Thursday, October 11, 2007


I have mentioned in a couple of blog comments that our dog Dakota has become ill. He was sick over the weekend and by yesterday was very dehydrated. He just came home today after 24 hours at the veterinary clinic where he received intravenous hydration and medication. He is 9 years old and is suffering from liver disease as indicated by his very elevated alkaline phosphotase (now > 1500), ALT and bilirubin. Because his white blood cell and neutrophil counts were also high, he is on antibiotics.
I have read that liver disease in dogs is increasingly common and is a leading cause of death. Why? Some people feel that commercial dog foods are to blame and others point to vaccinations and other chemical exposures.
I will not spend money on biopsies and extensive treatments, but hope the medications given will allow him to be well enough to enjoy more time as part of our family. Losing a pet is so difficult as many of you know from recent experience. Pets are good for our physical and mental well-being, but after this week, I feel physically and emotionally drained.
To help put things in perspective, I think about all the children in the world who lack access to essential medical treatment that is readily available for my dog. Dakota is a privileged pet for sure.


  1. Anonymous8:51 pm GMT-4

    So sorry to hear about Dakota and I hope those medications help in getting better!

  2. Dakota is one lucky dog having you for an owner. Sorry to hear about his illness - they become family.

  3. Dakota is a senior now and very much a part of your family. I feel your anxiety. I hope the meds give him comfort.

  4. When Inja took sick and the vet gave her days to live, we found another puppy, our Great Dane cross, Quawe.
    Inja was so happy she not only lived but played for 2 years with Quawe until she went quickly from a stroke at 11 years. Trust that all goes well. I would miss him as well.
    Mexico Mom.

  5. Ah, poor Dakota! I do hope the meds relieve the condition! We just dog sat ... she went home this evening and even after just 3 days her leaving left a big hole! A hole nine year hole is a BIG hole to fill! And while Dakota is a priveledged dog, I know he has given a lot back ... for positive sure. Nothing like the unconditional love of a dog! (Besides God's love that is!).

    We would love a dog but our lives aren't quite conduscive ... yet. I've recently been reading about the raw food diet for dogs. Very interesting.

    TTFN .... Cisero

  6. Monarch- Thanks...the next few days will tell.

    Jean- We have been lucky to have such a good dog too. He was a pound rescue and always has seemed extra loving.

    Mary- You have an older dog too and I know you understand what it means to lose one. Thanks

    Mom- I didn't know that about Inja. Don't tell me you are recommending that we get another dog right now. Beth and Rebecca would be ecstatic.

    CS- I have been looking for information on the internet tonight about liver disease in dogs. I have seen some high praise for the raw food diet. After the pet food contamination incident this year, people realize that commercial animal feeds are not always safe.
    You are right about a dog's unconditional love...and God's too!


  8. I hope things go well for Dakota, Ruth, and that he stays comfortable. One of our three dogs is very senior and had a stroke a few months ago. He's doing well...I'd never do anything to prolong suffering in a pet either. I believe many people go to great treatment lengths more for themselves than for their pets' wellbeing.

  9. I'm sorry you're having a tough time with Dakota's health. I hope he feels better.

  10. Tell me about it .....
    See if a diet change can help (homemade foods).
    It helped Kato for a long time.

  11. ets can be such a special part of the family.It's really sad when we lose them.I don't blame you about the extened treatment.

  12. Good ol' Dakota. I know what you're going through Ruth. You get so darned attached to them and it's really hard to make the decision to let them go, especially when there are other treatment options. As in human medicine, veterinary medicine has made some wonderful advancements over the years.
    Our old girl Daisy is doing much better since her surgery a week ago.

  13. My heart goes out to you, Ruth. We lost our beloved Kodiak (siberian husky) back in April. And even though my son's two dogs (both huskies) are living here and they have helped me with our loss, there's still a hole in my heart - and we only had Kodiak for 5 years - we had adopted him when he was 5 years old. I've lost other pets, too, in the past, and it's just a part of life, especially when we consider our beloved pets as family members. Take heart. Dakota has given you many years of enjoyment and unconditional love. And he knows you will do the right thing for him when the time comes.

  14. Becka- I think you are getting your wish

    K&M- I am glad your dog survived the stroke and is doing well. I agree that the pet's comfort is important, more than our need to prolong their lives.

    Lynne- Thanks

    SLB- I know you just lost Kato. The vet advised me today to make homemade food and gave me list of foods that are easier on his liver.

    Larry- In Canada our health care is covered and we often do not realize how expensive tests and treatments can be. A vet could clean my bank account out very quickly!

    RuthieJ- I know you are going through expenses for the treatment of your beloved Daisy too. We have a university with a veterinary school in our area and there are very advanced treatments available there for a price.

    MaryC- I didn't know you lost a dog in April. Our lab cross got a husky tail somewhere in his gene pool. Dakota is our 5th dog in about 30 years. Both my husband and I grew up with dogs, and will have more I am sure.


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