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Dog with symptoms of kidney failure (UPDATE: Cushing's)

adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello all,

I have a few questions for those of you who may have had to deal with this type of thing before. We have a small dog named Squeaker. She is a 9-year-old Chihuahua/Rat Terrier mix. Here she is in her favorite pose:

squeak.jpg

Unfortunately, since about September, she's started to drink a lot of water, has to go outside a lot and frequently pees on the carpet, something she never used to do. From what I've read, this indicates that she's having kidney problems, although she hasn't been to a vet to confirm it.

My parents, unfortunately, aren't interested in spending any money to have her diagnosed or treated. They keep saying, "Oh, someday her kidneys will quit and she'll go to doggy heaven," "We're not spending money on the dog," "She's just a dog and has no soul," etc. I've already pretty much decided I'm going to call the vet tomorrow and make an appointment to get her looked at.

What I'm wondering is if any of you here have had experience with this kind of thing, and how expensive it is to treat. I'm a college student, so I don't really have a lot of spare cash lying around. I'd like to treat her if it's not too expensive for my pocketbook, but at the same time, if she's suffering now or is going to suffer in the future, it might be better for her to be put to sleep now if we can't afford treatment.

Any suggestions would be very helpful.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
adejaan on

Posts

  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    You could always try CareCredit. If you're 18 and have good enough credit they'll give you a loan.

    SkyCaptain on
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  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    We had a 15-year-old cat who was drinking a ton and getting really skinny. The vet told us it was probably her kidneys going, and that we could put her on drugs, but that there's a good possibility that the kidneys working in overdrive was keeping her heart from failing, and that if she went on the drugs, she could die immediately. I don't know if that would be the case here, too, but it's something to consider. She made it two more very happy years, though.

    Thanatos on
  • TrillianTrillian Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    At 9 it could be diabetes, which is highly treatable and your dog will live a normal happy life. Diabetes is really easily and cheaply diagnosed by running a strip in the urine. Kidney failure is not treatable, so, really, you have absolutely nothing to lose by going to the vet, and possibly 9 extra years of good doggie life to gain.

    Trillian on

    They cast a shadow like a sundial in the morning light. It was half past 10.
  • HK5HK5 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Seconding the diabetes, it's much more likely than kidney problems in a dog. Very treatable. Cats are much more prone to kidney problems especially in older age.

    HK5 on
  • adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Ah, I never thought of diabetes. I'll mention it to the vet and maybe we can get this figured out. Thanks guys.

    adejaan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    She's just a dog and has no soul? WTF? Why not just take it outside and run it over with the car then?

    I'm glad you're going to take her to the vet. People self-diagnose their dogs all the time with ailments that are much more serious than what they actually have. One of my dogs has horrible, debilitating seizures. However, we had her diagnosed by a vet and now she takes phenobarb. $10 a month and no more seizures.

    AtomBomb on
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  • RPGeekRPGeek Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    You might also want to check if it's an inflammation of the uterus, which is fairly common with bitches, and can be fixed by having it removed.

    RPGeek on
  • adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    RPGeek wrote: »
    You might also want to check if it's an inflammation of the uterus, which is fairly common with bitches, and can be fixed by having it removed.

    She is spayed, but thanks for the suggestion.

    adejaan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    AtomBomb wrote: »
    She's just a dog and has no soul? WTF? Why not just take it outside and run it over with the car then?

    I'm glad you're going to take her to the vet. People self-diagnose their dogs all the time with ailments that are much more serious than what they actually have. One of my dogs has horrible, debilitating seizures. However, we had her diagnosed by a vet and now she takes phenobarb. $10 a month and no more seizures.

    Yeah, they have a thing about spending money on pets...even though I already know my father will cry many tears when she dies...Honestly, even if the treatment for her costs only $10 a month they will probably still bitch about it.

    Anyway, the appointment has been made for Wednesday. I hope it's diabetes, and not something worse.

    adejaan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • HK5HK5 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Any update? I'm curious to hear how this turned out.

    HK5 on
  • adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yes, sorry, I was busy for several hours after the appointment and forgot to update. The vet appointment went okay. They did a urinalysis and ruled out diabetes, unfortunately. The vet said it could be a few things, like possibly Cushing's disease, kidney failure, or the dog just deciding to drink a lot of water for no apparent reason. They drew some blood to do testing, though. The vet is supposed to call me tomorrow or the next day with the results, so I guess we'll see what happens.

    adejaan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    Hope for "not cushings". My parents had a dog that died of Cushings, and it was pretty crappy to watch.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The vet called me. Unfortunately, the blood tests indicate that it's probably Cushing's disease, but the vet said she had a dog with Cushing's disease that she ultimately opted not to treat for it because of potential nasty side effects of medication. She also said the medication can be expensive, and the test for actually confirming the disease costs $200, which is kind of out of my budget.

    I'll definitely have to talk to my parents about it but I doubt they'll want to treat her for it. However, the vet also said the dog's cholesterol is way too high, which is probably partially due to the fact that my dad tends to feed her treats whenever he has something to eat and he typically eats really shitty food.

    Ultimately, the only thing the vet really suggested was a change in diet, which my parents probably won't have a problem with. I will have to investigate further as to how much the treatment for the disease would actually cost, but the vet said something about her probably being able to live for another three years or so, with the biggest problem being her having accidents in the house.

    I don't like to opt for not treating the dog, but I think I need some more time to think about it.

    adejaan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    Well, here's what happened with our dog. She was a pomeranian, and always very small even for her breed, which is pretty small to begin with.

    - She started drinking more
    - Her skin got darker
    - She lost a lot of her fur (this was the most noticeable symptom, pomeranians are fluffy)
    - She lost her appetite
    - She did start having a lot of accidents around the house, but this was put down to medication

    They told us that Cushings can have a few different causes, and some are operable (though that's obviously probably pretty far out of your price range). Ours had the kind that wasn't. They had just come out with some experimental medication, and my parents were feeling desperate and gave it a try because the vet said she had at most another year (she was six, and those dogs are supposed to live to almost 20). The day after her first treatment with it, she became extremely listless, and died within a few hours. I think that she was too tiny, and they gave her too much.

    I don't really think my dad ever really got over it. They've since got another dog (pom again), and she's very sweet but also a holy terror.

    As far as I'm aware, they still don't have a great (by which I mean effective and low side-effect, not low-cost) treatment for Cushing's in dogs. Talk to your vet, but if that's correct I would say that until she's in pain, leave her alone. Then you probably have a decision to make, but in a year or two you may also have more options.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    ceres wrote: »

    As far as I'm aware, they still don't have a great (by which I mean effective and low side-effect, not low-cost) treatment for Cushing's in dogs. Talk to your vet, but if that's correct I would say that until she's in pain, leave her alone. Then you probably have a decision to make, but in a year or two you may also have more options.

    Yeah...that sounds like our best option at this point, although it makes me really sad. I'll probably be stopping in at the vet's office tomorrow to pick up the new food, so maybe I can ask her a few more questions then. Thanks for your advice.

    adejaan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    Well, don't be sad yet. There will be time for being sad later, and right now you have an awesome, adorable dog who is probably not even uncomfortable at this stage. Like I said, there may be more out there to help in a year or two, and the medication my parents tried and was the only thing out there is now apparently an accepted medication with some side effects. This was less than 5 years ago. Also, your situation may change, and you may have the finances and living situation by then to take care of the dog any way you wish.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • adejaanadejaan Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Thanks for the kind words. Hopefully she'll stay healthy for a good long time yet, and we'll do our best to enjoy her while she's still here. I think this thread can be locked.

    adejaan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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