Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bailey is Home!

Another update from Bailey's Mom -

Bailey came home on Thursday night. She is doing SO much better. Is eating, running around with that spring back in her step, rolling in the grass (yes...we have NO snow) and finally went number two after almost a week. Her diet has been changed to Hills i/d ... for now and we both would like to hear if anyone has any other low-fat food or recipes to share with us.

I also wanted to write a bit about Pancreatitis for those (like myself) never have had a dog go through something like this. Bailey's was diagnosised as acute pancreatitis so this is the information I am supplying.

Most of you know that the pancreas is a gland in the abdominal cavity near the stomach and liver that produces enzymes which aid in the digestion of food. The gland also secrete insulin, a hormone that helps to regulate the blood sugar levels. A lack of adequae insulin results in diabetes, although most pets with pancreatitis do not develop diabetes. When the pancreas becomes diseased it will often release its digestive enzymes into itself rather than into the intestine where they normally go. The resultant tissue destruction is because the gland is inadvertently digesting itself.

Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas. It is a serious condition that occurs most frequently in overweight, middle-aged, female dogs but it may occur in any individual. The disorder causes pain, vomiting, depression and occasionally shock and death.

Symptoms for acute pancreatitis are:

Poor appetite
Pain/reluctance to walk or move

There are many different causes of pancreatitis. Excessive levels of fat or cholesterol in the blood can contribute to the problem. Ovesity (overweight condition) and also predisposes the dog or pet to pancreas disorders. Infectious diseases can be teh cause of the problem. Ingestion fo rich or fatty foods is the most common cause of pancreatitis in pet animals. When pets are fed from the table (leftovers, etc.), get into the garbage, or are given numerous foods by well emaning house guest pancreatitis may be the result. Bailey was never fed table scraps...BUT she did get beef soup bones that were boiled once a week that sometimes did have beef with some fat on it and there were times we would put bread out for the birds if we had a loaf of bread left over and she would always find her way over to that. Our vet does not think these were her causes and she is not an overweight we do not have any answers as to why it happened to her.

I must say ... now looking back, I had noticed she did seem to strain when going to the bathroom. I had thought she was a little constipated and had noticed a couple of dark stools but humans also have these problems and she never once showed signs of feeling ill. She had gotten sick a few times, but she had eaten some grass and we all know that dogs do this on occasion so we weren't that alarmed with that either.

Your vet will make a diagnosis of pancreatitis based on the following: Presence of the above symptoms, blood tests, radiographs (x-rays) of the abdomen and possibly exploratory surgery for sever or chronic cases). Bailey had to have blood drawn for a CBC and they also did a CPL (serum) test that needed to be sent out to confirm that she had pancreatitis. Our vet told us that anything over 400 was an indication that she had pancratitis and hers were over 1,000. Her liver and white blood counts were also both very high.

Because anything going into the mouth (including water) is going directly to the pancreas, Bailey immediatly had to be hooked up to IV's for three days to keep her hydrated while she was given antibiotics and nothing by mouth so everything could settle down and heal itself. After 32 hours, she was finally given a small helping of food to make sure she could keep it down. She had another light lunch later that evening and then again on the morning she was to come home. She was able to keep everything down and so our vet gave her the okay to come home.

It has been so wonderful to see Bailey feeling back to her old self again...but she will have to remain on a new diet for the rest of her life. Many sibe owners that I have conversed with have said they, too have had pancreatitis...some went on to never have another episode, while others are dealing with it reoccuring again....and again. We are crossing our fingers that she is one of the lucky ones to only have to go through this once.

We would like to say thank you to all of our siberian husky friends online for the advice and well-wishes you all sent to Bailey and us during this time. I was very upset reading some of the things I had read online doing research on this...but you all made me feel better by telling me your stories and giving me positive information!

Bailey's Mom - Lisa

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bailey has Pancreatitis

I am here with news on Bailey. Friday night she seemed perfectly fine...but by Saturday, she didn't seem herself. She was not her usual 'flying around all over the place' and begging for treats. She had gotten sick and we figured she was just not feeling well. But by the afternoon, we became very concerned. She did not want to go out or even get up. So...we called the vet. He told us she might have a blockage and to take her food away for 24 hours. By the next morning...she seemed worse. We put another call into the vet and this time were advised to boil some hamburger and rice and give it to her and call on Monday if she wasn't doing any better. She would pick it up...but then immediately set it down. Right there...I knew something was not good. I tried to coax her into eating some and she finally ate a couple but that was it. We then got her out and walking...hoping that she would gets things moving as she hadn't had a stool since Friday night yet either. When she was back in...she drank water like there was no tomorrow.

I had to work on Monday (New Years Day) early am ... so hubby promised me he would call. He put a call in and they said there was no dr. on call because of New Years. He told them the dr. told him to call but they could not reach him by his pager. Now... I did not know this and hubby made it seem to me that he HAD talked to the dr. and they said to bring her in right away the next morning. He did not, and if I had known that...she would have been heading into an emergency clinic that night. She did seem to feel a little better and was investigating things and wagging her tail a little bit more by that late afternoon...but still did not want to eat.

Tuesday rolled around and we finally got her in right away that morning. By 9:30 am, she was hooked up to IV's and started on antibiotics. Her Liver count and white blood counts were extremely was so high it was off their charts. They suggested we do a serum test as they thought she may have Pancreatitis. Xrays were then taken to make sure there was no blockage.

With Pancreatitis...and we did not know this and were following our vets instructions to keep her well hydrated by offering water .... nothing is to go in through their mouth. Not even water!! I was feeling awful from trying to coax her to eat and was telling her she was such a good girl for doing so.

So...Bailey had been hooked up to IV's for two days and another yet tomorrow. We went to see her tonight and she barely noticed we were there on her run to get outside to pee! Once done with that..she seemed SO happy to see us, as we were happy to see her as well! She looked much brighter eyed and wanted to GO! on the short leash they had provided. We then went back in and were talking with two of the doctors and they told us the serum test had come back. Anything over 400 tells them she has Pancreatitis and hers were well over 1,000. She had just gotten her first meal at 1:00 pm and was able to keep that down, but they wanted to keep her one more day to make sure she was doing well. So, tomorrow morning they will be calling with an update and I will probably pick her up on my way home after work.

Advice from vet is NO table scraps! We never feed them...but Bailey would get beef soup bones that had been boiled with some meat (and probably fat) on it once a week. I have always given these to all three of the dogs for years and we never had a problem...until now. They will no longer be part of her weekly routine. We were also advised to change to another dog food. We feed SD Senior right now but they want to put her on a new kind that is lower in fat. Marily, from the sibeList, offered to send me some great recipes for this that she makes for her dog, Max, who also has Pancreatitis. I have gotten some great information from a lot of people on the list and I was so thankful for that as I was reading a lot of stuff and it really had me scared.

Tomorrow, Bailey will hopefully get to come home and I will post more information then. Thanks to all those who said prayers for her!

Bailey's Mom