The holidays stress us all out, including our pets
As a pet parent, experiencing the anxiety and helplessness of having a sick pet is scary. Having a diagnosis is a welcome relief. But, when your pet has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease (an endocrine condition where the body is unable, or ineffectively produces vital hormones) you learn it's going to be a lifetime commitment.
Most pets go on to live a long, fulfilling life, dependent on receiving the medicine they need and avoiding stressful situations.
Because stress is the biologic trigger for Addison’s disease to reoccur.
In healthy animals, stress triggers the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands to help the body respond. In the case of Addison's disease the body doesn't have the ability to adapt to challenges and the demands of the body are unmet.
Your veterinarian likely prescribed a medication, or a combination of medications, such as Florinef (fludrocortisone), or Percorten-V (desoxycorticosteronepivalate DOCP) which are long-acting medications given intermittently as an injection.
Most commonly, prednisone is prescribed as a daily oral steroid medication for the treatment of Addison’s disease. The dose is typically much lower to meet the biological needs of these pets.
Who can get Addison's Disease?
Who can get IMTP?
Primary IMTP is more commonly seen in middle aged female dogs, especially Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Poodles, and Old English Sheepdogs. Unfortunately, although it is more common in these breeds, it can happen at any age, any sex, and any breed.
Secondary IMTP can occur in any pet as there is a secondary condition like infection, cancer, or sepsis causing the IMTP.
What is IMTP?
One of the biggest pieces of dealing with chronic diseases are the medications used to help pets feel better. Depending on the disease process there can be multiple medications, or one that is pretty pricey.
So, where are good options for getting quality prescription medications that don't break the bank?
Unfortunately, our fuzzy little one’s livers cannot handle many of the medications that humans take. This is one of the many reasons why all medications, prescribed by a physician or over-the-counter, must never be shared with your pet.
Both cats and dogs are unable to process acetaminophen (Tylenol®). As little as 1 or 2 tablets of acetaminophen can cause problems for pets. Acetaminophen causes death (necrosis) to the cells of the liver. As the cells of the liver (hepatocytes) die, pets may start showing signs of sickness. Signs that may be noticed include vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, and icterus (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
You're a pet parent. You're a warrior against the chronic illness your furry family member fights every day.
You have a heart of gold. You have taken on a burden some choose not to. It's not an easy path, and we hope we can help just a little bit on your journey.
Humans. Pets. How different is it really?
A study was done by Kent State University that showed the stress on a primary caregiver is the same whether it's for a human or pet. This is called Caregiver Burden.
So, you're not crazy. Taking care of a chronically sick pet is stressful and you need to take care of yourself just as much as you take care of your beloved pet. Make sure to have someone to turn to.
Make sure to take care of yourself because you are awesome.
The central organ for so much in the body: the liver.
As long as the liver is happy, the body can continue to function without issues. Unfortunately, there are many reasons for the liver to become sick, so let's take a few moments to talk about some of the reasons why this can happen. In future posts, we will dive into these reasons a bit further.
Let's dive in
There are several causes of liver disease that can be seen throughout your pet’s life. The most prevalent categories of liver disease are as follows: infectious, inflammatory, metabolic, toxins and trauma.
The wildfires in California have been front and center in the news the last few weeks. we wanted to share some important disaster preparedness info.
The ASPCA has put together a comprehensive list of items to include in your disaster preparedness kit. Here is a list of recommendations:
Who can get IMHA?
The bad news? Any breed can be diagnosed at any age. Both dogs and cats can be diagnosed with IMHA. Cats are definitely not as common, but they can still get it.
Some risk factors reported include:
What is IMHA?
Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) is also known as Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). Both names are for the same disease. It is when the body’s immune system sees erythrocytes, or red blood cells (RBCs), as a foreign invader needing to be destroyed. The immune system no longer recognizes the RBC’s as belonging to the animal and starts breaking down the cells. This causes severe anemia, or low red blood cell counts.
As you can imagine RBC’s are essential for life. They are important for the body as they carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. That is why when a patient is anemic, they are weak and have exercise intolerance because the cells in the body are not getting the oxygen needed to perform their tasks. The term for decreased oxygen in the blood is hypoxemia.
In dogs and cats we check the packed cell volume, or PCV, to tell us how anemic the patient is. Normal for dogs and cats is typically between 35%-55% and 25%-45% respectively. What this means is of the blood circulating in the body, how much is RBC’s and how much is fluid. The body likes to have a normal percentage of RBC’s and fluid concentrations.
To know what the PCV is, a small blood sample is place into tubes and spun down with a centrifuge. This can take anywhere from 8-12 minutes. After the sample has been centrifuged the blood has separated into solids (blood cells: predominantly RBC's) and the liquid, plasma, portion of the blood. See the pictures below.
We're looking for pet parents to share their insight on these immune mediated blood disorders:
Our goal is to create a book for owners of pets diagnosed with these diseases to help navigate diagnosis, treatment, and living with the disease.
We created a survey and would appreciate your input. Please follow the link below and be part of creating a road map for pet parents.
If you are a veterinary professional and would like to give us feedback, please go to this link for a survey geared more toward care givers.
General Diagnostics to Run
When your veterinarian suspects an immune mediated disease it is important to screen for any underlying diseases that can stimulate the immune system. Common diseases that can trigger an auto-immune response is cancer, and tick borne diseases.
Cancer screening include thoracic radiographs (chest x-rays), abdominal ultrasound, and full blood work including a chemistry and CBC.
Tick borne disease testing looks for these common infections that can trigger an immune response:
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This website is NOT a substitute for veterinary care with a veterinarian. We recommend you follow the advice and treatment plan as prescribed by your veterinarian, and only after discussing anything found on this website with your veterinarian, with their approval, implementing advice found here.
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