Our house hold has been off for about a week. An update…
Last year, Dakota was diagnosed with some type of kidney disease. Then a few months ago, it progressed and we were doing ultrasounds and trying to rule out everything we could. She kept steadily declining but it was hard for us to see it day by day.
Last weekend, Dakota couldn’t walk all of a sudden. She had stopped eating breakfast earlier in the week and barely ate dinner. This is a dog that gobbled up anything and everything her entire life. The not walking part had me carrying her outside to pee and then back to bed. Kim really wanted to take her to the emergency room but we ended up not. I needed solutions, not a $500 middle of the night patch job.
So first thing last Monday, we got a hold of our vet and escalated. She passed us on to a different office that is a veterinary specialist. Apparently, the doctor did her residence in kidney failure. Just what we were after. So Kim ran Dakota up to Windsor, Colorado on Monday afternoon. They looked at her and decided that she needed to stay there for a few days. They put her on intravenous fluids and started running tons of tests. They called us the first evening after only being there for 4 hours and told us that the she is also suffering from high blood pressure. It was currently 206/153 — it is supposed to be much lower. In the same range as humans. This blood pressure spike was likely related or caused by the kidney failure but both had to be managed. So they put her on 2 blood pressure medications right away. Along with an antacid, because stomach acid wasn’t being processed by the kidneys so she was just sick feeling all the time. Along with anti-nausea medication. Along with another antibiotic, because they found some spores in her poop. It is a mean set of pills that looks equivalent to some 90 year old persons bag of meds.
We ended up keeping her there for 2 nights and then going to get her. She was slightly better but not much. The doctor gave us the summary but the basic message was that we can see how she takes these treatments but if it doesn’t work, we need to consider her quality of life and whether it was her time. Huh? It was harsh news but this vet sees a lot of critical cases. Dakota needs a boost and some luck and some good treatment in order to get through this. They said she would never truly recover. I am still in denial on that. I just don’t see it. Checkout. Bill was $1100.
So she came home and slept and slept. Probably good to be back home. The big activity of the day is giving Dakota her fluids. Twice a day we have to give her 250 ml of an IV solution just like humans get to hydrate them. This is to effectively wash out her kidneys by pouring tons of fluid in her system and making her kidneys get all the bad stuff out. So Kim set us up this IV stand and we lay there with her while doing it. It isn’t as terrible as it sounded at first. Dakota doesn’t love it but she doesn’t run away either. When she is done, she has a huge camel hump on her back of fluids that drains into her system over the next few hours.
On Friday, it was time to see if things were working. She was a little better. A little more perky but I am probably just looking for signs of hope. I needed to get her blood pressure checked again. Turns out like only 1 vet in town does this. Nobody checks BP on dogs. I get my BP checked by my dentist before a cleaning. WTF? So I decided just to keep her with the pros so I drove her back up to Windsor and got the check-up done again.
As you can see, the BP was down. They ended up calling it 163/113. Much better. She could have stroked at the 200+ number or blown an eyeball. Still needs to come down more but the medication seems to be working at this dosage. They also checked her blood again which is the primary way of seeing what the kidneys are up to. Her BUN and Creatinine levels were still way way too high.
At this point, the plan is to get the BP managed and see how the kidneys respond to the daily flushing. Maybe they will be happy enough to kick start themselves into performing at a more normal level. That should help her eat. And once she starts eating, she needs to go onto this phosphate binder medication that will make her not want to eat.
So it is a complex game and I am not good at this. Kim and I bought a pill splitter and pill boxes for her and are trying to turn this into a regimen. We have a spreadsheet that tracks all the stuff they ask us about when we go in. Looking for trends to see what works and what doesn’t.
It probably sounds like a lot but it isn’t. We have been working on this thing since last September and now it is getting thick and we need to keep at it for a while longer. We feel like we have some set of solutions and we just need to apply them and see what works.
On Saturday, we had friends over and Dakota was down in the yard with everyone seeing what everyone was up to. Good sign! As long as she wants to be with us, we want to be with her. We aren’t tired, done or giving up hope yet. She is only 8. That’s too young. Wyatt wouldn’t know what to do without her.