Thursday, June 9, 2011

Normal, Normal, Normal

On Saturday, Maisy went to the emergency vet because there was blood in her urine. Assuming it was a UTI, but wanting to be sure, the vet and I agreed to do a urinalysis and urine culture. The urine was collected via cystocentesis, which requires using an ultrasound to poke a needle into the bladder in order to obtain a sample.

This would have been fine except that both the emergency vet and the critical care specialist on call thought Maisy's bladder wall had “abnormal thickening,” and there were unexplained white spots in the bladder cavity. The recommendation was to see an internal medicine specialist.

So, we went to that appointment yesterday, where I learned that the culture had come back negative. There were no bacteria, and no white blood cells, and thus, no UTI. She did have an elevated pH, and she had a lot of sediment, including struvite crystals. The specialist recommended we have an ultrasound done to see what had caused the bloody urine, and so we did that today.

The results? Normal, normal, normal. No bladder wall weirdness, no bladder stones, sediment, or crystals, the kidneys looked great, everything was awesome. Our best guess is that the bloody urine was caused by irritation from the crystals- or possibly even some small stones- that were passed when I increased Maisy's fluid intake over the weekend.

I was scared.

Like Maisy, I tend to be a bit reactive, and so I was absolutely freaking out. I tried to hold myself together, and I think I did okay once I quit consulting with Dr. Google (who had me convinced my dog was going to die, indeed, had already died about three days ago). I am grateful for my friends, who offered much support, logic, and rational thought.

Maisy was scared, too.

No, she didn't know that she had already died, but both appointments were very hard on her. The appointment yesterday was the worst. She was fine when we first arrived at the hospital, but was not fond of the physical exam the student gave her (the U is a teaching hospital, so we saw a student first, and then the specialist). In fact, she was so not-fond of it that she buried her head in my armpit and stopped taking treats.

Ya'll, I can count on one hand the number of times she's refused treats. When Maisy gets stressed, she will take treats frantically, have a “shark mouth,” and dive bomb the treat bag. Not eating? That's practically unheard of, and a sign of serious stress. I felt awful, and after the student left to report her findings to the vet, Maisy cowered under my chair. Again, this is not normal behavior for her.

When the vet came in, Maisy stood up, and pressed up against my legs, but stayed under the chair. It was not easy to coax her out, but we managed to do it. Thankfully, the vet did not need to do much in the way of a physical exam, and instead spent most of her time discussing the possible causes and diagnostic steps to take. Even so, Maisy jumped in my lap, and then scrambled up my shoulders and stood behind my head. This was not height seeking. This was fear. Honestly, it felt good that she wanted me to protect her, but I felt awful that I couldn't do what she wanted and stop the exam from happening.

That feeling got worse today.

Upon the suggestion of my trainer, yesterday I called Maisy's veterinary behaviorist to explain what was going on, and how stressed Maisy was. She consulted with the anesthesiologist (in case Maisy needed sedation in order to do a biopsy), and prescribed trazodone. I'm not sure if it helped. If it did, it wasn't enough.

The first thing they did when we arrived was take Maisy and place an IV catheter for possible sedation. Despite my objections, they did not allow me to go back with Maisy, and it broke my heart to see how reluctant she was to leave without me. Normally she loves people, but she remembered these people. Poor little pumpkin, the looks she gave me were just pathetic.

They returned her to me to wait for the procedure, and she pressed up against me, panting like crazy. Her pupils were bigger than I'd ever seen them, and she licked her lips almost constantly. I felt awful.

Then they took her for the ultrasound. She wouldn't even walk with the tech this time, and they had to carry her. Again, the looks Maisy gave me had me on the edge of tears.

During the ultrasound, they gave her a morphine-derivative to help sedate her some more. The procedure took almost an hour. They said she did well, and she seemed reasonably happy to see me, but still and quiet. Even now, three hours later, she's all drugged out, sitting spaced out, swaying side to side.

She appears quite bothered by her shaved belly. She's walking oddly, sitting stiffly, and keeps sneaking peaks at her stomach to figure out what's wrong. I knew she didn't like wearing things, but I find it interesting that she seems to equally dislike not having enough on.

Maisy also seems displeased with me. When we got home, she refused to come in the house, instead sitting at the far end of the yard. I finally coaxed her in with some treats, but she chose to be in a room as far away as possible from me, one which we never use, one which I've only seen her in once or twice before. I coaxed her out with some potato chips (her favorite treat), but she then went right back in there for an hour or two. She's now sitting in the same room, but with her back to me. She only looks at me when I offer her a treat, and even then, she takes them grudgingly.

I would worry that I'm being excessively anthropomorphic, but Patricia McConnell's dog Willie recently did something similar to her following his own surgery. Thankfully, he seems to have gotten over it, and I trust that, in time, Maisy will, too.

In the meantime, I'm simply grateful that, mad at me or not, Maisy is healthy. I love her more than I ever thought it possible to love a dog.


Katherine Ostiguy, KPA-CTP said...


I know first-hand how upsetting it is when your dog is not handling a situation well, at all, and yet you are powerless to do anything to stop it. It's rough. :(

I just wanted to pass along that my oldest Springer, Tessie, had an elevated urine pH and struvite crystals. My veterinarian suggested a supplement called Cranberry Relief. After a month, she was back to normal. She has been taking this supplement for over a year now and she is just peachy.

So if they don't find anything conclusive, you might want to ask your veterinarian about it. It's a very inexpensive supplement (a $16 jar lasts about 2 months for my 43# dog) but very effective! :)

Crystal Thompson said...

Thanks Katherine! As it turns out, Maisy is already on a cranberry supplement, as recommended by her vet. She was on the low end of the dosing, so I'm moving that up to the higher end, as well as increasing her fluid intake. I hope that helps, because this was just scary...

Joanna said...

Eek, poor girl. I hope she'll be okay.

Crystal Thompson said...

Thanks Joanna. I think she'll be okay. She's acting much more normal today, although I expect to see stressy behavior for a few days.

Katherine said...

If it is crystals I can tell you from personal experience switching to a formulated raw diet worked perfectly for Bernie when prescription medication and kibble did not work *at all*.

So sorry to hear of how stressed Maisy is. I can't imagine having a super reactive dog put through those tests. I hope she gets back to normal soon.

Kristine said...

I am so so sorry you and Masiy had to go through all this. I can't imagine how I would feel in the same situation. Out of my mind, no doubt, with fear.

I am glad to hear her results are fine but I know that isn't very reassuring for you. Hopefully her stress levels will also lower with time. She has been doing so well lately!

You take it easy and give yourself some time to breathe as well.

Cinnamon said...

It's great to hear that the results of Masiy's physical exams were all okay. I hope she will be back to her normal self soon.