Sunday, June 28, 2009

Good News for Boston

Boston has been having challenges in the past couple months that I have referred to lightly in previous posts: she cannot tolerate dog food. She's a shrimp, which I could see but was confirmed the night of the After Party when I saw her next to her siblings. Other than her food intolerance she acts like any other pup - energetic, happy, alert, terrorizing - and you wouldn't know she has issues.

Boston's been on a diet of chicken and rice flavored with FortiFlora or pumpkin for some time now (Richard said if we added cream of mushroom soup it would be hot dish and we humans could eat it too). Every time I try to transition her to a dog food she gets diarrhea. After trying the fourth brand of food and getting the same reaction her veterinarian had me bring her in for further testing.

Over the course of a few days, we ran an "overall" blood test to check her general health, (I apologize to those trained veterinarians out there for my lack of medical-speak) and a separate blood test to check for a pancreatic deficiency. The initial results came back with anemia, low pancreatic enzymes, and low in B12. When the vet requested the lab do additional analysis she was told these results were "inconclusive" and we had to take Boston in for another blood draw.

We left the clinic with medication for hook worm, which is a common cause for anemia, and the prescription drug Metronidazole, fondly called by me the M-drug, to help with the diarrhea. The veterinarian also mentioned a prescription diet might be necessary.

The days of waiting for the test results were hard. What if she had something wrong with her pancreas? I'm told if there is a deficiency it is for life. There is a food supplement available, but can get expensive. In my mind I projected this, in addition to a special diet, as a deterrent to her eventual placement. Would she be able to be placed as a service dog? Could it narrow the list of persons that would be able to care for her? Eileen, our Program Director, in her usual supportive manner told me not to go there but to focus on the short-term right now. Still, I couldn't get it out of my mind - it was upsetting to me.

I had a message from the veterinarian Saturday and the pancreas test can back negative. Horray!! What a relief that is. While it doesn't explain why she cannot tolerate food, we're happy to know her pancreas is OK. There was no anemia, so if there was hook worm the medication took care of it, the B12 was normal, and all blood counts are good. Am not sure why the initial report showed all these abnormal results and am going to talk with the doctor about it tomorrow.

Next steps for now is to follow her out on the M-drug and hope the worming medicine did some good. If not, I suspect we will do a food trial with prescription dog food. I would like to see her tolerate a commercial food to make her care after placement easier, but it could be worse.

In the meantime, while I'm writing this, Boston chewed up her first rug.

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to hear her pancreas is fine! My sister's third puppy "Eva" was recently career changed for kidney failure and while they took her back as a pet her life expectancy is unknown so she's getting all the loving she can! Hopefully the prescription food helps (I worked with a pup who had diarrhea all the time as well but eventually overcame it somehow and was pulled as a breeder since there wasn't anything "wrong" with her. The cause of the diarrhea is unkown) and she'll have a long career as a working dog! Grow little gal, grow!

    Ally & Eola (8 month old SDIT)