Friday, August 3, 2012

Dot's Story

 While waiting (and waiting) for Dot to sit during today's training session, Peggy and I got to talking about Dot's medical history.  Dot has always been our problem dog. Almost 8 years ago, we got Dot from a reputable breeder and she has champion parents.  Physically, she looks like a very nice quality wire fox terrier.  However, she has had health problems since she was less than a year old.  When she was about 9 months old, she stopped gaining weight and was looking very skinny, her coat was thin and she was not thriving.  After "talking" with some terrier people on a list serve for WFT's, I learned that low thyroid is very common in the breed and that they don't present with the typical weight gain symptoms.  I also learned that WFT's are also prone to having Plechner Syndrome,  or hormonal irregularites and immune system imbalances.  In Dot's case it manifested with hypothyroid and malabsorbtion of food.  Many vets don't know about or believe in Dr Plechner (the doctor who created the IVD dog food) or his syndrome.  I dug around on the internet and discovered that a local vet was familiar with the Plechner syndrome (and he's very good with the endocrine problems).  Dot was tested and put on thyroid medication and a low dose of cortisol.  After starting these medications, she started to gain weight and had a healthier coat and started thriving.  

Dot was on these medications for years.  We occasionally had to tweak the meds.  A couple of years ago, she was diagnosed with diabetes and we stopped the cortisol, but kept the thyroid meds. Shortly after we discovered her diabetes, Dot went blind as a complication of the diabetes.   Dot is currently on insulin twice a day.  Dot's blood sugars are mostly under control and I have a test kit and know how to check her levels, just like a human diabetic.  Basically, I have a chronically ill dog.

Dot's chronic illness is part of her behavior problems because she's always had special treatment and given a lot of lee way because she's sick.  And being a very bright and stubborn terrier, she used it to her advantage.

I don't know if Dot's diabetes was caused by the low dose of cortisol, or she just has bad genes.  But I do know that Dot would not have made it to her first birthday because of her malabsorbtion problems. I don't really expect that Dot will live a long life (not uncommon for terriers to live into the mid teens), but as long as she has a good quality of life, we'll keep doing what we need to do.

Dot is really an amazing dog.  She manages very well for a  blind dog.  We don't move the furniture around and she has managed to develop a "map" of her surroundings.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Back in Lisle

Here's Dot, our blind WFT, playing the Touch game.  We are back from Nationals with a bronze medal and looking forward to cooler weather.