Thursday, October 6, 2011

Plans C & D

Coulee and I went back to the Dermatologist today.  The one we had been seeing is no longer practicing in Calgary but they have a new one that will be there more regularly.  I liked the old one and was a little worried I wouldn't like the new one as much, but she was great.  She even cleared up some questions that never seemed to get answered.

We have NO idea what is wrong with Coulee's feet.  They basically don't fit any disease's symptoms and the only reason we are assuming auto immune is because it has waxed and waned (i.e. come and gone a few times).  She half heartedly suggested another biopsy but I'm not willing to do it all over again and risk still not getting an answer.  Her foot took forever to heal, and they weren't even in the horrible condition that they are now.

The next obvious step is steroids but without knowing for sure what is wrong we are taking a risk and could seriously harm her. If she has an underlying disease that is causing the problem and we suppress her immune system, she may not be able to recover.  However, she isn't showing any other symptoms of disease so we are going to take the risk. This is Plan D.

Before we do that, we are going to try Plan C.  Plan C is to wean her off all her meds - including her incontinence meds and soak her feet in a propylene glycol solution.  It is possible (but not likely) that this is a drug reaction to her incontinence meds. 

We are also going to put her on an elimination diet which I get to make myself.  When I hesitantly mentioned wanting to do this, she was very happy (which made me very happy).  She likes it when clients are willing to cook for their dogs.  I'm so relieved.  She even asked me if I wanted help figuring things out and gave me a recipe to use which ironically is from the book Jo originally lent me by Hilary Watson.  It only has 4 or 5 ingredients (plus the supplement) so it should be pretty fast and easy to prepare.  We'll be starting tomorrow night after I go buy some pork.  Yippee!

We are going to spend two weeks on Plan C and if there is no improvement, go to Plan D. Gulp.  Plan D will last a minimum of a month.

On steroids Coulee will turn into a drinking, peeing, eating machine.  :)  She said if weaning her off the meds don't cause her incontinence to return, the steroids most definitely will.  She also warned us that getting up every night to let her out is a very real possibility.  Oh goody.  Like I don't have enough trouble sleeping through the night.

If there is no improvement in 30 days, there isn't going to be one using steroids.  If that is the case, we'll go to Plan E - which we haven't figured out yet, but she has promised that she never gives up.

So I have hope again and I'm pleased with trying something for a few weeks and moving on if nothing is improving.  We'll be back for a follow up in 6 weeks and will hopefully have something positive to show her.  And the best part?  She gave me her email address so I can actually ask her questions and send photos to show her if they are getting better or worse.  She was very open to communication between appointments so I don't need to feel like I'm bugging her if I have a question or concern.


WigglyZack said...

I am glad you found the new vet helpful and would listen. Hopefully trying all these possibilities will improve Coulee's feet. It must be quite the worry on a daily basis not knowing what the cause is. I will keep my fingers crossed that all your hard work with the new foods and trial and error will pay off. Hang in there. Trying to figure out the cause of Zack's belly issue is an ongoing process too so I feel for you.

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Karen said...

The new vet sounds great.
Two weeks on Plan C doesn't sound very long though. I'm no vet, but I'd heard that if you are changing food because of allergies, you need to be on the new food a month.
Hope plan C works though! Keeping all paws crossed...

Paws on the Run said...

We are changing diets only so I could get off the horrid kibble she is on. We are doing a one protein/one carb only because she said as a dermatologist that makes her the most comfortable. We really don't think it is a food issue.

onecollie said...

oh that sounds promising, I am so happy that she gave you her email, Veronica did that for me & it was very reassuring.
Poor Coulee, her feet look like crap :(

The Lady said...

I hope you find something that works!