Help with a sick Chow

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christinac
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Help with a sick Chow

Postby christinac » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:03 pm

Hi, I'm new to the forum and was hoping some other Chow owners may be able to help me out.

I have a 14 year old Chow and she truly is the sunshine of my life. I got her as a pup and she has traveled across the country with me and helped me get through a lot a tough times. She's been healthy her whole life, but it looks like age is catching up with her.

I noticed her really slowing down and she was diagnosed with arthritis in her front legs about 8 months ago. She is currently taking Previcox and it really seemed to help. So a week ago, she started panting constantly, especially at night and would hardly eat anything. I took her to the vet and the tests came back showing probable kidney failure and a really bad bladder infection. The vet said that the bladder infection could be causing her liver enzymes to be high and we are treating that with daily IV antibiotics and praying that her kidney levels will go down, but the vet warned that with older dogs, kidney failure is pretty high.

I'm taking it a day at a time, but my immediate concern is getting her to eat. She's lost about 5lbs since May, which is alot b/c she is a pretty small Chow. The problem is I can't get her to eat probably cause she's not feeling great. I've tried everything, chicken, ground beef, steak. She's always been a picky eater (only eating meat and occasionally cheese and rice). I don't know what to do, I'm at my wits end. On top of this, it is torture now to get her to take her meds.

I know she is old, but up until the arthritis and now recently, she's acted more like a young pup. This is even harder b/c we recently had to put our other girl down in June after a long struggle with cancer. I've tried to prepare myself b/c all our dogs are b/w 12-14 yrs old, but it's very hard.

Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks.

Christina

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Postby Red Dragon » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:48 pm

Most of those arthritis medication can cause kidney and liver damage. How long has she been on that medication? Deramaxx is a little better for the dog, if there is no damage I would see about switching to that. Kiwani may be of better help with this, she should chime in.
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Postby ciaobella » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:17 pm

Christina, I would urge you to read this:
http://www.k911.biz/Petsafety/DeathByPr ... cation.htm

I'm so sorry your baby is not well. Others here will have better advice for you, but I just wanted you to have this information when you next talk to your vet.

My chow Sophie was ill for about a month last year with a completely different problem, but I remember the fear and frustration of having a chow that wouldn't eat. Her first meal after four weeks was meat bites with a hard sear on both sides but rare in the center, and mashed sweet potatoes to which I had added 1/4 tsp probiotic powder. She was able to fully digest it without it making he sick, and after that I was able to get her to eat a fish/sweet potato based kibble. If you can get her to eat something really yummy like a couple of hot dog bites it might spark her appetite so she will eat something more substantial. Others have had luck with meat based baby food, but that never worked for me.

God bless, I know how upset and frustrated you must be. Hope this helps.
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Postby ciaobella » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:29 pm

Before considering switching from one NSAID to another, read this:

http://www.all-creatures.org/aip/nl-20061212-warn.html
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Postby Zhuyos mom » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:52 pm

I'm sorry your girl is feeling poorly. The antibiotics should help her feel better.

Regarding her lack of appetite, does she like eggs? If so, you can mix one hard boiled egg with 2 cups of boiled potato w/skin and crush up one Tums and mix it into the potato and egg meal. The Tums (that's the human Tums you can buy at the drug store or supermarkets - you can also buy OsCal but Tums is easier to crush) helps with her kidney disease. It helps reduce the amount of phosporus that is absorbed. With kidney disease it's important to feed a low protein and low phosporus diet. I believe Hill's makes one. Your vet can recommend one for you if your girl has not already tried it. Remember not to overdue the potato since it is high in potassium. Also something that needs to be controlled with kidney disease.

If you see she is a bit lethargic, something I learned from ailing geriatric dogs is to dab a little honey onto your index finger and rub it on their gum. This usually gives them a quick boost of energy. Don't use too much. Regarding the medication, have you tried Brie cheese. The smellier the better. You might also want to buy a can of Solid Gold Green Cow Tripe. I hear that is really stinky stuff. You can probably use a spoonful of that to hide her medication too. I'm not sure if it's okay to feed it to her as a meal if she takes to it (because of her kidney disease), but you can always ask your vet.

Good luck. You and your girl will be in our thoughts.

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Postby kiwani » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:30 am

Re: "she started panting constantly"..."would hardly eat anything"..."tests came back showing probable kidney failure and a really bad bladder infection. The vet said that the bladder infection could be causing her liver enzymes to be high"..."but the vet warned that with older dogs, kidney failure is pretty high."

All that you've described above are *known* adverse effects of NSAIDS, and are listed on the client information sheets: Elevated liver enzymes; various kidney and liver problems including tubule damage and failure; loss of appetite; bladder infections; changes in urine; lethargy; etc. The panting occurs with these adverse effects.

It seems to me, as if the doctor is treating the 'adverse effects' of the meds, while pretending not to be aware of the med's adverse effects, and prepared to blame kidney failure as being unrelated to the med.

Is your Chow *still* on this med, while all the adverse effects are surfacing? If so, I would find another doctor.

Here is an excerpt on Previcox. It's the closest med to Vioxx. When Vioxx had to be removed from the market for human safety reasons, 'previcox' appeared in veterinary medicine. You'll notice in the second paragraph, the important role cox-2 enzymes play in the body.


Excerpt:

"Previcox is the more extreme cox-2 inhibitor. In in vitro canine whole blood assays, Previcox exhibits approximately 380-fold selectivity for cox-2 over cox-1. (2) Deramaxx is structurally related to Celebrex, while Previcox is structurally related
to Vioxx. (26)


(Cox-2) is responsible for homeostatic mechanisms in the body and plays an important part in healing. (16) More research is needed regarding the safety of currently available cox-2 inhibitors on the kidney and other organs. According to veterinary clinical pharmacologist Mark Papich: "Some of the prostaglandins that play an important role in salt and water regulation and hemodynamics in the kidney are synthesized by cox-2 enzymes." (19)
http://rimadyldeath.com/RIMADYL%20-%20History.html

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Postby Red Dragon » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:59 am

Kiwani, I know all dogs are different and some tolerate certain drugs better than others. Knowing what you know about all of the drugs available for treating an arthritic dog, rank them in them order you would try first.
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Postby kiwani » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:25 am

Re: "Knowing what you know about all of the drugs available for treating an arthritic dog, rank them in them order you would try first."

I'm not an advocate of any of them. There are natural ways to better balance the cox-2 enzyme in the body, and that enzyme has an important role to play. To just *mask* the pain with meds, still allows joint damage to escalate with increased activity, requiring higher doses of meds. What's important is becoming aware of all adverse effects of the meds prescribed, and frequently monitoring what's going on internally, if choosing such meds for long-term use.

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Postby Red Dragon » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:44 am

I don't see it as just masking the pain, the Deramaxx is supposed to get rid of the inflamation, I see that as curing part of the problem. You can talk natural healing all you want, most of the time it doesn't work, so people are left with the medications. So which is the lesser of the evils?
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Postby kiwani » Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:27 am

Re: "Deramaxx is supposed to get rid of the inflamation,..."

Producing inflammation is just one of the functions of the cox-2 enzyme. *Inflammation* (cox-2) is also needed in order to fight infections and for healing, etc. The cox-2 enzyme has an important role to play in the body, and when a med *inhibits* cox-2 long-term, then you start to see the dominos fall in the body, where cox-2 was supposed to be doing a job, but it wasn't available. The long list of side-effects of these kinds of meds, map out where cox-2 wasn't able to do it's job.

What's important to realize is that cox-2 needs to be in *balance* in the body, and not completely wiped out. Cox-2 being *out of balance*, is the problem.

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Postby Red Dragon » Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:34 pm

OK, so what are you supposed to do with an arthritic dog, let it walk around in pain with inflamed joints? I just want to know what is the best solution for this situation in order to let the dog have a functional life.
Sam

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christinac
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Postby christinac » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:45 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I am very familiar with the adverse affects of the NSAIDs. One of our other dogs who recently died of cancer was on them briefly and had a horrible reaction, panting, incontinence, etc. Luckily we realized it was from the meds not the cancer, so trust me I'm aware.

Marley has been on the Previcox for about 8 months and the panting just started a week or so ago increasing lately. The vet really thinks that it was pain from the bladder infection. I gave her the lowest dose of the Previcox and did alternate days, so unless she is having a reaction all of a sudden, I don't think it can be attributed to the drug. Due to the kidney problems, I would like to find an alternative to an NSAID b/c none of them are good if the dog is having kidney problems. So there are multiple concerns all added on top of the fact that she is an elderly dog. But I have to rank them on what she needs first.

1. She needs to eat, she has lost weight consistently since March, which was hard to tell b/c of how furry she is. She is the pickiest eater and now, she doesn't like to eat from me b/c I'm always trying to sneak in the meds. Today, I got her to eat chicken, thankfully, but high protein isn't good for her kidneys.
2. The horrible bladder infection, which I'm praying the antibiotics will help.
3. Kidney failure, determining if her levels were high b/c of the infection or if she now is considered to have chronic kidney failure. What kind of diet to give her b/c she is so picky.
4. Arthritis, how do I ensure her quality of life and her comfort w/out compromising her kidney function with an anti-inflammatory drug.

It's really difficult and I think I may consider taking her to a specialty care vet that we used for our other dog during her cancer treatment. Unfortunately, like with human medicine, there are the general practioners who are great for small issues, but eventually there comes a time when you need a specialist.

I appreciate everyone's advice. The info out there is mind boggling and all I can do is make the best decisions based on what I see with my girl. I know her better than anyone. I know she has more time with me and I just want to make sure that she is the happiest she can be.

So maybe, this green tripe I've been reading about will help with problem one. Stinky is a small price to pay for Marley's health and happiness.

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Postby kiwani » Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:56 pm

Re: "OK, so what are you supposed to do with an arthritic dog, let it walk around in pain with inflamed joints?"


I didn't say that. I mentioned that there were natural methods to balance the cox-2 and reduce inflammation, and as long as I've been on this forum, I've always stressed the importance of an anti-inflammatory diet for Chows, and focused on bone development. If you feel that long-term pain meds are the only answer for your dog, then it becomes your responsibility to know what chain reactions these drugs can cause, be aware of the adverse-effects of the meds, and monitor your dog's signs while on the med. I've already posted a link to a yahoo group devoted to NSAIDS and dog health, (in the thread about Nikita swallowing a bottle of Rimadyl), if anyone's interested.

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Postby Red Dragon » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:06 pm

Kiwani, so what kind of natural methods are you talking about, and be specific? Not trying to give you a hard time, I just want to know what is the best course of action. I do have a couple of older ones and they get around good, but I know they will have problems at some point, I really see no way around it.
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Postby kiwani » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:17 pm

Re: "The horrible bladder infection, which I'm praying the antibiotics will help."


It's a miserable situation. The problem with inhibiting the cox-2 is that it also inhibits the body's ability to fight infections and heal. As for the kidney situation, I suggest you also join the special forum devoted to canine kidney problems/nutrition on yahoo, for a much wider range of experience to draw from. This situation is too important to do otherwise.

All best wishes...

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Postby christinac » Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:31 pm

Kiwani, thanks for pointing me to that other group. I'm definitely going to check it out.

We just got back from Marley's daily IV antibiotic visit.
Her kidney levels didn't go down like we were hoping, only a point. So I discussed it with the vet and we both agree to stop the Previcox and give her some Tramadol for the pain if it get's bad.

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Postby kiwani » Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:36 pm

I hope that things improve once the med is removed.

Here is the link for the kidney group:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/K9KidneyDiet/

"This list is about helping each other reach a new level of understanding of the various aspects of kidney disease, and associated complications. It is for people wanting to learn more about nutrition for dogs with kidney problems, which include stones and crystals, renal failure and other urinary and bladder problems. Some examples of discussion on this list include recipe sharing, use of vitamins and minerals, use of herbs and herbal tinctures and any other nutritional support for kidney care. It is also for people with any ideas in feeding and sharing information they have used in their own dogs with success. It is also expected that while not all people will agree on feeding methods and diet, that all members will treat each other with respect on individual opinions. No flaming or disrespect between members will be allowed on this list. It must be recognized that many members' dogs may be fragile and that a friendly and emotional supportive environment must be maintained."

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Postby kiwani » Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:12 pm

Re: "Kiwani, so what kind of natural methods are you talking about, and be specific?"

I'm talking about what I've talked about for as long as I've been on this forum. The importance of an anti-inflammatory diet, human-grade supplements to support joint health and lower inflammation, the avoidance of junk treats, the avoidance of toxins and over-vaccinations, avoidance of casual dosing of meds, keeping the immune system strong, limiting exercise in growing dogs and being careful how collars and harnesses are used when training, keeping dogs lean, limiting certain exercise in middle-aged dogs, not waiting till dogs are elderly/infirm to start using ramps in cars, etc., lowering stress (stress increases inflammation), etc. There are natural supplements and foods to help reduce cox-2. There are alternatives to meds to help reduce pain. These meds should be reserved for serious pain, and not so casually dosed as they are by vets.

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Postby Red Dragon » Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:37 pm

Would you consider Synovi G3 chewables to be a good joint suppliment? What about the Grizzly Salmon Oil, did you ever decide if you approved of that? I bought some of this Pharmax Pure Fish Oil w/ Oil of Orange to try, do you know anything about that product?
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Postby kiwani » Sat Sep 01, 2007 4:55 am

Re: "Would you consider Synovi G3 chewables to be a good joint suppliment?"

It seems to be pharmaceutical grade, with a good blend of ingredients, but the 'inactive' ingredients weren't listed, for me to know what else is in there. The Glyco-Flex, for example, seems to have MSG as a 'smoke flavor' ingredient.



Re: "What about the Grizzly Salmon Oil, did you ever decide if you approved of that?"

Haven't changed my opinion. Prefer pharmaceutical human-grade quality.


Re: "I bought some of this Pharmax Pure Fish Oil w/ Oil of Orange to try, do you know anything about that product?"


I know that orange-flavored omega-3 products are designed for people who can't stand the odor/taste of fish. I haven't met a Chow yet, who hated fish, and so I wouldn't see a reason to pay for something I didn't need.

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Postby Red Dragon » Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:55 am

I guess I wasn't looking at the orange part as a flavoring, it says that it is with "Essential Oil of Orange", so would that be different than just a flavoring and be a benefit? It does smell like oranges though, and the dogs do not care for it. :lol:
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Postby kiwani » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:26 am

"...and essential oil of orange has been added to provide a pleasant taste."

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Postby sauerka » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:09 pm

kiwani - Have you had experience with Zubrin? It has a different mechanism of action than the other NSAIDs. I used it for awhile on my shepherd. She had a derm reaction to Rimadyl. The Zubrin worked fine for several months but she seemed to develop a cross sensitivity. I now have my neighbor's shepherd on it on after she no longer responded to Rimadyl - she is having good results. Of course both have renal and liver panels drawn every six months.

Christina - Depending on the antibiotic they are using, the dose should to be decreased for decreased kidney function. Otherwise the blood levels will build up (particularly when giving IV) and toxicities can occur.

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Postby kiwani » Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:11 am

Re: "The Zubrin worked fine for several months but she seemed to develop a cross sensitivity. I now have my neighbor's shepherd on it on after she no longer responded to Rimadyl - she is having good results."

I've come across research mentioning that Shepherds are one of the breeds with sensitivity to Zubrin. I've enclosed three excerpts below. The last one explains how dietary fatty acids affect the enzymes that Zubrin is targeting. It's important to load an anti-inflammatory diet, lowering these inflammatory enzymes to begin with, because all NSAIDS still produce inflammation and have adverse effects.

It's very important to stop feeding chicken, chicken/poultry fat, etc., and inflammatory fats such as sunflower, corn, peanut, etc., and grain-fed meats. Anti-inflammatory diets are based on free-range grass-fed meat, certain fish, greens, anti-inflammatory oils, no added animal fat, certain grains, herbs, etc. Chicken is mainly a corn-fed meat, and what is considered 'free-range chicken' doesn't necessarily mean that it's 'pasture raised'. It can just mean that the chickens are loose in a large indoor pen eating genetically-modified corn.


Excerpt 1:
"The Zubrin® tablets have a novel mechanism of action that combines cyclooxygenase-1/cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-1/COX-2) inhibition with 5-lipoxygenase inhibition. That makes Zubrin® a dual inhibitor."


Excerpt 2:
"Side effects of Zubrin may include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, dark or tarry stools, increased thirst and urination, lethargy, lack of coordination, seizure or behavioral changes. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to this medication can include facial swelling, hives and rash."

http://www.petoptions.com/cart/index.cf ... uctid=7042


Excerpt 3:
"Cell membranes in the joint contain phospholipids. When the membrane is injured, an enzyme acts on the phospholipids in the cell membranes to produce fatty acids including arachidonic acid (an omega 6 fatty acid) and eicosapentaenoic acid (an omega 3 fatty acid).

Further metabolism of the arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid by additional enzymes (the lipooxygenase and cyclooxygenase pathways) produce chemicals called eicosanoids. The eicosanoids produced by metabolism of arachidonic acid are pro-inflammatory and cause inflammation, suppress the immune system, and cause platelets to aggregate and clot.

Many disorders are due to overproduction of the eicosanoids responsible for producing inflammation, including arthritis.

The eicosanoids produced by metabolism of eicosapentaenoic acid are non-inflammatory, not immunosuppressive, and help inhibit platelets from clotting. In general, the products of omega 3 (specifically, EPA) and one omega 6 fatty acid (DGLA) are less inflammatory than the products of arachidonic acid (another omega 6 fatty acid).

By changing dietary fatty acid consumption, the eicosanoid production changes right at the cellular level, decreasing inflammation within the body"

http://www.k9snaturally.com/chickenarticle.htm

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Postby bama » Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:25 pm

Kiwani,
Wow, you have made this a very informative thread.
You've given me some much needed info here.
Thanks for taking the time to help.
It's appreciated!
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