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  #1  
Old November 20th, 2017, 09:34 PM
Shazanne Shazanne is offline
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Confused About My Treatment Choices

Hi everyone. I am confused and a bit worried at the moment as I'm not sure if I'm doing the right things for my precious Millie.

She is 13 and in relatively good health for her age. She is prone to pancreatitis (has had a couple of mild bouts) so I home cook for her. Her diet at present is pretty bland as she had some mucus in her poop last week so she is currently getting white chicken breast, calf liver, pumpkin (the canned Digestive blend), sweet potato and white and brown Basmati rice. Her supplements are calcium (NOW brand), zinc, iron, manganese and iodine which are added to the food when cooked and cooled. She gets a Vitamin E each morning and a Vitamin D twice weekly. I also give her a Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM capsule morning and evening (NOW brand) but only introduced this a couple of days ago.

In the middle of the day she gets 2 ounces of goats milk, the Primal Brand, which includes tuermic and I include a few drops of Milk Thistle as she has elevated ALT liver values.

Over the last few weeks/months I have been trying to wean her off Metacam by using CBD Hemp Oil (she is now down to a quarter of a 1mg Metacam tablet, and also wean her off Clomicalm (anti-anxiety med) with Zyklene, which is a natural product. Again, she is down to a quarter of a 20mg Clomicalm daily.

However, she has very bad rear leg trembling that has been getting worse since Spring and is spreading to her front legs. She is pacing a lot more than usual and is back to aggressively licking at her groin/upper leg/vulva area, which she had not been doing very much in recent times. I am concerned that I have withdrawn prescription medications that may have been helping her, even though I did so very, very slowly. But I felt that natural remedies would be safer for her, particularly the CBD Hemp Oil.

What I can't be sure of and what is worrying me a lot at the moment, is whether it's anxiety or pain that is causing her symptoms to return. Am I doing wrong in taking away the prescription medication in favour of the natural remedies even though my main aim in doing so was to protect her liver as her ALT has been at double the higher range for months?

Sorry for the long post - I can never seem to write brief posts!
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  #2  
Old November 21st, 2017, 10:48 AM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Metacam doesn't need to be weaned, don't think Clomicalm needs to be either.

I take it you haven't done a synthroid trial on her?

As for diet, you mention she's now on white chicken - is she only getting chicken as a meat protein?
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Old November 21st, 2017, 02:52 PM
Shazanne Shazanne is offline
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Yes, just white chicken and calf liver at the moment. She had a digestive upset (quite a bit of mucous in poop) so she needs a bland diet at present. But her other recipes contain beef, fish etc. Everything must be lean to avoid pancreatitis.

Her thyroid levels have been good in all her recent blood work so that's pretty much off the table from a veterinary perspective at the moment.
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Old November 21st, 2017, 08:04 PM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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As long as you understand that a dog cannot live on chicken and liver.

Personally, I would try a trial of synthroid for a couple of days, half a dose even. 25 mcg twice a day for 2 or 3 days, it's not going to hurt the dog. There's lots of wiggle room in those blood results to kick the T4 up a notch.

As stated before, it may not be classic hypothyroidism but if the dog shows any sign of improvement within 24 to 48 hours of being on synthroid - now you have a direction to go instead of spinning your wheels like you've been doing for the last year. Feeding synthroid can tell you if you're dealing with an endocrine issue. You mentioned in another post that the vet was kicking around the idea of doing a synthroid trial, just do it. If nothing else, you rule out many things.

I had to bypass the vet and do my own synthroid trial on my ex's dog, didn't have a choice. It proved I was right. Hint: synthroid is the same for dogs and humans.
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  #5  
Old November 21st, 2017, 11:10 PM
Shazanne Shazanne is offline
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I fully understand that she cannot live on chicken and calf liver - her food also contains pumpkin, rice and sweet potato plus all the supplements I have listed about.

She's 13 - she is showing early signs of Cognitive Decline (this is a veterinary diagnosis and one I only partially accept at present as most of her issues have been ongoing for some time)

I have gone the conventional route and the holistic route at this point and have failed to either establish what is causing her issues or get any definitive help in solving them.

To be honest I would be nervous about giving her a medication that I was unsure that she needed. I admire your confidence in doing so, but I am very cautious when it comes to Millie as I fear causing her any further issues - although I take on board your comment that it can't do any harm. Hypothyroidism has not been to the forefront of my mind in recent months as her thyroid blood work has all been well within normal range - I even had it tested by Dr. Dodds.

By pure freak I had my other dogs urine tested earlier this week as I've been coming home to large amounts of urine on the floor for the past couple of weeks. Judging by the volume I assumed it was my male dog but his urine tested normal. I joking remarked to the vet that perhaps I was blaming the wrong dog so she immediately suggested testing Millie's urine. It was tested this morning following a free catch sample and the results showed that it was more dilute than it should be and it also contained blood.
She goes in tomorrow for a cysto and fasting blood work so I will raise the thyroid issue again.
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Old November 22nd, 2017, 11:41 AM
rhynes rhynes is offline
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Another thing worthy of mentioning - since she has blood in her urine... Rice can be high in phosphorus (and carbs), which normal kidneys can generally deal with. At 13 years old, her kidneys are likely not functioning at peak efficiency. If she's having kidney issues - then rice is probably the last thing you want to feed. Look up Hyperphosphatemia symptoms, could explain the tremors. Have her phosphorus levels been tested? What about calcium levels?

Can urine be too dilute? Is she drinking excessive water?

At some point, you mentioned dealing with possible yeast infection. The added sugars in her diet aren't necessary and will promote yeast. To top it off, by feeding sugar and carbs, you're forcing the pancreas to produce insulin which has a trickle effect throughout the body - affecting the liver as well. The idea of a bland diet is to give the system a rest.
And cooked fat is the main contributor to pancreatitis.
Dogs do not need carbohydrates either.

Last edited by rhynes; November 22nd, 2017 at 12:08 PM.
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  #7  
Old November 23rd, 2017, 01:17 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Just popping in, I haven't been reading the forum (stll knee deep in elder care issues), but I have a few observations....

With the dilute urine the kidneys may not be concentrating it which is a problem. Kinda hoping there is a UTI which might take care of things when treated.

As for the mucous, have you tried different types of probiotics? It took me a long time to find the right ones here. There are some infections that cause toxins that create the symptoms you describe (stools and even the shaking) that are hard to find (mainly in the clostridium family). If the mucous continues, it's an issue of the wrong bugs in the gut and need to be treated somehow.

The supplements you are using to replace the meds may or may not do the job adequately.

I used a hemp product for my dog's anxiety at first. It worked well initially but then eventually made her more inclined to bark and go off on other dogs so I stopped it. I tried the zykliene product too and it didn't help. St John's wort helped a lot, but it interacts with a zillion different things so you have to be careful with it. Ultimately fixing the other things she had wrong helped the most, but she is still an anxious dog, and I believe it comes from the gut.

Metacam is an anti-inflammatory and and i'm not sure you have a replacement for that. Here I try things like boswellia or yucca if it's tolerated. There are others, but I am not completely convinced the hemp oil is a strong enough anti-inflammatory. It's possible that in high chronic doses any anti-inf supplement is also harder on the liver, but I don't think they are as bad as the Metacam for that.

I would consider a b-complex, like a B-50 to help with the nervous system, which may include the cause for the shake and also contributes to anxiety.

My girl has tremors, we think are nervous system bases. I find that alpha lipoic acid (she gets r-lipoic) is very helpful, but she is also getting nongmo sunflower lecithin to help her utilize fats and protect her nervous system.

I do however combine her treatments with regular chiro treatments and also acupuncture.

As you know, once a dog deals with pancreatitis, they have to watch the fat in the diet. But there are many reasons why the pancreas may have become compromised. Allergies, infections, and also immune system attacks can all cause pancreatitis. Our vet internist says in most cases an actual cause is never found, but they treat symptomatically. For my chronic pancreatitis girl, I fed her lean pork and green beans for probably a decade, though she was able to tolerate hard-boiled eggs in the morning. I found foods would trigger her pancreatitis attack (chicken has been bad for all of my dogs), and I found when I wasn't able to control her pancreas issues, she needed a round of panacur, even if all tests were negative.

These dogs are all so individual, best of luck getting this figured out!
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  #8  
Old November 23rd, 2017, 01:21 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Please excuse the typos above, i'm on my phone...

Can't believe that I forgot to mention to rule out tick disease....
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  #9  
Old November 23rd, 2017, 01:27 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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One last comment - different joint supplements seem to vary in how well they help the dog. You might also have to experiment with those to find the ones that work the best. Depending how bad the joints are, you might need a couple of different supplements depending on the ingredients. I start my dogs on them young, so I haven't had the experience of a dog with badly deteriorated joints, but i've seen this with others. My first dog required cosequin and glycoflex to be at her best (her joints were real bad even though xrays were good she also had chronic lyme).


(I should clarify - she was started on supps at 12 months but she had problems requiring surgery due to bad hip confirmation. I kept her on supps and the joints at 13 were still not bad in terms of degeneration.)
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  #10  
Old November 23rd, 2017, 06:51 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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So sorry to spam you, but an afterthought. With back leg tremors, you should also check if the anal glands are too full and need expressing.

About the thyroid, remember, it's a hormone that replaces what is missing in the body and if a dog needs more thyroid hormone, there really isn't a way to fix that without supplying the actual hormone for the body to utilize. Low thyroid can cause muscle and limb weakness, tremors and seizures, anxiety and cognitive brainfog. So if you are not treating a suspect blood value, regular testing to watch for further decline is warranted.
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  #11  
Old November 23rd, 2017, 10:36 PM
Shazanne Shazanne is offline
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Thank you Maxi Lisa for your very detailed and helpful response.
To outline the positives from it first - she had her urine checked by cysto the following day and it was properly concentrated but it scheduled to be rechecked again in six weeks. She gets B 50 daily, has been checked for tick disease (negative), her anal glands were expressed this week and were not very full and she is also booked for a Rehabilitation Consultation to assess which therapy would help her most, ie; accupunture, laser, pulse, chiro, etc.
Today I made her Golden Paste to help with any discomfort she may be having without the Metacam until she has the consultation and I am enlightened as to the extent of her condition and, hopefully, the cause is identified so we can move forward with treating her.

You comment on the CBD Hemp Oil interests me as I really believed it was a good approach for her. But I certainly do not want to risk it having a negative effect of any kind. The Zylkene is difficult to gauge at the moment as she is not on it long enough to see if it is have a positive impact or if it is making no impact at all.

The thyroid issue is also now beginning to concern me again as Rhynes referred to it in an earlier comment too. But her thyroid blood work is not showing any cause for concern and is well within normal range, both on her regular clinic tests and on Dr Dodds test. By my reasoning (which could be wrong!!) I don't see a need to give her thyroid medication if there is nothing in her blood work to warrant it?

Can I ask you a couple of questions on the other points you raised in your reply? I give her probiotics regularly but not daily and I use the Dr. Mercola brand as this was recommended to me. However, just a couple of days ago I saw a comment somewhere that this brand is not that good so now I am at a loss as to whether to continue with it or, more importantly, what to replace it with?
You also mention Boswellia and Yucca and, while I know the names, I know nothing about them. Where are they available from, how are they administered, are they given long term, it is a choice of one or the other of them and which one is more successful and most easily tolerated. And, finally, if it is not being tolerated why symptoms indicate that?
You also mention Alpha Lipoic Acid and you have lost me completely there as I am not familiar with it at all. How effective/beneficial is it? Where is it available? Is there a canine version of it? Is it easily tolerated?
And, needless to say, I have similar questions about non-GMO Sunflower Lecithin as, once again, I am unfamiliar with that too.

Finally (you'll be happy to hear!!) did you add anything to your dogs combination of pork and green beans? Did you add any carbs at all or how did you make a filling meal from those two ingredients? Did you add any supplements (calcium, iron, manganese, iodine, Vitamins E and D) as these all form part of her current diet in order to keep it balanced.

I would be very grateful if you get a chance to answer my question whenever you log in again as, like I say, I am totally at sea with many of your suggestions but very interested in hearing your answers.
Thank you again for the time you took to reply - it is greatly appreciated.
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