Monday, September 28, 2009

Urine levels and Liver Disease

I love stat counter. I can see just what you are looking for when you encounter my site. One seeker asked (paraphrasing) "My dog is urinating less, does that mean he/she is getting better? Liver disease does cause a lot of water consumption and frequent urination. Unfortunately that is one of the last signs to leave the dog and is hard to measure, especially if the dog is up in years, it's hot or you have a multiple dog family. But, in general, it is a good sign! Focus on appetite first, jaundice signs second stool and urine color third and general demeanor fourth. Meaning: the dog should have an appetite for food without steroid intervention like prednisone. The appetite should be the same as it was before. Ravenous eating can signify a problem. The dog should have pink gums and clear eyes, this is the first sign the dog is recovering (dogs who are in the grips of liver disease develop yellow in the whites of their eyes and their gums turn a whitish brown color. In advanced cases they develop blue cataracts that are easily seen when the light is in their eyes.) Stools should be well formed and brown in color and urine should be some shade of yellow. If the stools are white or white tinged or the urine is brown, you need to contact your vet. This requires extra vigilance for those who keep their dogs in a yard. If you are home cooking, the stools should be easy to locate. But you need to walk the yard twice daily to see. Finally have they perked up or are they lackluster and depressed. Keep in mind that this is something you will always have to deal with. Dogs will have their good days and their bad days. These four traits will tell you more than all the blood tests in the world. Do keep watch on water consumption and urine levels though. That can be an early sign that something is amiss. That being said, resign yourself to the fact that you need to take your dog in for blood tests four times a year. I never appreciated how crucial the liver is in the entire well being of the system, until I had a dog with liver disease. A malfunctioning liver can lead to all sorts of problems including kidney failure. That is not as easy to see without regular blood tests and urinalysis. Stay strong, find a vet that will work with you on a holistic approach, ask questions and keep me posted. This is hell to go through, trust me I know. When I got Macy's prognosis I cried for three hours, debated if battling the disease was fair for her, was I being selfish, vain or irresponsible? Stayed up a fair few nights over that. But she had pluck and the will to live, so I gave her everything I had. Macy is not over the disease, she never will be, but is living well with the disease. She has clean blood tests and has the vim and vigor I always expected. She eats well and is the dog I always knew and loved, rather than some shell of a dog waiting for the end. I was told three to six months and she is close to superseding the last. She is happy, healthy and full of piss and vinegar. She went from a gaunt 54lbs to her normal 72 pounds. As long as she is up for the battle, I am determined to be by her side! Stay strong, research and talk to others that have the same issue. Think of it as group therapy for those that have dogs with critical illness. I still cry everytime I think of that phone call. But being in touch with all of you makes a difference. I hope I do the same for you!

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