This week I took Wilson, who is now 14 and 4 months, to the vet for a senior check-up. I had noticed he was having trouble chewing a beef tendon he had been eating fine for years. I thought we might find a cracked tooth. Because Wilson takes an anti-inflammatory for his arthritis, I asked for a blood test also. Those drugs can be hard on the liver.
Well, his mouth checked out just fine, a bit of gingivitis being the only problem. What I wasn't expecting was the bad news we received on his blood work. His kidney values are all well past high-normal which indicates he is in the beginning phases of kidney failure! This really caught me off guard, as his last blood test was in February and all was perfect. My vet called us back in for a blood pressure test as kidney problems and high blood pressure go hand in hand, sort of a chicken or the egg relationship. Well, his blood pressure was on the moon!
So overnight I went from thinking I had a healthy old man to one that has started his decline. Kidney failure, when chronic, isn't an immediate death sentence, but a more gradual slide into bad health. It is also very common in older dogs. For now I am treating the high blood pressure with drugs, adding a supplement called Azodyl to his food to help remove the toxins his kidneys are no longer cleaning out, and another supplement to reduce the amount of phosphorus his body absorbs. Unfortunately, he can no longer take his arthritis medicine regularly anymore as it is hard on the organs. Hopefully he won't be too uncomfortable. My vet recommended I switch his diet to the prescription version of Science Diet or Royal Canin. Not gonna happen! I will do my research and find a higher quality food. FaceBook friends recommended a prescription diet from Darwin's that sounds like a much better choice. This is all new to me, so an education is in order. Hopefully it will all come together to slow the speed of Wilson's decline. There's a very good chance he will still be here this time next year, fingers, toes and all four paws crossed!
Here's my sweet old man on a recent morning.....
|He's worried about where his breakfast is,|
and that's a very good thing
for a kidney patient!