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Chronic Kidney Failure in Dogs User Group
Oliver 15 year old Maltese with Kidney Disease
About This Group:

A group for information and discussion and for emotional support for owners and companions of dogs with Chronic Kidney Failure. This is a complex and traumatic illness and affects about a third of all dogs over the age of 12yrs. While there is (as yet) no cure for this disease, there are things that can be done to improve and extend the quality of life for our best friends - and when all else fails, there are people that have traveled this path already that can offer empathy and support to grieving owners. If you wish to ask questions or talk about a particular dog, please head your thread with your dog's name, as this will help identify the discussion.

Founded by tonyb286 on June 3, 2014
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Oliver 15 year old Maltese with Kidney Disease

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Results are in: Olivers BUN went from 23 to 25 Creat: 1.4 to 1.7  Specific Gravity went from 1.016 to 1.012 His potassium has increased, therefore Dr. Schultz thought it would be best to take him off the renal essentials for a month and have him retested.  If the potassium remains the same then she wants to start him on fish oil. She did say with Kidney Disease/Failure the numbers do fluctuate.  Overall, she feels that it is great he continues to eat and keep himself  hydrated.  She said the blood results are not “alarming” but we continue to monitor him.  He needs to build muscle which is difficult with this disease and his age of 15. But, she did say I have been exceptional in taking care of him and he is very fortunate to be with me 24/7.
Any thoughts? He still is pretty active and eating like there is no tomorrow.
58 Comments
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Hi. Wow, the levels are really good. Okay, on the high end of normal, but within a good range nonetheless. The creatinine needs caution, because it is a by-product of muscle metabolism ... it may be worth pushing extra fluids, because creatinine can rise due to poor blood volume (even mild dehydration can cause this). Isosthenuric urine (where specific gravity is 1.008-1.012) means urine is more or less the same concentration as his blood plasma, which means the kidneys can neither concentrate nor dilute urine once it has initially formed. This may be more difficult to control, because it is something we can't fix through diet or medication - it's just the kidneys slowly failing. The art is really to do what you are already doing, which is a) try to flush the body of toxins as best as possible with extra fluids; and b) try to prevent the kidneys having to work so hard by reducing low quality proteins and other high toxin high waste product foods in the diet.

So far, you are doing a fabulous job and the results prove it. Well done.

Tony x
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Hi Tony,

Thank you for your feedback. I value your comments very much.
One of the things that amazes Dr. Schultz is Oliver not having any tinkling accidents at all. He sleeps all night.  His consumption of water is the same as it was before he went into kidney failure not any more or less. He continues to eat and drink fluids.  I've added white rice to his diet because he wants him to gain some weight. Thank goodness he gobbles that up. Over all, he seems like little feisty Oliver has not vomited (he does take 1/4 pill of Pepcid every morning). Pretty much all is good for now.  I think we were expecting his values to remain the same or even get better- afraid we are expecting too much from a 15 year old Maltese that bounced back rather quickly.....seems like a miracle.  I will post again soon. Again thank you for your kind words....you have helped me tremendously.
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Oliver is a lesson for everyone on here ... he has given hope, reassurance and proof that intervention and gusto from himself and you can work miracles. I am so pleased for both of you - long may this good news continue. You are both amazing. Tony x
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Thanks Tony,

Oliver and I are a team. He just ate lunch. He sure lets me know when he wants to eat :)  My only concern is will I know when its "time".  I probably should not even be thinking about that and should relish the moments we are having together especially at his age.   Because he is 15 he does have separation anxiety. He normally is with me 24/7 but I have doctor appts I need to take care and unfortunately cannot bring him along. Do you know anything  about lavender oil or can you suggest anything that would calm him down when he realizes I am not home with him. Unfortunately, this occurred yesterday when I had a dental in the morning. He was sound asleep and I was only gone an hour. Upon my return  he had tinkled in his bed. He normally signals me to help him and I will guide him to the piddle pad.  Oliver has me trained....and this behavior has been established for the past two years - all my fault.  Your thoughts :)
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Hi Sep anxiety can truly be an utter nightmare. I had a wonderful rescue greyhound maybe 10 yrs ago now, who the shelter asked me to "give a try", because they knew I was the last hope and that I had some experience of dealing with this kind of issue. I put 24/7 into 'Arthur' for 7 months. I loved that dog so much and while I was with him, there wasn't any better dog on the planet. But, 10 minutes out of the house turned him into something quite crazy. I didn't step foot out of the house without someone being with him for 6 months, while undertaking several behavioral programs - including eventually hiring two dog behaviorists (one a police dog behaviorist) to intervene when I was at my wits end. I also tried pheromone calmers, medications and crating. It ll failed miserably. In the end, I had to return him and I learned shortly afterwards he was euthanized. I still feel as guilty now as I did then. I hate giving in - on anything or anyone - and that day I was forced into it, for my own sanity.

What it taught me, however, is that sep anxiety in dogs is usually something that is created either by us or by a prior experience/owner. Also, to compound this, some dogs are prone to having anxiety more than others. It's a very complex psychological puzzle - and one of the hardest to cure once it takes hold.

I think it may be worth trying some plug-in pheromone treatments. They do work, but not on all dogs. If it's a mild case of sep anxiety, then it could cure it overnight, so definitely worth trying. Next we have to remember that Oliver is an old boy with health issues. He's had lots of attention, because he needs lots of attention - so this isn't something you have 'created', it's just happened because of circumstances. Weening him off your attention may be undertaken, but I would suggest doing it slowly and cautiously, So, hard as it might be, you could lock him out of the room for may be half an hour (then work up by small degrees until you are at an hour). This would give him other areas of the house to roam in, just not the room you are in. This process could take a week or several weeks to achieve the desired result, one where Oliver is calm (and preferably asleep) on his own without whining or calling to you or pacing another room.

Once you get to the one hour point successfully, come back and ask about the next stage. It's the hardest thing in the world to do, because we are shutting out the dog we love, but remember it's for his good, and it will be beneficial to him. It's just very hard for us (as owners) to do.

Hope this helps.

Tony
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Yes, due to Oliver's illness, I have paid extra attention to him and his needs and so has my boyfriend. To the point of "he is 15 years old and he deserves all the TLC"  I run all my errands when he is asleep (bright and early- thank goodness I am an early bird). He is with me at work so there again we are together constantly.  Right before he went into severe kidney failure I had his eyes checked because he kept bumping into things. Part of it was his lack of coordination due to CKF and he has a cataract in the left eye so this impairs his vision. He sees shadows.  So, I gather he is afraid since he does not see very well.  His depth perception is off but he manages. He is able to walk without bumping into anything at this time- he is getting better.  I will try and experiment with him a little at a time and see how he does with your ideas.  Thanks :)
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It needs one important element ... consistency! And that is sometimes so hard to meet, believe me, I know. To have any chance at success, you need to maintain it, almost like a religion. And everyone needs to do it, including your boyf. Let me know how you get on. And, give Oliver the Wonder Dog a huge hug from me. Tony x
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Thanks Tony, I am pretty consistent, my boyf on the other hand gives in to Oliver all the time.  Will start working on Oliver immediately. He actually did great yesterday when I left him from 5-7 ( I had a dental appt). I made sure he was fed / drank water and tinkled....and off to bed he went.  He was waking up as I arrived.  I literally plan everything around him.  His preference is to be at home opposed to me taking him anywhere (he loved hanging out with me) but now what he is older is comfort zone is being at home.  The dentist even said bring Oliver....but honestly I can't fathom that due to his wanting to tinkle and being in unfamiliar surroundings....idea sounds great, but he is better off home and the dental place is only walking distance from me (3 minutes).    Will probably post again around August 2nd when Dr. Schultz checks his potassium levels.  Hoping for the best.
Wishing you a Happy 4th of July weekend. Hugs from Oliver and I.
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Tony, on another note. I posted some recent pictures of Oliver. There is one in particular that I would like you to look at (Before  & After kidney failure). The picture of him being held was when he was actually going through kidney failure and I did not know it....a couple days later he was admitted at the pet clinic. The after picture was after being release from the clinic - 12 days after. All the other pictures are of Ollie at the present time.

Thanks again.
Elsa & Oliver
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Hi Elsa. Love the pictures. Oliver is a real-life little teddy bear. He looks amazing now compared to the initial diagnosis photo. You really have done an extraordinary job in caring for him. Long may he continue to feel happy, contented and (despite the condition) healthy. Tony x
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Awww, Tony, your words touched my heart.  I love my little man dearly.
Until next time.

Elsa
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Dropping in to say Hello and hope everyone is fine.
Oliver continues to triumph and we have three more weeks before his next visit to the vet.  Slowly, working on the separation anxiety issue with him. I have always told Oliver that I will be back whenever I leave and he seems to have understood this over the years beacause I always come back within the hour.  I believe his separation anxiety has a lot to do with his illnesses and also that he comes with me to work.

Will touch base in a few weeks.
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Hi Elsa. Great to hear your little man is continuing to do well  ... I mean Oliver, by the way, not your boyf. :) You could be right about his sep anxiety and his illness, particularly as it has involved so much one-to-ne care and attention - plus as you say, you are rarely parted. I think he's a very lucky dog having shared so much time, adventures and experiences with you. Long may it continue. Tony x
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Hi Tony,

Oliver is eating his KD Canned Food. Is there any treat he can have that would be okay for him.  He loves his treats and I've noticed that if I give him a treat to calm him down (to stop whining) he will stop.   I've been extremely strict with his food intake since he went into severe kidney failure, but the little guy does deserve a treat from time to time.  I understand why he is on this special diet and that he must avoid foods that would make his kidneys work harder. Will a treat make a difference?  Hugs from Oliver :)
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Hi Elsa,

Oliver is the sweetest under heaven:)

Although Darbie is a larger breed, I give her a TRACE of peanut butter w/ small bit of cucumber/ watermelon.  I use raw honey, too. I give Darbie 1/4 of "crab stick" to satiate her. The "quantity" never was an issue ...I felt she was just wanted keep open communication:). When she said her mind, we "answered"...She falls into content sleep.

I understand your concern, but you seem to know Oliver well. Follow your best instincts for Oliver:)

Our very best to you,

Lynne & Darbie

My very best wishes to you,

Fondly,
Lynne & Darbie

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Wow! You responded when I surely need it feedback. I will try the peanut butter etc.   I did the mistake of giving him a smidge of some jerky treat. He has not had any type of treats since April of this year. Well, with that being said....he vomited this morning. I could tell it was the jerky treat :(  He ate well yesterday, and this morning he did not want to eat. Pretty sure he had an upset stomach. I'm going to monitor him all day (he is right here with me at work sleeping).   I was giving Oliver watermelon and he did well with that....so I guess I should stick with the watermelon.  Thanks again.
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Please be wary that watermelon may give Oliver loose stool, not to mention anything new introduced to his diet. Check with your vet re: antacids. I would not ever suggest anything that would compromise his little belly, although I can imagine on any level, great or small...it hurts:(

Please be advised that certain " jerky treats" may be difficult for Oliver to digest...I learned this hard way, but maybe you make your own?...

I wish you well...Personally, I tried different things in moderation to see how Darbie felt within 2 days.

I know Darbie would love to consume a porterhouse steak right now....But only in her dreams:)
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Thank you my friend. The watermelon per the vet was fine. No more jerky treats. It was only a little, but enough to upset his stomach.  I do give Oliver Pepcid every morning (only 1/4 tablet per the vet). Thank goodness I only gave him a smidge, but it was enough to give him a tummy ache.
I'm going to discuss the "treat's" issue with Oliver's vet. He is due to see the vet on 8/2 and I will bring it up. Hopefully, I can simply prepare homemade treats for him :)
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Hi. Generally, any meat treat is okay, so something like cubed human grade chicken with the skin on is worth giving in small amounts. Alternatively, I found this recipe on the net, which sounds interesting ...

· 2cups rice flour or white all-purpose bleached flour (these two are lowest in phosphorus, which is best for kidney disease)
6 Tbsp low sodium, low fat chicken broth*
1 cup cold water
1 cup cooked vegetables ground up (winter squashes, zucchini, and sweet potatoes are low in phosphorus, which is best for kidney disease)

Combine flour and garlic; mix in chicken broth and vegetable(s); add enough cold water to form a ball; pat dough to &frac;" and cut into desired shapes; place on non-stick cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 350F for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Freeze what is not eaten within a week.

*Non Fat Chicken Broth

You can use a pressure cooker and complete this in 2 hours, or a stock pot and finish in 24 hours.

Remove skin from whole chicken OR chicken pieces. ( in the pressure cooker I use 3 leg quarters from which I remove the skin before cooking ). Place the chicken in the pot with distilled water. For the pressure cooker, cook on high for 2 hours and in the stock pot, simmer on low heat for 16-24 hours.

Remove the chicken and bone from the broth and discard ( all the nutrients are in the stock)

Pour the broth into a fat separator ( looks like a pitcher with the spout coming from the bottom ) After 10 minutes the fat will float to the top. Pour off the small amount of fat at the top and pour the low fat broth to a container. Be sure to watch what you are doing because near the bottom you will come to more fat and will need to stop pouring into the pot and discard that part, too.

Refrigerate the broth and when it is cold, any fat remaining will be gelatin on the top. You can remove part of it or you can pour the whole thing through a super fine mesh strainer, which will stop the fat and allow the plain broth through. You will find that after the broth has been used and you run your hand inside the container, it will not be greasy.

If you or anyone else tried making these, let me know a) whether your dog enjoys them; and b) whether you noticed any after-effects of them.

Tony x
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Sorry, a quick update to the last post ... I noticed I left the garlic in the instructions, but had removed it from the ingredients. The reason for this is that garlic is not good for dogs, despite what others might tell you. So, just ignore garlic ... :)

Tony
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I can't thank Tony enough for these recipes...It truly helped Darbie thrive when I would not know what to do...It makes the disease less frightening when you have choices, and you will learn /know what to do in your limitations.

I actually have fun creating  Darbie "treats"...She loves shaved slice of cucumber with small bits of dark meat from chicken/pork or faux crab. I say "SUSHI!" and she hits the roof...

LOL, My old Darbie learns new tricks,too:)

Elsa, this works for us now...Darbie is a lab-mix, Oliver, being 1/3 the size of Darbie, may need portion control:)

Fondly,
Lynne & Darbie
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Thank you Tony!
As always you are a great help :)
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Oliver is making up for not eating on Monday. He is back to normal. I have been giving him some watermelon (just a little). I'm going to attempt to make the treats Tony provided.  Oliver's appetite has always been good and I am sure he will relish this.  Thanks everyone.
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Good to hear Oliver is back to good days ... hope he enjoys the treats, no doubt made with an extra ingredient you will supply ... love.

Tony x
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I actually sliced the KD canned food and preheated the oven to 350 and baked the slices for 30-40 minutes until they were kind of crispy like a cookie or jerky like.  Oliver gobbled up a few bits this morning and did not whine during our drive to work.   I will have more time over the weekend to prepare the other goodies you mentioned.....Thanks
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Oliver's news is wonderful!  He is the sweetest little pup...Actually when I look at his pictures, he's about the size of Darbie's head!

I am going to follow up on your baked treats recipe using KD canned. Although my vet changed Darbie's food recently , I will pick up a can of KD for baking "treats" and see how she responds.

Go Oliver!

Fondly,
Lynne and Darbie
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Oliver has blood work on Saturday. Its to check for the potassium level.
He has been off the Renal Essentials for a month. Seems his potassium level was high. Dr. Schultz indicated it should have been lower. Crossing my fingers it was the Renal Essentials that was causing the elevation.
Will report back next week. In the meantime Oliver continues to eat his KD with some rice. Munching on some watermelon/ and some of the baked KD that I've made for him :)
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Oliver is holding his own very well and that's great news! As I said to DogBlog
( Charlene with her pup, Sammie ), these roller coaster rides get tough.

The watermelon is so refreshing. On extremely hot days, I'll freeze small cubes for Darbie, though this summer has been very pleasant thus far.

Best of luck with Oliver's blood work. We'll be thinking of you and crossing our fingers, too!

Fondly,
Lynne & Darbie
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Hooray !  Oliver's blood results are all at normal range. Dr. Schultz was pleased with his results and he goes back in three months for a recheck.

Any idea on how Oliver can gain some weight. Would like to get him to 4lbs. He is currently at 3.7lbs.  Its kind of hard to figure out what I can give him since I don't want to give him anything that will make his kidneys work harder.  He loves his KD canned food- I've added some rice. But, he has not gained weight.  Any thoughts.
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Hi. That's brilliant. I am so pleased with his blood results. Oliver is truly a little miracle. As for food and gaining weight, my favourite is of course green tripe - ideally the frozen natural blocks made for working and racing dogs. Green tripe has the advantage of adding weight (and energy for working dogs), but it is also low in phosphorus and protein, so great for kidney failure dogs. The drawback is it stinks to high hell when it's cooking, but dogs generally absolutely love it.

Other good foods for adding weight are fatty meats - so pure hamburger (no additives, herbs or onions), lamb and beef. Other things are sweet potatoes, but sparingly, as they can cause loose stools. The other way is to increase the food intake, obviously, so even if you increase the daily intake by 20% but spread it out over say four meals (if possible), then this will add weight too.

Anyway, a few ideas there ... give the little guy a huge congratulatory hug from me.

Tony x
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We're having the same issue with Sammie.  Have tried everything but the green tripe and nothing is helping.  I hope trying the things Tony has advised will work for Oliver.

Congrats on the blood result....every little piece of good news is what keeps us going!!

Charlene
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Fantastic news! Oliver is a little miracle and this gives me such great hope. Darbie is having her monthly blood test on Thursday so I'm getting into anxiety mode:(

The food issue is like trial by fire!...As I journey thru different foods, I cautiously wait up to 12 hrs. to see how  it sits with Darbie. I have explored organic plain yogurts which Darbie loves with shavings of watermelon or thinned down with unsalted chicken broth. I feel overall, it's been helpful with her digestion.Tony helped with this and brought up the possible pros and cons. I settled with YoBaby ( for toddlers ) from Stoneyfield which has less sugar and salt added. If Oliver is receptive to a tsp. of this with a special topping ...maybe he can reach his 4 lb. goal:)

Best of Luck and a kiss on the nose to Oliver!

Lynne and Darbie
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YoBaby it is.  If Oliver can reach 4lbs I would be elated.
I get anxious too when its blood test time. Oliver truly amazes the vet everytime he has blood work done.  We keep forgetting Oliver is 15 years old !!

Hugs and I will keep everyone posted. I will also pop in from time to time to read the other posts as I truly care on how everyone is doing.

Elsa
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Forgot to post Oliver's blood results:

BUN: 23  
CREAT:  1.8

Retest in early November.  Oliver's BUN was 25 in June and his CREAT was 1.7.  Dr. Schultz said it is expected to go up and down with his KD.
Hoping he maintains his numbers until November.
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What you are doing is spot-on, so just keep doing it. The numbers are excellent and as close to normal for a dog with kidney disease that I've seen, never mind one that's Oliver's age. Absolutely fantastic results. Congratulations (again). Tony x
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Thank you Tony. Hopefully, by November my little man will be a whopping 4lbs ;)
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Such great numbers.....keep on doing what you are doing!!

Regards,
Charlene
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Checking in to let you know we're thinking of you and Oliver...I absolutely LOVE the new pics you posted! (Darbie has the striped monkey in her huge entourage! )

Looking at Oliver, it's so amazing he is 15...I wish you more years of health and happiness with the "little man".

Fondly,
Lynne and Darbie
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Have fantastic news. Brought Oliver in for his weigh in on Saturday. He is now at 3.85 lbs. Dr. Schultz said he looks great and to keep doing what I am doing. Guess what ?  KD now has canned food with veggies.  She gave Oliver two cans to sample from. Tried the chicken with veggies and he gobbled it up.  She also said it was fine to give him blueberries, bits of apples and sweet potatoes.  He is doing just great and I am very happy that almost five months later he has triumphed beautifully :)

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I'm so glad to be shedding tears of joy!!!!  I am just so happy for you and Oliver.  I know how wonderful every day is when they are doing better.

Sammie, Bonnie and I send prayers for continued good news!!

Regards,
Charlene
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Wow, that's fantastic. I am so pleased for Oliver ... and you. Your news brings sunshine to the start of this day, even though it's wet and rainy here in the UK. Tony x
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GREAT NEWS!

Oliver, you are the little champion! Mom, you're the hero! Like Charlene, a great feeling came over me with a smile and a tear...Our babies want to stay:)

Interesting re: new KD. Wise receptionist mentioned a  new "stew-like " version of KD and I'm thinking this is it. Can't wait to try it on Darbie!

LOL, I bet Oliver is over his 4 lb. goal as we speak!

Fondly,( with "high 5" paws!! )

Lynne and Darbie
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Thank you Charlene,
I am lost for words actually. I am taking it one day at a time and so is Oliver.

Hugs,
Elsa & Ollie
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Tony its been the best news yet. We are very happy :)
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Lynne & Darbie,

Yes, its the stew like KD. Oliver liked the chicken stew. Will try the beef stew tomorrow. Oliver never really liked stew and I am amazed he likes this.  We are aiming for 4 lbs by Thanksgiving....only time will tell.

Hugs,
Elsa & Oliver
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Thank you so much, Elsa ( that was my Mom's name,too- She had a great compassion for animal rights)

I called the vet's office and they have KD "stew" in stock.

I pray for Oscar... miracles:)  Thanks for showing great integrity in loving Oscar and never letting go.

Fondly,
Lynne & Darbie
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The vet keeps saying Oliver is a miracle. She said as long as he keeps eating that is a good sign.  I was very happy when she said he has never looked better.  Putting on the weight has made a difference.   Since I bring Oliver to work....someone commented and said he looks "happy".

We do what we have to do for our pets !!

Hugs,
Elsa & Oliver
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Else !

So great to hear that Oscar is even making  Dr. Vet thrilled!!!

I love that you can bring him to work. He must be an inspiration to everyone! Of course he's happy...That's love and devotion:)

You're right, we do what we have to do for our pets...WHAT A GREAT REWARD!!!

Fondly,

Lynne & Darbie



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Oliver is an inspiration to everyone on here. Tony x
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Hi Elsa. Thinking of you and Oliver!

Charlene
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Thank you !
He is at the groomer's right now. And I tell you he sure is feisty when he gets groomed.....never stops yelping :) He keeps his groomer on her toes.

Oliver continues to strive....eating at least five meals a day and drinking his water as well. No accidents, and he sleeps like a babe all night :)

I am one happy Maltesemom :)))))
Hugs
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That is so awesome to hear!!!  Love the good stories!

Charlene
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Elsa,

We finally have KD "stew" at vets. Awesome as Darbie loves it and shows no signs of loose stool. I actually blindfolded a friend  and said these were my leftovers from dinner. "Name that Meal"....Response was " Smells yummy! "

Hugs to You & Oliver:)

Lynne & Darbie
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Too funny !
Oliver loves it too. He continues to eat like a big dog. Still doing great :)
Best wishes to you.
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Happy stories .... it's great to hear them ... Tony
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Else,

Love to you & "big dog" Oliver:)....

Small things come in great packages:)!!

Fonldy,
Lynne & Darbie:)
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Hugs to Oliver......thinking of you both

Charlene and Bonnie
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Thank you.
Oliver is napping right now. Since its so hot here in So.Cal I don't like to take him out. Oliver is doing great and I've been so lucky.  Many people say I've done a fantastic job with him. I honestly feel Oliver and I are working together on this Kidney disease. I am grateful he has a superb appetite.  Its like he isn't even ill.  He doesn't look frail anymore and has really filled out. Still working on the separation anxiety issue I have with him.  I guess its truly hard to break when he is with me 24/7.  
I have only good news to report. I am hoping when he sees the vet in November for complete blood work that all is good. Again thank you for the nice comments.  
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