Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prednisone is the Enemy

A couple weeks ago we started Chale on prednisone and antibiotics after his blood work showed the possibility of cancer or another immune system disease. They discovered this problem at is annual physical. There weren't any changes in his behavior or health leading up to this appointment that would have lead us to believe that he was sick.

After a week on the high dose of prednisone Chale's platelet count was on the high end of normal (yeah!!). The vet still wanted to keep him on this dose for another week to make sure that his system had fully recovered. During the first week and half he was peeing multiple times a day, sometimes very urgently, and drinking twice as much water as normal. I wasn't getting more than 2 hours of sleep at a time because he had to go out so much. Then his bladder just gave up and he started to leak. I don't even think he was aware of it. He could have gone out seconds earlier and while sitting on the floor a puddle would form underneath him.

I didn't have an incontinent dog before the meds started. Hell, I didn't even have a sick dog. He didn't have any symptoms but his blood results indicated that he needed to go on meds immediately. Since we started the meds, he has not been himself. He is miserable most of the time because of the excessive thirst the prednisone causes. When he's not going through the peeing and drinking cycle, he's panting excessively and not getting a whole lot of sleep. He has no energy and doesn't want to play or walk as much as he normally does.

If the prednisone is supposed to increase the length of his life, it certainly has decreased the quality of it. We went down to half the dose today, after two weeks at the high dose, and hopefully we will ween him completely off the drug over the next few weeks. If this is a one time thing to boost his immune system then we can handle that. But if this is something that is recommended to us in the future I'm going to look for a second opinion. I'm not putting my dog or my family through this again.

The vet mentioned that Chale would need blood tests every two months to confirm that his platelet count was still good. I would assume that if his levels decrease again then they will want to put him back on prednisone. They are going to have to come up with an alternative treatment. If the past two weeks of hell gave me two extra months with Chale then its worth it but we have no way of knowing that. I could understand if he was sick and the medicine suddenly made him better but we had the exact opposite situation. We would never intentionally do anything to reduce the quality of his life and I feel like we have done that for the past two weeks.

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