehoming" the family pet(s).  Many of these pets are now showing up in shelters, where already overburdened systems are being pushed past their limits.

This post isn't meant to take a stand one way or another on kill vs. no-kill shelters or how and why animals end up abandoned; those will be topics for another day, as there is already much written in the blogosphere on these subjects.  This post is about the simple fact that, no matter where you stand on those issues, unwanted dogs, cats and other creatures are being euthanized today, right now-- in record numbers-- because they are homeless.

Rescue groups, both breed specific and non-specific, do their best to take in as many animals as they can, but it has never been enough.  Today, many rescue groups are bulging at the seams and turning away scores of adoptable pets simply because there is no more room at the Inn.  Foster homes are full, and animals who might have had a good chance one or two years ago are now being euthanized (a polite term for killed), because rescue resources have been exhausted, stretched to the breaking point.

So what does this have to do with you?

For starters, you can take a look into your heart and see if you have room there for a foster animal.  Though rescues need help in all areas (I volunteer but cannot foster, myself), the need for foster homes for these animals is at a critical point.

The rewards of working in rescue are enormous.

Second, if you managed to find room in your heart (and home) for a foster, contact a local rescue organization and ask to apply to become a representative.  If you qualify, they will be thrilled to have your help.

All rescues are different, but typical requirements are not that hard to meet.  Usually, for breed specific rescues, they will want you to have some familiarity with the breed, and experience in caring for animals.  They will want your home to be a safe and caring environment for an animal who may be frightened or may have been abused.  They will want to know that you provide proper healthcare to your own pets, and are aware of and prepared to handle any potential behavior problems that may arise between "guest" animals and your existing pets.

If you think you can handle the above, I urge you to consider contacting a rescue group today.  Now, more than ever, you are needed.

Did I mention that the rewards are enormous?  Can you think of many things more satisfying than saving the life of an innocent animal and seeing it through to its new, loving family?

I didn't think so.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Pet Peeve

I just visited the Facebook page of a company that makes a premium dog food, of which I am quite fond.  However, today I was dismayed to read a discussion there about feeding a variety of their products, which contain different protein sources, as a way to keep dogs interested in the food.

This probably isn't horrible advice in and of itself, but someone then asked about advice they'd been given by their veterinarian for their own dog, who is young but is beginning to show signs of food allergies (reacting to certain types of treats with hives and itching).  She said she'd been told to stick with one kind of food and not to vary the dog's diet.

Here's the pet peeve part.  The company spokesperson came on and told this person that a varied diet would be healthier for her dog.

I found myself compelled to post and express my dismay that a corporate spokesperson (whom I assume is not a veterinarian) would be giving veterinary advice to a customer, particularly advice that contradicts advice given by an actual vet.  I then went on to explain that dogs who show allergic tendencies often end up needing to be fed a novel protein and the more proteins you expose them to while young, the more difficult it will be to find anything they can eat if the condition flares up.  This is a common path to IBD in dogs, which is very serious and life-threatening.

Now, I'm not a vet myself, but I know this because I've had to deal with these issues in my own dogs (I have two that are atopic) and I know the horrors of trying to do an elimination diet trial with a dog that has eaten just about everything.  Unless you want to be stuck feeding exotic proteins like venison or buffalo for the rest of your dog's life (and even those are not really novel to many diets anymore), you may want to stop and reconsider what you're putting on your sensitive dog's plate every day and what you and your sensitive dog will have to endure if you ever do find yourself on a search for a palatable protein.

The thing that really bugs me here is that the question was asked of a corporation, whose best interest is clearly served by getting you to purchase all their products, and that the corporation was all too happy to trot out the corporate line suggesting nothing could possibly go wrong as long as you feed THEIR products.

This is a company I've respected a great deal, whose products I have used and recommended.  I still love their products, but I'm starting to believe that they've gotten a bit drunk with their own success.

Bottom line in this pet peeve of mine:  If you have questions about your dog's health, and if you want an educated opinion, it's best to talk to vets, to do research on your own, and learn all you can about the condition in question in order to form your own, educated opinion using unbiased resources.  We shouldn't be too trusting of those whose interests are served by providing a certain answer.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canine Lymphangiectasia Support Group is up with improved load times!

Anyone who may have been frustrated by an attempt to get into the Lymphangiectasia support group (link at top of righthand column) should be pleased to note that the load times have been improved and the site is up and functioning well.  Please join us! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A good day to celebrate heroes

This is a good day to celebrate heroes.  I'm not going to get into political discussion this morning, but instead would like to share with you all a video which was created by one of my own personal heroes.

Her name is Sue, and she works in dog rescue.  Those are the people who pull dogs out of shelters and provide foster homes for them until a "forever" home can be found.  Sue has opened her home and heart to countless needy dogs over the years.  She was foster mom to one of my own, bringing him all the way to California from Michigan herself.  I love Sue just for this, but if that were not enough, she also opens her heart to human children, providing a loving home for four refugee children from war-torn nations.

Sue is not wealthy. She works a full-time job to make ends meet, just like most of us.

There are not enough Sues in the world.  I wish I had a tenth of her energy and drive.  Sue made this movie to honor all the foster dogs she's taken in over the years, and I'm proud to share that with you all today, because this is a good day to celebrate heroes, and Sue is one of mine.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Salmonella in Pet Food can Sicken Children

There are many opinions about the presence of salmonella in pet foods, but one thing we can all agree on is that, whereas it may or may not sicken our pets, it does sicken humans.  Now researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with researchers from several state health departments, have found a link between contaminated pet foods and illness in children.

You can read more about it here .

Monday, September 6, 2010

Banfield under fire

From VIN News comes this underreported story about legal actions taken by veterinarians working at a Banfield pet hospital in Oregon:
"A lawsuit by an ex-Banfield veterinarian in Oregon alleging unethical medical and business practices by the corporation has been dismissed, but a second veterinarian who once worked at the same clinic has a similar complaint pending before the state Bureau of Labor and Industries....
Like Nix, Esquivel alleges that veterinarians and staff at Nyberg Woods were pressed by their superiors to maximize the clinic’s profits at the expense of patient care and welfare, such as by ordering frequent costly ultrasound images and by presenting the clinic as a night-time emergency-care center when it was not properly staffed and equipped to provide true emergency service. 
Esquivel also alleges that she was under pressure to generate a specific amount of revenue for the clinic — $2,200 a day — but was assigned to handle a large share of free wellness exams for which clients were billed “only for vaccines and other small procedures,” and therefore was unable to meet her quota, according to the complaint.
The complaint states that Nyberg Woods struggled to retain clients and that Esquivel had to skip meal and rest breaks to cover the workload. This paradoxical situation arose because management scheduled fewer people per shift to save money, Shahri said in an interview.

By the end of 2008, according to the complaint, Esquivel had become ill from the working conditions and chronic stress. Following 60 days of medical leave, she gave Banfield notice that she would quit “unless she could be assured that their practices would change,” the complaint states. She did not receive a response, but a termination notice was placed in her employee file, according to the complaint."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Companion Animal Protection Legislation

This July, the state of Delaware passed comprehensive legislation which mandates that animal shelters must work with rescue groups who wish to help them find homes for shelter animals.

According to the No Kill Advocacy Center:

This law:
  • mandates the programs and services which have proven so successful at lifesaving in shelters which have implemented them;
  • follows the only model that has actually created a No Kill community; and,
  • focuses its effort on the very shelters that are doing the killing.
What do you think?  Could a law like this work in a cash-strapped state like California?  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hartz Mountain Recalls close to 75,000 bags of treats

Hartz Mountain Corporation is recalling 74,700 8-oz bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs, lot code BZ0969101E, UPC number 32700-11519, which were imported by Hartz from a Brazilian supplier, Bertin S.A., and which were distributed to a number of customers in the United States.  While regular testing conducted by Bertin (prior to shipment to the US) did not detect the presence of Salmonella in any packages of this product, random sample testing conducted by FDA did indicate the presence of Salmonella.   Hartz is aggressively investigating the source of the problem.
Although Hartz has not received any reports of animals or humans becoming ill as a result of coming into contact with this product, Hartz is taking immediate steps to remove the product from all retail stores and distribution centers.  Dog owners having purchased this product should check the lot code on their bag, and, if the code is not visible, or if the bag has lot codeBZ0969101E imprinted thereon, they should immediately discontinue use of the product and discard it in a proper manner.
Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 at any time with any questions they may have and for information on how to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.  

Full press release here 

Something New

The failure to pass AB 2000 this week has left me thinking that we need a better way to connect folks who are concerned about pet health and legislation that affects pets and pet health.

Specifically, I need to be more active in networking in order to bring people together who would be willing to act (make phone calls, rattle cages) in the event that action is needed-- what we failed to do for AB 2000.

Yes, some of us did act, but not enough.  Though I posted my link dutifully on Facebook, the number of hits to that link was small, and those from California even smaller, surely not enough to make the statement we hoped for.  And although I'm grateful to those who did take the time to repost the link and make the phone calls needed, I personally believe that I could have done better.  I could have done more.

In that spirit, I'm making a commitment to use this blog as a tool for connecting people who want to be informed when something is going on that might affect the life or health of your pet.  And I've joined the Saturday Pet Blog Hop today to bring people out to take a look at what I'd like to do.


Monday, August 23, 2010

URGENT--California AB 2000 Action Alert "Molly's Bill"

This image shows how Louie was sickened by his last rabies vaccine.  AB 2000 seeks to allow legal exemptions from vaccination for dogs like Louie who are too sick to vaccinate. 
Please make 3 calls: Appropriations Committee (916-651-4101), Senator Kehoe (916) 651-4039, Monica Wagoner Dept. Health (916) 440-7502 ask them to stop playing politics with the lives of California's sick dogs and get this bill passed.

Saulo Londono called from AM Hagman's office with an update. Apparently the problem with this bill lies with the Deputy Director of Legislative & Governmental Affairs in the Department of Health, Monica Wagoner (916) 440-7502, who claims they will need to hire a 1/2 time research scientist for 18 months at the cost of $160,000 to put this bill through the regulatory process. Other states, such as Maine, did not have to hire anyone to process their medical exemption regulation in 2005, the Department of Health staff processed it. Monica Wagoner is the same person who wrote a letter to California legislators on June 8th opposing the rabies medical exemption after the mandatory quarantine clause was removed. Please call Monica Wagoner's office and tell her that this cost is ridiculous and that other states did not take 18 months to process a medical exemption clause into their regulations, and they did not have to hire a research scientist either.

Two other calls to make: Senate Appropriations Committee (916) 651-4101 and Appropriations Chair, Senator Christine Kehoe at (916) 651-4039 -- tell them to stop playing politics with the lives of California's sick dogs and get this bill voted out of the "Suspense File" and sent to the Senate Floor for a vote.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Holistic treatments for lymphangiectasia

I am asked on occasion if I know of any good holistic treatments for this disease.  I wish I did.  I have had Louie to holistic vets with little success.  The best treatment I know has been adhering to a low fat diet with proteins that are non irritating to his intestines.

For the majority of dogs, that means the Royal Canin Digestive or Gastrointestial Low Fat diets.  If your dog can tolerate that food, by all means, feed it.

Let me say that again:  If your dog can tolerate the Royal Canin Low Fat diet, then feed it.  Do not dink around trying to find a "healthier" option.  You can easily kill a dog that way, and that's not what I call healthy.

IF your dog does not do well on the commercial diet, that is the time to think about what else might work.  What works for us is different, but only by necessity.  If I could feed the current product being offered by Royal Canin, I would.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Louie's bloodwork

Louie's bloodwork came in yesterday, and I'm very pleased to report that his protein levels are normal.  No real word on why he seems somewhat confused, but it's likely age-appropriate confusion.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Louie at the vet

I've not posted much here lately; things have been going pretty well and it's summertime, with all that brings.

Louie's almost 13 years old now, and it's hard to believe.  I never thought we'd bring him this far.

He's been slowing down a bit, having some moments of confusion, so I took him to the vets at UC Davis this afternoon.  He had some bloodwork done and a urine culture, and I hope that his protein levels are okay.  He has lost a little weight, which is a bit of a concern.  Will post an update here when I have word on the results.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

California Rabies Bill Seeks Lifetime Quarantine for Sick Dogs

An amendment currently being considered by the California Legislature would force dog owners whose dogs are too sick to be vaccinated to either quarantine those dogs or vaccinate them, despite their illnesses.  This would include dogs whose illnesses have been caused or aggravated by the rabies vaccine itself.  For those dogs, and many others with chronic diseases, the amendment would effectively create either a requirement of lifetime quarantine or force the dog to receive a life-threatening vaccination.

Vaccine-induced illness, or vaccinosis, comes in a variety of forms and is usually autoimmune in nature.  Typically, dogs that develop vaccinosis never fully recover, and it is usually recommended that they not be vaccinated again.  They often receive a medical exemption in the form of a letter from a veterinarian advising against future vaccination.  A medical exemption letter can be given for many reasons, if a veterinarian determines that a dog is too sick to tolerate further vaccination.  In fact, the labeling instructions on vaccine products instruct veterinarians to vaccinate healthy dogs only.

In California, several changes to the rabies vaccination laws are currently under review, including this language:

“A dog exempt from the canine antirabies vaccination shall be kept quarantined as directed by the local health officer, until the dog's medical condition has resolved and the administration of the canine antirabies vaccine occurs.”

For those dogs that are exempt due to vaccinosis or other chronic conditions, this proposed amendment means owners must choose either lifetime quarantine or vaccinating unhealthy dogs against both veterinary and labeling advice.   For some of these dogs, vaccination would be deadly.

What is the actual likelihood of rabies in California dogs?  According to data published by the California Department of Health Services, Veterinary Public Health Section, bats and skunks are far more likely to carry rabies than dogs.  During the past four years, only one rabid dog has been reported in the entire state of California.  Of the six human cases reported during the period from 1997 to 2006, four are known to have contracted rabies outside of the United States. (

Dr. Bonnie Sorensen, Chief Deputy of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), wrote in 2008: "Bats and skunks are the most common animals found to be rabid in California.  Rabies is rare in dogs, cats, and other domestic animals in California due to vaccination programs and animal control efforts."  (

In other words, the vaccination program that currently exists in California is already working.

According to Jean Dodds, world-renowned California veterinarian and Co-Trustee of the Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust*: “I am definitely alarmed about the negative impact this proposed legislation would have on the health and longevity of dogs legitimately deserving of rabies booster exemptions. The mandate of permanent quarantine as the alternative to forcing these dogs to receive rabies boosters would cause untold pain, suffering and hardship not only for the pet but also the pet owner.

“This proposed legislation is a significant setback to current advancements in standardizing rabies laws nationwide and providing uniform requirements for issuing exemptions, where appropriate, on a case-by-case basis.  It would be ironic indeed, if the State of California, believed to be progressive, was to take a big step backwards and enact unwise and unjustified legislation!”

Laura Bates Sterner of Sacramento, the owner of Louie, a Chinese Crested with a long history of health problems related to the rabies vaccine, is worried that people will not understand what this law would mean for dogs like hers with chronic illness.  “Another part of the same amendment defines and clarifies what qualifies as a medical exemption under the law, and that is a good thing,” she says,  “but pet owners who fail to look more closely at the rest of the proposed legislation may not realize that it also contains this additional language that will force quarantines.  Until now, dogs with medical exemptions have been allowed to simply live out their days.  If the new language passes in its entirety, those animals deemed exempt under the law will have a far different future.”

Sterner, along with Cynthia Jeremica of Sacramento, is hoping to make other dog owners aware of the proposed change to bill AB2000.   They support an alternative proposal written and endorsed by the co-trustees of the Rabies Challenge Fund which would eliminate the quarantine requirement, and make other important changes.  For more information about what you need to do in order to speak out against this amendment (amendment 2 to bill AB2000), please visit .

*The Rabies Challenge Fund is in the third year of concurrent 5- and 7-year research trials to determine the long-term duration of immunity of the canine rabies vaccine with the goal of extending state mandated rabies boosters to 5, and then 7 years.  The purpose would be to extend the interval required for rabies booster vaccination after the initial 2-dose series beyond the 3-year interval now followed. See for additional information.

(Above Photos L-R:  Louie, before and after onset of his rabies vaccine-induced illness)

Additional background/resources: (background on the Rabies Challenge Fund) (Breaking information about the pending amendment to AB2000) (Story of “Louie’s” struggle with vaccinosis) (Story of “Peaches” struggle with vaccinosis) a dog with a vaccine induced fibrosarcoma at the injection site.

High-resolution images of vaccinosis: (Erosion of skin and open lesions on Louie’s ear, more than a year after his injection - image also attached) (Crusting and hyperpigmentation at Louie’s injection site, more than a year after his injection) (Peaches’ ischemic dermatopathy due to rabies vaccine) (Another image of Peaches showing the damage at the injection site – Image also attached) (Louie before his illness) (Louie with his illness)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

CALIFORNIA ACTION ALERT: Proposed CA amendment will force quarantines of sick dogs

below:  Louie before and after his vaccine-related illness.  (Click image for larger view.) 
Louie must never be vaccinated again.  He will be directly affected by this legislation.

On April 5, 2010, California legislators added amendment #2 to proposed bill AB2000: "In rabies areas, all of the following shall apply: A dog exempt from the canine antirabies vaccination shall be kept quarantined as directed by the local health officer, until the dog's medical condition has resolved and the administration of the canine antirabies vaccine occurs."

Every county in California has been declared a “rabies area.” 

Kris Christine, Founder of the Rabies Challenge Fund, in consultation with Dr. Jean Dodds and others, faxed and e-mailed a letter to the sponsor of the bill, Senator Steinberg and the Rules Committee.  Find her letter at 

Arguments: I know that some people will say, who cares? Let's quarantine the dogs so I won't catch rabies. But only one dog has contracted rabies in CA since 2006. Only 6 humans cases of rabies were reported in California -- 4 from exposure that occurred outside of the US. The remaining 2 cases were associated with California bat variants.

Dogs all over CA and the US currently have exemptions and have for many years.

What about the impracticality and cost of quarantine? Where will dogs be quarantined? Who will pay? Who will handle their medical needs if they’re impounded? What about all the inevitable lawsuits from people whose dogs die from forced quarantine or vaccination? Read more about this at  “WHY IS QUARANTINE A BAD IDEA?”

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Please e-mail today and call on Monday the following people. And tell your friends, post on boards and lists, call your local media with a story. We’ll help in any way we can. And be sure to alert any vets have written medical exemptions. We must act now!

The phone number for the California Senate Rules Committee is (916) 651-4120 
Chair of the Committee is Senator Darrell Steinberg e-mail: Phone: (916) 651-4006
Vice-chair Sam Aanestad  (916) 651-4004
Gilbert Cedillo  (916) 651-4022 
Robert Dutton  (916) 651-4031
Jenny Oropeza  (916) 651-4028
Bill Co-Sponsor Assembly Member Curt Hagman  (916) 319-2060

See for more information. Familiarize yourself about the facts and then make impassioned pleas to the legislators. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. Once the committee approves Amendment #2 regarding quarantine it will be very hard to stop. 

Important: At present, it is Amendment 2 we especially oppose. 



PO Box 675446
Rancho Santa Fe, CA

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What's working for us-- updated 9/6/2011

Here's our current recipe:

Dry ingredients:

3 cups of Honest Kitchen Preference
4 cups white potato flakes
1 teaspoon Honest Kitchen Perfect Form
3/4 to 1 teaspoon of powdered spirulina
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon probiotic
3 teaspoons bone meal

I mix the dry ingredients together.  Then add 1 can of the Royal Canin Digestive Low Fat (you can substitute your own choice of low-fat meat or fish, based on your dog's own tolerances.

Add 6 or seven cups of warm water, mix thoroughly.   Feed as is or add a little water at feeding to make the mixture easier to eat.

Yes, it's green!  Louie loves it, and it keeps him going.

If you'd like to try this out on your own dog, but don't want to invest in all these expensive ingredients right away, please contact me at for details on how you can purchase a trial pack of the dry ingredients from me at cost.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Length of time to diagnosis

I posted this tonight on the Canine Lymphangiectasia Support forum ( )  and thought I would put it here, too.

Just thinking here about the situation that I've seen in a number of dogs, both here and at the old Yahoo group, whose owners have had them repeatedly to vets who tried any number of things without success before finally doing an endoscopy or exploratory surgery and getting the answers. 

Any number of papers I've read state that the lymphie dog's prognosis is tied to the dog's condition by the time the diagnosis is made. Some pull through, but others are too far gone. In our case, Louie was diagnosed with pancreatitis, hypothyroid, Cushing's disease, and possible lupus before I finally found a vet who recommended the endoscopy. Most of the vets looked at him and did not know what to say to me. 

Bloodwork was done which showed low protein levels and anemia, but because he also had skin lesions there was a lot of wishful thinking that this was due to blood loss from those areas. No one put two and two together. 

Now, when I look back on it, to me it is so clear. Vomiting, intermittent diarrhea, rapid and extreme weight loss, muscle wasting, lethargy and lack of energy, rumbling tummy, intestinal enlargement on ultrasound, low blood protein-- all warning signs of IL. Those things should have been red flags to someone, but no one knew enough to know this. 

We were lucky, because for all we went through, we still managed to get a diagnosis fairly quickly, but he was still a very sick little guy when we finally got there. 

My wish, and hope, is to find a way to increase awareness of this disease so that we get to a place at which it's no longer the diagnosis of last resort, but one of the things that vets think of at the same time they're thinking of IBD and pancreatitis and all of those other more common illnesses. Because, really, it's the wasted time that's killing many of these lymphangiectasia dogs. 

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Peas update

Louie's still doing well with the added peas and I've also found a food that contains the same fish protein that he was getting in the prescription food before the formula change.  I'm blending that in as well, and he's tolerating it all well right now.

He seems to do better with veggie proteins in general, so something to keep in mind if you are having trouble with protein sensitivity or are unable to stabilize your dog with a low fat diet alone.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reminders of how lucky we are

I try to stay upbeat here, because I think that most people who manage to find their way to this blog need to hear the hopeful stuff.  But some days it just gets to be difficult, when I hear of dogs who aren't doing well, who are diagnosed with protein losing enteropathies that have causes worse than lymphangiectasia, which carry more dire prognoses.  It gets to me, sometimes, and there are days when I'd like to just shut down this blog, shut down the support forums and just move on with my life.

I realize I am lucky, so very lucky, that things have worked out well for Louie and me.  Ours is a story with a rather happy ending (so far), but not everyone is so fortunate.

For those of us whose dogs are doing well, I offer a moment of silent gratitude.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Canine Lymphangiectasia Support Forum!

A few months ago we started a support community in Yahoo Groups, which has steadily grown in size.  Every day, more and more visitors come to this site, seeking information about this disease.  We're finding Yahoo Groups to be too limiting for our needs, and so I am spending some time over this long weekend putting together a web-based forum for canine lymphangiectasia support.  It is my hope that this format will be easier to use and provide a better way for us to keep information available and organized.

Thank you to all who have expressed interest in this venture.  You can now visit the new forum at: . We are still very much in the early stages, with much housekeeping to do, but please drop by.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The soy protein over the long term seems to be a little rough for Louie, though he's doing far better with it than he did with any of the meats or fish I tried.  However, I have been giving him nothing but the canned Royal Canin Digestive Low Fat (pre-formula change stuff) for the past few weeks and he's looking far healthier since I stopped the tofu.  So I am now on a quest for other protein sources that I can feed him.

Tonight we added peas to the Honest Kitchen mix in place of the tofu and gave him that mixed with the Royal Canin.  Peas are high in protein, and very low in fat.  I wanted to try them next, because he seems to do better with vegetable matter than with meat, in general.

So far he seems to be holding it all down well with no signs of gastrointestinal distress.  We'll see how he does tomorrow.

I also have another food on order that I'm going to try, as well.  Hopefully we can get him nutritionally strong again, and keep him that way for a while.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lymphangiectasia is NOT a death sentence

I've encountered several people over the past few months whose vets have told them, upon making a diagnosis of lymphangiectasia, that they need to be prepared for the inevitable likelihood of euthanasia.  In some cases this may have been the kinder course, but in other cases, where the dogs are not that far gone, I am not so sure.

All I can say is, thank goodness my own vets did not give up or let me give up.  I surely wanted to, a few times.

The truth is, there is just not a whole lot of information available about what works with this disease.  In complicated cases, such as ours, there is even less.

But, there are many survivors, and it helps to keep all of this in mind when considering the best course in your own case.

I'm not saying that the vets are wrong in what they know or that you should not follow their advice.  There are important components to treating this disease, and it is important for you to know that, if you have a vet who wants to throw in the towel, you should talk to another vet before making a decision.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another dog with RVI ID

Peaches is a little terrier owned by Judy Frison-Shor, of New Jersey.  She was diagnosed with rabies vaccine induced ischemic dermatopathy, and has multiple skin lesions in most of the same areas Louie had them.

Here are some pictures of the damage to Peaches skin at the ears and near the injection site:

Peaches' owner was offered a settlement from the company which made the vaccine she was given.  As a condition of the settlement, she was told she could not talk about the incident.  Peaches' owner declined the offer.