Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good news on the med front

Lucky went in for his monthly Percorten today and the vet said that she had just read a study that showed dogs were doing well and were stable on a dose of 0.5mg/kg.

This is compared to the recommended dosage of 1.65mg/kg - 2.2 mg/kg that is recommended by Novartis.

Clearly, that's a huge difference.

It means that, provided his lytes are good, we could take Lucky down to 1mL injections every month. That would give us 4 doses out of every bottle, compared to the 2-3 doses we get now. Not to harp on the price tag of his medical care but that would be a HUGE help for us. Plus, the less medication he needs to have in his system, the better for HIM.

All in all, good news.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Found a new groomer!

Not only one who clearly knows how to groom Portuguese Water Dogs - which is rare enough to start with. We've been looking for one of those for over two years now! - but also one who knows what Addison's Disease is and how to properly handle dogs with it.

I was impressed from the phone call when I said "There's just one thing - he has Addison's." and the man said "Ok. That's not a problem. I'll have a few more questions for you tomorrow though." Ok, fine.

So we showed up a few minutes late and he was sitting out front. The first thing out of his mouth was "What a handsome boy!" It never hurts to compliment my dog. Then we started talking about his cut.

I said "I want him taken down to about 1/2"."
"Ok. And what about his head?"
"About as short but not a literal 1/2". Blend it so it looks natural."
"Ok. And his ears?"
"Well, I generally take them to within a fingerlength of the bottom of the leather and then shape them from there, thinning along the side so they're not so poofy."
"Sounds good. And his topknot?"
"Not too tall - no poodle head - but not shaved short."
"Fine. What about the flag?"
"Don't touch it. I'm trying to grow it out from the last person who thought they needed to trim it and took off inches."
"Right. But take the tail down to 1/2" to the base of his flag, yes?"
"Good. SO. On to his condition. How is he being handled in general? Any problem with his eyes or paws?"
"He's fine with both, though he may not lick your face while you're doing it."
"Ok. And how is he with the dryer."
"Well, I don't use one at home, but I've never had a previous groomer mentioning a problem with them."
"Hm. OK, well we'll just play that by ear then."

That has to be the most thorough conversation I've had with a groomer. They've always asked questions about grooming and length, but not quite to that detail. Perhaps because I usually drive the conversation rather than wait and let them ask questions.

So, an hour and a half later they call to s ay he's done. I run over and, lo, there was a handsome Portuguese Water Dog walking towards me! Not a poodle or a schnauzer or some bizarre cross between the two! Not only that but the groomer followed my instructions to the letter. THAT has never happened since we've owned him.

And he really did play the dryer by ear. The first thing he said was "Well, he did fine with the dryer overall. He didn't like it on his face too much, so whenever he started getting too upset, I'd switch it up." Damn. DAY-UHM!

So, here's some before and after pics for you!




Friday, August 1, 2008

I love our vet

Our regular vet called back about an hour after the other vet called. She had come into the office on her day off just to check on Lucky's lab work and call me (how amazing is she? I don't even know a "people" doctor who would do that).

We talked for a long time about the Percorten and Pred. After reading his labs, she had actually called and talked to a specialist about them because they were so, well, normal that she was wondering if he could actually be Atypical, even though his labs at diagnosis showed Primary (if people want me to get even more long winded about the difference, I can :P). The specialist thinks that, because she had caught his Addison's so early that he still has a bit of decent adrenal function. But they still recommend injecting him every 4-5 weeks (about at the 30 day mark) rather than stretching it out more and more because the stress on his glands would eventually wipe out what function he has left and send him into a crisis. Clearly we don't want that. :P

So, instead we're going to work on gradually lowering his dose. He started at 1.6mL of Percorten for the first 2 injections, so we've lowered this dose to 1.5mL. We'll stay at that for a couple of months to see how he does and try another reduction. Eventually she's hoping to get him down to the lowest "recommended" amount which I think, looking at Novartis' website, would be around 1.2 mL. She's leery of pushing it further than that, though I do "know" a PWD who is on 1mL every 28 days and is stable (and he's a deal heavier than Lucky, too).

We also talked about lowering his pred. She said she wants to get his Percorten stable first and then we'll go about playing with his pred dosage. She said the earliest she'd want to consider that would be in a month. I'm ok with that. I just don't want to be staring December in the face (6 months from diagnosis) with him on such a high dose.