She's always been a sickly little Chihuahua. Stomach issues, finicky eater, seizures, her poop has been all over the board so to speak. But as of late they were like little gnarly tree roots. Sorry, but poop is very important. It must be discussed.((hee hee))
I buy only the best, quality grain free dog food I can find yet she's had bouts of pancreatitis. I even home cook. Heck, I joke our dogs eat better than we do but it's the truth. With the last pancreatitis attack, we decided it was best to put her on a vet prescribed low fat dog food. Also give her home cooked low fat food.
About a week and a half ago she started having weird episodes. She'd experience ataxia and was somewhat out of it. But she reacted when I spoke to her so she wasn't completely out of it. It usually happened about an hour/hour and a half after she ate. I immediately took her to the vet. She checked her from head to toe. No fever, ears looked good, heart and lungs sounded fine. But she is VERY thin. So we did a (in house) full blood work panel on her even testing her for Lyme disease.
For the most part, the blood work results were great. She did have low white blood count, lymphocytes and amylase (pancreas enzyme).
The amylase had me puzzled because when she had pancreatitis, the number was very high. Now it's below normal?
Concerned about the WBC and lymphocytes, we agreed to have an outside lab look at her blood work and give a more detailed report. Their findings were that although her lymphocytes were low, they were mature and no cancer cells were found. Same with the WBC. Low numbers but the cells looked good. I also mentioned her appetite has been ravenous. This left us scratching our heads. Our vet even said she is an enigma.
Since I'm a worrier, I spent days online researching her symptoms and blood work findings. Dare I say I was obsessing about it? Yep, I dare say.
Then on Saturday, I had my eureka moment!! From what I read, she was having symptoms as described with EPI. Except for the poop part. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency is when the pancreas is unable to produce the proper digestive enzymes to break down food. Amylase (the enzyme she is low in) is the enzyme that breaks down starches/carbs which in turn could cause sugar problems. Her prescription dog food is mostly starches and carbs. Sooooo, an hour after she eats she becomes hypoglycemic. It's also the cause for her thinness since she isn't able to get the nutrients from the food she's eating.
After I removed all the prescription dog food, I ran to the pet supply store looking for a digestive supplement to at least get in her system. They do have prescription grade enzymes, but I knew I had to get something in her little body pronto.
I found a product called Digest-All+ by Wholistic Pet Organics. It's a soft chew enzyme blend supplement with pre and probiotics. Now I don't know if it's a coincidence, but after switching the food and giving her the supplements she went 36 hours without having a hypoglycemic reaction. When she did, it was much milder than previous ones.
I called the vet yesterday with my findings. She suggested the blood work again to test for EPI. But I want to try a stronger enzyme supplement. She may have something else going on, but for now we'll see how she does.
As far as the low WBC and lymphocytes? Heads up, my vegetarian friends... Please, no cursing or tomato throwing after you read these next few sentences. ((giggle))
From what I read, many (human) vegetarians have these same issues. Most likely caused by their diet. Gracie basically was eating like a doggie vegetarian. Ummmm... Dogs are carnivores. She's now eating and loving a quality kangaroo (novel protein) food.
So that's what's been going on at the ol' Countryfolk Homestead. Not to mention it's APRIL 5th and it's SIX DEGREES with 6 inches of snow on the ground!!
Happy Tuesday, all... Or is it?!!!