Monday, 22 April 2013

What a week we've had!

We have had a horrible week this week, mostly because of our animals. Last Monday as posted we lost our cat Horrace, who finally succumbed to old age at 21 years plus.  Later that night our Labrador Tyson became ill.

Tyson - The Boy!

He started having fits a few months ago and after a few visits to the veterinary surgeon, and blood tests being sent off to Ankara it was decided that he was diabetic. He was started on a course of tablets and a hideously expensive special diet. All went well for the first month apart from the night we forgot to put the butter away, having had jacket potatoes for tea. Needless to say Tyson found it, ate it and suffered fits again the following morning.

After a second month of being quite stable, and after discussion with the vet it was agreed that we could introduce some brown bread and yogurt to his diet in attempt to eke out the expensive biscuit he was having. That night and the following morning he gratefully received his bowl of food with the new ingredients added. During the following 24 hours he had 5 fits. So back to exclusively having his special diet.

We then had a settled and stable month with him. That is until Monday, when for no apparent reason - as in, he had not stolen anything different to eat to our knowledge the fits restarted, and in the following 36 hours he suffered 11 fits. On Tuesday I went to see our veterinary surgeon and agreed to take Tyson there on Thursday for further tests.

Early on Thursday we arrived at the vets, where his blood sugars were taken and were reading 48 at 08.45 am. Normal blood sugars for a dog are 70 - 120 so this was very low, but was before his breakfast. An intravenous line was put in a vein and he was attached to a dextrose solution drip. I could not imagine him keeping the line in for long so opted to stay with him, in an effort to keep him calm and still. Keeping 43 kilos of Labrador still for 5 hours is definitely not a fun thing to be doing.

After the drip had run for an hour, and he was allowed to eat his breakfast his blood sugars had risen as you would expect to 74 - better. After the next hour when they were checked however, and in spite of the dextrose solution still running, they had dropped to 55 - why?  After 900 ml of dextrose has been administered over a 4  hour period the blood sugars had dropped to 51.

Next an ultra sound was done on his digestive system, and this showed that there was a problem with his pancreas. So further blood tests were taken to see if this was an infection, or something more sinister.

Tyson exhausted by it all on his return from the vets with his shaved side from having an ultra sound investigation

At 2.00 pm I was finally able to take him home to await the test results. The vet called later and said he wanted to see me face to face to discuss the results, so the next morning I went back down the hill fully expecting to be hearing the worst and arranging for a home visit to do the dreadful deed for the second time that week.

I underestimated Serkan our wonderful vet who instead diagnosed Functional Islet Cell tumours, and although there is no cure for this, which I understand is tumours on the pancreas causing it to over produce insulin, therefore playing havoc with the blood sugar levels. If the blood sugars get too high, he has fits, if they get too low, he twitches and wobbles and falls over. Serkan prescribed steroid tablets daily for 3 months and feeding him 4 or 5 times a day as a means to manage the blood sugar levels.

On Friday we commenced this regime, he has his tablet daily and we feed him at 6.00 am, 12.00, 6.00 pm and again at midnight, and fingers crossed at the moment he is much better.

He is hungry all the time and it is an endless battle keeping him away from anything which in his opinion is edible. When I cook I have to keep everything at the back of the worktops, if you open the fridge or the dishwasher his head is straight in it. For the same reason I have to open the oven door with one hand and put in/get out whatever I am cooking, whilst holding him back with the other. He is a very large, muscly, strong dog so we are battling all the time.

We have to be careful about him getting over excited or playing around with the other two dogs because this lowers his blood sugars and he gets wobbly or falls over. Of course this means one of us being here all the time at the moment and goodness alone knows what we will do when we have to return to Antalya on Friday to collect our paperwork from the British Consulate for the wedding. Not to mention that we have 20 odd people coming over for our wedding in a couple of weeks!

To make matters even worse we have been living with an empty pool for over a week now as it needed re-grouting this year, so none of the dogs are able to wander in the garden as they normally do because they quite often fall in the pool and are all becoming coiled springs through boredom. It is actually an extremely stressful time for us. I am much more stressed by all of this than by our wedding which is in 3 weeks time. But at least we still have our boy, and somehow I'm sure we'll manage to get everything done.

If any readers have experienced living with a dog suffering from Functional Islet Cell Tumours, we would love to hear from them as to how they managed.

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