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.

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