For the past few months, Ray’s health has been in a steady decline. He has become more and more anemic. Because he is Babesia positive, the first step medically was for him to under-go Babesia treatment. Completed the treatment, and follow up tests showed no live Babesia organisms in his blood. Wonderful, right? Wrong. The anemia was no better, in fact it was a little worse.
I took him back to the doctor, telling them there was something that just wasn’t right. He lacked energy. He had little or no appetite. He just seemed so very tired. More testing. Worse anemia. Every time.
Then Ray suddenly began drinking gallons of water, and peeing excessively. A dog who rarely even approached his water pail, was now draining it dry. So back he went to the vet to check for diabetes. Nope. Blood sugar was normal. So, we tested for Cushings Disease. Nope, not Cushings. A urinalysis showed that he had a high level of protein in his urine, and Dr Mike discovered his blood pressure was very high. Both of these are signs of failing kidneys.
Ray started medication for high blood pressure. It was hoped that the meds would help ease the strain on his kidneys and prevent further damage. He was taken off his familiar dog food and put on a low protein, high quality canned food. The food is expensive, but Ray likes it and eats it well.
Two weeks later we were back to the clinic for follow up testing to check his blood pressure, urine, and blood. Results? Blood pressure still dangerously high, higher level of protein in the urine, and anemia is worse. An ultrasound showed his spleen to be enlarged with a mass on the end. Dr. Mike doubled his blood pressure meds, and told me we really needed to think about removing that spleen.
Five days later Ray was vomiting profusely and having massive amounts of nasty, smelly diarrhea. Back to the clinic we went, on an emergency basis. Ray’s body was unable to tolerate that dose of blood pressure medication. So the BP med dose was decreased, and we added Pepsid and metranidozole to his medication regime.
Five days after that we had another follow-up visit. Blood pressure up. Protein in urine up. And his anemia was at 22%. No wonder our little guy acted so tired. He had also suddenly developed issues with his right eye, which required steroid drops.
I was a little apprehensive when the receptionist asked me to wait to talk to the doctor. And when both Dr Chris and Dr Patti came out, I knew it was serious. The bottom line is that Ray’s only chance of getting better is to have his spleen removed. A malfunctioning spleen can cause splintered cells, which become lodged in the kidneys. In many cases, removing the spleen takes away the cause of the anemia, and improves kidney function dramatically.
There is no guarantee that this will help him at all. But without the surgery, his quality of life will just continue to decrease. And our little brown dog deserves so much better than that.
In two days, Ray will have surgery to remove that troublesome spleen. Friday cannot come soon enough. I’m watching him become quieter and weaker every single day. I am very concerned about the surgery. I know it’s dangerous. But it is our one shot to give Ray the type of life that he can enjoy.
Thank goodness I work for an organization that puts a high value on an animal’s life. We have access to the best possible medical care, at a reasonable cost. But for something like this, money is the least of our concerns. Ray’s health and happiness are the only things that matter.
Please keep my family in your thoughts on Friday. It is going to be a very long and stressful day for Kevin and I.