In yesterday's post, I talked about the beginning and development of Snickers' symptoms, seeing two different veterinarians and our desperate final attempt to save his life through a veterinary treatment plan. Today, I will tell the results of the plan, my own diagnosis of what was ultimately really wrong with my dog and the simple steps pet-parents can take to protect their own 4-legged family members. Please remember that I am not a veterinary or medical professional of any sort.
The treatment plan was to begin with antibiotics plus three consecutive days of pumping extra water into Snickers to try to flush his kidneys. On the fourth day, more blood would be drawn to see our progress and discuss the results. Snickers did appear to feel better after being injected with antibiotics and pumped full of water and he got very quickly comfortable with his daily veterinary visits as a result of feeling better for them, but his appetite did not improve at all. All he would do was lick our dinner plates clean and sniff at the various foods we offered him.
On the third day of treatment he did not even lick our dinner plates. Then on the night of the third day, Snickers finally displayed the other two symptoms of the condition I now believe claimed his life: vomiting and stool changes (diarrhea in Snickers' case). The fourth day, blood tests revealed that the Pancreatitis was way worse than the kidney disease (a reversal) and the numbers on the kidney disease had more than doubled!
|I miss my Snickers and am so sorry I did |
not have the knowledge to protect him.
The kidneys' function is to filter blood. The pancreas creates digestive enzymes and insulin. On the drive home from our final visit with the vet, my mind was still working and spinning, trying to figure out what could possibly have caused Snickers' kidney disease and pancreatitis to worsen so quickly when we had been flushing his body with water and he wasn't even eating any food. It just didn't make sense! So I started thinking back to the beginning of all his problems, going through everything in an attempt to figure out what I might have missed.
I thought about the skunk spray and then the skunk. It was the only skunk who has ever visited my yard when the dog was outside and I wondered why it might have ventured into the yard. I remembered the at that time, the long sump pump hose that usually carried water to the back of my yard (where Snickers could not reach the water) had been removed from the back of my house by construction workers and so, for a short time, the water made a gradually deeper hole and periodic puddle of water in the dog run.
Ah, the sump pump must have just gone off and the skunk was coming for a drink, I concluded. Suddenly, the switch clicked in my mind as I remembered trying to look into my sump well with a flashlight to change the pump last summer. (Oh, the joys of household maintenance.) The well water had been so cloudy that I could not see anything through it! At the time, I deduced the well was full of mold from when I first bought the house, but I did not connect the mold last summer with my dog's condition that began two summers ago.
As soon as I pulled into my driveway, I went and looked up the symptoms of mold poisoning. There are several for inhaled mold, but only three for ingested mold: LOSS OF APPETITE, vomiting and diarrhea. Eureka! Suddenly, it all made sense. The garlic having helped him to eat better made sense because garlic is an natural anti-fungal "medicine."
The switching from food to food made sense since many ingredients (such as wheat flour) that we normally include in dog foods make mold toxicity worse. Besides, if the garlic originally made him feel better, it makes sense that he would have been searching for another food to do the same thing. His blood work getting WORSE when he was on antibiotics but eating nothing also made sense because the kidneys filter blood and, "Antibiotics create a fungus-friendly intestinal environment" (Mercola.com). Most doctors (and I assume vets) are unfamiliar with the symptoms of mold poisoning so it also makes sense that neither of the vets we saw recognized the symptoms.
All the pieces suddenly just fit together -- only a few hours too late to save Snickers' life.
If you have a pet in your life whom you love or if you know people with pets they love, please share our story. Pass it along so that others might know to take steps to prevent and watch for the signs of mold poisoning in their pets. Don't let lack of information about this dangerous condition to claim the life of another beloved companion. Please help our story to serve as a caution that encourages people to keep their pets safe.
Mold poisoning is more common in pets than one might think. Keep everything he comes in contact with inside your home clean and dry. Outdoors, ensure he doesn't ingest or lick any item or surface that could have mold growth (including puddles of moldy sump water).
For more information on mold poisoning in pets, visit https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/06/09/pets-toxic-mold-exposure.aspx
P. S. I promise that my next post on the Penny Pinching Project Lady will be less distressing. Perhaps we should make some yummy Mexican food?
Links for your convenience
Neutrogenics (The book on homemade dog food that I intended to buy - affiliate link)
Recipe for homemade kidney-safe dog food
Snickers' Final Expense Relief Fund (Go-fund-me link)