White Dog and I had taken note that Oso was drinking LOTS of water these days and when he began urinating in the house last Wednesday, even Steve agreed that a visit to Dr. Julia was in order. We thought our Little Man might be fighting a UTI. We also knew that excessive drinking was one of the signs of diabetes. So Thursday, Oso and Steve went to see the vet.
The blood panel they drew showed a slight infection and he was given an antibiotic shot. The diabetes test came back "wonderfully good" and our tubby little torpedo had actually lost 4 pounds since he joined us in the Summer. Thyroid was, again, great. The bloodwork showed a low sodium level and a high potassium count. Dr. Bingham (filling in for Dr. Julia for the day) suggested that we have the ACTH response test done to check for Addison's Disease.
The disease often manifests itself with diabetes symptoms including Oso's characteristic long sound sleeps. From AddisonDogs.com: Addison's disease. It is the common name for hypoadrenocorticism, or adrenal insufficiency. It is a disease with symptoms that are common in many other ailments, making diagnosis difficult and sometimes a process of elimination. But once Addison's is correctly diagnosed, a properly treated dog can live a normal active life.
The adrenal, one on each kidney, is made up of two layers, the cortex and the medulla. The outer area, or cortex, secretes corticosteriod hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. The medulla, part of the sympathetic nervous system, secretes epinephrine (adrenaline), which is generally not affected by Addison's.
The test came back today with a number of 23. Normal range (the ratio of Sodium to Potassium) is between 27 and 40. Dr. Julia wants to do a second, different test to confirm the diagnosis on Thursday. This test will determine which type of Addison's disease Oso has, which in turn will effect his treatment.
Dogs with Addisons require a lifetime of medication and monitoring but are able to return to their normal activities and lives without interruption. But first we need to figure out the extent Oso is effected by the disease. Thursday, Oh, Another White Dog will spend the day at Dr. Julia's office and then the bloodwork will be sent to a specialized lab for evaluation. We won't know the results for several days.
The White Dog Army will do whatever is needed to care for Oso and maintain his health. Thursday will be a lonely and scary experience for our most social of White Ones and we cannot be with him for the test. We ask that at some point during Thursday you send a purr or woof of encouragement or a positive thought to our tiny Fearless One...and remind him that the WDA is at home baking him a welcome home salmon-rice-and green bean dinner cake.