There is a dialog from one of the episodes of House M.D. that has been really on my mind lately.
House: You wake up in the morning, your paint's peeling, your curtains are gone, and the water is boiling. Which problem do you deal with first?Symptom is what we see, what's bothering us, so that's what we tend to address. However, the symptom is not the real problem--the condition that is causing it is! Paying attention to symptoms is important. Getting to the root of the problem is crucial!
House: None of them! The building's on fire!
Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, already wrote about the Perplexities of Pancreatitis earlier, so let's get straight to the story.
After-hours trips were made to the vet, for an injection just to make her quit being sick. The sounds were only part and parcel of the ordeal, which I imagine was just as intolerable to Bridget. Also was the reflexive gagging, with mouth drawn back in wrinkles as well as: pacing, licking lips, obsessively licking paws and the floor.
The worst though, was her behavior of eating anything not nailed down, in effort to make her self throw up, as dogs do. If allowed, she would have eaten enough grass to kill herself!
Really, I marvel that she is still alive, as she ran out to the garden at onset of an episode, gobbling down an entire corn cob from the compost and then coming back to the house to throw it up, along with her stomach contents. I ended up having to remove the corn crop with a scythe, chopping it all down, and raking it all up. No more compost. All this was on the hottest day of the summer.
Bridget was treated symptomatically with meds for GI upset, nausea and vomiting….many times. These episodes went on all…..summer…..long. Most of them were timed after clinic hours on weekend or evenings. Or so it seemed. Sitting with her was gut- wrenching. She was a danger to herself and it was difficult to keep her safe.
Sometimes I had to crate her, with nothing at all in the crate. At times she even tried to eat a blanket. The stress was awful. I felt awful for Bridget and felt helpless. I began to sit bolt upright from a dead sleep thinking I had heard her being sick.
Finally in the fall of that year, blood work was taken, on a visit to a vet kind enough to take her in, while ours was on vacation.
The digestive enzymes, the lipases, were out of whack, which along with her other symptoms, was conclusive for pancreatitis.
Bridget has been stable on a low fat,(8 %) low protein diet (16 %) which I found in Natural Balance Senior. I am afraid to experiment with any other diet. She is also daily on pepcid and I give her plain yogurt with live cultures.
Recently there have been several recurring episodes but without the earlier severe symptoms, and resolved quickly. I believe it may have been triggered when she chewed on a stick. She loves to carry a prize stick home from the pond; it is up to me to remove them from the yard and prevent chewing on them. I don`t know if I could go through again what I ( we) went through that summer. I would not wish it on any dog.
Leslie Fisher is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT), CPDT-KA CGC Evaluator ABC Student Mentor and member of APDT, MAAPPPT, TrulyDogFriendly.
She brought her first dog home at the age of 5 and she shared her life with dogs since and is presently owned by three labs, Doobie, Talley and Bridget.
Leslie has founded Look What I Can Do! Dog Training in December of 2006 shich quickly became a big success. I addition she volunteers for Lab Rescue of the LRCP, Inc doing post adoption home checks an dproviding assistance with behavioral issues. Her goal is educating clients that positive, force-free training produces happy, willing dogs and a wonderful dog-human relationship.
Leslie also writes for Dog Star Daily.
You can read her full bio here. You can also connect with Leslie on twitter or Facebook.
The Perplexities of Pancreatitis
Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire!