Bella collaspsed again :(

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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Kali earned- her wings- 10/21/14

She's game for- anything that's- fun.
Barked: Mon Jan 28, '13 5:28pm PST 

Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 3:57am PST 
A responsible breeder will want to know this, because these are all genetic issues that breeders need to address. A responsible breeder will also help offset medical costs, because this is definitely an issue of breeding

Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 4:22am PST 
Thanks Tuck, but Bella was a rescue. We did not get her from a breeder...she was picked up in WV from a hoarder, so I am sure their is no responsible breeder in her background.

Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 4:45am PST 
I know when the bills start to pile up, it causes stress in any marriage, epecially when one places a higher value on animals than the other. Not saying your husband doesn't care, but I also know there are maaannnny who believe spending too much on a dog is crazy.

If taking to NC is an option to save signficant costs, maybe perhaps, you can look into that.

I also wondered the same as M&K in regards to keeping the thyroid dose low until the heart issue is resolved.

I applaud you for looking at all your options. Have you seen this? Not sure if it helps at all, but it appears Blacksburg, VA tech has a program? not sure if they see animals or not?


It's 5 hours away as opposed to 6 hours to NC state. I have heard of NC states vet program, but not VA tech so not sure if that's an option or not.

Anyway, we are here for you and we will support you the best we can. I hope Bellas ailments can be fixed or at least remain stable hughug

Barked: Tue Jan 29, '13 7:01am PST 
I have had dogs with enlarged heart and one with a hole in the heart. I only had them faint once. I did not keep going back for tests like they wanted to do. After paying for two and they both told me the same thing. I just told them we will go with the medication and see what it does. The one boy with the hole in his heart lived 5 years longer then they said he would. I just kept him comfortable , and gave him all the love I could. I know it is hsrd, I can not tell you what to do. I hope something does come up to help him
Aina- Aloysius de- LeMaitre

work hard, play- hard
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 4:31am PST 
There is a lot going on for Bella right now! Let me see if I can get it straight...

Bella has a heart condition which has been diagnosed but not yet treated. Or is untreatable? Or not fully diagnosed and that is the reason for the monitor? I am not quite sure the point of the monitor other than to gather more data to possibly confirm arrythmia. I love my data but will the potential heart monitor data actually provide a clear diagnosis beyond the current? and result in a treatment?

Bella has hypothyroidism and is being treated with ____. I am guessing the treatment is soloxine from the vet as well as Thytrophin (or other glandular supplement) and Enalapril? She had a recent thyroid retest done with a full panel screen or only total T4 with the T4 appearing low. The vet decided to keep dosing where it is though. Thyroid info is not easy to understand, even for most vets. Dr. Jean Dodds has info out there for vets and owners to understand the condition, testing, and treatment better.

Bella has been diagnosed with renal disease. Treatment being? Traditional Chinese Medicine has amazing mushrooms and herbs to support the kidneys and help them heal. Yes, I have seen improved kidney function on one of our dogs who was diagnosed with severe kidney damage and was treated with this approach. A basic supplement that can also be of help is Renafood by Standard Process, the same makers of Thytrophin. I would talk to your vet about these approaches if you haven't already.

Bella has severe food allergies. So her diet is restricted because of these but still able to support the kidney and heart needs? Can't be an easy one!

And lastly, Bella likely has a mast cell tumor. Surgery is a great option with prognosis being pretty darn good, right? I would suspect that she is currently not a good candidate for surgery though. At least not until her heart condition is stabilized.

Seems Bella has a lot going on. But it is all related, all interconnected. Make sure the connectedness between the different diagnoses is being made. Once specialists are in the mix of diagnosis and treatment, that is where disconnects start to happen. The downfall for being too specialized. You are Bella's best advocate, especially in this medical maze. Spending the time and effort on the situation can some times prove more useful than simply spending money toward it. You are doing a good job in trying to gather what you can to make a decision as Bella's advocate.

Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 10:32am PST 
Aina- her heart condition has not been fully figured out yet, which is the reason for the monitor. However I am hesitate to spend the money because they are unwilling to do the event monitor. I thought monitoring her over a weeks time we would be more likely to get valuable info vs the 24 hr holter. The cardiologist says that if we do not get info during the 24 hr we likely wouldn't during a week long so why waste the extra money. Bella is not symptomatic daily, heck she went 6 months between espisodes. They are unsure if meds are even in Bella's future due to other conditions, her cardiologist here says she is uncomfortable prescribing anything at this time.

Bella is on .4mg Thyroxine BID, and her levels were coming up normal up until this past test, they came up low again. However to me that makes sense because as she ages her thyroid becomes less functioning thus needed more meds...for a normal dog of her size the correct dosing would be 1.2 mg but at that level when she was first diagnosed her thyroid came up high after one month. So the .8mg daily was good for her.

Our current treatment for kidney issues is keeping phosphosus in her diet low and supplementing with fish oil, Vit e and recently Vit b complex, her values are still consider early renal disease, her urine is still looking good, she is still concentrating her urine and no protein in there either.

I agree that it is all related some way, I have spent hours on the computer and talking to people trying to piece things together, there are many other things that are going on with Bella that the vets have dismissed as unimportant or unrelated, but I think somewhere it all goes together...just trying to make Bella as comfortable and happy as possible and functioning at her best.

If you were to just meet her, no one would ever suspect she had any health issues. She is so beautiful and happy!

I found a local giant breed rescue that is added Bella to their roster..I am not giving her up...but they said since she was a rescue they would add her, and we are going for a second opinion at her trusted vet( they rescue lots of Saint) and it is rescue discount...and it will give Bella a 15%discount at cardiologist! I am finding it incredibly hard to find help because well everyone has differencing opinions and ideas of all these diseases and treatments.

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 11:42am PST 
I am by no means an expert on any of this but it would certainly seem to reason that Bella's health problems are very likely related. Could it be that perhaps a cardiologist is the wrong specialist? Just wondering? You seem to be working very hard on trying to find the answer to that question yourself. I'm glad to hear that you were able to find some help with the costs and that you are going to see a vet that you feel you can trust perhaps your regular trusted vet can give you some answers or will have some suggestions on what next step might be best or have other options than just the heart monitor.Maybe there is a test that could give you more answers,or eliminate more possibilities than just a 24 hr. haeart monitor would. I'm sure that the cardiologist is good at what they do,I just wonder if perhaps because they specialize in the heart they are missing the forest for focusing on the single tree rather than the whole picture.wishes on your upcoming appointment and please keep us updated on how Bella is doing and anything you find out from the vet.hughughughug

Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 3:05pm PST 
Some good news to report! I went by Bella's past 2 vets today and picked up all Bella's old lab work. I wanted to go through them very carefully before seeing a new vet. Well Bella's most recent thyroid was not low after all. It was written as a post pill with reference range 3.0-5.0 and hers was 2.4. So I called the vet and asked why they did a post pill when the 3 previous were not and they were post pill...turns out it was a typo on the reference range. The real range is 0.8-3.5, so she is normal, a bit higher than last time because it was 1.9. She started 18 months ago at 0.6, them was 3.7(meds too high), then 1.6, then 1.9, and now 2.4!

I did have one question for owners whose dogs have kidney issues. Bella's phosphosus was in normal range but from reading I had done it said dogs with early renal insuffiency to renal failure should keep phos below 4, Bella's most recent is 4.8 which is elevated from her previous of 4.0. Is this something I should worry about? The vet said nothing about it, but then again they recommended I start monitoring Bella's kidney function even through we have been doing it for 18 months. Her BUN is the same as last time, and creatine came down a tiny bit but her BUN/CREAT ratio increased from 17 to 20, not sure of its importance still looking into that one.

What about something like Addison's disease? All her bloodwork is within normal ranges but either at the top end or low end of a lot of Addison markers namely the NA/K ratio being at 27? I might just be grasping at straws.

Thanks for all the support and kind words.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Thu Jan 31, '13 12:01am PST 
hughug to Bella and you to.
I lived with a dog with a bad heart for almost 7 years. The first time she collapsed I almost had a heart attack! She had two more episodes with a year or so and then was perfectly fine until shortly before her death. I wish I could offer help, but almost 20 years ago all they really did was track her data, it was just research to them. All I can offer is support. I'm sorry, I wish I had something more.
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