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15 week old boxer with end stage kidney failure
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15 week old boxer with end stage kidney failure

My baby boxer, TJ, has not been "right' since we got him 4 weeks ago. He has had issues with house training, coordination, lethargy, and just not been the bouncy, hyper active boxer puppy we expected him to be. I really hoped it was just because he was a rare calm puppy.
Last weekend, he had a few episodes of diarrhea & vomiting, and more lethargy then was "normal" for him. We took him to the vet last Tuesday, expecting them to say he had a tummy bug, update his shots, etc. They said he had worms (was 3 wks overdue for his dewormer) & was slightly dehydrated, so gave him sub-cu fluids, an antibiotic & a dewormer. They said within a day or 2, he should be showing big improvements. By Friday, he hadn't eaten in 2 hours, wasn't drinking, was only getting off the couch to go outside to pee, and wouldn't even do that without a bit of help.
We took him to the vet Friday evening, who gave him sub-cu again, and did a full blood panel. He also had a heart murmur they didn't notice on Tuesday. They said he was in serious kidney failure, and transferred him to the emergency clinic. There, they tested his urine, and the specific gravity was 1.010. His BUN was >130, Creat >6.1, Phos >16. I don't remember the other levels off the top of my head. They suspected kidney disease, but said it could also be severe dehydration caused by the worms, and a good 24-48 hours on fluids would be a good indication of what we were dealing with.
By Saturday evening, he was acting much better (alert, semi-playful, eating well, etc), but his Creat was still 5.8. We took him home (with more antibiotics & pepcid), and took him in to the vet Sunday morning for more sub-cu.
At this point, they are saying that he most likely has kidney disease. They said that the 24 hrs of fluids should have improved his numbers much more then they did, and this is a very strong indication it isn't secondary to the worms, an infection, etc. Everything I've read said that his numbers mean he is stage 4 failure, and that his prognosis is not good at all. At home since Saturday evening, he is eating well (various organic canned food), is playful (although he gets very tired fast), is drinking, and peeing LOTS. (I know this is not a good sign.) He seems to have no control over it. I'm also concerned because his eyes have become very bloodshot since last night. We'll be redoing his bloodwork within a few days to see what his levels are after being off fluids for more then 24 hrs. My thoughts are if he's still playful, eating, drinking, then maybe he has a shot.
Can I bring him back from this? My heart is broken right now. I asked the vet about phosphorus blockers, special diet, etc, and he agreed to discuss those things after the blood work, but doesn't seem to hold much hope. All i read about special diets, etc says they are beneficial in the early stages to prolong his life, but would they be just as beneficial this late in the progression? I don't want him to suffer at all. I can't afford more thousands of dollars in tests, and want to put what I can afford into treatment, if I can help him. I'm just afraid it's too late, and his little kidneys just won't make it much longer. Our children love him very much, and he is my baby. It's just not fair. He is such a sweet loving, and snuggly. I want to keep fighting for him.
7 Comments Post a Comment
1943833 tn?1349280189
Vet called back, and wants to run a full blood panel showing kidney function levels, proteins, glucose, etc. He plans to start TJ on a kidney diet possibly as early as today, and probably blockers as soon as test results tell him which one to use. He is afraid we don't have long before TJ starts declining again.
TJ is currently acting perfectly normal, with the exception of the water-like pee every 20 minutes. His eyes are cleared, he is still eating great & very active. I'm still praying for a miracle.
974371 tn?1424656729
I am so sorry to read this about your puppy!  You are probably not going to like what I have to say, sorry.
Did you get this puppy from a reputable breeder, Shelter or rescue?  Dud you get a health guarantee?  Please look up our posts here, Buyers Beware.
Inam sure all you wanted was a nice, healthy puppy your family could love and enjoy and this dies not sound like the case.  Have you contacted the person you got this puppy from?  I am surprised your Vet dudn't suggest that.
Personally, I think you should contact whomever you got your pup from and ask for a refund and return the puppy.  Get something in writing from your Vet and copies of the bills.  Come right out and ask your Vet if he/she feels this is a genetic problem.  
You have to look at this realistically even though you are now attached.  I understand you have children but you can explain this to them, assuming they are old enough to understand, even if is that the puppy is sick and had to go back to it's home, etc.
If you do get another puppy, please read our advice on these Boards on that subject.
Again, so sorry you and this pup are going through this.  
Please keep us posted.
462827 tn?1333172552
Welcome...I am so sorry for you & your puppy......Unfortunately, this happens much too often!
I agree w/Margot, if you purchased this puppy from a breeder, you should have received a Health Guarantee...Therefore, it's my understanding that the breeder is also responsible for some of your Vet Bills & replacement of the puppy or a refund for the purchase price.....Otherwise, I'd file a complaint against whomever...

Next, if you purchased this guy from a Store, there's a 95% chance that it came from a Puppy Mill...These dogs are always sick! If your unfamiliar with Puppy Mills, do a search someday & see the horrors that the parents endure in these "He!! Holes"!!!.....You'll know why the babies are sick!
Again, if so, file a complaint against the store & boycott them for life!

Now I understand that none of this is going to help you now, but I wanted to make you aware of what may have happened...

I am providing you this forums best thread on Kidney Disease.....I even hesitated to give it to you as I know your already heartbroken, but there may be something in the tread to help you......Here it is:

It's quite lengthy & sad...It may also help to know your not alone.....My heart goes out to you & your family.....This just makes me sick!!!  I'm praying for all involved....Sincerely, Karla
1943833 tn?1349280189
Thank you for the replies.
I have contacted the breeder, and she is mailing a refund. I haven't looked at the health guarantee to see if it states she is responsible for any of the vet bills as well, but I will do that. She did offer another puppy, but I don't want another at this point. I could never give him back to her, as if it's her problem. While it may be, I want him with a family who loves him. My kids range in ages from 5 to 17, so all know he is very sick, and the older ones are very aware of the prognosis. In the meantime, we are going to love him & care for him the best we can, as long as we can. He is part of our family now.

I'll know more after the blood & urine tests come back tomorrow. I'm still asking for a miracle in my prayers, but I know it's not likely.
Tonight, after he got his sub-cu (he was ever so slightly dehydrated) & blood drawn, I brought him home, and he played football with the kids out back. It was so bittersweet, knowing how sick he is, yet seeing him running, pouncing, "boxing" like he isn't sick at all.

The vet asked if I wanted to learn how to do at home sub-cu fluids. I said if I don't get my miracle tomorrow, I'll learn how. I also asked about homemade food, and he is willing to give me the ok on that, if I do lots of research & talk to a vet nutritionist, because its more complicated then I think. He knows I'm grasping for straws, and he has to really bite his tongue to not kill my hopes for this sweet puppy to have a long happy life. I'm just refusing to give up yet.

We're starting TJ on the Science Hill renal diet in the morning. He has lost 1 lb since Saturday, for a 2 lb total for the last 1.5 weeks. But the heart murmur they heard on Friday seems to be gone (?), and his energy level is good.

I'll be sure to read that thread, thank you. I'm already overwhelmed & deeply saddened with how many stories I've read of this horrible disease stealing the life of so many loved pets. But I've made it my mission to learn all I can, and do whatever I can for TJ, as long as I can.
974371 tn?1424656729
Many of us certainly understand how you feel and wanting to do all you can for him.  That would be a good idea to talk to a canine nutritionist or even a holistic canine nutritionist.  The Science Diet foods serve their purpose, I guess, but not very nutritious. JMHO.  
My daughter rescued a little Chihuahua mix puppy a few years ago that has chronic pancreas issues and has cost my daughter probably over $3,000 for ER treatments,mtests,metc and that is with her being able to do subQ at home herself and some discounts from a Vet.  Her dog is pretty much limited to only prescription food with a few vegetables.  Even with the best of care, last time they were in town I had my Vet do some blood work on her and you can see her values getting a bit worse.  
I am at least glad to read the breeder is giving you a refund or offering a replacement, which I would shy away from also.  
Best of luck and do keep us posted.
1832268 tn?1326819610
I'm sorry to hear about TJ.
Are you giving him any Jerky Treats...?  There are many recalls on Jerky treats. The treats are causing kidney failure.

TJ is lucky to have you. Nobody will do a better job of taking care of him than you will. Don't Panic. Dogs with kidney disease will have their good days, and their bad days, so take one day at a time.
Changing his diet may help to bring some of his numbers down. Since he is young, he may accept the kidney diet food quite easily.

I will pray that you both get your miracle, in the meantime, learn how to do the sub-q is can do it.

1943833 tn?1349280189
Connie, he has had a few treats, but none that are mentioned in any of the results I get from googling that Jerky Treat issue. (I checked yesterday because I read elsewhere there was kidney problems related to some of them). The only chicken type he had was called Canine Carry-outs.

Thanks for the encouragement from both of you. It helps to know others know how I feel right now, but it's also very saddening at the same time.

This morning, I noticed some white wispy stuff in his urine. I have left a message at the vet's office in case it's something they need to know. He liked the food ok, so that's good. Still waiting on all the blood test results to see what else, if anything, we can do.
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