Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rocket is Ill

I mentioned in my previous post Rocket wasn't feeling well. He's been losing weight. He's not eating. He slept a lot more than usual. When my neighbors and I really noticed in July he seemed thinner and now and then was turning down his favorite treats. Also, he never really stopped shedding since spring and his fur had become dull. He used to gobble food easily grasping with his front teeth. Now he seemed to be licking the food. So I thought perhaps he had a tooth problem. I took him in to see our vet near the end of July. Not a tooth problem and everything else looked fine although in 3 months he had lost 8 pounds. He's been on an arthritis NSAID for almost 2 years, I took him off of it and within a couple of days his fur stopped falling out in chunks and he became more alert and went for a few short walks.

See how good he looks in this photo taken a few days after going off that pill.

His blood tests came back normal except for one thing, his pancreas enzymes were off the charts. One was doubled and the other was 9 times higher than normal. The vet then had him checked for pancreatitis but that test came back negative. So that left pancreatic cancer but at the time my vet thought against it as other symptoms weren't there.

So we left it there and we would retest his blood in a month. In the meantime I fed him all sorts of canned foods and found some treats he enjoyed, even boiling up burger and rice for him. I also tried to find lower fat foods which are supposed to be better for pancreas problems. A week ago, 2 weeks after his vet visit he seemed to be going downhill again. The canned foods no longer interested him nor did the burger. I took him back to the vet 2 days ago. In just under 3 weeks he'd lost another 6 pounds. He was given a Lower GI test with barium as he'd been straining with every bowel movement. Nothing obvious appeared. So I took him home again and he was put on 2 drugs. One is metronidazole, it's mostly used as an anti-inflammatory and has been known to help digestion problems. The other is an anitbiotic, cephalexin. I'm not sure why he's on that other than to counter a possible unknown infection. But that one is harder on the stomach and after last night's pills he threw them up. Today he kept them down longer before he threw up. Today thus far he's refused chicken, beef and venison burger.

I called the vet again and really the only option seems to be exploratory surgery. I really hate to put Rocket through this but there's a remote possibility the doctor will find something he can fix, although he's really expecting to find a tumor somewhere. If it's on the pancreas it's probably cancer and there won't be anything we can do. Of course, if it's cancer anywhere else that will be it as well. I'm not putting my dog through weeks of chemo or radiation. The only question is then whether I allow him to wake back up after the surgery tomorrow morning. I guess it depends. As of last night he still ate chicken although he threw it up with the pills 90 minutes later. Today he won't eat anything.

Here is a photo taken today. I hope I can take another tomorrow.


Jakey the Clown said...

*HUGS* for you and Rocket!! Stay POSITIVE!!! <3 LJ

mike said...

Hi Becky
Sory to here Rocket is ill. If I was him I think I would rather not be awakened if things inside me were not good. I'm sure between you and the vet the decision will be the best one for Rocket. Good luck to you and him. Mike