Zephyr's diagnosis, surgery, and recovery

Monday, 3 Feb 2020, we had our vet appointment with our traditional vet.  Right off the bat, she was thinking pancreatitis, as raw foods can lead to this.  So, the techs came in and drew blood for bloodwork.  Good news is her pancreas are clear.  Next the vet is thinking kidneys, as some values were elevated.  So, she checks next for this.  Turns out that Zephyr is in the beginning stage of kidney disease.  Kidney disease is caused by too much protein, so again, her raw diet is suspect here, as I had been feeding one pound of protein (meat) per day, in addition to fruits/vegies.

Now, as to raw diets, I will, in no way, bash on raw diets.  If this had not happened, I would still, most likely be feeding raw.  It has its advantages, as to wonderful results in our dogs.  But some dogs just have issues, as they can have issues with most any other foods.  In Zephyr’s case, she was just getting way too much protein for her body and kidneys to handle.  She was receiving one pound of meat (protein) per day.  And in the case of her beef and duck meals, both were also very high in fats as well, which was evident in her weight gain; my little porkchop.

And with that, I want to say that we really need to stop bashing on anything that we personally have issues with.  Just because one individual has a negative experience with something, does not mean that it is bad for everyone.  The sooner we all learn that and act appropriately, the better off our society will be.  I personally will support anyone who feeds raw, or any other foods, if it is improving the quality of life in their dog.

So right now, Zephyr is on three meds, short term.  One is an appetite stimulant to get her back to eating.  Then there is one to stop her regurgitation issues.  She has not vomited at all during all this, she only has been regurgitating.  The third med is a probiotic to help get her gut health back on track.  In addition to the meds, we also have started Zephyr on a Royal Canin Gastrointestinal diet (cans).  This makes it easy to give her the meds; just make a meatball with the tabs inside.  😊

Monday evening, she eagerly devoured her meatballs, with her first dose of the meds.  Then she slowly ate the rest of the first can of food, throughout the evening.  I’m OK with that.  After all, she hasn’t eaten all week, so she needs time to get back on track.  At the end of the evening, she had eaten about 95% of the can.  One thing that I did notice, is that she seemed very restless throughout the evening.  All week throughout this ordeal, she has been more mellow, just laying around, hanging out.  I think the restlessness may have been from one of the meds. 

Tuesday morning, Zephyr’s abdomen did not seem to be as tense as it has been all week.  She also does not seem to want to eat.  Uh Oh!  That was another thing that I noticed during the week.  She would eat one thing that I offered her.  But the next time, she had no interest in it.  We’ll see.  It may just be that she is more interested in eating later in the day.  So, I just set her food bowl down by her water, and she may eat as she feels like eating.  No force feeding here.

Wed, Feb 5, I took Zephyr back into the vet.  She is just very listless, yet still eager to walk and go in her truck.  But she is not eating.  She is interested in eating, she just won’t.

Doc examined her.  Temp is 101, so down from last week.  Bloodwork shows extremely high WBC, neutrophils, and others, so there is an infection going on. 

They put in an IV catheter for some good antibiotics and took x-rays and sent them off to a radiologist.  We should hear back on the x-rays in about 1-2 hours, as to whether this is pyometra or not. 

After they got her settled in a crate, with her ‘cone of shame,’ and IV running, they let me go back to see her before I left.   I have never had to leave Zephyr anywhere before.  But I know this is going to make her feel so much better.

At 1250, Wednesday, I got a call from Doc, and the radiologist already read the x-ray and recommended surgery for pyometra ASAP.  So, Doc was going to give Zephyr some pre-surgery meds, and they need to be in her system for an hour before surgery, then she will do the surgery. 

I went to the vet clinic to see Zephyr at 430pm, and she was already awake, though groggy.  Soon as I walked up to her crate, she got up and stood.  Eventually she laid back down just before I left.

They saved the uterus that they removed, so that I could see it.  Her uterus was about 1.5 inches in diameter, where normally it is the thickness of your finger.  It was huge.  Doc seemed to think that if we had waited any longer, it would have ruptured. 

The only sign I had that something was wrong, was her not eating.  She wanted to eat, and would take a piece of food, sniff it, taste it, then spit it back out.  The rest of her typical high drive Dutchie demeanor was the same; “don’t come in my house or I will eat your azz.”

Thursday, Feb 6, I did not bring Zephyr home.  I opted to let her stay one more night, in order to continue with some IV fluids.  Besides I had soccer games to work, and I would have had to leave her right as soon as I got her home.  So instead, I brought her home Friday morning, so she could get used to being home again, and rest and relax some more, before I had to leave, around 5pm for a couple indoor soccer games.

She ate half a can of food about Noon, then another half can about 3pm.  She did not seem interested in eating from her food bowl, so I just hand fed her, and she eagerly ate what I offered.  I gave her the next pain med just before I left for indoor soccer, and then her next Amox and another can of food after I got home.

Saturday, Feb 8, Zephyr is doing fantastic!  She does not like the cone collar, because she wants to lick her wound.  She has always been extremely fastidious, as to keeping herself clean.  But the collar is necessary, so she must wear it.  I do remove it every couple hours, under strict supervision, for her to eat, drink water, and when I take her out for potty breaks.

She is beginning to feel like herself again.  She heard one of the neighboring dogs barking, and she began to bark back.  She is also becoming a little more snuggly with me.  Before she was aloof and very independent.  I’m not sure how we will survive the next week and a half.  😉 Zephyr is already pinging off the walls.  She wants to be doing something.  She is very restless and just wanting to move.  Ahh, that’s life with a Dutch from working lines.  😊

In closing, I will say that having an intact female is a risk, if you do not get her spayed.  I had early intentions of breeding her, with pups placed into working homes, though I could not locate a suitable male, that did not share her pedigree.  But in hindsight, I should have had her spayed sooner.  Right now, she is seven years old, so well past breeding age.  But all has worked out for us this time, knock on wood.

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