Friday, July 22, 2016

Stella recheck #2

Well, we had our recheck today at KSU Vet Med, so I thought I would give a little update. Since I am at a teaching vet med hospital, and they rotate students and residents regularly, I had a new resident today, who was very nice, but I wanted my old resident and student badly. I really missed their knowledge and advice, and since they have been with me since the beginning of this, they are kind of like my security blanket.

Anyway, first bit of news, her blood pressure has gotten worse, even though she seems to be doing way better on the outside. We have been doing 10 minute walks a few times a day, and she finally had started acting like old stella during them, happy, head up and wanting to go, not walking slowly and ducking behind me (sign of her being tired). Our new resident upped the dosage of the blood pressure meds to help, and I was dreading what her kidney values would be 😞 Dr. George last week had said that we were starting out with the lowest dose of BP meds, and that this might be a possibility, that we needed to have more in her system to help. The good news is her kidney values that they measured all came back within normal range, meaning i think, no kidney damage yet. I didn't get any actual values, but since she is still dumping protein in her urine, this was great news. Remember her values they were measuring on her kidneys (want less than 0.5) have been as high as 1.7 and are now down to 1.1. It's really the little things that make me super happy these days. Progress forward is great, even if it is a tiny step.

We have to go back next week again to have another check up to see if the blood pressure/kidney meds are working. Basically, what her resident told me is that she is probably done with the "attack" on her immune system, but her body is dealing with the after effects of the antibodies still in her system. This creates unhappy kidneys, which then in turn affects her blood pressure, as the kidneys work hard to dump excess protein. You see for me, as I have said a lot before, it is all about managing expectations of this crazy disease. My new FB friend, who has a dog that has had this and is back to competing in agility, is telling me have patience, that this is an ultra marathon, not a 5K, so I am trying to be patient and calm. We are starting on week four of high dose Prednisone (pred), and I am terrified as to what it is doing to her other organs, but also know that this is a necessary evil.

It was very interesting that my new resident and attending said that perhaps we are being a bit too aggressive with her rechecks. Of course, if we had not had this recheck, we would not have known that her blood pressure was indeed getting worse, but I will be honest here in that doing all of this blood work and work ups is getting quite costly. Quite honestly, if not needed so often, this would greatly benefit me and my pocket book. I have taken out a 4K loan and of that 4K, I have $300 left. If I have to spend $300 bucks every time I walk in, once a week as it is now, I will be really in trouble financially quickly. So, while I want to be on top of this, I have to also be smart about it money wise. We are going to do one more weekly checkup next week, but no blood work, just urinalysis and blood pressure.

One of the lingering questions I have is how long does it take for the effects of the drugs to show up in her blood work and other values? My new resident says that at least for the urine, that it could take up to a month for her to stop dumping protein. I think we are seeing some values come up to more normal or at least stabilizing, but I want to know when will they reflect the way she acts externally. I have heard from another source that it can take up to 3 weeks to see positive results in the blood work, so wondering if we had done a CBC, if we would have seen some of her values like RBC and her anemia issues going away. Of course, we can't just test her blood once a week and me not totally run out of money, but as a scientist I am extremely intrigued by the cause/effect relationship going on here.

Anyway, I think this is really good news and I am going to be very happy and have a great week and weekend with my favorite red girlie!

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