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  #1  
Old October 28th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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High Liver Enzymes/Low Thyroid...fingers crossed!

So we brought our beautiful golden girl to the vet on Monday to discuss upping her pain meds as her hind legs are getting stiffer and stiffer. She is 16y 4 mths old so that is not unusual.

She is presently on Chondroitin/Glucosamine/MSM, Flex Tabs, Tramadol as necessary and getting cartrophen injections once a month since June. We were discussing starting Deramax and decided to do a wellness blood test first.

Vet called yesterday and her liver enzymes are high (but not out of control) and her thyroid came back low. Both could simply be a sign of aging and nothing to worry about OR she could possibly have something"bad" going on with her liver. We are taking her in tomorrow to run a second more comprehensive two-step thyroid test as well as a bile acids test.

Hopefully both tests will indicate old age and we can put her on the Deramax to manage her pain and keep her comfy. If there is any chance of cancer we will only treat the symptoms and not the desease but will have to discuss whether we can still put her on Deramax or not.

Never had a dog before much less one this old. Certainly comes with it's own challenges but we love her so much and want to do what is best for her.

Anyone have any experience/insight with dealing with these issues in senior dog?
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Old October 28th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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Well no advice to offer, I am in the exact same boat as you. Dealing with my first senior dog who is going downhill, and it hurts me more than her. I sure hope the new blood tests come back with what you are hoping for. I totally support your decision though to keep her comfortable only and not treat the incurable at this age. to you all.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 12:19 PM
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16 years is incredible, Diane. I wish I had some easy answers for you as well. Give Ginger a big gentle hug from me.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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No advice Diandpat....I know you treasure your girl and will treat her like the Queen that she is .....Ginger will ask no more of you. 16 is elderly for any dog, but for a Golden.........WOW.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 03:19 PM
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Goodluck with your tests 16 is an awesome age for a golden! Thyroid as you know can be easily treated, as well as liver numbers that are slightly elevated with SAM-E and milk thistle... hope the new bloodtests will give you the answers you are looking for... and treating your furkid by watching her signs, instead of looking at test results sometimes is the best way to go... sounds like shes doing pretty darn good at her age!
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Old October 28th, 2010, 03:43 PM
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diane,a 16yr old golden,that's amazing,not that it is any less difficult when they get sick,hopefully whatever ails her,can be treated with some meds and lots of love
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Old October 29th, 2010, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Dancer View Post
Well no advice to offer, I am in the exact same boat as you. Dealing with my first senior dog who is going downhill, and it hurts me more than her. I sure hope the new blood tests come back with what you are hoping for. I totally support your decision though to keep her comfortable only and not treat the incurable at this age. to you all.
It really is bothering me more than her that she is getting old. She wakes up tail wagging every morning...even though when she tries to shake too soon she falls over Then she just looks at me with a big old smile on her face and tries to get up. She sure is teaching me a lot about taking life as it comes. She is such a big inspiration to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by loopoo View Post
Goodluck with your tests 16 is an awesome age for a golden! Thyroid as you know can be easily treated, as well as liver numbers that are slightly elevated with SAM-E and milk thistle... hope the new bloodtests will give you the answers you are looking for... and treating your furkid by watching her signs, instead of looking at test results sometimes is the best way to go... sounds like shes doing pretty darn good at her age!
The vet was very encouraging that the both alone are easy to treat. Thanks for the suggestions on SAM E and milk thistle. I read up on SAM E last night and it is supposed to help with arthritis too

At the end of the day, we just don't want her to suffer and I pray for the the strength and courage to make any decisions necessary in a timely manner.

Will be bringing her in soon...she has to stay there for two hours. The house is always so lonely when she is not here. Will report back with any results.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
16 years is incredible, Diane. I wish I had some easy answers for you as well. Give Ginger a big gentle hug from me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris21711 View Post
No advice Diandpat....I know you treasure your girl and will treat her like the Queen that she is .....Ginger will ask no more of you. 16 is elderly for any dog, but for a Golden.........WOW.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chico2 View Post
diane,a 16yr old golden,that's amazing,not that it is any less difficult when they get sick,hopefully whatever ails her,can be treated with some meds and lots of love
Thanks so much. Of course we know that 16+is a fantastic age for a golden but I am selfish and want her to live forever

We adopted her when she was almost 7 and wanted her to live until 14 so that for at least half her life she would have known what it was like to be loved and cherished. The last two years have been gravy and she is a constant source of amazement to us and she will be in good loving hands until her time is up.

Thanks for all your good thoughts
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I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
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  #9  
Old October 29th, 2010, 08:25 PM
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How did the tests go today, Di?
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Old October 29th, 2010, 08:36 PM
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Awww, I've been where you are my friend . Liver problems are what really was the end for Lucy but we lived with and managed them for a lot of years prior to that.

Watch out for deramax as it has a high incidence of reactions for retrievers. We chose previcox for Lucy as it is formulated more specifically for arthritis, she was on it for probably two years. Later on we added tramadol and then nearer the end when her liver counts got quite bad we dropped the previcox and went just for the tramadol 3x per day. All of the NSAIDS (previcox, meticam, deramax) are hard on the liver and kidneys but I made the choice that the comfort of the dog was more important.

The last few years we did a lot of homeopathic remedies which really made a difference. I was very skeptical to begin with but it was obvious that they really helped. We administered a liver tonic with every meal and used nux vomica frequently to help cleanse the liver (also very good for naseau). We started the nux at a lower dose monthly, worked up to a higher dose weekly and then back to a lower dose but on a daily basis.

We had used milk thistle, vitamin E and SamE over the years to support the liver but less so once we moved to more homeopathic choices. The SamE was good although a pain to give because it should be on an empty tummy about 30-60 min before a meal.

Arnica was also a help to her on achey days or after lots of exercise.

Diet also played a big part for us. She has been raw fed for many years but the last year or so she didn't digest bone very well so I switched to home cooked. I had two crock pots that I would fill at the start of each week and freeze the daily portions. We also would give a bedtime snack of unsalted cottage cheese as the protein was good to get her through the night. With liver problems it is important to not go to long between meals as that gets the bile going.
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  #11  
Old October 30th, 2010, 11:26 AM
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Well, Ginger is like the energizer bunny...just keeps going and going and going!!!

Just spoke with the vet and her bile acids test came back totally normal so she is comfortable that there is nothing major going on there. Her numbers were only slightly elevated but she had wanted to double check but has no concerns at this point.

Her thyroid is low and can be easily controlled with pills. As a matter of fact she is hopeful that she will be MORE active

We will bring her back in a month for another thyroid test just to make sure the dosage is right.

We are going to start her on the Deramax (tho I wish I had read Teri's reply prior to this). At her age nothing is really "long term" so unless she really manifests with a very bad reaction she should be OK on the Deramax, non???

Will continue the Tramadol, Glucosamine, and Flex Tabs tho I will have to look into the Sam E...never heard of it.

Teri, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with me too...I will look into all that you mentioned as I know you were very diligent in finding comfort and relief for beautiful Lucy (who always reminded me of Ginger )

Thanks for all the good vibes...dodged another bullet I guess
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Ginger and Hobo at the Bridge (Valentine's Day 2011) but NEVER forgotten <3...

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I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
you to stay" ♥ ♥

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  #12  
Old October 31st, 2010, 01:32 AM
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A vet written article on HypoThyroidism in dogs http://www.2ndchance.info/doghypothyroid.htm

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  #13  
Old October 31st, 2010, 09:39 AM
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Thank you for the link Growler. To be honest, I think I'm going to have MY thyroid checked...I have more symptoms than Ginger LOL

the pills work and she is right as rain in no time!!!!!
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I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
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Old October 31st, 2010, 09:12 PM
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Great news on the test results, Di!!

We have some dogs on thyroid replacement--English setters are notorious for auto-immune hypothyroidism. The pills are cheap, come in a chewable form, and work like a charm for our guys.

As for the Deramaxx, our biggest problem with longterm use is stomach upset. English setters are also notorious for their tender tummies. We have better luck if we make sure they get their dose with their biggest meal.

I hope Ginger has many more good years to come
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Old November 1st, 2010, 08:58 AM
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Thanks Hazel...I always feel better when you chime in. I know you have had many dogs of many ages and lots of experience.

She only gets 1/2 a Deramax in the a.m. with breaky. So far so good.

Hard to tell about the thyroid pill...she wasn't really showing any symptoms in the first place

She definitely is comfortable and was moving like a puppy this morning, though this is her favorite time of year. Has always been peppier when cooler weather comes to town.
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Ginger and Hobo at the Bridge (Valentine's Day 2011) but NEVER forgotten <3...

"‎I have sent you on a journey to a land free from pain, not because
I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
you to stay" ♥ ♥

We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness.
It is here on earth and has four legs!
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Old November 1st, 2010, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by diandpat View Post
Hard to tell about the thyroid pill...she wasn't really showing any symptoms in the first place
One of my last huskies never showed any symptoms either except that she seemed to not have as much energy and kept her tail down most of the time. Our vet at the time couldn't find a reason so we tried a new vet and she thought it could be her thyroid and sure enough it was.

It was after I joined pets.ca and read that sometimes chronic ear infections can be a symptom of hypothyroidism as well. Summer did get ear infections often (not too common in dogs with erect ears) but they cleared up once she was on the thyroid medication.

It will take a month or so to get the correct dosage adjusted for Ginger and you will notice a difference.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:30 PM
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Senior Health Issues....

We're glad Ginger is responding well....
With Peaches & Rusty , we give them each a Glucosamine pill (500mg)(A.M.&P.M.) plus a 1000mg Omega-3 Fish Oil soft-gel pill (A.M.&P.M.)in their meals. Extra help with hip & joint stiffness-the fish oil helps their cardiovascular systems.
With Peaches it's mandatory for her to have blood & urine tests every 6 months after her kidneys failed last year...
If it is in any way relevant ,we have loads of information on the meds & the nutrition regime that we had to administer to her during that crisis.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 01:10 PM
Kodie's Mom Kodie's Mom is offline
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Wow amazing 16 year old golden, good for you. I know something that works great with problems in the joints in Shark cartilage, maybe you can try this or talk to your vet. It can be found anywhere and does help my golden. Good Luck, hope all works out well for you and Ginger.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbow View Post
One of my last huskies never showed any symptoms either except that she seemed to not have as much energy and kept her tail down most of the time. Our vet at the time couldn't find a reason so we tried a new vet and she thought it could be her thyroid and sure enough it was.

It was after I joined pets.ca and read that sometimes chronic ear infections can be a symptom of hypothyroidism as well. Summer did get ear infections often (not too common in dogs with erect ears) but they cleared up once she was on the thyroid medication.

It will take a month or so to get the correct dosage adjusted for Ginger and you will notice a difference.
Her tail has been down but I just assumed it was because her lower back was sore. Hobo has disc disease and that is one of the signs when his back is sore...his curly tail is straight and down. Oddly, she did have an ear infection.

She was very very agitated and uncomfortable for a week after we started the meds. The vet suggested she might have a tummy upset so we did a couple of days of Pepcid (tried slippery elm...she hated it!!!) and she settled down. Of course, we took her off the deramax as that seems to have been the culprit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldenbear View Post
We're glad Ginger is responding well....
With Peaches & Rusty , we give them each a Glucosamine pill (500mg)(A.M.&P.M.) plus a 1000mg Omega-3 Fish Oil soft-gel pill (A.M.&P.M.)in their meals. Extra help with hip & joint stiffness-the fish oil helps their cardiovascular systems.
With Peaches it's mandatory for her to have blood & urine tests every 6 months after her kidneys failed last year...
If it is in any way relevant ,we have loads of information on the meds & the nutrition regime that we had to administer to her during that crisis.
Thanks so much GB, she seems to be doing quite well for now. Don't want to do too many meds as she is like her Mum and doesn't always react well to them. We will stay with what we are doing until we feel more "comfort" is needed. She goes next week for another blood test to check her thyroid so hopefully we won't need to adjust any meds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodie's Mom View Post
Wow amazing 16 year old golden, good for you. I know something that works great with problems in the joints in Shark cartilage, maybe you can try this or talk to your vet. It can be found anywhere and does help my golden. Good Luck, hope all works out well for you and Ginger.
thanks so much Kodie's Mom...for now the tramadol seems to be keeping her comfortable. She doesn't like most pills and will NOT eat if we hide too much stuff in her food

Thanks for all your good wishes...senior dogs certainly present their challenges but we love them both so much we are just going to embrace everyday they are both here.
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Ginger and Hobo at the Bridge (Valentine's Day 2011) but NEVER forgotten <3...

"‎I have sent you on a journey to a land free from pain, not because
I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force
you to stay" ♥ ♥

We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness.
It is here on earth and has four legs!
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  #20  
Old November 20th, 2010, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diandpat View Post
Thanks for all your good wishes...senior dogs certainly present their challenges but we love them both so much we are just going to embrace everyday they are both here.
Excellent words of wisdom diandpat . Hope Ginger continues to do okay .
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Old November 21st, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Diandpat,it's good to read there is some improvement,Ginger is a fighter as is her momat 16yrs old Ginger already is a miracle,with hopefully many more yet to come
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Old December 8th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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My dog (Rhodesian Ridgeback) is almost 13. Since she was 10 she has slowly degenerated especially on the hind legs and have been on a roller coaster ride with vets and medications. I have checked with a lot of friends and it seem to be common that they all have low thyroid, elevated liver enzymes, weakness in back legs (which seems to be related to vaccinations). I have gone through all the meds like catrophen, metacam, hypo thyroid tabs and even anti cancer meds for cushions, which many vets turn to for an answer with certain liver levels. Non ever really worked and you need to remember drug suppress symptoms not the reason of the symptoms. I turned to a homeopath and have been able stop all the drugs. Thats not to say I would not administer a drug if she was really in pain. It is really a tough call when your dog is struggling just like yours and mine are. One thing I have come to realize is that even with meds or homeopath it helps but never really brings our dogs back to full health.
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