Sunday, August 10
The curtains over our bed are dirty on the bottom, mostly from the crew brushing against them.
(Be patient. I’ll get to Spike’s lab results in a minute!)
I take the curtains down to the beach and beat them on the rocks.
I swish them around in the lake water and scrub the dirty areas together. Rinse and repeat.
Bridge watches while Spike naps underneath the Best LittleTrailer.
I tie the line to the side mirror of the Perfect Tow Vehicle, thread the cafe curtains onto the line using the grommets, and tie the other end to the handle next to the BLT’s door.
What a difference fresh, bright, clean curtains make!
Monday, August 11
I lift the cover off the two propane tanks, remove the empty one, and place it in the back of the PTV. The crew and I leave camp.
Our first stop is the Boulder Store in Boulder.
I buy a cup of coffee and ask if I can fill two jugs with water. That task completed, I drive us twelve miles to Pinedale.
First stop is the post office where I pick up my mail and the package from Mick in Tennessee which holds the “tooter,” the air horn system for scaring away bears and any other unwanted visitors. (More about that in an upcoming post.)
Next I go to the hardware store and buy 4.5 gallons of propane @ $3.86 a gallon for a total cost of $18.06. Welcome to Pinedale.
The Pinedale Animal Clinic is right up the street.
I’m happy to see the clinic isn’t busy. Soon I’m sitting with the veterinarian as she goes over Spike’s lab results.
“There are several things going on with Spike,” she begins.
Here’s the gist of the report:
Spike’s test revealed increased liver enzymes, including an extremely high alkaline phosphatase level (think liver) at 2,001 when the “normal” range is 5-131. Also high, along with other indicators, is creatinine (think kidney) at 68 when “normal” is 4-27.
These numbers, plus the visible symptoms, indicate Cushing’s disease.
Put plainly . . . . Spike is having problems both with his liver and kidneys. He shows evidence of hyperthyroidism. Since the hormone system is interrelated — thyroid, adrenal, pituitary — the hyperthryroidism is most likely tied to an overarching condition of Cushing’s disease, more precisely known as hypoadrenocorticism.
Additional tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of Cushing’s.
Rather than go through all that, the vet recommends treating Spike for Cushing’s alone, rather than treating the hyperthyroidism alone or simultaneously. This way we will confirm or eliminate Cushing’s.
If both conditions are treated and Spike improves, we won’t know which was the problem. A successful treatment for Cushing’s could deal with the hyperthyroidism anyway.
Cushing’s disease is most common in older dogs and is often mistaken for the aging process.
Here are symptoms of Cushing’s, all of which Spike exhibits in varying degrees:
• increased/excessive water consumption (polydipsia)
• increased/excessive urination (polyuria)
• urinary accidents
• increased/excessive appetite (polyphagia)
• pot-bellied appearance
• weight gain or its appearance, due to fat redistribution
• exercise intolerance, lethargy, general or hind-leg weakness
• new reluctance to jump on furniture or people
• excess panting, seeking cool surfaces to rest on
• symmetrically thinning hair or baldness (alopecia) on torso
• other coat changes like dullness, dryness
• slow regrowth of hair after clipping
• thin, wrinkled, fragile, and/or darkly pigmented skin
• easily damaged/bruised skin that heals slowly
Spike takes two 5 mg. Selegiline capsules daily. He has a month’s supply ($69.50).
There are other courses of treatment, but they have serious side effects and require frequent blood monitoring.
Selegiline is described as follows: “Selegiline helps aging dogs fight debilitating cognitive dysfunctions, reverse the effects of senility, and is also used to treat Cushing’s disease.”
As for Spike’s arthritis, Rimadyl and low-dose aspirin are not to be used due to his stressed liver. Instead I have a supply of Tramadol, a narcotic-like painkiller, to administer as needed. Spike has taken Tramadol before and experienced no visible side effects.
I take Spike to a vet for another blood work-up in about a month.
NOTE: When my camera was left out in the rain, many helpful readers came forward with the suggestion that I pack it in rice. After about 20 comments recommending I pack it in rice, it became somewhat humorous. Even so, I appreciated the desire of my kind readers to help me revive my camera.
I’m betting that my readers care more about Spike than my camera. With the recent camera-in-the-rice experience fresh in my mind, I anticipate many suggestions how Spike should or should not be treated for Cushing’s disease.
Please don’t flood me with a lot of information. I’m learning about Cushing’s. I realize I can obtain Selegiline elsewhere for a much better price. I’m also aware of alternative therapies. As for the Tramadol, it will be given sparingly.
Spike and I are set on this course of treatment and we will follow through with it. Numerous comments suggesting other treatments or explaining why I made a wrong decision will be difficult for me to bear. I hope you understand and will keep this in mind when commenting. Thanks.
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