In an effort to keep me from feeling so alone with Rupert, my 10-year-old Border Collie who is suffering from terrible allergies, many of you have shared stories about your hard-luck dogs. Ive been struck by the dedication and commitment that WDJ readers devote to trying to make their beloved companions well. It helps put Rupies itching in perspective and teaches us never to take a healthy dogs vibrancy for granted. Here is an extraordinary letter:
Regarding Nancy Kerns editorial about the problems she has gone through with her dog, Rupert, theres not much I can say except I understand. Im doing just as you are for my dog, Finn, who is only 4 1/2 years old. Hes got all of the same health issues youve described with Rupert, plus, starting at age three, he became (urine) incontinent.
After thousands of dollars in tests and more tests over the past 18 months, we have yet to find a cause for his problem. According to all manner of veterinary tests, he is as healthy as can be. So, while I continue in my quest to solve the itching-diarrhea-incontinence problems with regular vets, board-certified specialists, holistic vets, acupuncture, chiropractic, Chinese herbs, raw foods, TTouch etc., I also try to balance my efforts with lots of love and good old fun with Finn. Hes a flyball fanatic, an agility whiz and an obedience flop!
We tried chiropractic with good results; for two whole months he was completely cured. I was in heaven, and bragged to anyone who would listen! Then it began to happen again. Back we went to the chiropractor. The treatments still worked, but for less time each treatment. It was a mystery and very disappointing. Still, we do go for adjustments every three to four weeks because Finn feels so much better afterwards.
We also tried acupuncture, but with awful results. After those treatments, he peed all over the place all the time, in spite of being on PPA at night. I know sometimes things have to get worse before they could get better, but that was just too much for me. And to pay $50-70 per visit and then have to clean up pee all over the place! We have scrubbed rugs and washed dog bedding until we are about ready to rip out all the carpets and start over with easier-to-clean floors. Thank God my husband is willing to go to any kind of expense to make things better. He even wondered if we could get Finn a kidney transplant back when we thought it was kidney disease!
The final diagnosis from the internist is this: Psychogenic Polydipsia Polyuria. Ill bet you can figure that out, even if you havent heard of it: he likes to drink a lot of water and so he pees a lot. And so here we are. Sometimes itching less, sometimes more, battling diarrhea with every new change to his diet to try top help the itching, and the one dependable, always present symptom is the incontinence. I have to admit I dread the thought of another 8-10 years of this, since my educated guess is it will not be getting better as he gets older.
I also wanted to let you know that after almost 18 months of cooking and then trying the raw diet, I am back to feeding kibble. His digestive problems were getting worse and worse on home cooked and then raw foods and I simply could not figure out anything my little guy could eat. He was wasting away before my eyes.
I read that you considered the Innovative Veterinary Diets foods to be superior to the Hills Science Diet foods, so I had my vet order a bag of the Duck and Potato for Finn. Within two days, Finns stools are as normal as my other dogs and better than they have been in his whole life. His scratching is less, too! Its been about two weeks now since hes been on this food and he seems to be doing great. I know there are some true believers out there in the raw diet, but for us, it simply was not the right choice.
Ive never been so frustrated, nor have I ever loved a dog as much as I love Finn. Though Ive had dogs all my life, he is the one. So with that extra specialness of spirit comes this terrible puzzle of his health.
Even if I cant try all of the things I learn about in WDJ, I have found an amazing amount of help and information in the issues each month. Good luck, and give Rupe a hug from Finn and me.