Thursday, June 2, 2011

And we all fall down...

It seems like when it rains, it pours.

My dog has decided to develop intermittent vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and abdominal pain. It started about a month ago, and she's just having this periodically. Initial bloodwork and xrays have been boring. Thus, I am now left to rule out Addison's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, whipworm infestation, food sensitivity, some weird manifestation of hypothyroidism (she IS a Doberman, after all), chronic pancreatitis, and a host of other problems. It's making me empathize enormously with my financially strapped clients. Though I get a discount at work, it really sucks, and my bill is already up to $550 again! All of this testing will be expensive. For the time being, I am switching her to a low-residue/bland diet and deworming her in the hopes that this is something fairly benign and easily treatable.

My old kitty Archie, who is around 13 years old, has a raging lymphocytic-plasmacytic rhinitis. It was diagnosed via biopsy about 2 years ago, and it flares up intermittently. No cause has ever been found. Usually, it responds beautifully to a round of antibiotics and steroids. Not so this time, and it's getting worse. With the chronic inflammation in his nasal passage (the left side), I am afraid this is turning into something more malignant (e.g. cancer).

Titus, my African grey, has a small, slightly picked area in the center of his chest. This concerns me because I think he might be picking his feathers. This might be just behavioral, but I need to rule out underlying disease first, before I assume that.

Another cat has randomly adopted us, and she needs feline leukemia/AIDs testing, as well as some vaccines - if nothing else. I'm not sure if she's spayed or not. So far, she's been hanging around 2+ months, so if she were pregnant, I'd have expected it to manifest itself by now. Let's just hope she is spayed.

I *think* the rest of my animals are doing fine.

9 comments:

Can'tSpell, DVM said...

Good luck! I feel your pain- my 9 year old cat Riley doing some chronic vomiting (which he's done before) and I really need to do blood work on him and my deaf dog Dirk was walking kinda funny yesterday... Hope all turns out well!

Anonymous said...

The cost of care is a real frustrating issue for me, because I'd *LIKE* to provide my animals with the best care possible. My dogs had needed dentals for the last THREE years, but I simply couldn't afford the $1000+ to do them both. And I'm a vet student (starting this fall) who understands the importance to their overall health piture (as opposed to the folks who come into the clinic complaining of cost but then hit up Starbucks on their way home for their fifth $7 drink of the week)!

Fortunately, finances have been a bit better this year and I was able to get them both done: but the cost for one of them was 9 teeth (fortunately none for the other). I feel awful, but at the same time frustrated because I don't know what else I could have done. It gets me down.

And, after I just dropped $1000+ for two dentals ... one of them, who has never had so much as diarrhea her entire life, has developed a pesky UTI that we can't make go away. I see radiographs and ultrasound lurking in the near future for her and my pocketbook trembles. I'm praying that I can find Augmentin for cheaper than the vet can sell Clavamox!

So yes, I have no trouble empathizing with the clients I see at the clinic who hem and haw over the cost of treatment. :)

And, sorry to explode all over your blog. It's an issue that gets me going.

Mary said...

I'm so sorry that they're going through issues -- and all at the same time when the last thing you need is more stress. Although, really, when is a good time for more stress?

Hope they get better quickly, without a lot of additional work on your end.

Elizabeth said...

I seem to remember Heidi had these issues a while ago.. Intermittent issues are a real pain. At least you know when to go to the Vet :)

Hope she feels better soon. As the owner of an Addison's dog I know how frustrating intermittent problems can be.

KateA said...

Try N-acetyl cystine plus L-lysine for your kitty. The NAC breaks down mucous bonds...doxy might work too as it decreases surface tension and also has some immune modulating effects.

Anonymous said...

My dog was doing the exact same thing about 1.5 years ago. I was beyond frustrated and emotional about it (can't stand to see her sick). In her case it was severe IBD (I took the gutsy route and started prednisone after bloodwork rules out atypical addison's and absorption abnormalities/pancreatitis). I hope you find a solution for her soon. (P.S. Fellow vet - new grad!)

Anonymous said...

I am a veterinarian who paid for a colic surgery out-of-pocket: $12,000.

This was an enormous financial hardship, especially since my monthly student loan payment is $675 and my salary is $60K. But what to do? I had to make the decision immediately, or euthanize.

Honestly, more than half of my clients are in better financial shape than I am, even though I don't have any credit card or other outstanding debt. Do I have sympathy for those with huge, unexpected, expenses? Sure, but I also know why veterinarians can't give away much for free: if we do, we won't be able to pay our own bills, or, sometimes, take care of our own animals' expensive emergencies.

The Woman Running for President said...

Hi, Belovedparrot here -- is Titus perhaps lacking red palm oil or one of those wonderful ingredients in Harrison's High Potency? Yes, you're the vet, but I have an African brown-head who plucks if she doesn't stay on her diet of Harrison's with some red palm oil every once in awhile -- so I'm sold on looking at diet first with feather plucking. Or he could just be responding to the extra activity/energy around the house related to the new baby on the way. Darn parrots -- sure they can talk, but they won't tell you want you want to hear!!f

The Homeless Parrot said...

Beloved: I doubt it, but I suppose it's possible. I feed Zupreem pelleted food - mostly d/t the color/stimulation it provides. I like Harrison's product, but I don't like the brown color...

Titus has been in his cage a lot more recently d/t my work, husband's thesis, etc, so I think he is getting bored. I've been trying to stimulate him by saving all the boxes I can (cereal, coke can boxes, etc) and letting him destroy those in his cage. It keeps him busy.