We're going to the beach for one whole day! Luckily the weather is going to comply. According to the forecast, the sun will come out the hour we get to Maine, and clouds will float in the moment we leave.
Thank you, Mother Nature, I needed that!
We are going to the seashore for just one day because of our dog, Chloe, a Standard Poodle has a rare disease, Addison's, recently diagnosed - and diagnosed at great expense, I might add.
We can't afford a longer holiday and besides we need to get a dog-sitter for her.
Not that I am complaining.
We got Chloe about a year ago on April 29, 2014 from Animatch, a local animal shelter.
The caregivers had taken her to the vet a week before, where she got all the usual shots and was de-wormed and de-flea ed just like a common stray, although she had come from a comfortable home.
Chloe wasn't well last year, either. She was sneezing and wheezing and on antibiotics, with a swollen gland on her neck.
They warned us the dog might be very, very ill. Or it could just be a case of her immune system tanking at the shelter.
Chloe was only 2 years old.
But the dog recovered immediately and soon gained about 9 pounds, going from 51 to 60. We kept her.
Chloe is a nice, well-behaved, somewhat dominant female dog, who apparently had never run wild. She soon learned to love the great outdoors, racing through the woods on her daily sojourns with my husband and me.
Chloe's papers revealed she was from a puppy farm of sorts, unlike our last (much prettier) Standard Poodle who had been from a diligent local breeder.
Chloe enjoyed her first year in our leafy ex-burb, taking morning walks with my husband and Mr. Darcy, our much lazier 6 year old labrador mix, even during this brutal winter.
May, 2015. Cold Winter! Ice on the river even in shirt sleeve weather.
This year, in early June my husband took Chloe for her spring check up and pills. She got the Lepto vaccine.
And then her mood simply tanked.
She just stopped eating.
For a week or so I could entice her with 'new' brands of food and even home-made meatballs, but soon she wanted nothing at all to eat. She'd just mouth the food, lazily, and let it slip from her lips onto the carpet.
"She sounds depressed," my son said over the phone.
Chloe still seemed perky enough to me, outside of mealtime, still chasing chipmunks in the backyard, but we brought her back to the vet after 10 days.
My husband explained that she was pooping a little but that her stool was very hard and black. And that she was always biting her tail.
Chloe was given a blood and urine test and lyme disease and lepto test. The vet pushed down on the dog's spine and said it was tender.
She sent us home with some anti-inflammatories for the dog.
The next day all tests came back negative. Our vet said there was nothing more she could do at the moment. She said to call her back in a five days, as she was going to be away.
But Chloe got weaker and sicker fast, so we brought her to The Cornwall Animal Hospital.
The young vet said Chloe was very dehydrated with pale gums. They kept her for a day for IV hydration and performed all the same tests again with the same negative result.
They, then, tested her for intestinal blockage, with barium ultra sound and X Ray. No blockage.
Chloe perked up with the water fix and we took her home with 3 different pills, an antacid, an anti-nausea pill and an antibiotic - and special canned digestive dog food.
The vet told me if this course of action didn't work,then the prognosis was dire.
Chloe was fine for a day and dropped down again...very low, this time. She was stretching all the time. She looked at us in a clueless way. At night, on my bed, I could feel her shiver as if she were cold. And she might have had a seizure. I don't know as I was half asleep
We took her back to the Cornwall clinic. A senior vet listened to all the symptoms and said Chloe might have Addison's, a 'rare' disease, a deficiency of the adrenal glands, more common in Standard Poodles and one that is quite treatable.
The dog didn't have the classic symptoms, vomiting and raised blood potassium, but Addison's was a tricky disease. Only 20% of Addison's dogs will suffer from tarry stools, like Chloe. The shivering was a clue, though.
(The average vet sees only one case of Addison's a year.)
He wanted to do a definitive test involving the pituitary gland. Very expensive. We said, "No." 2,000 dollars was our limit.
He then suggested she stay in the hospital for a day, get re-hydrated and be given steroids and two blood tests, one before and one after. "If the tests show a difference in 'whatever' levels, that is pretty well proof she has Addison's."
"And if she has Addison's, she'll be fine tomorrow, " the vet added. And she was fine! And she's been fine ever since, with her six pills a day that she sometimes spits out on the floor. Bad dog! (Hopefully, she can be weaned from said pills that make her drink and pee a lot and can't be good for her in the long term.)
Good Night Sweet Princess. Well, almost.
I've been reading up on Addison's, a disease made famous by John F. Kennedy, but much more common in canines.
It is a disease with varying symptoms, say, like Lupus, so hard to diagnose. I have since read it is possible that Addison's is not that rare in dogs at all, just under-diagnosed.
For instance, Chloe never vomited or had diarrhea. She was severely constipated, though, and likely had been mildly constipated ever since we got her.
Misdiagnosed, maybe, or perhaps pet-owners just run out of money for further testing - once the more common blood and urine tests are completed and come out negative.
Just like we were about to do.
FYI dog owners.. Addison's occurs in other breeds and mutts,too.