A few weeks ago, I noticed Heather was acting lethargic. Ordinarily, she isn't exactly the most energetic dog like Mr. K is but she is always in good spirits. I figured her lethargy had to do with the heat wave we were experiencing in Atlanta and so, left her plenty of extra water. That seemed to do the trick and so, I made a mental note to make sure she was staying hydrated in this heat.
Two days later, Heather began having accidents in the house. Like clock work, Heather peed every two hours and it wasn't a small mess to clean, by any means. She still had a great appetite, was drinking plenty of water and had regained most of her energy and good spirit so I figured she probably just had a bladder infection and made an appointment for her to visit her vet that day.
When the vet came back with the initial test results, I was more confused than ever. She had ruled out a bladder infection and told me about a substance that was found in her urine which only appears when the liver is not functioning properly. This could mean one of two things: 1) Heather had liver disease; or 2) Heather had injested something so toxic, it was affecting her organs. The vet couldn't say which was the cause. She recommended an overnight stay at the hospital.
A litany of tests and $2,000 later, the vet had no answer or any suggestions to prevent my baby girl from getting sick again. The Xrays and ultrasounds didn't show any tumors (but it is a possibility one is too small to be seen). What they did show was that her organs were enlarged and there was minimal internal bleeding. Heather came home after three days and two nights at an animal hospital with medications that had been part of the mix Mr. K had taken in March.
Which brings me to this - Heather's symptoms didn't present like Mr. K's but as time evolved and the vet consulted with Georgia Veterinary Specialists (the hospital I credit for saving Mr. K's life) to compare cases, the vet saw more similarities but couldn't say for sure if she was seeing the same thing since Mr. K was never actually given a diagnosis. Her discharge paperwork reads: "At this time, I do not have the exact reason for her liver disease and coagulation issues."
As a Scottie Mom, this news is neither helpful nor comforting, given that I've recently experienced a similar horrifying medical emergency with Mr. K. I've reached out to the condo's management team to see if there were any possible chemical treatments used on the mulch-laiden dog walk area and to see what kind of cleaning products are used in the elevators. Literally, these are the only areas Heather and Mr. K go on a regular basis. It has been over a week and still no answer.
Here's what I do know: Both Heather and Mr. K had some kind of bruising of the tissue (Mr. K on his gums, Heather on her tummy), indicative that their platelet counts were off and that there were clotting issues. They also had internal bleeding in the abdomen - Mr. K much more so than Heather - and ridiculously high liver values (Heather's count was around 3,000 and the norm is approximately 100). They both had similar treatments including a plasma transfusion and three take home medications including Denamarin, Metronidazole and Vitamin K supplements.
What doesn't match up is Mr. K's heart arrythmia, critically low blood pressure and fluid in the lungs. What is most frustrating as a mom is that Mr. and Heather had just had their annual checkups not more than three weeks beforehand, leaving me more suspicious of the unknown toxin. However, then you have to factor in the fact that Heather is nearly eight years old and it could be a very real possibility that she is experiencing the beginning stages of liver disease.
Heather's follow up appointment is on Monday and I'll be sure keep all her new Scottie friends updated. In the meantime, if any fellow Scottie Moms (or Dads!) have any insight to share, it would be most welcome. This Scottie Mom is looking for some answers!