UPDATE ON DUSTY (I know everyone in cyberland is breathlessly awaiting this so I thought I would take time out of my busy evening to spread the news).
I thought FOR SURE (I live in the Valley so this wording is quite acceptable) that Dusty had Addison's disease. This is a condition which happens when the adrenal glands don't produce their proper hormones and the affected dogs have vague signs such as vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia. On the bloodwork, the electrolytes and the kidney values can be abnormal and the disease is confirmed with a blood test called the ACTH stimulation test. This is an expensive test and requires that the dogs are poked with a needle three times.
Dusty's bloodwork looked very suspicious for Addison's and his clinical signs fit so I performed the ACTH stimulation test. Did I tell you how much Dusty hates needles?
This morning I got the results back.
I can't tell you how much this news sucked. Addison's disease is expensive to treat but the dogs do very well almost immediately. I felt completely defeated that I didn't have an easy answer. Unfortunately, the other possibilities for Dusty aren't so nice. I requested an ultrasound today and it revealed small kidneys, which I already knew about. This probably means that Dusty has either a stomach ulcer or inflammation in his esophagus (or both), along with his kidney insufficiency. This combination of problems is much harder to treat than Addison's disease. Looking on the bright side, there is no evidence of cancer.
He is currently on a variety of meds and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will feel better very soon and start eating his proper diet. As old as he is, I'm taking each day at a time.
I decided to sedate Dusty for the ultrasound. He enjoys his controlled substances and slept most of the day. Even when he came home, he was zoning and spent an hour staring at a blank wall.
Unfortunately, he did not get the munchies once, damnit.
This is Dusty. This is Dusty on drugs. In all honesty, there is not much difference between the two.