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Avatar universal

question about kidney disease

Hi, my dog Phoenix is in Stage III renal failure.  I had her tested about 3 months ago, she is going to be tested again on Saturday.  She was diagnosed last October and the vet said 3 months to a year for life expectancy.

Phoenix stopped eating in January, at which time she went on SQ fluids 2x a week, along with Pepcid AC and Maalox to bring down her blood phosphorous.  This turned her around bigtime.  She gained 4 pounds, got her appetite back, etc.

Now, she is very lethargic (although is still VERY happy to go for a ride in the car) and eating less and less. She won't even eat chicken.  I am basically feeding her whatever she will eat (stale bread and donuts this week, cat food last week). She has lost 2.5 pounds in the last 3 weeks.  She is still drinking water, has diarrhea frequently but no vomiting.  She is 13 years, 10 months old and is a Redbone Coonhound mix. She should weigh 62 pounds but only weighs 50.

My question is this: how close to the end does this sound to you? (I know I should just wait for Saturday's bloodwork, but hey.)

37 Responses
7378022 tn?1390751481
Just want to say I am so sorry you and Phoenix are faced with this illness... Been there, done that, and you'll know when the time is right to make major decisions.
Avatar universal
The end stages of renal failure are the most heartbreaking to watch.  Do you remember what her BUN and CRE levels were?  While your vet is correct in treating the phosphorus, that's not the only concern with renal failure.  Also, can you ask your dr about increasing the fluids?  Daisy was only 25 pounds and we gave her 250cc's every day for the last 3 weeks.  Unfortunately, I lost her about a month ago :(  

Avatar universal
She is getting blood drawn on Saturday.  Hopefully I will know more then. She is almost 14, so she has had a good long healthy life. She was never sick before this.  It will be hard to let her go, but I feel better knowing that her life was not cut short.

I don't give her the fluids myself (she absolutely hates it and squirms all over the place) so, I take her to the vet twice a week, which is not easy with a full time job. I am amazed she has lived this long.  I didn't think she would make it through February.
Avatar universal
How did you know it was time when it happened to you?
7378022 tn?1390751481
When she didn't want a bite of banana, her favorite food, I looked deep into her eyes, she returned my gaze, and I heard her little soul say to me "it's time." She held on for 5 months giving me time to prepare.
Avatar universal
Daisy suffered with kidney disease for 13 months.  The last 5 weeks were the worst though - her levels went up, she was barely eating, vomiting and diarrhea then she spent 5 days in the hospital getting IV fluids, medicine, etc.  

The first few days after the stay, she came home and refused to eat... settled on cat treats for a bit and had shots of cerenia twice to help with the nausea.  She was never really quite the same after the hospital stay.  She was very slow moving and sleepy.  The last week, she threw up Tuesday - Thursday.  The last bit of food was Thursday morning, took her to the vet (we had been going to monitor bloodwork every week for the last month) and her levels were up again.  We knew that it was only a matter of time.  The next day, she started to fidget during her fluids and I stopped them halfway through.  She still wasn't eating.  I knew she wouldn't make it through the weekend.  

Saturday, Feb 22... she was very restless overnight, pacing, falling, etc.  I knew it was time.  I picked her up, rocked her in my arms and told her not to stay around for me that I'd be ok and I'd never forget her.  Not a minute later, she fell when she would walk.. her back paws were dragging on the floor as she walked.  My vet met us at the office to put her down.  She was ready.  I truly believe they tell you when it's time.  Trust your sweet girl that she will let you know.  I second guessed myself for a few days, but honestly, the pain Daisy was in was far too bad for me to watch.  

I promised her no more hospital stays... and that I wouldn't make her suffer.  She spent almost 11 years making me happy, loving me unconditionally that I knew I owed it to her to end it before things got really bad.  You'll know, and you will never be fully prepared to say goodbye.  I still miss my sidekick and still get sad and lonely.  Take as much time as you need to grieve, everyone is different.  My heart breaks for you, I know how tough it really is.  I often compare it to a roller coaster ride.. one day, she could feel great the next two days she could feel worse.  

Just make sure the good days outweigh the bad :( and trust in her that she will 'tell' you when she's ready.  
7378022 tn?1390751481
"Just make sure the good days outweigh the bad :( and trust in her that she will 'tell' you when she's ready."

Yeap... And they really will! Everyone told me Maddie would let me know, and she did.
Avatar universal
I think she is getting close. My hubby (who does the Weds trip to the vet) said that she was yelping during the fluids.  I have not seen her drink any water for two days, and normally she ***** it down like crazy when she comes in from outside. She went BM at midnight and then never went out again after that (very unusual). I got her up before I went to work to go outside, but it was half hearted. She just wants to sleep on the bed. She had about 4 small bites of my husband's steak yesterday, but that was all.  I am supposed to take her in for fluids on Saturday but I question whether I should just let her go, especially given that she is elderly.
Avatar universal
Saturday is still 2 days away, a lot could change by then.  How much fluids are they giving her?  I'm not sure I could listen to my dog in pain because Daisy was so easy going with fluids and needles.  You know her better than anyone so just 'listen' to what she is telling you.  Can you get a plastic syringe and give her water that way?  Or maybe a few little pieces of ice?  The fluids aren't meant to replace water intake so it's important that you get her to drink.  

No one (even the vet) can tell you when it's time.  Honestly, the only one who can is her.  Just pay attention, keep a close eye on her and love her until you have to say goodbye.  It's the toughest decision a pet owner has to make but it's also the easiest.  We don't ever want to see our babies suffer so saying goodbye is sometimes the only choice we have.  Keep her comfortable because it sounds like it's only a matter of time.  

Is she pacing yet?  Or restless at night?  That's how I knew Daisy had enough... that her little body was done.  Because pacing/restlessness usually indicates pain.  

Don't jump into the decision, but don't make her suffer either.  I know it's a fine line, but you will know and when it happens, because it will soon, you will make the right decision for your little love.  You will find a little bit of peace with each passing day.  Your baby will have healthy kidneys again soon enough :(  
Avatar universal
She is not pacing, no.  She did eat some small steak bites and a little chicken today. I actually did start out giving her fluids at home until the day when every time I tried to get the needle in, she yelped. Then I figured it was worth the ten buck to have the vet tech do it. (plus then I can hold her still - MUCH easier).
She gets 200ml 2x a week, per the vet's recommendation.
I do have a plastic syringe which I use to give her the Maalox, but it only holds a teaspoon.  Not sure what a teaspoon of water would do for a 50 pound dog. She usually drinks several cups at a time when she does drink.
7378022 tn?1390751481
I did well with Maddie on the KD lamb heated with some water for extra hydration, and a smidge of sour cream or plain yogurt. My vet was the one who told me to heat her food and I guess it really hits the olfactory system because she could barely wait for her food!
Avatar universal
Daisy also did well on the KD wet food but after a while it got to be pretty pricey.  I then chose to cook Daisy's food - you control what is going in.  It seemed to help tremendously over the course of 6 months.  Try a little pasta to get more calories in her.  
Avatar universal
Also, it's not ideal but since she's not eating or drinking much, try a popsicle.  If she goes for it, then try freezing some gatorade in ice cube trays.  Anything to get liquid in her system.  

Daisy would eat a few bites here and there for about 10 days prior to the last week.  I was happy with anything - a piece of chicken one day, a bite of pork the next.  I almost felt like she was humoring us.  Once Daisy stopped eating all together, I knew it was the end.  
Avatar universal
I wish. She won't even eat the canned food in the little cans.
Avatar universal
That no longer works.  
Avatar universal
From your comments it seems Phoenix is closer to the end than I thought.  A month or two ago she would eat pasta, or I would add it to chicken broth and some canned dog food and make a shake in the blender.  Now, even the most enticing morsel she turns away in disgust.  We managed to get her to eat maybe 5 tiny pieces of steak (steak!!) today, but the gusto is definitely not there. Last week all she would eat was stale bread or stale donuts. Forget dog food of any kind. MAYBE some canned cat food, but only a few tablespoons. I will be interested to hear what the vet says on Saturday (if she is still with us then). I actually check to see if she is still breathing in the middle of the night (she sleeps next to me).  Ugh.
Avatar universal
I think I will try some tuna juice mixed with water.  Tuna juice was always irresistible (though no longer interesting over her kibble anymore).  :(
Avatar universal
At this point, love on her and let her know how special she is to you.  I'm sorry :( it's horrible saying goodbye esp when they love you so much for their whole lives.  
462827 tn?1333168952
Avatar universal
How is your little girl doing after the weekend?  Any updates from the bloodwork?
1916673 tn?1420233270
Hi. You have done extraordinarily well to get her to this stage, but from what you have told us, I imagine the time is very close now when you will need to make a decision. No one can tell you when that time has arrived - except your own dog. She will give you a look when she is ready to go. When you get that look, you will understand.

I'm hoping the vet has given some reassuring news, following the bloodwork, though I rather feel that may be unlikely. Either way, please let us know in due course. As for feeding ... at this stage, give her whatever she wants and is prepared to eat. If you can get hold of it, green tripe (tinned or frozen, the latter you need to cook), mixed with a tiny amount of boiled white rice, often does the trick. It's highly nutritional and despite the stink of green tripe, just about all dogs absolutely love it.

You are in my thoughts. Tony
Avatar universal
Looks like none of the comments I made via my phone made it here.

Phoenix's BUN went from 138.5 in Jan to 140+ (I did the quick test, so it doesn't measure over 150).  The creatinine went from 7.9 to 8.2, which the vet said was not a huge change.  They increased her fluids to 300.  The vet thought she had a month or 2 based on how happy and bouncy she was at the vets. (the fluids from the previous visit had obviously kicked in). She went for a quarter mile walk and was happy. Based on the vet's assessment, I picked up a rescue I had been looking at for a while. She loves him and is eating more because she doesn't want him to have it (which I had hoped would happen!) He is 5 and very laid back and she sleeps with him during the day now on occasion.  The chicken she didn't want for the past 3 days she gobbled down when I offered it to him.  Same with milk bones. She has not wanted one in over 6 months. She ate FIVE of the little ones since he was getting some.  So, I think that in between the fluids she is tired and doesn;t have much of an appetite, but perks back up with the fluids.  I am also supposed to give her up to 3x the amt of Maalox I had been giving her.  She seems improved over when I posted last.  Thanks everyone for asking about my girl.
1916673 tn?1420233270
Hi again. It's good to know things are going fairly okay, though I think you are becoming prepared for the near future - I hope so at least, because sadly, it is inevitable. On the plus side, you are getting some wonderful days with Phoenix and the addition to your family is no doubt giving both you and Phoenix some extra enjoyment. It's lovely that they sleep together (maybe you'll supply a pic of this for us all to see and go "awe" to). The extra food she is taking should give her some extra energy ... all great news ... and the increased iv fluids will hopefully flush out some extra toxins. Fingers crossed these good days continue for as long as possible. Tony x
Avatar universal
Glad to hear she is doing a bit better.  It's a roller coaster ride that's for sure.  One good day, 2 bad days, one good day, 2 bad days is how it seemed for Daisy at the end.  I hope you continue to love on her as much as you can, and spend time with just her more than she's spending with the new dog.  Don't let her think that you're trying to replace her just yet :)
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