I am so sad to type out this post but figured this was the easiest way to explain what is going on with our sweet little Bella instead of telling all the details over and over through Facebook, Twitter, etc. And if you’ve been following me closely, you’ve probably caught on that something is going on with her lately and may want to know what it is exactly.
Well, a few months ago, Ryan and I headed to Des Moines to get their dog food for them. Once again, the pet stores were out of the food they eat. This has happened to us on several occasions and being frustrated, I decided to just switch their foods. I knew Science Diet was a very highly recommended food and know several people who have their dogs on it, so we went with that---Science Diet Small Breed. The girls took to it just fine and never got upset tummys or anything while switching over.
Then, about three weeks ago, I took them to run a few errands and at the bank they got a couple milk bones. Dezi, being a snot, didn’t want hers and Bella ended up eating hers and Dezi’s. I knew it would probably upset her tummy but didn’t think too much about it. That night, as Ryan and I were watching a movie, Bella got VERY sick all throughout the house. She literally had gone to the bathroom covering nearly an entire room. It was VERY disgusting, something she hadn’t ever done before, and somewhat frustrating at the same time. I felt bad for her and didn’t want her tummy to be upset, but wasn’t that concerned (in all honesty) because I knew she had eaten the milk bones earlier that day; a less than 3lb dog does NOT need 2 milk bones.
She didn’t get sick for the next few days and nothing seemed out of the norm until I realized she was having trouble jumping. She is a VERY athletic little thing for her size and has been able to jump on the couch since she was just a puppy, so her not being able to jump all the sudden seemed strange. She could still jump a little bit but she certainly couldn’t make it up on the couch. This has happened before when she’s sort of hurt her leg (usually caused by her jumping OUT of her playpen..crazy huh?!) but I knew that hadn’t happened and she was still walking just fine…almost like nothing was wrong.
We made a vet appointment and took her out to see Dr. Lisa who weighed her and gave her a quick checkup. Keep in mind, nothing too out of the ordinary had occurred up to this point. She said her heart sounded good as did everything else, but noticed she had lost some weight. She was previously weighing right under 3lbs and now she was only weighing 2lb 1 oz. She sent her home and we went about our lives as normal.
From here on out she started having an upset tummy periodically and still wasn’t able to jump. She was both throwing up and having runny stools, not every day but definitely more than “normal”. Then, we went to visit Ryan’s family who sees them about once a week or so and Ryan’s mom asked if she had lost weight. This got me worried even more and made me think I should probably call out to the vet again. On one hand, I knew she had been getting sick every so often and sort of accredited it to her having a “flu” or something but on the other hand, I thought maybe her new hair cut had her looking smaller too, as I hadn’t noticed any weight change. The following evening, after running a few errands and coming home to a less than noisy house, I realized Bella wasn’t able to bark very well. I mean, don’t get me wrong, her bark isn’t exactly music to my ears, but her not being able to bark fully had me even more worried. It sounded very raspy and plainly put, weak. That was the final straw; I called out to the vet again. The Dr. called back a short time later and said to bring her out first thing the next morning. She didn’t think it was to the point where it was an emergency by any means but that she should get checked out again.
(Keep in mind that this had all happened over about a 3 week period, so it wasn’t all at once and she was still acting normal.)
The next morning we went out to the vet and had her all checked out again. She checked her stool for parasites, checked her heart, etc. She also did some blood work and wanted to send it to the lab. She sent us home that evening with some medicine to stop her from getting sick temporarily and said she would call the following Monday with the results.
From Saturday until Monday things went downhill pretty fast. Bella started getting VERY sick, VERY often. I was trying to get her to eat and drink and take her Nutrical as often as she would but she really wanted no part in it. Her gums were totally white (indicated her blood sugar could be low) and she was barely getting up. I knew something was definitely going wrong at this point but still wasn’t sure what.
Monday evening Dr. Lisa finally called back and she had some bad news for us. Most of her tests came back “ok” but her protein is dangerously low…very low. Basically to sum it up, Bella’s body is no longer absorbing protein and she is being malnourished by her own body. This explains the reason her hind legs are not working properly and the reason her bark is no longer ear piercing.
Of course, being the frantic mother that I am, I instantly started blurting out causes and reasons and cures and everything else as I was crying and trying to listen all at the same time. I asked if her protein just appeared low because she had been sick (she said there is no way it could be THAT low from just a couple weeks of sickness, indicating it has been going on awhile) I asked if it was the food I had switched to, she said no. I literally tried thinking of everything.
After talking a bit more and getting the full grasp of things and just how serious this was, Dr. Lisa left us with two options. She basically said that from what it appears (though she is not certain) is that her intestines could be enlarged, causing her to get sick, causing her to lose protein. With that option/possible diagnosis, we could opt to put her on medicine (which she may have to be on for the rest of her life) and see if it will keep it at bay for awhile. The downside is that she is not sure this is the problem and the medicine taken to cure it lowers the immune system drastically, which means she could easily get very sick.
The other option is that we get a referral to another clinic and send her up there where they would do an ultrasound and an a endoscopy? And possibly be able to tell us what is going on. The downside is that they can’t do a biopsy because her body is too weak to undergo any type of surgery and even with the ultrasound and endoscopy, we more than likely couldn’t do anything with the results. She said if something is lodged in there, she is too weak to have the surgery to remove it. If it is cancer, chemo is obviously an option, but that I would never choose. And If there is a tumor, the risk of removing it would be too high. AND, to have the ultrasound and endoscopy is pretty pricey.
So my options seemed pretty bleak. She told me by Wednesday I needed to decide what I wanted to do so we could “get the ball rolling” in helping her. I hung up the phone and literally cried for the next 2 days. I was/am an absolute mess. I talked to Ryan, my mom, his mom, and prayed for some answers and which the best choice was. I honestly just felt/feel that no matter which route I decided to take, I could potentially feel I made the wrong choice.
So after going Google crazy and having a couple sleepless nights from worrying and caring for a sick baby, we decided we would try the medicine route and pray to God that that is truly what is wrong with her and hope it helps her out and gets her a little bit stronger so we can eventually do a biopsy.
So where do we stand today? Wednesday we took Bella’s urine out for testing and didn’t have much luck with that. She got prescribed the medicine that will hopefully keep this at bay for awhile. She is taking 4 pills a day, plus a shot of liquid medicine and has been switched back to her old food, Royal Canine. She is not feeling any better, and has continued to get sick through the last 24 hours but we ARE hopeful this medicine will eventually do its job. Tomorrow morning we go back out to the vet for some chest x rays and will go from there.
I hope I explained this well enough that you all understand what is going on and will pray for the little stinker.
A few pictures of Bella the last couple days...
She basically sleeps on her heat pad or our laps all day long.
When Daddy is home, she looooves to spend her afternoons/evening sitting on his lap though.
When Daddy isn't home, Mommy is the next best thing. We've done aaaa lot of cuddling and chatting lately.