BLOG DISCLAIMER

**DISCLAIMER** Please note: I am not a veterinarian, and the purpose of this blog is solely to educate, provide resources, and share Reo's story. In this blog, I will present research and information on the theories of SARDS to which I subscribe, along with my own narrative. If you think your dog may have SARDS, or adrenal exhaustion/Plechner Syndrome, please seek veterinary care right away!

If you are just beginning your SARDS education, I suggest you start with the blog post from August 22, 2011 entitled "SARDS Resources". If you'd like to know our trials, tribulations, and joys from the beginning, start with "But first...Reo!" and click chronologically on from there.

If you would like to read my suggestions as to how I would approach treatment for a newly-diagnosed dog, check the November 16, 2011 post "If I had another SARDS dog" (and then read my blog more fully for appropriate context).

Though we have decided to suspend Reo's retinal protection supplements in September 2012 (see September 16, 2012 post "Decision for Reo") due to the fact that she had very little remaining vision, I am still strongly supportive of our treatment approach, and know that it changed Reo's health and longevity in a positive way. Feel free to comment and ask me any questions - I am happy to help if I can!




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Renal panel - in the clear!

04/08/14 - Last week, we repeated the renal panel for Reo.  It took longer than I had anticipated because she kept having set-backs for a variety of reasons.  The big set-back was that our younger rescue puppy went after Reo over a crumb on the floor (hello dog-dog resource guarding issues - I was not expecting you!!).  Reo was fine - he just scared her very badly and knocked her over on the floor, poor sweet girl.  The stress of the incident brought on a pretty bad flare and she was miserable - lots of diarrhea, depression, inappetance.  We are back on track now, but we were very worried about her for a few weeks.

The good news is, Reo's renal panel looks great!  All the electrolytes have normalized, which makes me think that the initial changes we saw were a result of post-seizure activity, and not true kidney disease and/or her adrenal exhaustion/Atypical Addison's condition moving toward "true" Addison's.  The only thing slightly elevated was BUN, and we are not worried about that at this time.  Yay!  Very relieved that we don't have to make any other changes right now.

Reo seems quite stable for the moment.  :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Prednisolone vs. Medrol

03/24/14 - Today I started Reo on PediaPred (5 mg/5ml) prednisolone sodium phosphate, instead of Medrol.  The reason?  I could only get 4 mg Medrol tablets, and was cutting them into fourths for Reo's daily dose.  When she needs to get a little more (and hopefully in the future, a little less), it is hard to add more or less to her dose by using the tablets.  The liquid gives us more flexibility to titrate her dose down in the future, and increase during times of stress.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Definite improvement

03/03/14 - Well, Reo is doing just wonderfully at present!  There have been no more seizures, thankfully.

After only a couple of days on the reduced thyroid dosage, she was perkier, seemed happier and more active.  That trend is continuing, so I am very happy.  We will repeat her bloodwork in a couple of weeks and see how she is doing, but I am optimistic!

With respect to diet, I reduced her Stella & Chewy's portion, and have replaced that with ZiwiPeak tripe recipe canned food.  I rotate the canned food with sardines or canned salmon, just to give her some variety.  Will see how her kidney panel looks soon and see if she is improving.  I would like to get her to gain at least 8 ounces if possible, my skinny girl!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

New issues

02/15/14 - Reo has been having some new issues lately, so wanted to share with everyone.  :-/  This is the time of year when Reo always struggles with something.  We are about a month away from her SARDS-versary when she was diagnosed.  She has a presentation of estrogen spike in a new way each year, which is a little frustrating!  (You might remember Levin's assertion that spring is a natural increase in adrenal activity in mammals - us too!, and because many of our dogs can't make cortisol, this results in an estrogen spike, which can manifest in different ways in different dogs.)

About 2 weeks ago, Reo had a seizure, followed by another one 4 days later.  I wasn't home for either, but my husband was (and was terrified, poor guy!).  We suspect the stress of me traveling, coupled by -20 degree temperatures was enough stress to put her over the edge (her second seizure happened when she went out to go potty, poor girl!).

This week, we went in for a check up to the vet - she is neurologically great, whew!  Since her last blood chemistry done in January looked great on the liver enzyme side, but showed a little uptick in kidney values, I asked my vet to run a renal panel just to check.  Sure enough, she had further increases in kidney values and was now abnormal for BUN, creatinine, sodium, and potassium all elevated (but nothing off the charts).  We are not sure if this is "true" renal issues, or if it's changes from post-seizure activity.

So, we will monitor, and do another renal panel in a month.  I will also make a slight change to her diet, and phase out the very high protein Stella & Chewy's patties (45% min protein), and replace with a high-quality canned food (~8% protein) as a topper for the ZiwiPeak dehydrated raw (34% min protein), to see if slightly less protein will ease the load on her kidneys.  I refuse to put her on any sort of prescription diet!

We were also in the process of making some changes to her thyroid dosage (we think she is getting too much thyroid replacement, since her metabolism is super fast and I cannot keep weight on her, even with the high protein/fat food), so we'll have to see how she does with less.  Reo was close to 10 lbs when she was diagnosed with SARDS, so we have been treating her at the 10 lb dose for Medrol and thyroid, since it was most convenient.  But, she now weighs only 6.5 lbs, so it's possible she's getting more than she needs of both, and we need to find the best dose for her.

And, just for fun, she has also developed a heart murmur!  My vet put it at grade 1-2, so not incredibly serious.  When we took x-rays, we saw a slightly enlarged heart, and also a little bit of collapsing trachea.  It's hard to know what caused what, or what is just a normal part of aging (she is 13, after all!).  We are not doing anything for the heart at this time, and will just monitor.

I don't want to change too many things at once because we won't know what's made a difference.  But, I feel fortunate that my vet loves Reo, is open to new ideas and possibilities, and is willing to do whatever is recommended by Caroline.  So, I remain optimistic and grateful!  :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another SARDS dog's blog

I came across another SARDS dog blog today!  I'm feeling flattered that it was inspired by Reo's blog, and Shasta's mom is right on in trying to help get out information as much as possible.

Shasta is a gorgeous GSD/Malamute mix, so she brings some "big dog" perspective to SARDS.  Bounce on over to their blog here:  http://sardshastastory.blogspot.com/ and read their story!

*Spoiler alert*  They were also able to restore vision by following Dr. Plechner's treatment recommendations!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Eighth EI-1 panel results

As promised, below is an updated table of Reo's EI-1 panels.  I've added the results of her panel at the end of November.



Reference Range
16-Mar-11
30-Apr-11
15-Jun-11
4-Aug-11
4-Jan-12
25-Jun-12
10-Dec-12
22-Nov-13
Total Estrogen
30 - 35
35.19
35.15
35.11
35.06
35.04
35.05
35.02
35.03
Cortisol
1.0 - 2.5
8.43
7.03
0.97
0.82
0.68
1.4
0.96
0.85
T3
100 - 200
62.7
72.12
87.92
156.94
135.29
169.94
157.64
154.03
T4
2.0 - 4.5
0.87
1.15
1.6
3.99
3.21
7.17**
5
4.89
IgA
70 - 170
50
53
57
65
67
66
68
67
IgG
1,000 - 2,000
722
754
883
946
973
970
992
981
IgM
100 - 200
74
76
87
97
97
97
98
98

Overall, Reo looks great.  No major changes in anything - just the typical slight ups/downs we see over time.  She is stable.

We did a blood chemistry and CBC as well (we do this every 6 months to make sure she is tolerating her medications and is healthy) and her liver values and cholesterol have actually gone down since the summer, which is pretty cool.  :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SARDS Dogs United Facebook group

My goodness, I am behind in updating!  I'm sorry, fair readers.  Wishing you and your pups a wonderful New Year!

Reo is doing very well - I will post her latest bloodwork soon.  We had another EI-1 panel done at the end of the year, as well as blood chemistry and CBC.  Her blood chemistry was quite notable, with liver values and cholesterol number actually going down since her last test (yay!).  Hormone levels are stable, with only slight changes up or down over time.

Currently her only health "problem" is a potential issue with collapsing trachea.  She's always had issues aspirating water when she drinks, but now she's been sneezing/reverse sneezing/coughing at random times.  We have her on a course of Clavamox to make sure it's not a simple upper respiratory infection, but so far I haven't noticed any changes.

The thing that makes me think it is NOT collapsing trachea is because she is not affected when she is walking or exercising.  Sort of strange...

ANYWAY!!!

My primary reason for writing this post is to alert you all to a new Facebook group that we have created for SARDS dog owners, or those interested in the disease.  It is called SARDS Dogs United, and you can request to join us here:  SARDS Dogs United

We hope this will be an easy way to keep in touch with other SARDS owners.  Now that Yahoo has changed its groups format, it is less user-friendly.  Feedback welcomed!  :)