One Step Back


I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry, I thought to myself over and over after I read the email from Heather's V-E-T. The sheer frustration of having no control while doing everything that I can and the overwhelming feeling of being powerless in a battle to achieve good health overtook me. After a year's worth of testing, close monitoring, fretting over the slightest variance in behavior and thousands of dollars in veterinary care, I was completely disheartened to learn that the slow but steady decline of Heather's ALP liver value we worked hard to achieve was no more. Much to my dismay, quite the opposite was true. Her ALP liver value spiked to 869, according to this last test - up 350 points or so since we last checked in January.

Emotions were all over the place and so, I opted to call it a night and sleep on the information I had been given before I turned to the blog to share the news. Not knowing what is going on is the hardest part and I was a wreck last night thinking about what it would mean if the Cushing's test results come back and she doesn't have it after all...Thinking rationally, however, I really wouldn't be so surprised if she is diagnosed with Cushing's disease. I don't know much about the disease (yet) but research has shown me it could be why she doesn't have as much hair on her belly as Mr. K, why her liver values have been so abnormal and even a possible explanation for why the wound on her skull opened up again, as dogs with Cushing's can devlop thin or fragile skin. On the one hand, I don't want to hear my little girl has Cushing's but on the other, it would be nice to have an explanation for these things.

Additionally, Heather's test revealed she is "antibody positive" for Ehrlichia, a bacteria the V-E-T says is trasmitted by ticks. This one doesn't surprise me because when she was rescued two years ago, she was covered in ticks. However, what stumps me is that I do not recall this having been picked up in testing before. The V-E-T says dogs can carry this for years after exposure. To be safe, I have chosen to have her platelets tested again the same day she goes in for Cushing's testing to make sure they aren't low. Last but not least, Mr. K's bloodwork came back clean. It has been nearly one year and three months since the mystery illness struck him and I think he is going to be as healthy as ever. Some crystals did show in his urine test but the V-E-T is hopeful they were only there because the urine sat a while on the way to the lab. To be safe, I'm letting them check again (this time in-house) to be sure. This does scare me a little because both Heather and Mr. K had crystals in their urine during their respective health scares last year.

Ok, there you have it: a full and complete health update on Heather and Mr. K. Be sure to check back throughout the week for updates or subscribe to receive the news as I get it. Plus, it is a big week for the Scottie Mom and kids as we will be giving our followers a glimpse into the new house before we even move in. In terms of testing, I imagine we should get Mr. K's results back rather quickly. I'm not sure, however, how quickly we'll know whether or not Miss Heather has Cushing's. In the meantime, keep the Scottie Mom kids in your thoughts and look to hear from us again on this topic soon.

33 comments:

  1. You are in our thought and whee are send comforting cuddles your way. Fingers crossed for good news.

    Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil
    xxxx

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  2. What a difficult time..... my heart really goes out to you. xxxx

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  3. It is common for tick-borne disaeases to go undetected for a long time. I don't know why, but I've been there and asked the same questions. You can't always get answers, but for what it's worth, ticks are everywhere, even where you think there are none. I've picked up ticks myself. Yuk. Some ticks are so tiny, you won't see them and though Frontline will kill them eventually, nothing I know if will prevent them from biting and grabbing on, which means to me that they've had plenty of time to do damage before whatever preventative you are using does its job. I hope she gets better really soon or at least you find a way to get whatever it is under control. Ehrichia is nasty and dangerous all by itself. And it can be very hard to get rid of.

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  4. My paws are crossed for you. Hugs, Bentley

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  5. I will keep you in my thoughts and I will cross my paws as hard as I can. All my best wishes for Heather.

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  6. I think about every westie I've owned had an elevated alkaline phosphatase. Most of my dog are puppy mill retires and their lack of care and poor nutrition comes back to haunt them. Some we never figure out others are more clear cut. We always put them on Cholodin, Milk thistle and SAMe. It gives the liver some support. My Scottie Ray just started on this. Good luck and do the best you can. Keep the those Scottie xxx 's and oooo's coming. We love reading your blog!!

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  7. We just went thru this with one of our Scots. Last month his Alk Phos was > 2000 and Alt > 1000. He wouldn't eat and was hospitalized for 4 days. He is slowly improving , as are his liver function tests. But we have no clue what caused it.

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  8. We went through a similar Cushings scare with our little boy Scottie. The V-E-T thought it might be Cushings. It turned out he had thyroid issues. We put him on thyroid medicine and his symptoms disappeared. Please be sure to have the V-E-T check sweet Heather's thyroid count too if not already checked.

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  9. robert macaleeseMay 26, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    You need to contact Marcia Dawson in Brownsburg, Indiana. She raises show scotties and is a former vet. She probably knows more about abnormal liver values in Scotties than anyone in the country. They DO have a tendency to run abnormal values which does NOT necessarily mean they have Cushings Disease.

    ________________________________

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  10. We are thinking of you. Sending prayers for Heather and all the family. No matter what appears on your journey, I know you will walk the path bravely and compassionately. We just love you all...feel like you are our 'extended family'. Peace and Blessings,
    Kelly and Lucy-goosie.
    PS there are some great sites addressing care for Scotties w/elevated ALP.

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  11. About the liver values - I was just about to post the same thing. i haven't heard of cholodin, but we always did Milk thistle and SAMe. if it's any consolation, my scotties never went over the rainbow bridge because of a directly related liver issue - and never came up with Cushing's. And I've had 5 scotties over 20 years, all of whom had these crazy off-the-charts liver values (all from different rescues, breeders, parts of the country). Sending you and the wee scots big hugs.

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  12. Paws crossed and our mommy will keep Heather in her prayers. Licks and aroos from Haggis and Lucy McNaughty xxx

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  13. sharonsullivan578240323May 26, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Please go to: petwellbeing.com. They have a natural supplement I gave my Wheaton for her cushings. I noticed a big difference in her symptoms!

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  14. Miss Ginny says "arooooooo and hang in there!". Love and hugs to the Scots from Ginny and her peeps. (Prayers from Kay and Sam)

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  15. I can't help you with any of this except sending good wishes. We don't have fleas or ticks in Arizona and we don't even get the prevention meds. I can't help you with the Cushing's which is too much hormone from the adrenal glands because I have the opposite, Addison's disease, where those glands don't produce enough hormone. I have to get a shot every 25 days (it works out to about $2.25 a day) otherwise my body starts shutting down. If Heather has Cushing's, you can't even send me some of the extra, darnit.

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  16. Susan Weinstein and her Scotties Sid and ShelbyMay 26, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    I was told by my breeder that most Scotties have elevated liver values. I was able to get my dogs' values down to 220 from over 2000 by7 using SamE and milk thistle. It is inexpensive at CVS during BOGO sales and really worked.

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  17. Scottie Mom, I read you blog regularly. I'm worried about Heather. Keep us updated. Hope it will turn out okay.

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  18. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful following to give you suggestions and ideas to boost Heather along. I am crossing my fingers/toes and saying lots of prayers that all turns out OK. I am the forever optimist and I think you are, too. That's a good thing! Hootie is dumbfounded (I knew I shouldn't have told him about the love of his life) and wants to get on the next plane to Atlanta! Of course I won't let him....will not drive him to the airport for that matter! Chin up, give Heather lots of cuddles and belly-rubs and we all will be waiting patiently for the good news you will be giving us! Kisses from the Hootmon, as well.

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  19. All our thoughts, paws, hooves, fingers and everything else crossed for you and your family!! Best of luck and wishes. Jessica (me), Charlie Boy (my Westie), Roman (my Cocker Spaniel) and Brooke (my Shih Tzu) xxxx

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  20. Oh dear, oh dear - wishing the very best to all of you... xxx

    Solo and Krissy xxx

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  21. Olivia NicodemusMay 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    No matter what happens you are doing the absolute best you can and are one amazing Scottie Mom! They both love you so much. Great job!

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  22. Scottie Mom and Heather, how amazing and touching is to read all of your Scottie-mom fans, cheering-up these two brave girls!! Heather, you are in our thoughs and in our prayers. (Scottie Mom, you are not alone, you have a Scottie Army ready for the battle...). Let's think positive!! Love and Hugs.

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  23. I have just started following you so please bear with these questions. Is Heather on milk thistle and Sam-e? My boys APL values shot up to 1900 this year but we know its from medication he is taking. we also start him on a fish and sweet potato dog food these all have made a difference in his health but didn't drop his values. Hope you get answers and she feels better soon

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  24. So sorry for all the stress and health issues for poor Heather. A former Tibetan Terrier of The Help's had Cushings, it was managed quite well for a while on medication. I hope you have an explanation too because as you say not knowing is the worst.
    We'll keep you in our prayers and thoughts. xoxox

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  25. My prayers are with you and Heather. It is such a difficult time when the 'kids' are sick. And yet they are always so undemanding and brave.
    Keep us posted.

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  26. Hi! This is a long shot, but worth mentioning. My 12 year old Scottie's liver enzymes jumped dramatically 2 years ago - right after I switched her to Advantage Multi. When I was broke and unable to treat her for a period of about 3 months, the levels dropped. My vet's jaw dropped! Knowing that was the only change in her diet/treatments, we switched her to a different flea/tick/worm treatment called Trifexis. We're hoping that she (and, perhaps, all Scotties) had a reaction to the ingredients in Advantage Multi. Just in case, I'm also changing my two younger Scotties to Trifexis this month. Best of luck in finding an answer to little Heather's dilemma. You are both in our prayers.

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  27. My heart goes out to you! XOXO to sweet Heather and Mr K! Take care of yourself too.

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  28. Huggies for your and Heather.

    My Uncle Fergus had Cushings, he was always a bit of a strange fella, but he started acting really weird (licking the floor and digging at the tiles obsessively) drinking and drinking and drinking (which caused him to piddle, and piddle and piddle!)

    Once he was on meds he became a new fella, much happier and more playful! And he lived a long life before an unrelated cancer took him from us.

    If Heather does have Cushings, once they get her meds right she'll be a happy pupper too... It's not as bad as you think!

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  29. Everything crossed for Heather, take care of yourself too.

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  30. Hugs to you and paws crossed for Heather xxx

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  31. I too am a Scottie mom. In fact, I am a third-generation Scottie person! And our last Scottie, our beloved Robbie, had Cushing's. If Heather has it, I would be glad to share what I know! Btw, our wheatie is nowhere near as furry as my black or brindle Scotties have been.
    Barbara

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  32. Hang in there both of you! Maggie's ALK Phos values have been between 2000 to 6500 over the last 5 years. We've done lots of testing and he has some areas of cirrhosis (darn scotch whiskey!) in her liver, with no real explanation. She's been taking Denamarin for years, who knows how bad it would be without it? She is hypothyroid, and treatment has helped her energy level. The Cushings test results should come back pretty quickly, perhaps ask the vet about a bile acid test. Maybe your sweet Heather has a gall bladder issue....

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