Lexie at U of I

The girls and I took Lexie to the U of I Veterinary Small Animal Clinic.  It was a long day.  We left home at 9:30 a.m. and got back home at 7:45 p.m.  Here’s what our day looked like.

We arrived for our 11:00 a.m. appointment and were taken back within minutes.

Lexie was examined by a 4th year vet student and a 1st year student who then consulted with the Internal Medicine Vet on staff, Dr. Middleton.  About 15 minutes later Dr. Middleton and the student returned with a plan in place.  The minute Dr. Middleton began to speak I knew I was going to like her.  They wanted to keep Lexie for the day to run a series of tests in hopes of getting a definitive answer to why she hasn’t been eating.  The plan was blood work, x-rays, ultra-sound, urinalysis, blood pressure and others that I can’t remember.

After our 20 minute consult with the doctor, the girls and I said bye to Lexie and we were off for an adventure which included pizza, games, playtime at the park and ice cream.  We returned to the U of I shortly after 5:00 and waited to find out the results of the tests.

Dr. Middleton came in and said that while there were some concerns on Lexie’s blood work, there was nothing of significant concern and certainly nothing that pin-pointed any problems.  The x-rays of her stomach and chest looked good and the other tests were fine as well.

Now onto the bad news.  What they saw on the ultra-sound didn’t look good.  The lining of Lexie’s stomach is very thick and they could see dark spots on her pancreas.  They tried to do a needle biopsy, but were not able to get the sample and were recommending exploratory surgery so they could biopsy her stomach and pancreas.  This would also allow them to examine her other organs for any abnormalities.

Dr. Middleton, then said what I really didn’t want to hear.  While the biopsy results could be benign, she was deeply concerned and wanted us to know that she doesn’t expect that to be the case.  Lexie has lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time and the ultra sound view doesn’t look good at all.

All my efforts to keep it together failed and I was a mess.  How could such a young dog (6 years old) be going through such serious health problems?  She is supposed to live 12-14 years.  Dr. Middleton was so understanding, but she had to give her recommendations.  If we chose against the exploratory surgery her recommendation was to euthanize.  I just couldn’t euthanize Lexie without having some answers.  What if they are wrong?  What if it isn’t as bad as they think?  What if it’s something treatable and she can live out her life?  For me to say go ahead and euthanize was not even a consideration.  I have to know for sure, one way or another.

After telling them to go ahead with the surgery, they went to get Lexie so we could spend some time with her.  While we waited I had to explain to Lili and Naomi what was happening.  Naomi doesn’t quite comprehend what’s going on.  Lili, on the other hand gets it.  She understand Lexie is very sick and she understands the plan.  She also understands that if they can’t do anything to make Lexie better that we have to let her go.

They brought Lexie to the room and when she saw us I could see the excitement in her eyes.  She was sure it was time to go home.  Her body is too weak to react with excitement, but she slowly trotted over to us saying, I’m ready to go home now.  We spent about 15 minutes with her before they came back with all the surgery paperwork.  Once the paperwork was done it was time to say our good-byes.  We gave Lexie hugs and pets then parted ways.

The U of I has been very wonderful thru all of this.  I received a call from the vet assist this morning letting me know that Lexie did very well last night.  They have gotten her rehydrated and she slept most of the night.  They were able to get her to eat a little this morning and she went out for a little walk.  She is scheduled for surgery at 1:00 today.

About an hour later Dr. Middleton called.  Even though they will do the biopsies today, they won’t have the results for about a week.  Therefore, she is recommending that Lexie have a G-tube inserted during surgery so they can get nutrition in her post-surgery.  Since we don’t know what the outcome will be, we certainly need to do what we can to get her healthier and stronger.  They are also having dental come in for a consultation during surgery to make sure there is nothing going on in her mouth that is causing further problems.

Post-surgery, Lexie will be staying at the U of I to be monitored, fed and cared for.  We will be in constant contact with them and will hopefully be able to visit Lexie until we know for sure what’s going on.

For now we wait and hope for the best while we prepare for the worst.  Sure wish that was easier said than done.

Lexie Update Part II

On Friday morning I dropped Lexie off at the vet’s office so she could be put under for a thorough examination.  My hope was that the vet would be able to find something in her mouth or throat that is causing her to not eat.  About four hours later the vet called and said he did discover that she had a dead tooth which needed to come out so he did the extraction.  However, a dead tooth really wouldn’t cause a dog to not eat.  He found nothing else in her mouth or throat.  He did another set of x-rays to see if something showed up that he didn’t see before, but there was nothing there.  He did an ultra-sound hoping that maybe something would be evident to him, but he saw nothing.  He did more blood work to check for a disease called A-Typical Addison’s.  He will have the results back tomorrow.  If the results show sign of the disease I will need to take her back in for further testing to see if this is what she has, but we will have to wait for those results as well.  If the blood work comes back negative, then we are looking at making some tougher decisions.

The vet does have some ideas on what else could be going on, but all of those ideas are neurological in nature and would require a referral to the University for a consultation and likely further testing.  This also means we would be looking at some potentially big dollars in trying to find out what’s going on with her with no guarantee that what they find will be good or treatable.

In the meantime, my new friends over at Keeshond Express have been a wonderful resource of support and information.  They have had such wonderful tips and tricks and today one of those tips paid off and I was able to get Lexie to eat.  She didn’t eat a lot, but after all this time of not eating, she probably doesn’t have a lot of room in her stomach for much food.

Another suggestion I received was to make Lexie an oral hydration formula to help get her electrolytes back up.  She’s been drinking it most of the day and I hope we see some positive effects from that as well.

While I’m certainly happy that Lexie did eat some today, we still have a long way to go and may have some big decisions to make by the end of the day Monday.  It sure isn’t easy watching our 4-legged baby go thru this.  Not having any answers is hard and knowing that the outcome may not be good has been even harder.  So until we feel we’ve truly hit the end of the road, I will keep offering her food and trying to get her to eat with the hope that somehow she will bounce back to live out the rest of life as a happy, healthy Lexie.



Lexie Update

After two trips to the vet with Lexie, we still don’t know what’s going on.  She has had two exams including blood work and x-rays.  While the blood work didn’t come back perfect, there was nothing alarming.  The vet was a tiny bit concerned that her liver is a bit rounded, but again, nothing overly concerning.  She was given a steroid shot, de-wormer and anti-nausea med at her visit last Thursday.  The steroid shot was primarily to help stimulate her appetite.  She did eat a little better for about 1 1/2 days, but is back to only eating very small portions of food.  The vet suggested that if she didn’t improve we should consider an ultra-sound or exploratory surgery.

Lexie is a Keeshond and a couple of days ago I was introduced to a group called Keeshond Express.  I posted Lexie’s symptoms on the forum and have had some wonderful responses from other Keeshond lovers.  The responses prompted me to call the vet once again and this Friday I am dropping Lexie off for a day with the vet.  She will be getting a thorough examination of her mouth, teeth and throat under general anesthesia.  The hope is that she has a problem with a tooth, her mouth or throat that is simple to treat.

While talking with the vet though he brought up something that he thinks we should look into further as well.  Apparently, Lexie has many symptoms of Addison’s Disease except for her electrolyte levels, which were low, but not low enough to diagnose Addison’s Disease.  There is, however, A-Typical Addison’s Disease and another blood test is being recommended to determine if that may be the problem.  They will do that blood test on Friday as well.

My hope is that by the time I pick her up on Friday, we’ll know what’s going on.  If not, the next step will be a referral to a specialist to do an ultra-sound obviously looking for something even more serious, but hopefully treatable.



The World of Weeks

Thought I’d do a quick update for a couple of reasons.

1.  Inquiry minds want to know 🙂

2.  I’m hoping someone may have suggestions.

Now that you’re curious, let’s begin.

Homeschooling is moving along slowly.  At moments I feel guilty that we’re not sitting at desks for hours a day doing school work and then I remind myself – I’m teaching a pre-schooler and a kindergartener.  This is a lot of one-on-one and we can get through quite a bit of material in 1-2 hours.  Those 1-2 hours don’t have to happen all at once and many days they don’t.  For example we did some reading this morning and then more reading this afternoon before moving on to math.  In between we had some first-hand experience at the vet’s office where Lili was able to sit with the vet as his examined one of our dogs and she also got to put on the stethoscope and listen to her heart.  Very exciting stuff and something she wouldn’t have been able to do if she had been sitting in a classroom anywhere else today.

I have been looking at some other curriculum and have found some Science curriculum that I really like so we’ll be ordering that soon and working a more formal, but fun Science study.

Naomi’s homeschool experience is much more relaxed.  Lots of play, reading, fun with Lego’s, puzzles and art.  We are working on name, letter and number recognition as well as sorting, but that’s as deep as it gets.

As time goes on we will slowly incorporate more into our day and sign up for some outside classes like art, dance, Spanish, PE and whatever else looks interesting.

Now, on to the reason we were at the vet.

Our younger dog, Lexie, hasn’t been eating well and as a result, losing weight.  When I say she hasn’t been eating well I mean she is eating little to nothing.  It is something that started a couple of weeks ago when I noticed she wasn’t finishing her food.  I thought maybe she was bored so tried something different and while it excited her at first, the excitement was over the next day.  Then I started cooking for both dogs.  Our older dog, Jada, was and is still thrilled with her new food and Lexie was also thrilled, but the next day wouldn’t eat.  Then she went two days of eating pretty much nothing so I called the vet.  They examined her and did a lot of blood work, but found nothing.  Over the weekend we saw no improvement so we went back today.  Another examine and x-rays showed nothing so they decided to try steroids (she has problems with her skin), a de-wormer and an anti-nausea med.  The vet didn’t seem overly optimistic that this treatment will be successful, but wanted to at least give it a try.  We’ll wait a couple of days and if we see no improvement by day 3 we’ll have to decide between an ultra-sound or exploratory surgery.  Fortunately, she is drinking well and staying hydrated, but refusing food and not eating isn’t good.

The other symptom we’ve been seeing is a weird thing she does with her tongue.  The only way to describe it is like she’s licking the air.  The vet doesn’t know what’s up with that because everything in her mouth looks good and her neurological exam is fine.  Just another mystery.

The vet also brought up the C word today.  Sure didn’t want to hear that cancer is a possibility, but also realized that it could be the cause of her sudden lack of interest in food.  Then he asked the tough question of whether or not we would choose to treat if it was cancer.  Obviously it’s something he thinks is a serious possibility or he wouldn’t ask and it’s something we have to seriously consider as well and prepare for the possibility of having to make a tough decision regarding her care.

One other piece of information I should provide is that Lexie is a Keeshond.

If anyone reading this is familiar with the breed and/or has experienced something similar with their dog please share, even if it may not be good news.  We want the best for our little 4-legged baby and right now things aren’t great.