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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think most of you know about Harry's liver issues... well in
December, I decided to take him off of the steroids he was on.
First of all, my local vet said that he appeared to be showing
signs of cushings that might be induced by the dexamethasone.
And.... I felt that the medicine was causing Harry to constantly
be tired and that as a result, he didn't even have a fun life.

This week, I noticed that his belly is a bit distended. So
I brought him to my local vet and he checked him out... he
weighed exactly the same as he did a year ago.... no temp..
etc. So he ran blood work... The blood work came back today.
I don't really understand all of the numbers he told me,
but the results were not that bad (alt was in the normal range and
something else ws good too... asp maybe?). He said that the main
concern was low protein.... which I also do not understand
fully... but that in his opinion the numbers
were not so low that he would consider it a major problem.

So the problem we're left with is the fluid in the abdomen. My
local vet called Harry's specialist at Cornell. He wants my vet
to xray Harry, then tap the fluid, and then restart the steroids
at an even higher dosage.

Here's my problem... I don't know
how much more I want to put Harry through medically. And...
on the dexamethasone, he ate, slept, and peed and basically
did nothing else. Now he plays with toys and the other dogs,
chews on bones, and runs around the house like a puppy.

So, since there are people on this forum with much more
wisdom and knowledge than I have... I thought I'd ask for
opinions and advice. What would you do? Start him back
on the tests and the meds... or let him be?

I know you'll understand when I say that I'm very upset
about this. I don't want to lose Harry because I make the
wrong decision. I know the decision has to be mine.... but it
would help to hear other people's ideas.

Thanks.
Debbie
 

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Deb, I'm so sorry Harry's having more problems. I wish I had an answer, I don't...but I sure wish I did. What a terrible feeling to want the best for Harry and not knowing which way to go.

My heart goes out to you as I sit here and look at my precious babies and think how I'd feel in that same situation.

Maybe it's something that can be fixed easily. ...maybe? I'll be praying for him (and you).
 

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Pardon my language, Debbie. That f'ing dexamethazone. Yes, the wonder drug that is only a band-aid. God forgive me, I hate this crap.

I realize steroids are used to reduce inflammation. Is is possible to test the fluid without starting them again?

I'm at a loss for words at the moment, Deb. I know what it's like to have a sick baby. I know you and Steve have been, and, are doing everything in your power for your little love. I know the heartache and the worry. I believe what it truly comes down to is Harry's quality of life. In other words, you'll know Deb. In his own way, Harry will help you with your decision making.

My heart is with you, my friend. I'm right here if you need me.
xoxoxoxooxox
 

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I'm so sorry you're going through this. What a hard position you are in. If I were you, as long as Harry isn't in pain when off the steroids, I would keep him going for as long as he can ENJOY life. Keeping him on the steroids, if it reduces him to eating and sleeping, is not in his best interest in my opinion. It's really hard, but I'm all about quality of life. Consider if you would want your family to 'pull the plug' if you could not enjoy life anymore.

On the other hand, maybe you can try some different treatments (maybe a different type of steroid?) with your vet and one may not render him so lethargic/disinterested? I sure hope Harry starts feeling better, soon. I know how much love we all have for these little angels, it's hard when anything starts to go wrong. My heart goes out to you :grouphug:
 

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Debbie,

Drawing the fluid off seems to make sense, otherwise you know where Harry is headed as he's already been there before. And I understand the reason for getting him on a higher dose of steroids initially because the inflamation causing the buildup of fluid needs to get stopped immediately. Cushing's Disease is not great but can be managed. What I would be asking the vets though is if there is a lower maintenance dosage of the steroids that you all could work toward for Harry. I'm hoping and praying that there is some happy medium between no medicating (thus fluid buildup) vs. over medicating (thus no life). You know your dogs, you know when they are well and happy, you also know when they are not well and not happy. I think it might be worth laying it on the table for all your vets to understand that quality of life is just as important to you as quantity of life. And you need to assure your vets that you fully understand and acknowledge the possibility of a shortened life for Harry. With that out in the open then you can ask that a treatment plan be developed that medically may not be the best but that will give Harry a better quality of life.

Hugs to you, Steve and all your crew,

MaryH
 

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Gosh I am so sorry. Like Harry my Ellie had good days and not so good days. It is a hard decision, It is interesting to me that his bloodwork was pretty good but his protein was low, that exactly how Ellie's was when I took her in for her spay and her doctor found the fluid. I was shocked because her bloodwork was the best it had ever been. Is he having any other problems? I know after the fluid was discovered was when she started to have other problems secondary to her liver disease.

I would let him enjoy life and manage things as they come up, they let you know when they have had enough. I will keep Harry in my prayers

Cathy
 

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If it were me, I wouldn't want my dog to have that sort of life. I'd find a Holistic Vet, an Integrative Medicine Vet, or a Veterinary Naturopath.

I know that most people on this forum use regular allopathic Vets, and that's fine, however there really are some additional wonderful methods to treat illness that should be definitely considered in a situation like yours.

If you cannot find a suitable person in your area, you might have to consider traveling, or even doing a phone consult. Here's a couple of examples.

Consultations | Aspenbloom Pet Care

NATURAL PET ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Hope this helps.
 

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Deb - Have been waiting on pins and needles to hear about vet visit since the other day when we PM'd.
It's very strange...it does sound like good news with the tests. Could there be bloating from anything else like I remember reading on SM many months ago --drinking too fast, too cold? Can't quite remember different scenarios but you can probably find the threads. Maybe someone else will have some insight. I'm just surprised about Harry feeling and doing so much better -- really having quality of life and now having to plunge him back into steroids. I know whenever my son was on them they made him so miserable and sick and they can cause other health problems. Can the ex-ray and fluid test be sent and wait with the steroids until results from those?

I remember your telling me about Harry's health when we met at Westminster and I was awed by your devotion and heart. You've been such a amazing mom. It's the hardest thing in the world figuring out what to do when it comes to our kid's health. But I do know that if I ever came to a time in my life where I had a choice between a shorter time filled with joy and fun and a longer time with agony and inaction, I'd want to live less life and kick its butt instead of it kicking mine. I just saw Kerry's post and I agree. You'll know, and though neither choice is easy, you'll make the best choice for Harry, not yourselves but him.
Sending lots of love and prayers from Tyler and myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Debbie,

Drawing the fluid off seems to make sense, otherwise you know where Harry is headed as he's already been there before. And I understand the reason for getting him on a higher dose of steroids initially because the inflamation causing the buildup of fluid needs to get stopped immediately. Cushing's Disease is not great but can be managed. What I would be asking the vets though is if there is a lower maintenance dosage of the steroids that you all could work toward for Harry. I'm hoping and praying that there is some happy medium between no medicating (thus fluid buildup) vs. over medicating (thus no life). You know your dogs, you know when they are well and happy, you also know when they are not well and not happy. I think it might be worth laying it on the table for all your vets to understand that quality of life is just as important to you as quantity of life. And you need to assure your vets that you fully understand and acknowledge the possibility of a shortened life for Harry. With that out in the open then you can ask that a treatment plan be developed that medically may not be the best but that will give Harry a better quality of life.

Hugs to you, Steve and all your crew,

MaryH
Mary,

My local vet understands my feelings about quantity of life
versus quality of life. I feel strongly about that issue for myself,
but with a dog who can't talk to you and discuss how he is
feeling... it's a tough thing... I find myself doubting my
decisions and my instincts, too.

The other problem with Harry is that because of his liver condition,
he metabolizes drugs in different ways and even a small amount...
he was only on .2ml of a 2mg/ml solution of dexamethsone every
third day... had a huge impact on the little guy.

Thanks for your input...

Hugs to you and your beautiful babies.

Debbie
 

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I am just reading this post...Bless your heart for having to make this decision. I'm with Kerry and Sue but it ultimately has to be Mommy's decision. Whatever it is, we are behind you 100% because you love your little Harry beyond anything. We are always here to listen........:wub:
 

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Debbie,

Drawing the fluid off seems to make sense, otherwise you know where Harry is headed as he's already been there before. And I understand the reason for getting him on a higher dose of steroids initially because the inflamation causing the buildup of fluid needs to get stopped immediately. Cushing's Disease is not great but can be managed. What I would be asking the vets though is if there is a lower maintenance dosage of the steroids that you all could work toward for Harry. I'm hoping and praying that there is some happy medium between no medicating (thus fluid buildup) vs. over medicating (thus no life). You know your dogs, you know when they are well and happy, you also know when they are not well and not happy. I think it might be worth laying it on the table for all your vets to understand that quality of life is just as important to you as quantity of life. And you need to assure your vets that you fully understand and acknowledge the possibility of a shortened life for Harry. With that out in the open then you can ask that a treatment plan be developed that medically may not be the best but that will give Harry a better quality of life.

Hugs to you, Steve and all your crew,

MaryH
Gosh, there is no way in the world I could have said this any better then Mary did here. Just so perfect.

You and Harry are in my thoughts, heart and prayers. Just like Mary said, finding that middle ground - medically being treated but still able to enjoy a happy and wonderful quality of life. Hugs to you.
 

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Deb, my heart is breaking for you. What a hard decision.
With Jack and Bogey I promised them that I would help them to the Bridge when life was not fun any more. Dogs don't understand why they are in pain and all different procedures done.
You will know, as we did, when they just lay in their beds and their eyes are saying "help me".
I sat beside Jack's bed, held him and saw how hard life was for him. I told him I was there to help him and made that decision.
You will know also and Harry will help you to help him.

Sending hugs and holding you tight.

Marsha
 

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I would discuss the possibility of using other drugs that would suppress the immune system if that is the goal. Mikey could barely tolerate any steroids, so we used prednisone compounded into a tiny dose to keep him eating. Then we used other drugs like cyclosporin, imuran, and leukeran to knock out the type of inflammation he had. I'm not saying these are options for him, but it is at least worth looking into.
There is nothing wrong with you not wanting him to live like that. Having a live dog isn't any good if it does not have any joy. Its about quality of life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If it were me, I wouldn't want my dog to have that sort of life. I'd find a Holistic Vet, an Integrative Medicine Vet, or a Veterinary Naturopath.

I know that most people on this forum use regular allopathic Vets, and that's fine, however there really are some additional wonderful methods to treat illness that should be definitely considered in a situation like yours.

If you cannot find a suitable person in your area, you might have to consider traveling, or even doing a phone consult. Here's a couple of examples.

Consultations | Aspenbloom Pet Care

NATURAL PET ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Hope this helps.
Suzan,

Thanks for the links. Definitely something to think about.
 

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I am so sorry that your darling is not well. I am going to have to agree with "Nikki's Mom". There are many options that may help in this situation and a homeopathic vet may be a good idea. Good Luck
 

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I'm so sorry and I hope you get things worked out for Harry. I agree with the others, quality of life is so important.
Bless your heart and Harry's.
:grouphug::grouphug:
 

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If you are like me, you will always wonder if you made the right choice if you don't check out all the other options first. So let them draw off the fluid, double check if there is another treatment plan option, consult with a holistic vet, and then you will have all the info you will need to make this extremely difficult decision. I, like you and so many others, would not want to be selfish and keep one of my babies going when they have no quality of life. But I would not be at peace with my decision until I had exhausted all possibilities. I'm so very sorry and we will love you and support you no matter what choice you make.
 

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I've also faced the quandary of steroids as a life-saving tool even as they were doing greater damage. It is so frustrating. :confused:

You have already answered your own question. You want your baby to live, but the overall quality of life is the most important to you.

As some have suggested, perhaps their is a way to get to that through different treatment. And as Crystal said, finding out is one of those things that help give us the confidence to know we have done all we can. As Mary suggested, perhaps letting the steroids be used to fight the current issue, then finding a "lower" dose that offers the quality of life you want for Harry. Or perhaps there is a different kind of "cocktail" like Jackie suggested that might work. In the end though whatever decision you make, you already know exactly what you want for your little man.
:grouphug:
 
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