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Charlotte Update

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Well, Charlotte is still having problems with vomiting and diarrhea. The bouts used to be 6-7 months apart but this last bout was less than 1 month since the last one. She has been very lethargic and vomiting so violently and often there is a ton of blood in it... (sorry for being descriptive). Luckily, it has ceased for now.

 

She goes to the internal medicine doctor next week and will probably have an ultrasound and possibly an endoscopy...

 

And poor Charlotte may have to be retired from dog sports because these last 2 episodes happened after running flyball. She loves her flyball but if it is making her sick, she will have to quit...

 

Wish us luck next week that they can figure out what is wrong and we can find a way to treat her. This has been very frustrating...

 

Kim

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I'm very sorry to hear this. Lots of hugs to Charlotte and your gang and please keep us posted!

 

Love from the brook cove gang,

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Lethargy and blood (or mucus) in the vomit or stools could be a sign of infection or disease. You've done the right thing by seeing the Vet. I'd fast the dog for 24 hours, providing plenty of water. Then exclude dairy and fat from the diet, and feed chicken and rice for the next 48 hours.

 

The ultrasound and endoscopy might find the source of the problem. Hopefully, it will not be necessary to stop doing flyball...

 

Good luck!

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Another Update:

 

Took Charlotte to the internal medicine vet yesterday. Her ultrasound looked ok except for swollen lymph nodes and large spleen (could be cancer or could be just being sick-they don't know). She also had some thickening of the intestinal wall which was expected.

 

We were discussing the best option for a biopsy when the vet tech came in with Charlotte's serum test. The look on the vets face was upsetting-she couldn't hide her disappointment. She just finished saying that all the major organs looked pretty good but then Charlotte's serum was a yellow-orange color. So now they think there could be liver problems but we have to wait a day or 2 before those result are back along with the other blood panels they are running. So now she may have pancreatitis, liver dysfunction, possible coagulation problem, and/or irritable bowel disease. Of course I can't read all the fancy terminology so I need to do some research but things aren't looking good for Charlotte right now. She is only 4 years old-way too young for these problems... It has been a very upsetting couple days and now have to wait longer before we get a more accurate picture...

 

It is never a good sign when the vet tech says things are very complicated right now and we will call Thurs or Fri with more info.

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Kim,

I know cats aren't dogs, but if it's IBD you and Charlotte can live with that. I have a cat who is now 7 or 8 who has had IBD all her life. She has flareups and long periods of "good times." One time when I was away at a trial she quit eating and then ended up having some liver involvement (fatty liver disease), but veterinary care and careful management brought her around again. I keep prednisone on hand for when she has a flare up, and I'm careful what I feed. The last really bad episode was when I had another cat with struvite crystals and so put everyone on a special diet--not good for first cat's consitution. But with pred for the irritation and pepcid to help with the resulting anorexia, we got through it and now she can eat that food as well. I hope you can find this a little bit encouraging and best wishes to you and Charlotte (and I hope it turns out to be something simple).

 

J.

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I heard from the vet who was actually off today (another bad sign).

 

Seems Charlotte is in liver failure but they still don't know why. She goes in tomorrow to have a liver aspiration to check for cancer cells, in particular lymphoma.

 

Charlotte really is not doing well but until we know what is wrong there is not much that can be done.

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One of the Vets on the board may be able to expand on this, but couldn't those symptoms be Canine Addison's?

 

I may be mixed up, but the description of it happening after flyball tournaments reminds me of how Addisons symptoms are often exaggerated by stress (travel, hard work, etc).

 

Just a thought, and I apologize if I'm way off, but something here rings a bell with me and it might be worth looking into. It is very difficult to diagnose because there are so many symptoms that could also be something else.

 

P.R.

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I just came across this thread (been spotty with my reading lately)...

 

Kim, sorry to hear that Charlotte is having trouble. P&R is right that one of the things that does fit with bad episodes, waxing and waning but especially surrounding competition or other stressors, is Addison's disease. I'm presuming you've had at least some bloodwork done (since you mention liver failure, I'm assuming it was detected by a chem panel). The broad screening test for Addison's is a sodium:potassium ratio (your vet will know how to calculate this, assuming that these electrolytes were included in the chem panel). However, there are the very rare atypical Addisonians who have a normal ratio but are still Addisonian. Those have to be diagnosed with an ACTH stimulation test and are consequently much trickier to suss out. Not that even the typical ones are a walk in the park to diagnose, mind you.

 

Addison's masquerades as many other diseases so it's hard to detect, and while I personally think it's underdiagnosed, it is still pretty rare (even I see less than one case a year, and I'm like a magnet for it, I swear. :rolleyes: ) Hence, it could be (and based strictly on odds, is maybe a little more likely to be) a primary liver issue, or a secondary one due to something other than Addison's. I hope that whatever it is, it's something that can be tracked down quickly and is readily fixable. One bit of good news is that the liver is a highly resilient organ - you can knock about 70% of its cells on the head and kill them, and so long as the support structures are still alive, they'll regenerate.

 

I don't have enough info to tell you much more about what might be going on, except that I hope this goes well for you and for Charlotte. Keep us posted.

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Charlotte has been tested for Addison's, tickborne diseases and many other things and everything came back normal.

 

The liver failure is of unknown cause at the moment. The aspiration should take place in a an hour or so. I really hope we have so me answers.

 

The vet has intimated that she thinks it is lymphoma but also says there is a slight chance that it is a raging infection or inflammation. Her white cells were normal so infection does not seem likely. Her pancreatic TL1 was 2.7 which is low but they don't think it is low enough to be causing all the problems she is having.

 

Hopefully I will know more later today.

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We're thinking of ya! Hold on . . .

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Well we still don't have answers. The liver aspiration was negative for cancer cells but there some crystals of some sort. They wanted to do an endoscopy on her. They were able to get tissues from the stomach and intestine. Those results won't be back for a few days.

 

The vets words is that malignancy is very likely since so many organs are involved. They truly believe she has cancer.

 

My question is: how long can a dog survive while in liver failure without some kind of treatment? Charlotte was diagnosed as being in liver failure on Wed/Thurs and we won't have the biopsy results until at least middle of next week. I just see how a dog can survive without some long term damage without treatment.

 

They are putting Charlotte on high doses of antibiotics in case there is a massive infection. They hope that if there is an infection then they getting a jump on it.

 

All this waiting is killing me. I want answers so I can make whatever decision I need to make to ease her suffering, either treatment or euthanasia. I have to do what is best for her. Her life is horrible right now and I don't want her to get worse.

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I wish I could help, Kim. I've only ever had to make The Decision once, and it was very clear cut. We're all pulling for you and Charlotte, anytime you need a shoulder just check in here.

 

Ruth n The Border Trio

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