Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Length of time to diagnosis

I posted this tonight on the Canine Lymphangiectasia Support forum (http://www.savelouie.com/phpBB3 )  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.