Good morning everyone! I am posting this here instead of health and nutrition -- a friend really needs some guidance on a couple of issues. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts and comments.My friend has a yellow lab, Addie, who will be 11 years old this October. She just had some blood tests done to check levels. This dog suffers from thyroid problems, but she is doing well with the medication and it is under control.The blood tests this time around showed two things -- that her kidney function is in the "high normal" range. Not where the vet wants it, but nothing too unusual for an older dog.
Addie, a few years ago, was placed on a dose of prednisone by another vet that was too high. My friend caught the error (this is a long story, I won't go into it) and moved onto another vet. By this time, I'm sure damage to the kidneys was done, thus, the reading of high normal.The other test that is causing her the most anxiety is the pancreas -- normal is under 200 -- Addie's is at 911. The vet wants to do an ultrasound, run tests, put her on Science Diet K/D, do urine cultures, etc., all to the tune of over $1,000.00. All total, with the problems this dog has had over the years, they have spent close to $30,000 on her and her various medical issues, so she has done all she can and was advised to do.
She is troubled by the fact that Addie is almost 11 -- gets so stressed out at the vet and right now money is very tight for them as they have a daughter in college and a son who will be on his way soon. She is currently feeding Eagle Pack Duck and Oatmeal -- and Addie is doing well. She is also on a joint supplement. She is happy, although she does have days when she is sore and seems out of sorts, but all in all is happy and enjoys her walks and time with her doggy friends.So, she asked if I would ask you your opinion on this -- she really doesn't know if she should go through with all of these tests. Can she put her on a lower protein food other than K/D? Also with the pancreas problem -- one of our dogs many years ago had pancreatitis and we added digestive enzymes to his food and that seemed to help him very much.She is in a quandry.
She loves her dog, but does not want to put her through too much anymore. She is torn between her devotion to her dog and her devotion to the needs of her family.So, can you provide some guidance for her as to the tests the vet wants to do. Thanks so much. Any feedback, thoughts, opinions are welcome.
I would ask what each test would show diagnosis wise and what the course of treatment would be involved with the results. Based on those answers she could decide what tests she felt was necessary (if any) and what procedures/surgeries (if any) she is willing to do for this dog.
Years ago my vet wanted to do a myleogram on my old dog to rules out a spinal disc problem and I declined ............ he was too old for any surgeries and that is what we would be headed for if it was positive.
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
bump! Anyone have a dog with pancreas issues that can offer any feedback? Thanks so much.
I don't want this to sound harsh, and I know that I sometimes look on these things differently than alot of people. But if I had a wonderful old lab of 11, who had been through these things, seemed to be doing well, and my family really counldn't afford this stuff pretty easily, I woulnd't have the tests and things done. I just wouldn't. I take each health thing as it comes along, and luckily my dogs have been pretty healthy (although I woulnd't want to add up how much I've spent over the years). I had Skippys ACL surgery done because he wasn't that old, and it was just a physical injury that could be treated and it wasn't THAT expensive (around 500 for the surgery itself). But I didn't grow up in a family where you spent more money on the family pets than you did yourself, and I don't live in one now. It doesn't sound like your friend should feel guilty about not wanting to spend that much money to have expensive tests done to try to find something on an older dog who is doing well for now.
With a pancreatitis level enzyme that high I would certainly go with a low fat diet and add pancreatic enzymes. At that age...why do more tests? I'd just treat the symptoms. K/D is a great diet for kidneys and is generally low fat. I'd just add the enzymes (when I had pancreatic dogs...a zillion years ago...they were cheap). The reality is that your not going to be able to do anything more than that with a dog that age anyhow.