Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What an ordeal!

Bao's spasms eased, but he continued to refuse food. Then on Friday, a second test for pancreatis came back positive. At that point, Dr. Mike decided to do an ultrasound, which revealed some upset in the pancreas (but nothing major) and an enlarged adrenal gland. Suddenly, the pieces fit. Bao has Cushings.

Cushings can be subtle. Signs are a pot belly, and increased hydration and urination. Over the past few months, Bao has indeed developed a little pot but I thought it was just Christmas overindulgence. Has he been drinking more than usual? Perhaps. But it's been unusually dry this year -- everybody's drinking more water. So no alarm bells rang.

Here's what Dr. Mike thinks happened. The Cushings (which attacks the auto-immune system) made him vulnerable to whatever bug got into his gut, which then inflamed the pancreas. So it wasn't just one thing, but a combination of things. That's why the test results were so confusing. When Dr. Mike finally did test for Cushings, it came back positive.

I'm telling you all the gory details because Cushings is subtle, and can do big damage. I never even knew about Cushings. Apparently, it's common in older, small dogs.

Bao didn't eat for a week (fasting is the treatment for pancreatitis) and yesterday he was so weak he could barely stand up to pee. Although he's been showing an interest in food, he's only allowed to have diluted Gatorade, chicken broth and mashed potatoes -- and thus far, I have not been able to interest him in the mashed potatoes.

Meanwhile, I've got the flu. So it's been a rough week.

Thanks for the comments, and the emails. They've kept our spirits up.


Blogger Albireo said...

Cushings--who knew! Your vet must be cracker-jack diagnostician! There are a million diseases out there, and unlike doctors who treat humans, vets can't ask their patients about feelings and symptoms. (Well, of course vets can ask, but it's not likely their canine patients provide much useful information.) Hope you and Bao are feeling well soon.

5:06 PM


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