The continuing saga of Coulee's life...
When I last updated you on Coulee's feet, we had just started her on steroids. At around the same time, we had started to notice that Coulee was getting thinner so we increased her food. We didn't think she'd mind as the steroids should make her hungry. Two weeks later, she was still getting thinner (or at least wasn't getting fatter) so we increased it a little more. She is now eating almost 50% more calories than she was getting when she was healthy and exercising every day. A week ago, I started to panic.
I emailed the dermatologist and she suggested some blood work and a fecal exam. She also asked if the steroids were making a difference. They weren't, so we started to wean her off. Apparently, if they were going to do something, they should have done it by then. :(
Just as we started to wean her off the steroids Coulee became absolutely ravenous. She was doing things she had never done before - raiding the "cat room", as well as getting into garbage cans. We've had to treat her like a puppy and crate her whenever we can't watch her. For example, she has tried to get into the cat room 3 times since I started typing this and it is within sight of where I am so she isn't even being subtle about it. She had her full dinner plus an extra 3/4 cup of kibble (the kibble alone used to be 1/2 a meal). Yet she is still hungry enough to risk getting into trouble.
Monday we went in for the tests and Wednesday we got our first set of results. One of her liver enzymes (ALT) was high. Really high. It should be between 10-60, she was at 645. Gulp! Our local vet prescribed some pills to protect her liver and some anti-biotics as her white blood cell count was also elevated. I forwarded the information to our dermatologist and she called within 30 minutes and suggested we come up ASAP for an ultrasound as her liver could be in trouble.
So Coulee and I hit the road today and got it done. The good news is she looks beautiful on the inside. There is no sign of any trouble on her liver, kidneys, spleen, etc. She thinks Coulee may have ingested something toxic while raiding the garbages and this has caused the spike. She is predicting things will look normal again in a month. Yay!
The bad news is, this doesn't explain the weight loss or hunger (she is down to 55 lbs when she is normally in the low 60's despite a crap load of calories). So she has suggested we switch Coulee to a high quality kibble as we know she does well on it. This makes me laugh as that is what we were on a year or so ago when we started this adventure. Basically she has no idea what is causing this and is hoping that it is just her current diet. We are still waiting on some lab results so there may be some news still to come. Hopefully we'll hear more tomorrow.
The other bad news is that there is nothing more to try to fix her feet. We've ruled out zinc deficiency, allergies, liver disease, and auto-immune (and something else too but I can't remember what it was). It looks like we are just going to have to manage her pain when they get bad and deal with them the best we can. This would normally make me very sad, but at the moment I'm just thrilled she isn't dying of a liver disease which is what I've been imagining for the past few days.
Hopefully we can fix her hunger pains so that life can get back to normal soon.
Oh and Coulee spent the whole two hours in the vet office and waiting room chewing on her baby Cuz toy. I'm sure it drove the receptionists nuts (it sounds like she is chewing a very large wad of gum with her mouth wide open) but it kept her from shaking like a leaf like the dog on our left, or whining like a baby like the dog on our right. :) We also saw a very handsome Mastiff who made us all laugh by trying to log roll over to another dog all without breaking the down command his dad had given him. It was seriously funny.