Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Willow Wednesday - Poor Willow

In addition to Willow's usual photo, I thought I would fill you in on what has been going on with our fur baby since during last week's Tout It Tuesday post, I alluded to the fact that Willow had been in and out of the vet's office quite a bit lately.

Since July she has been there just about once a week for something or other.  It started out with an ear infection in the right ear, which then became an ear infection in the left ear a couple of weeks later.  Then there was a bout of horrible itching where she was scratching herself raw. All these visits in a short period of time resulted in the vet techs noticing that she was gaining quite a bit of weight in a very short time and that her fur was getting quite coarse and brittle - these symptoms triggered the vet to test her thyroid. Good call on her part since Willow's thyroid isn't working correctly (hypothyroidism) and she will now have to be on thyroid replacement medication for the rest of her life.  

OK, that isn't a big issue. She will just need to take a couple of tiny pills every day. This might help some of her other issues like her occasional non-specific lameness.

Once she went on the thyroid meds, her energy level went WAY up, her goofy personality began to really shine through, her fur got so soft and filled in like crazy, and she seemed to be on the mend.

Until last week.

Last week she slowly began to eat less each day.  She began to drink a ton more water. Her energy level went down.  She spent most of the day laying on her side at random places in the house. She just wasn't acting like herself.  When she refused to eat breakfast on Friday, back to the vet she went.

He decided to cut back on her thyroid meds since she had lost about 15-20% of her body weight, gave her something to stimulate her appetite, took some blood and urine for testing and sent her home.  We thought we were out of the woods.  Wishful thinking.

 She ate a bit and drank a bit over the course of the weekend but she began throwing up too. Sunday night at between 4 and 5am she threw up nothing but bile (not a good sign and not the sound you want to wake up to in the middle of the night). She was still drinking some water and peeing so we knew it wasn't the bloat (my brother's dog just had that a couple of months ago so we were very familiar with those symptoms).  I brought her to the vet first thing in the morning at 7 am.

First, the good news.  After some x-rays, she didn't need emergency surgery since there wasn't a blockage.  I was so relieved.  However, the blood work results from Friday weren't looking promising.  More tests were needed. Plus, she was crashing and needing IV fluid support. (cue the "I am so scared for my dog" music).  I had to get to work and with the assurance of the vet that she wasn't absolutely critical, I left her in their care. 

Now for the not so good news, in addition to having the hypothyroidism, she is also has hypoadrenocorticism, otherwise known as Addison's Disease. Her adrenal glands have totally stopped working so she will need monthly shots and a daily pill.  

Poor girl.  Here she is after her night at the vet. 

So now we are in a waiting game. Waiting to see what levels of the medications she will ultimately need for the Addison's. Waiting to see if her thyroid function changes which means a change in dose now that she is on meds for the Addison's. Waiting to see how she tolerates taking three different types of meds along with the monthly heartworm and flea and tick meds. 

So it has been a whirlwind few weeks/month to say the least.

We have hope, though, because both the Addison's and the hypothyroidism are manageable conditions and dogs with both have lived long and happy lives.  She isn't even 3 yet so we are not yet ready to say goodbye to our snuggle bug.


  1. omg I will keep willow in my prayers she is one very lucky pup to have you guys who look after her so well

    1. Thanks so much. It is still a bit overwhelming at this point but I know that we will get in the swing of the daily pills and monthly shots. We are still trying to get a handle the costs but Willow is worth it for sure!

  2. I'm so sorry. That must be so hard. :( I hop you figure out what is wrong with her and that she gets to feeling better.

    1. Thanks. She is now on several different meds and seems to be doing much better. We are keeping our fingers crossed that nothing else goes wrong.


Thanks for your comments. We always love to hear from our readers!